Whether you’re making the switch from pen and paper to a digital note-taking system or you’re simply looking for a good e-reader to finish your reading list, the best e-ink tablets have easy-to-read screens and offer a wide range of functionality, for everything from reading, to note-taking, to drawing. But the way you want to use your tablet will largely decide which one is right for you. And as with any tablet, battery life and storage size are also considerations to keep in mind as you shop.
Since e-ink is taking the tablet world by storm, you’ll have a few great options when making this investment. If you’re looking for a reading tablet, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better e-ink option than one of Kindle’s offerings, namely the Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon’s newest design. The Paperwhite makes it easy to download eBooks from both the Kindle store and the library, and is even waterproof for reading outside.
However, if you’re looking for more functionality, you’ll also find e-ink tablets that let you take notes. For pen-and-paper loyalists who are looking to make things a little more digital, an e-ink tablet with a great stylus and the ability to digitize handwritten notes is definitely the way to go. Even better if those tablets come with an Android operating system, so you can use third-party apps and access a wide range of eBook stores, right from your device.
The standout e-ink tablets below are each a great purchase in their own right, so keep scrolling for an in-depth comparison.
1. The e-ink tablet with the most functionality
- Display size: 7.8-inch color screen
- Pros: Compatible with Android apps, Bluetooth, search-and-find feature, built-in microphone, handwriting recognition
- Cons: Limited battery life, limited storage space, not waterproof
The Onyx BOOX Nova3 is great for reading, drawing, and note-taking, and has a major benefit when compared to other note-taking tablets on this list: It operates on Android 10, which allows you to download third-party apps like Kindle or Chrome via Google Play once you’ve enabled Wi-Fi. While e-ink enthusiasts argue the different experiences of using the two note-taking tablets on this list, the general consensus is that the Nova3 offers a lot more functionality, not only in its operating system, but also in its note-taking features. Not only does it have handwriting recognition that allows you to digitize your notes, but it also has a built-in microphone you can use to convert words to text, and that can be used for voice chat on third-party apps like WhatsApp. You can also search the device for text you’ve written and digitized, a notable feature missing on the reMarkable tablet, below. And, this tablet comes with Bluetooth, so you can connect to wireless headphones.
The Nova3 allows you to access a wide variety of file types including PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and Word files. While there’s little to want for in the functionality, its battery life and storage capabilities are more limited. It offers one day of battery life, and has just 3 gigabytes of storage (though, it can easily be backed up to the Cloud to limit storage needs). Lastly, many reviewers prefer the pen-like writing experience of the reMarkable tablet to the Nova3, which is something to consider if you plan on writing or drawing a lot. The Nova3 is also considerably smaller than the reMarkable tablet, which may be important to you based on your needs.
Positive Amazon review: “A color e-book reader is awesome. The e-ink is very easy on the eyes, even in the dark, yet clear and visible, even in bright light (but not daylight). As a note-taking device for work, this has been a great go-to. I can pop open different notebooks (Discussion, Team Meetings, Action Items, etc.) and quickly jot down notes, even in stand up meetings. This goes with me everywhere.”
2. The best for note-taking
- Display size: 10.3-inch screen
- Pros: Pen-like stylus experience, handwriting recognition
- Cons: Price, not waterproof
For note-takers or anyone who likes to draw, reMarkable’s e-ink tablet is another great choice. It comes with an impressive stylus, the “Marker,” which offers a pen-like experience that reviewers often call out as unlike any other stylus they’ve used before. Using the stylus, you can annotate documents, book pages, and other files in your own handwriting. Those notes can then be converted to typed text, provided they’re written in one of the 33 supported languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Greek, and Italian. You can also use the tablet to draw or write on blank or lined pages, or even use one of the page templates including storyboards, checklists, or gridded paper. It has 8 gigabytes of storage, which far exceeds the Nova3 above. It has a battery life of two days, which pales in comparison to a Kindle, though it does outperform the other note-taking tablet on this list.
Once you’ve set it up and enabled Wi-Fi, it will automatically back itself up to the Cloud and you can email notes or documents. One obvious drawback? Its price. For the money, you’ll get a lot more functionality by opting for the Nova3. That said, for note-takers and doodlers looking for the most similar experience to pen and paper, this is a standout choice. One final caveat: While you can download eBooks to this tablet, it is not compatible with the Kindle store, though it is compatible with common textbook format, EPUB, as well as PDF files.
