5 E Ink Tablets That Make Great Kindle Alternatives

Would you like to venture beyond Amazon’s tightly controlled Kindle ecosystem when buying a new e-ink tablet? You’re not alone. While Kindles have set the standard for e-readers, other options are equally fantastic, if not better, in their own ways. Let’s explore them in this article.

1. Best Alternative to Kindle Paperwhite: Kobo Clara 2E

Price: $139.99

At a retail price of $139.99, the Kobo Clara 2E gives you quite a bang for your buck compared to the Kindle Paperwhite, which costs the same but comes with only 8GB of storage capacity instead of 16. Kobo’s additional storage capacity is easy to use because the e-ink reader supports audiobook listening (not just text-to-speech synthesis).

Kobo Clara 2e Books

The customizable light temperature setting is another standout feature of the Kobo Clara 2E. With it, you can make the screen warmer or cooler depending on your reading environment or preference. This is particularly helpful for night-time reading, as a more generous screen is less disruptive to your sleep cycle.

However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Kindle Paperwhite has the upper hand with processor speed, providing a slightly snappier user experience. Additionally, the power button placement on the Kobo Clara 2E can be a bit cumbersome if you’re using a protective case.

Kobo Clara 2e Wireless Audiobook Listening


  • More storage for a lower price
  • Audiobook capabilities
  • Adjustable light temperature
  • IPX8 waterproof rating
  • Made from eco-friendly materials


  • Slower page-turning speeds in comparison to the Kindle Paperwhite

2. Best Color E Ink Tablet: BOOX Tab Ultra C

Price: $599.99

For those looking to splash a bit more color into their reading, the BOOX Tab Ultra C offers a genuine color e-ink display. This makes it ideal for everything from reading digital comics to reviewing colorful PDF reports. The 10.3″color e-ink display features a resolution of 2480 x 1860 in black and white (300 ppi) and 1240 x 930 in color (150 ppi), so it looks sharp and vibrant for both monochrome and colored content.

Boox Tab Ultra C Whiteboard

Beyond its vibrant display, the BOOX Tab Ultra C has features that boost productivity. Its exclusive GPU and BOOX Super Refresh Technology offer an incredibly responsive experience. At the same time, multiple refresh modes mean that whether you’re typing, reading, or scrolling, the tablet responds instantly to every tap, swipe, and pinch. Long battery life and access to the Google Play Store further add to its utility.

The biggest drawback of this otherwise remarkable tablet is its price. At $599.99, the BOOX Tab Ultra C is a significant investment, especially when compared to more budget-friendly e-ink tablets or even some full-featured iPads. Still, if you read manga, comic books, or PDFs all the time, it might be worth every dollar.

Boox Tab Ultra C Drawing


  • Genuine color e Ink display
  • Robust note-taking features
  • Access to Google Play Store
  • Long battery life


  • Expensive
  • Color resolution is lower than black and white resolution

3. Best Battery Life: PocketBook InkPad 4

Price: $289.00

If constantly recharging your e-ink tablet makes you cringe, then the PocketBook InkPad 4 should be on your radar. Its 2,000 mAh battery is significantly larger than the 1,700 mAh battery in the Kindle Paperwhite, so it should last for about three weeks with regular use.

Pocketbook Inkpad Pages

But the InkPad 4 is more than just a long-lasting battery. Its 7.8-inch E-Ink Carta 1200 screen offers a crisp, glare-free reading experience. Audiobook lovers will appreciate the built-in speaker and Bluetooth capabilities. The device is also remarkably versatile, supporting 25 ebook file formats without tedious conversions. And don’t worry about taking this e-ink tablet to the beach or bathtub; it’s waterproof and scratch-resistant.

The PocketBook InkPad 4 is held back mostly by the PocketBook Store, which doesn’t offer as extensive a selection as some other marketplaces, meaning you’ll often find yourself sideloading content and using software like Calibre to manage your ebook library. Nevertheless, if this is a trade-off you’re willing to make, the InkPad 4 offers robust features that make it a compelling choice for those prioritizing battery life.

