In this article, I will list what I feel are the best e-ink writing tablets currently on the market and explain the reasons why I love them.
Unlike other ‘best e-ink tablet‘ webpages I’ve seen, I have actually bought, tested and regularly use the devices I review – here’s a picture of me with a selection of my tablets.
I think every single device listed on this page is awesome, but for very different reasons – it was very difficult to rank them (and I very often changed my mind) but in the end, I based it primarily on which device I use the most or regularly reach for when I want to take some notes.
However, please bear in mind that these are my own subjective views based on my own personal needs, preferences and workflows. Depending on your own requirements, any of these eNotes would be a good investment.
To further help your decision-making, I’ve built a tool for searching and comparing e-ink tablets that you may find useful.
What is an E-Ink Writing Tablet?
E-ink tablets (also known as eNotes and ePaper) are electronic tablets that can be used for writing and sketching using stylus-based input. They can be perhaps be thought of as an infinite stack of paper, and are often used as a replacement for traditional notepads and sketchbooks.
They differ from LCD and OLED devices such as Apple’s iPad because they use an E-ink display. This is the same technology used on Amazon Kindle screens, and it looks and feels like real paper (well, as close as you can get from a digital device).
Moreover, they don’t emit light, so they can be more comfortable for the eyes and can be viewed clearly outside, even on sunny days. And they usually consume very little power, so can last for several days (and even weeks) without needing a recharge.
The main drawback is that they have a low refresh rate, which means that although they are ideal for reading, writing, and sketching, they are not ideal for looking at things that are constantly moving, such as games or videos (although some manufacturers have developed proprietary refresh technology that is closing this divide).
You can get a good overview of the advantages and disadvantages of e-ink tablets in my Beginner’s Guide.
Best All-Round E-Ink Tablet: Boox Note Air3 C
The Boox Note Air3 C (NA3C) is, in my opinion, the best e-ink tablet that you can buy right now.
However, in the interests of transparency, I must add the disclaimer that it is not the tablet I use most in my day-to-day work – that accolade goes to the Supernote A5X (below) – but I do use the NA3C quite a lot as well!
And the reason for me putting the NA3C in first place is because it can simply do far more than the Supernote (which is designed to be a dedicated note-taking device).
The NA3C has a colour screen, frontlight (with warmlight), speakers, microphone, and Bluetooth. It has a fast 2.4GHz octa-core processor, an integrated GPU, 4Gb RAM and 64Gb storage. There are very few other e-ink tablets that can compete with these top-notch specs.
In terms of software, it runs Android 12 and has access to the Google Play Store, which means that third-party apps (e.g. Google Chrome, Facebook, Kindle etc.) can be installed on it. And Boox’s own native e-reading and note-taking apps are also top-class.
In addition, by using a combination of the onboard graphics processor and proprietary software (Boox Super Refresh – BSR), the NA3C (along with all of Boox’s newer tablets) are able to adjust the refresh rate on a per-application basis, which makes more third-party apps usable on an e-ink screen. For example, on older e-ink tablets, scrolling down a webpage would be a pain because the page would keep flickering and refreshing. BSR makes this whole experience much smoother.
However, all this raw power can drain the battery quicker – I get just over a day’s use out of it before it needs a recharge. And the inherent nature of the colour Kaleido 3 screen does mean that it is visibly several shades darker than a monochrome e-ink screen, resulting in lower contrast if the frontlight is turned off. I’ve written about the pros and cons of colour e-ink screens here.
So, if you are looking for the e-ink writing tablet that is on the cusp of e-ink technology and offers a great deal of power and versatility, then Boox’s Note Air3 C is a very good choice.
Best Dedicated Note-Taker: Supernote A5X
Whilst Supernote e-ink tablets have nowhere near the flexibility of those manufactured by Boox, they have been designed to do one task (note-taking) exceptionally well.
And it is for this reason that my Supernote A5X is my constant companion. As a note-taking device, it is just so effortless to use, just like my traditional paper notebooks were. I simply open my notepad, flick to the next bank page and write.
The native note-taking software has some really nice and unique features that I really can’t live without. For example, when I start a new page, I write the title at the top, and then lasso-select it and turn it into a heading And the Supernote automatically builds me a Table of Contents based on my headings. I can also draw a five-pointed star anywhere on the canvas to mark the page as important and then do a search for all my stars so that I can action them. There is a touch-sensitive swipe bar on the right-hand bezel which brings up a quick access menu whatever I am doing so that I can quickly flick between notebooks and documents. And the handwriting search feature is supremely fast.
But whilst it is a very innovative and useful note-taking tablet, it is not designed to replace any of the tasks that you would perform on your computer or laptop. True, it has an email client, and a calendar (that syncs with your Google/Outlook calendar). But these are provided more for convenience rather than productivity – it’s useful to check your email box and schedule but you wouldn’t want to be writing lengthy emails using the on-screen keyboard.
