The Boox Tab Ultra is a new $599.99 E Ink tablet from Onyx that pairs a 16-megapixel rear camera with a 10.3-inch paper-link display. It’s an odd combination. Tablets already have a bit of a rough reputation when it comes to photography, and E Ink displays aren’t exactly known for their color accuracy or high refresh rates — two features that are pretty important when it comes to taking good photos. So what’s going on here?
The truth is a lot more sensible than it initially seems. Onyx is pitching the Boox Tab Ultra as a device for professional and business usage, where it thinks a rear camera might be helpful for scanning documents with support for OCR. “Turn on the rear camera to take a picture of your document and convert it to text right away,” is how the manufacturer’s website describes the feature.
Onyx isn’t the first company to have announced an E Ink device with a camera like this. Earlier this year, a company called Bigme announced a similar tablet with a color E Ink screen and launched it on Indiegogo. According to Bigme’s campaign page, it hopes to ship the inkNote Color next month, though it’s less clear what the manufacturer intends people to use its front and rear-facing cameras for.
Beyond its camera, the Boox Tab Ultra is a similar tablet to Onyx’s existing Note Air 2 Plus. It’s powered by a Qualcomm octa-core CPU (which Anandtech reports is a Snapdragon 662) with a 6,300mAh battery, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of expandable storage. Its software is based on Android 11, although it’s a tweaked version that’s designed to work better with its display’s more basic capabilities compared to a standard LCD or OLED panel.
Finally, the E Ink tablet is also compatible with Onyx’s stylus and keyboard case, which the company claims will allow it to provide a “2-in-1 laptop-like experience.” We’ll hopefully be trying out the tablet soon to see how this claim holds up. Onyx says the tablet is expected to ship starting mid-November.