Pocketbook Inkpad 4 Reading


  • Extended battery life
  • Versatile file format support
  • Built-in speaker and Bluetooth for audiobooks
  • Waterproof and scratch-resistant


  • Higher price point
  • Can be slow at times

4. Best for Reading PDFs: Kobo Elipsa 2E

Price: $399.99

Do you regularly read PDF files and other documents intended for larger screens? Then, the Kobo Elipsa 2E could be your go-to device. With a 10.3-inch high-resolution E Ink Carta 1200 display, it offers ample screen real estate to make reading academic articles, magazines, and document scans a breeze. You certainly won’t have to suffer through awkward zooming or tedious scrolling.

Kobo Elipsa 2e On A Desk Writing

But the Elipsa 2E isn’t just a one-trick pony. It comes bundled with the Kobo Stylus 2, allowing you to take notes directly on your e-books and documents. It also has adjustable color temperature and glare-free technology to ensure an optimal reading experience, whether under bright sunlight or in a dimly lit room.

It probably won’t surprise you that the best e-ink tablet for PDFs is more expensive than we would like. Priced at $399.99, the Kobo Elipsa 2E will cost you more than twice as much as the Kindle Paperwhite and $60 more than the base version of the Kindle Scribe. If the cost is justified, it is up to you to decide.

Kobo Elipsa 2e Drawing


  • Large, sharp 10.3″ display that’s perfect for PDFs
  • Comes with a responsive stylus for note-taking
  • Adjustable color temperature
  • 32 GB of storage


  • Expensive
  • It takes a lot of effort to export notes

5. Best Pocketable: Moaan InkPalm 5

Price: $159

Most e-ink tablets are around 7″, which makes them slightly too large to fit comfortably in your pocket. The Moaan InkPalm 5 (also known as Xiaomi InkPalm 5) breaks this mold with its ultra-compact 5.2-inch display, offering a level of portability that’s hard to beat. You can put it in the same pocket as your phone, and you won’t even feel weighed down. This pocket-friendly size makes it the ideal choice for on-the-go reading, whether commuting, relaxing outdoors, or waiting for an appointment.

Moaan Inkpalm 5 Reading

Because the Moaan InkPalm 5 is an e-ink smartphone (it’s running the Android 8.1 operating system), it can display just about any ebook file and do a lot more besides reading. For example, you can listen to podcasts and audiobooks, browse the web, or take notes. And because this small device comes with 32 GB of storage capacity, you can load it up with a wealth of offline content.

One criticism of the Moaan InkPalm 5 is its reflective glass screen because it makes outdoor reading more difficult. Considering that this device is intended primarily for outdoor use, given its pocket-friendly size and portability, the glare issue can be a significant drawback for those who love to read in the sun.

Moaan Inkpalm 5 Reading At Night


  • Extremely portable and pocket-friendly
  • Large storage capacity for its size
  • Runs on Android 8.1
  • Bluetooth and audio capabilities


  • Glossy display that can be difficult to read

Frequently Asked Questions

Can e ink tablets other than Kindle access the Amazon Kindle Store?

E ink tablets running on Android OS can access the Amazon Kindle Store via the Kindle app. However, devices that run on proprietary operating systems, such as Kobo or PocketBook, don’t have direct access to the Kindle Store.

What is the typical lifespan of an e ink screen compared to traditional LED or OLED screens?

E-ink screens generally have a longer lifespan than traditional LED or OLED screens because they only use power when the screen changes. They are also less susceptible to issues like burn-in.

Is it possible to read e ink tablets in direct sunlight?

E-ink tablets are equally easy to read in direct sunlight as regular paper documents. This property is their biggest advantage over traditional LED or OLED screens, which suffer from glare and reduced visibility in bright lighting conditions.

Image credit: Pexels

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