Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C Pro Review

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Image source: Sarah Lord

In a tech landscape dominated by digital distractions and the ever-present blue glow of conventional screens, E Ink devices like the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C Pro stand out as refreshing alternatives. Promising a seamless blend of color E Ink and high-functionality computing, the Tab Ultra C Pro targets avid readers and productivity enthusiasts alike. But with a premium price tag, does this colorful E Ink tablet justify the cost, or does it pale compared to other options?

Design and Build Quality

The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C Pro features a sleek, minimalist design with a sturdy aluminum frame. At first glance, it bears a striking resemblance to mainstream tablets. Its 10.3-inch color E Ink display dominates the front, surrounded by moderately thin bezels that give enough grip without making the device feel cumbersome. Weighing around 480 grams, the Tab Ultra C Pro strikes a balance between portability and stability, making it comfortable to hold during extended reading or note-taking sessions.

The tablet includes a dedicated keyboard attachment, providing a laptop-like typing experience. This transforms the Tab Ultra C Pro into a capable device for productivity, though the keyboard must be purchased separately.

Display: A Leap Forward

The star feature of the Tab Ultra C Pro is its color E Ink Kaleido 3 display. While black-and-white E Ink has traditionally been praised for its eye-friendly characteristics, the addition of color brings a new dimension to the experience. The 10.3-inch panel can reproduce over 4,000 colors while maintaining the crisp, paper-like clarity that E Ink displays are known for.

The display’s anti-glare surface makes it perfect for reading in bright sunlight or under direct lighting. Additionally, it comes with a fully adjustable front light, giving you the flexibility to read comfortably in any environment. However, the color rendering is less vivid than standard LCD or OLED displays, which may be a compromise for users used to the bright colors of traditional screens.

Performance and Software

Image credit: Sarah Lord

Under the hood, the Tab Ultra C Pro runs on an octa-core processor backed by 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD). The device handles basic tasks like note-taking, reading, and web browsing smoothly. The addition of an optional keyboard and the compatibility with Android apps offer a laptop-like experience for productivity tasks.

The device runs on a modified version of Android 11, offering access to the Google Play Store. The built-in Boox software suite further enhances productivity with features like a note-taking app optimized for the E Ink display, document management tools, and an eBook reader supporting a variety of formats. However, some third-party apps designed for traditional screens might not be fully optimized for the E Ink panel.

Writing and Drawing

The Tab Ultra C Pro includes a stylus that magnetically attaches to the device. With pressure sensitivity and low latency, the stylus makes writing and sketching feel natural. Note-taking is where the Tab Ultra C Pro excels; the stylus can quickly switch between various pen styles, making annotation and brainstorming a breeze. The included software offers various templates and organizational tools, appealing to students and professionals alike.

Battery Life

One of the significant advantages of E Ink devices is their power efficiency. The Tab Ultra C Pro boasts an impressive battery life, easily lasting weeks on standby or several days with heavy use. This endurance is a stark contrast to conventional LCD or OLED tablets, which need charging almost daily under similar usage.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

1. Color E Ink Display: The Kaleido 3 display is a major selling point, offering a unique color experience that remains gentle on the eyes.

2. Battery Life: Exceptional power efficiency makes the Tab Ultra C Pro a reliable companion.

3. Writing and Note-Taking: Stylus support and responsive software provide an exceptional note-taking experience.

4. Productivity Suite: The Android ecosystem and Boox apps offer versatile productivity options.

Cons:

1. Price: The Tab Ultra C Pro costs significantly more than other E Ink devices or conventional tablets with comparable features.

2. Limited Color Accuracy: Colors lack the vibrancy of traditional screens, which might not appeal to some users.

3. App Compatibility: Some Android apps are not fully optimized for the E Ink display, leading to usability issues.

Conclusion

The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C Pro is a compelling device that blends eye-friendly color E Ink with versatile productivity features. It stands out for its writing capabilities, battery life, and comprehensive software suite, catering to users who prioritize reading and note-taking over media consumption.

However, its premium price and occasional software quirks might deter some prospective buyers. If you’re looking for a specialized device primarily for reading, writing, and productivity without the distractions of traditional screens, the Tab Ultra C Pro is worth the investment. But if you need an all-purpose tablet that handles everything from high-res video streaming to gaming, there are other devices that offer more features at a lower cost.

Ultimately, the Tab Ultra C Pro is ideal for readers, writers, and professionals who seek a device that supports focused, distraction-free work while offering a touch of colorful creativity.

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