There are two types of color e-paper that are commercially available and there are numerous e-readers that employ this technology. E INK Kaliedo Plus, which is the second generation Kaleido. This technology appeals towards larger brands, who already have an established relationship with E INK. Compared to the first generation, it can display a wider color gamut, higher optical quality and can display 100 PPI. DES Slurry is another new technology that only came out this year, it is fundamentally different, however colors are sharper and can easily display 140PPI. Since there are now two competing color options available, which are the best products to buy in 2021 and going into 2022?
# 5 – Bigme Pro B1 Plus
The Bigme B1 Pro Plus is the first 10.3-inch digital note taking device with an E INK Kaleido 2 e-paper panel, that can display thousands of different colors. It is compatible with all major EMR/WACOM stylus pens and is fully capable of 4,096 degrees of pressure sensitivity. What is more impressive, this device is running Android 11 and has English. This makes it fully relevant for anyone in the western world that wants a top tier writing slate. You can draw and conduct annotations in sideloaded ebooks, manga, magazines, newspapers and PDF files. This makes it not only good for people who need a professional level business tool, but it is ideal for the educational markets and graphic designers. It is available in English, which should appeal towards a wider audience.
The Topjoy Butterfly features a 7.8 inch screen that is using DES Slurry color e-paper technology. It has a black and white resolution of 1872×1404 and 300 PPI, color will be displayed at 150 PPI. It has an EMR layer, which is compatible with a number of stylus, but Topjoy provides their own and it has 4096 degrees of pressure sensitivity. There is a robust note taking app, where you can select from dozens of colors, brushes, pens, pencils or highlighters. This will give users the ability to freehand draw, sketch or handwrite on the screen. There is a front-lit display with a series of LED lights on the bottom of the bezel, that project light, evenly across the screen. You can control the brightness with the dropdown menu via a slider bar.
Underneath the hood is a 1.8GHz 4 Core processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There is WIFI, and Bluetooth 5.1, so you can use a pair of wireless headphones. It is powered by a 3200mah battery, which should give you a month of battery life. The Butterfly 7.8 is running Google Android 11 and comes with a number of pre-installed apps such as Amazon Kindle, Google Chrome, Facebook and number of note taking and ebook readers. Right now, this device is able to read TXT and PDF files, with more formats on the way soon.
# 3 Pocketbook Inkpad Color
The Inkpad Color it utilizing the second generation E INK Kaleido color e-paper technology. It has a 7.8 inch E INK Carta HD and Kaleido 2 CFA. The resolution of the B&W panel is 1872×1404 with 300 PPI, the resolution of the color filter array is 624×468 with 100 PPI and can display 4,096 different colors. One of the big reasons why color looks more vibrant on the Pocketbook, is because it has a sunken bezel with an exposed e-paper screen. There is no layer of glass or a WACOM layer getting in the way, between your eyes and the screen. It has a front-lit display with 24 LED lights, so you can read at night. The overall color scheme is piano black and has a silver/grey accent on the bottom and back of the e-reader. There are physical page turn buttons on the bottom, and also a home and more button. You can elect to turn the pages by mashing on the buttons, or swiping and gesturing on the touchscreen.
Underneath the hood is a dual core 1GHZ processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There are a number of people who might think that these specs are a little bit underwhelming. We live in a world of smartphones having 8-12 core processors, 12GB of RAM and tons of other advanced hardware. Pocketbook is an e-reader, you are basically using it to read ebooks, listen to audiobooks, you can also checkout manga, magazines, newspapers or even webtoons with the internet browser. An e-reader is a singular purpose device, but Pocketbook does have a few tricks up its sleeve, which I will get into in the software section.
The Hisense A7 CC is the first color E INK smartphone of 2021 and it has flagship specs, that could possibly be your daily driver. It has great hardware specs and 5G internet access that is compatible with most European and US carriers. Great strides have been made with color e-paper over the course of the past four months. There is now greater greyscale uniformity and color accuracy, providing a great experience when surfing the internet, using apps or curling up and reading a comic or graphic novel.
The Hisense A7 has a 6.7 inch E INK Carta HD and E INK Kaleido 2.0 color filter array. The black and white resolution is 900×1800 with 300 PPI and the color filter can display 4,096 colors with 100 PPI. It has a front-lit display with LED lights alongside the bottom of the bezel and project light evenly across the screen and not into your eyes. The lightning system can be totally turned off, completely shutting the LED lights down. This phone has a glass based screen that is flush with the bezel, it comes with a matte screen protector that is applied at the factory level, so you don’t have to install it yourself.
#1 Onyx Boox Nova 3 Color
The Onyx Boox Nova 3 Color features 7.8 inch E Ink Carta HD and Kaleido Plus color filter array. The screen is completely flush with the bezel and has a AG glass flat cover-lens. The resolution of the black and white display is 1872×1404 with 300 PPI and the color screen has a resolution of 624×468 with 100 PPI. One of the most exciting elements of the Nova 3 Color is the inclusion of a WACOM layer, so you can use it as a dedicated note taking device. There are 8 colors to select from in the drawing app and Onyx has one of the best freehand drawing experiences out there, with tons of advanced options. The accompanied stylus has 4,096 degrees of pressure sensitivity, the harder you press, the thicker the lines become. It also has palm rejection technology, so it won’t recognize your hand resting on the screen as touchscreen interactions.
Underneath the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa core processor, 3GB of DDR4X RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It has a USB-C port with OTG and also has Quick Charge 4.0, so you can power it up to full in under an hour. This model has two speakers that are positioned next to the USB port, this is similar to the way the iPhone does it. There is Bluetooth 5.0, so you can listen to music and audiobooks via a pair of wireless earbuds or headphones. There is a microphone port on the bottom, which can be used for voice communication and also speech to text on the digital note taking app, it also has a new function that allows you to record your audio notes and can be played back whenever you want. It is powered by a 3150 mAh battery and it is running Android 10 and has Google Play.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.