Positive Amazon review: “The experience of writing on the reMarkable is...remarkable. As a designer, I can comfortably say it’s the best tablet writing surface around. I got the tablet for my writing hobby, but I sketch and take notes all day at work, so I will be using the tablet for that purpose as well.”
3. A slim e-ink tablet
- Display size: 10.3-inch screen
- Pros: Slim design, compatible with Android apps, Bluetooth, search-and-find feature, built-in microphone, handwriting recognition
- Cons: Price, limited storage space, not waterproof
With a slimmer and larger design than Onyx’s other tablet on this list, the BOOX Note Air is just 5.8 millimeters in thickness. For those who want both the pen-like writing experience of an e-ink tablet and the thin, paper-like feel, this thickness of the tablet matters and this is thinner than both of the other tablets above (the Remarkable is 6.7 millimeters in thickness, and the Nova3 is 7.7 millimeters in thickness). It features some of the same hardware as the Nova3, so it has the same Bluetooth functionality, Android-app compatibility, and 3-gigabyte storage space as the best overall on this list. The size of the Note Air’s screen puts it more in the same camp as Remarkable’s tablet — they’re each 10.3 inches. Ultimately, this Note Air offers a good mix of features from the two tablets directly above it, a larger screen for better note-taking, an Android operating system, and an even better battery life than the Nova3 (according to reviewers, who say with daily use it can last up to a week).
Positive Amazon review: “This is wonderful little device! I am a grad student who has to consume a lot of journal articles and books. I love that the Onyx Boox tablets are running Android so that I can install and use many of the apps in the Google Play Store. The Note Air itself is beautiful (in shape, size, and color) and feels good to hold even one-handed.”
4. The best e-ink tablet for readers
- Display size: 6-inch screen
- Pros: Waterproof design, weeks-long battery life, multiple size options
- Cons: Limited functionality
If you’re just looking to read, the Kindle Paperwhite is definitely the best e-ink tablet you can find. Not only does the newest version come with a waterproof design that makes it one of the best tablets for reading outdoors, but it also features easy-to-read e-ink font you can adjust to the size you want. It has adjustable brightness, and it’s Wi-Fi-enabled so you can connect to Amazon’s wide eBook store. It even syncs to the Libby and Overdrive apps on your phone so you can download library books to your tablet. While this lacks some of the extra note-taking or drawing features of tablets above, you can highlight and leave notes on passages as you read. And, while its functionality is more limited, it has a weeks-long battery life. This is available in two sizes (an 8-gigabyte and a generous 32-gigabyte model), as well as four different colors.
Positive Amazon review: “Loving this! I have had other e-ink readers and non e-ink readers/tablets and this one is my favorite so far! It's the perfect size, feels good in my hand and while I have only owned it a week the battery has a 90% charge with every day use and WiFi on. Pretty good in my book.”
5. A more affordable e-reader
- Display size: 6-inch screen
- Pros: Weeks-long battery life, affordable price
- Cons: Limited functionality, not waterproof
Unlike its pricier counterpart, the original Kindle lacks waterproof capabilities, and isn’t quite as thin as the Paperwhite (8.7 millimeters and 8.2 millimeters, respectively). But for readers looking for a basic e-ink e-reader, this has everything you need. With a weeks-long battery life, 8 gigabytes of storage, and the ability to download books from Kindle’s eBook store as well as your local library (provided they use Overdrive or Libby), this e-reader is a standout choice. Newly upgraded to have a built-in front light you can adjust to your reading preferences, this is a super affordable option that has plenty of features that make it worth your time. While it lacks some of the writing functionality of the true tablets on this list, and isn’t as durable and has a slightly lower resolution when compared to the Paperwhite, the Kindle is a great investment for readers who want the paper-like feel of an e-ink device, without spending a lot.
Positive Amazon review: “The e-ink technology is much easier for my eyes than reading on my tablet, which was causing me too much eye-strain. You can set the fonts, font size, theme, layout, line spacing, etc. to get the perfect reading experience for your eyesight. This also has a light so you can read it in the dark if you want to. It has a very sensitive touch screen.”