And the native reading app is pretty decent, but not as good as the likes of Boox or Kindle devices. You can install the Kindle app, but the Supernote lacks a frontlight, so reading can potentially be a bit uncomfortable if there is not enough ambient light.
I make it no secret that I am also a big fan of Supernote’s commitment and dedication towards their customers and the sustainability of their devices. They are one of the few e-ink tablet manufacturers that genuinely listen to and value customer feedback, and the only manufacturers that has publicly published a roadmap of their software development plans. They design their products to last for the long-haul, with their latest model being the first e-ink tablet to have a replaceable battery. And they are offering discounts on their new tablet for existing customers whose devices are a couple of generations behind (as well as discounts for students, first-responders, and veterans). I just really like the way that they do business 🙂
And, for me, many of the things that should perhaps be considered drawbacks of the Supernote (lack of versatility, monochrome screen, no frontlight, etc.) actually add to the tablet’s charm because it provides a pleasant and minimalistic writing experience without any distractions. And the plastic casing and stripped back hardware makes it lightweight and easy to hold and carry. But I can also acknowledge and appreciate that this does not suit the needs of everybody (which is why the Boox Note Air3 C is at the top of my list).
Best E-ink Laptop: Boox Tab Ultra C Pro
In terms of sheer power and versatility, the Boox Tab Ultra series is the creme-de-la-creme of e-ink devices. And the latest tablet in this product range is the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro (TUCP). This is about as close as you can get to a regular laptop with an e-ink screen.
It shares many of the features of the Boox Note Air3 C, including a 10.3″ colour screen, the same operating system (Android 12, but with a slightly different launcher) and the same native software.
However, the specs have been souped-up a little, with a 2.8GHz octa-core processor, 6Gb of RAM, and 128Gb of storage space. This makes the performance a little snappier, particularly if you do a lot of multitasking or run resource-hungry apps. In addition, it has 16Mp rear-facing camera, a bigger battery, and an optional keyboard/trackpad folio (which will set you back an additional $150).
Whilst the keyboard folio is touted as optional, I can see very little reason to choose the TUCP over the NA3C without it – the integrated keyboard folio and laptop-style format should be the main reason for choosing the TUCP.
This is because the NA3C can do pretty much everything that the TUCP can do (except take photos/scan documents). You can even hook up a Bluetooth keyboard for typing. It’s true that performance is slightly faster on the TUCP and the battery life is slightly longer, but you’re paying quite a lot extra for these small improvements.
For a more detailed comparison, I’ve written about the differences between the Note Air3 C and Tab Ultra C Pro here.
And the TUCP is not without drawbacks as well. There are the same inherent issues with the Kaleido 3 screen and battery life that are present with the NA3C. In addition, the TUCP is particularly heavy and not as comfortable to hold/carry as the NA3C. And the chassis has not been designed all that well – the edges are quite hard and angular (unrounded) and camera protrudes out of the rear panel a few millimetres so that the tablet doesn’t lie flat. And whilst the NA3C has a scratchy and more paperlike screen for writing on, the TUCP has a smoother, glassier tactile feel.
Having said this, the TUCP is still the most powerful and laptop-like e-ink tablet on the market.
Best Large-Screen Tablet: Boox Tab X
The most popular e-ink tablets have a screen size of around 10.3″ (around A5-sized), which seems to be the happy medium between readability and portability.
However, PDFs are often designed to be printed on A4 paper, which means they can sometimes look a bit scrunched up on a 10.3″ screen, particularly if columns and smaller fonts are used.
There are software solutions for this issue (e.g. viewing half a page of a PDF on the full screen) but for those that will be reading/annotating a lot of PDFs, it is well worth considering an e-ink tablet with a 13.3″ (A4-Sized) screen. You are able to read PDF documents in exactly the way that were intended to look, and personally, I love the extra real-estate on the note-taking canvas.
But there are a few drawbacks, most notably the additional weight and footprint of these tablets.
Although there are not a lot of options in this category of screen size, I feel that the Boox Tab X reigns supreme.
Like all Boox tablets, it has high hardware specs (including BSR) and versatile software.
Best Small-Screened Tablet: Boox Tab Mini C
Boox strikes another win in the 7.8″ category with their Tab Mini C.
Although I find that these smaller screens are not ideal for long-form writing, they work pretty well as portable e-reading devices with the option to make a few notes when needed.
The Tab Mini C has a colour screen (with the same drawbacks as the NA3C), and the solid hardware specs (including BSR) and software features that we’ve come to expect from Boox e-ink tablets.
