Now that Boox has released a second 7.8″ colour e-ink tablet into its product range, some people may be asking ‘what is the difference between the two devices‘?
Firstly, let’s take a look at the similarities…
The Tab Mini C and Nova Air C both have a screen size of 7.8″ and boast colour screens. They both have a monochrome screen resolution of 1404 x 1872 with a screen density of 300dpi. They both have an octa-core CPU and run on Android 11.0 with (almost) the same firmware. Both tablets have wifi, Bluetooth, a frontlight (with warmth setting), speakers, a microphone, and USB-C. In addition, they are both shipped with a stylus and have note-taking capabilities.
So, what’s the difference?
Colour screen tech
Both the Tab Mini C and the Nova Air C use E-ink’s Kaleido screen technology, which basically puts a thin filter over a monochrome display to turn it to colour.
However, the Nova Air C uses Kaleido Plus and the Tab Mini C uses the newer and better Kaleido 3. Although neither of these technologies produces colours as vibrant as you would get from an LCD/OLED screen, Kaleido 3 on the Tab Mini C looks less washed-out. In addition, the filter ‘grid’ is a lot less noticeable on the Tab Mini C.
Resolution and Pixel Density
When viewing books and documents in monochrome, resolution and pixel density are the same on both tablets. However, when viewing in colour, the Nova Air C only has a resolution of 468 × 624 (100ppi) compared to the Tab Mini’s 702 x 936 (150dpi). This means colours are fuller on the Tab Mini.
GPU & Super Refresh
The Tab Mini C uses Boox’s proprietary Super Refresh technology alongside a dedicated graphics processor. As well as improving performance in general, this also means that the Tab Mini C is better than the Nova Air C at things that are more graphics intensive, such as web browsing and watching videos. It is also possible to play some animated games on the Tab Mini C.
Memory and Storage Capacity
To further improve performance, the Tab Mini has 4Gb RAM compared to the Nova Air C’s 3Gb. In addition, the Tab Mini C has twice the storage capacity (64Gb) of the Nova Air C (32Gb).
The Tab Mini also has an onboard g-sensor, which means that the screen can auto-orientate itself when it is rotated.
The battery on the Tab Mini C is 5000mAh compared to the Nova Air C’s 2000mAh. Whilst this may seem like a massive difference, this does not necessarily mean that the Tab Mini C will have a much better battery life than the Nova Air C because the additional features of the Tab Mini C (particularly the onboard GPU) will draw more power when using it for certain applications.
I plan to do a test to compare the battery life of e-ink tablets soon.
Thickness and weight
Whilst both e-ink tablets have virtually the same footprint (136mm x 194mm), the Tab Mini C is 2mm thicker and almost 30g heavier.
At the time of writing, the Tab Mini C was $50 more expensive than the Nova Air C.
Boox Tab Mini C vs Boox Nova Air C
The table below summarises the differences:
|PRODUCT||BOOX TAB MINI C||BOOX NOVA AIR C|
|Specs & ratings info|
|Manufacturer||Onyx Boox||Onyx Boox|
|SCREEN||BOOX TAB MINI C||BOOX NOVA AIR C|
|Screen type||Kaleido 3||Kaleido Plus|
|Screen resolution (B/W)||1404 x 1872||1404 × 1872|
|Screen density (B/W)||300dpi||300dpi|
|Screen resolution (Colour)||702 x 936||468 × 624|
|Screen density (Colour)||150dpi||100dpi|
|HARDWARE||BOOX TAB MINI C||BOOX NOVA AIR C|
|CPU||1.8 Ghz octa-core||1.8 GHz octa-core|
|SD card slot||⨯||⨯|
|SOFTWARE||BOOX TAB MINI C||BOOX NOVA AIR C|
|Operating system||Android 11||Android 11|
|Google Play Store||✓||✓|
|Brush types||Fountain Pen, Paintbrush, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker||Fountain Pen, Paintbrush, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker|
|File formats||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|
|File formats (image)||PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP||PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP|
|File formats (Audio)||WAV, MP3||WAV, MP3|
|PRODUCT||BOOX TAB MINI C||BOOX NOVA AIR C|
Because the Tab Mini C is only around $50 more expensive and has so many improvements over the Nova Air C, I’d have to say that the Tab Mini would be the best choice for someone looking for a compact colour e-ink tablet.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that the release of the Tab Mini C may lead to the Nova Air C being more heavily discounted in the near future.
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.