Most consumer devices with E Ink displays are designed for reading eBooks and other documents, but a growing number blur the lines between an eReader and a tablet thanks to features like support for pen input. And now that color E Ink displays are a thing, that line is getting even blurrier.


The latest example? The Bigme inkNote Color is a 10.3 inch tablet with support for pen and touch input. It ships with Android 11, complete with Google Play Store access and has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. But instead of an LCD or OLED display, it has a E Ink Kaleido 2 color screen.


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But it also means that the screen has a much slower refresh rate. It supports thousands of colors instead of millions. And colors may not look as vibrant as they do on other displays. And that makes the inkNote Color a good choice for reading eBooks, annotating documents, taking notes, or maybe even web surfing… but a poor fit for watching videos or playing games.


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Because of the way E Ink’s Kaleido color display technology puts a color filter on top of a greyscale screen, you also lose some resolution when viewing color content. The inkNote Color has a 10.3 inch, 1872 x 1404 pixel display with a density of 226 pixels per inch when you’re viewing black and white content. But switch to color and that drops to 936 x 702 pixels (117 ppi) in color mode.


Bigme does offer four different “screen speed modes,” which allow you to sacrifice a bit of clarity for a higher refresh rate for smoother scrolling or other animations. And there’s an adjustable front light that will help you see the screen in dark or dimly lit environments.


The tablet has an unspecified 2.3 GHz octa-core processor, an 8MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing camera. Bigme notes that this makes the inkNote Color the first E Ink tablet to feature both front and rear cameras.


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I suspect using the viewfinder will be a bit of a pain on an E ink display, and video calling will probably look awful. But it certainly makes the inkNote Color look more like a tablet than just a reading/note-taking device. You can also use the cameras as a sort of document scanner thanks to support for optical character recognition which can convert text in images into, well, text.


There’s also text-to-speech support, allowing you to dictate notes in 31 different languages. And there’s handwriting recognition, allowing you to convert notes written using the included pressure-sensitive digital pen to text as well.


Thee Bigme inkNote Color has an aluminum body, a 4,000 mAh battery, dual speakers, an array of 4 microphones, a fingerprint sensor on the side of the device, and a microSD card reader with support for up to 128GB of removable storage. There’s also a SIM card slot and the product page mentions support for 4G cellular networks, but I suspect that network band support is limited in North America.


Bigme says the tablet will be available soon with an expected retail price of $699. But a limited number of “Super Early Bird” customers can put down a $1 deposit for an opportunity to pick one up for $399 when they go on sale.


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