Best E-Ink TypeWriter: reMarkable 2
The reMarkable 2 kind of sits in the same category as the Supernote A5X – it is a focused and dedicated note-taking device.
Like the Supernote, it has a locked-down operating system so that third-party apps cannot be installed. It is designed to be a writing tablet and the native note-taking software is very good (however, the native e-reading software is comparatively poor). There is also an optional keyboard folio that can turn the reMarkable 2 into what might be described as a digital typewriter.
In addition, reMarkable has the best companion app, which allows you to view and edit the text of your notebooks from other devices, such as your phone and computer (please note, that you can only edit typed text, not handwriting).
In this capacity, reMarkable is perhaps the best multi-platform note-taking and typewriting tablet. It is also very thin, and looks extremely sleek and elegant.
However, the main drawback is that you do get sucked into reMarkable’s ecosystem, and although the tablet itself is reasonably-priced, you end up paying more with the upsells. For example, although I concede that the keyboard folio is gorgeously designed, in my opinion it is not worth the $200 price tag – and there are no third-party alternatives.
Similarly, whilst their Connect subscription is not mandatory to use the reMarkable tablet, it is required if you want to access the desktop/mobile apps. So, there is an ongoing cost there as well.
Best E-Reader with Note-taking Capabilities: Kindle Scribe
In recent years, manufacturers that have traditionally sold e-readers have released their own versions of e-ink tablets.
Because their native note-taking software has been bolted-on to their existing locked down operating system and e-reading software, I think of these devices primarily as e-readers with the option to take notes.
In my opinion, the best device in this category is the Kindle Scribe.
It has a 10.3″ 300ppi monochrome screen, that has a paperlike graininess to it. It really is a pleasure to write on. It also has a very good frontlight (with warmlight) and I do enjoy reading books on it, especially when I need to highlight important quotes or note down my thoughts.
However, the native note-taking app is relatively basic compared to that of the other manufacturers on this list. It’s fine for simply note-taking, such as todo lists, but I wouldn’t want to use it for structured note-taking that spans double-digit pages.
And, although Amazon has become slightly more open in recent years (e.g. it now supports ePUBs), you do find yourself getting tied into the Amazon ecosystem because it is so much easier to simply buy books from Kindle Store than fiddling about with getting ebooks from other stores onto the Kindle.
But if you’re already invested in Amazon/Kindle products and services, and are not looking for a sophisticated note-taking system, the Kindle Scribe might be right for you.
Best Budget E-Ink Tablet: Mobiscribe Wave
Lower budget e-ink tablets tend to lack a lot of the sophistication of their more expensive cousins and I found it very difficult to pick out a device for this category.
In the end, I plumped for the Mobiscribe Wave because it is cheap, small, light, and waterproof. The note-taking experience isn’t terrible but it’s not amazing either. The native reading app isn’t great but it has Android 12 and the ability to download other e-reading software from the Google Play Store.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t really recommend the Mobiscribe Wave (or the alternative options below) because I know that there are far better (albeit more expensive) options available. I would instead recommend waiting until Amazon are running a sale, such as Black Friday or Prime Day and grab a discounted Kindle Scribe instead. Or perhaps look for one of the previously mentioned e-ink tablets on the second-hand markets.
Having read down this far, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion as myself that there is no single e-ink tablet that you can categorically say is the best – it all depend on your own personal needs, preferences, and situation. What is best for you, will not necessarily be best for the next person.
The Boox Note Air3 C is (in my opinion) the best all-round e-ink tablet on the market. It has great hardware and software and is powerful and versatile.
However, if like me, you are looking for a more focused note-taking experience, then you won’t go far wrong with the Supernote A5 X.
If productivity is your primary motive for buying an e-ink tablet, the sheer power of the Boox Tab Ultra C Pro (with keyboard folio) is comparable to using a laptop (or perhaps more appropriately, a Chromebook) that has an e-ink screen.
For those that will be reading/annotating a lot of PDFs or simply want a larger screen/canvas, then the 13.3″ Boox Tab X is probably the best option.
And if you want a smaller, more portable e-book or comic book reader, with the ability to take notes on-the-go, then the Boox Tab Mini C should be a prime candidate.
The reMarkable 2 is for those that put a high value on aesthetics and want a focused and minimalistic writing and typing experience, along with the option to edit text from other platforms.
And for those that will primarily be using their e-ink tablet for reading, but also want the ability to create simple notebooks, the Kindle Scribe is a great choice.
Finally, for those that are constrained by smaller budgets or just want to test the water with e-ink tablets, the Mobiscribe Wave is currently the most affordable option on the market.
The specs and features of all the tablets listed above can be compared in the table below.
You can also compare many other e-ink tablets using my giant comparison matrix here.
|PRODUCT||BOOX NOTE AIR3 C||SUPERNOTE A5 X||BOOX TAB ULTRA C PRO||BOOX TAB X||BOOX TAB MINI C||REMARKABLE 2||KINDLE SCRIBE||MOBISCRIBE WAVE|
|Specs & ratings info|
|Manufacturer||Onyx Boox||Ratta||Onyx Boox||Onyx Boox||Onyx Boox||reMarkable||Amazon||Mobiscribe|
|SCREEN||BOOX NOTE AIR3 C||SUPERNOTE A5 X||BOOX TAB ULTRA C PRO||BOOX TAB X||BOOX TAB MINI C||REMARKABLE 2||KINDLE SCRIBE||MOBISCRIBE WAVE|
|Screen type||Kaleido 3||Mobius Carta||Kaleido 3||Mobius Carta 1250||Kaleido 3||CANVAS with Carta||Carta 1200||Carta|
|Screen resolution (B/W)||1860 x 2480||1404 × 1872||1860 x 2480||1650 x 2200||1404 x 1872||1404 x 1872||1830 x 2460 (approx)||1404 x 1872|
|Screen density (B/W)||300dpi||226dpi||300dpi||207dpi||300dpi||226dpi||300dpi||300dpi|
|Screen resolution (Colour)||930 x 1240||n/a||930 x 1240||n/a||702 x 936||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Screen density (Colour)||150dpi||n/a||150dpi||n/a||150dpi||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|HARDWARE||BOOX NOTE AIR3 C||SUPERNOTE A5 X||BOOX TAB ULTRA C PRO||BOOX TAB X||BOOX TAB MINI C||REMARKABLE 2||KINDLE SCRIBE||MOBISCRIBE WAVE|
|CPU||2.4 Ghz octa-core||1.3 GHz quad-core||2.8 Ghz octa-core||1.8 Ghz octa-core||1.8 Ghz octa-core||1.2Ghz dual-core||1Ghz||1.5 Ghz Quad-core|
|SD card slot||✓||⨯||✓||⨯||⨯||⨯||⨯||⨯|
|SOFTWARE||BOOX NOTE AIR3 C||SUPERNOTE A5 X||BOOX TAB ULTRA C PRO||BOOX TAB X||BOOX TAB MINI C||REMARKABLE 2||KINDLE SCRIBE||MOBISCRIBE WAVE|
|Operating system||Android 12||Chauvet (Android-based)||Android 12||Android 11||Android 11||Linux (Codex)||KindleOS||Android 12|
|Google Play Store||✓||⨯||✓||✓||✓||⨯||⨯||✓|
|Brush types||Fountain Pen, Paintbrush, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker||Needlepoint, Ink Pen, Marker||Fountain Pen, Paintbrush, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker||Fountain Pen, Paintbrush, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker||Fountain Pen, Paintbrush, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker||Ballpoint, Fineline, Pencil, Mechanical Pencil, Highlighter, Marker, Calligraphy, Paintbrush||Pen, Fountain Pen, Marker, Pencil, Highlighter||Pencil, Fountain Pen, Paintbrush|
|File formats||PDF, EPUB, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, CBZ, CBR, AZW3, MOBI, PRC, DJVU, CHM, ZIP||PDF, EPUB, DOC, DOCX, TXT, CBZ, FB2, XPS||PDF, EPUB, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, CBZ, CBR, AZW3, MOBI, PRC, DJVU, CHM, ZIP||PDF, EPUB, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, CBZ, CBR, AZW3, MOBI, PRC, DJVU, CHM, ZIP||PDF, EPUB, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, CBZ, CBR, AZW3, MOBI, PRC, DJVU, CHM, ZIP||PDF, EPUB||PDF, EPUB (via conversion), DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, HTML, KFX (Kindle), AZW3, MOBI (Limited support), AZW (Limited support)||PDF, EPUB, TXT, FB2, AZW3, MOBI, PRC|
|File formats (image)||PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP||PNG, JPG, WEBP||PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP||PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP||PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP||PNG, JPG||PNG, JPG, BMP, GIF||PNG, JPG|
|File formats (Audio)||WAV, MP3||-||WAV, MP3||WAV, MP3||WAV, MP3||-||AAX (Audible) via Bluetooth||-|
|PRODUCT||BOOX NOTE AIR3 C||SUPERNOTE A5 X||BOOX TAB ULTRA C PRO||BOOX TAB X||BOOX TAB MINI C||REMARKABLE 2||KINDLE SCRIBE||MOBISCRIBE WAVE|
About the author
Dan Dutton is passionate about E-ink writing tablets, which bring together the pleasure of writing on paper with the power of digital technology. When he bought his first tablet, he realised that there wasn't a lot of unbiased information available for people that were considering buying an E-ink tablet, and so he built eWritable.