Skip to main content

CES 2023: The Lenovo Smart Paper looks like a great Kindle Scribe killer

At CES 2023 this week, Lenovo announced the new Smart Paper tablet. As the name implies, it’s an e-paper tablet that’s built to replace your notebook and pen and “smarten” them up. It goes on sale later this year.

All e-ink devices aim to replicate the feel of pulpy paper and polished penmanship as well as they can, and the Lenovo Smart Paper is no exception. Coming with a 10.3-inch display, the Smart Paper is built very much like a notebook. There’s an anti-glare touch display, and it comes in at a very wide aspect ratio that’s different from typical tablets — and all of it is housed in a sleek metal chassis.

First Look at Lenovo’s SmartPaper E Ink Tablet #shorts

Alongside this, there’s a differentiator from the Scribe: the Smart Paper Pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, 23-millisecond latency, and nine different pen settings for you to customize.

The display has a distinct matte coating to it, which means you can take notes on a surface that feels very much like paper, with something that feels very much like a pen. Writing on the display feels much more natural than a stylus on most tablets, because there’s a bit of physical resistance on the pen tip. And in our time jotting down some words and scribbling, the pen tip tracking and palm rejection were both great.

That commitment to verisimilitude only goes so far, and Lenovo is willing to break away from it with its digital voice recorder that’s available as an accompaniment to your notes. The company highlights scenarios like being in classrooms or meetings where you’d like to have the audio context available to inform your written notes. It’s easy to fire up an audio recording at anytime right next to your pen selections during note taking.

Lenovo has equipped this with 50GB of storage, enough to store all your notebooks and drawings. For reading, you can grab books from (or load DRM-free books from your source of choice). Because it runs Android, it’s easy to plop any file on the Smart Paper and read or annotate.

Lenovo’s biggest competitor that comes to mind here is the Kindle Scribe. Recently released, the Scribe combines the appeal of the Kindle ecosystem with that of e-ink tablets. Sure it’s not as technologically advanced as the Lenovo Smart Paper, but it has brand recognition and a vast selection of content — two things that more than make up for it.

E-ink devices have never quite appealed to me. If I want paper, paper still exists. If I want to go digital, I’d rather go the whole hog. Despite all that, it’s clear at this point that they have a niche they appeal to, and most e-ink makers play both sides in any case. In this case, Lenovo competes both with the aforementioned Kindle option, as well as its own Android-powered tablet offerings. The key here will be the extra features the company highlights, as well as its own pricing and availability.

The Lenovo Smart Paper will go on sale sometime in 2023 — the company wasn’t specific other than “later,” so it may be a while. It’ll set you back $400 at launch; that’s a bit over the Kindle Scribe’s $340 price. Lenovo will no doubt point to its Smart Paper Pen as a differentiator, as well as the advanced audio features and 50GB of built-in storage. It’s up to you to decide if they’re worth the premium.

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Allison
A UK-based tech journalist for Digital Trends, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a…
Amazon’s Memorial Day sale drops the price of these AirPods to $99
Airpods 2

If you're browsing through headphone deals in search for affordable wireless earbuds, you should check out Amazon's offer for the second-generation Apple AirPods. They're part of the retailer's Memorial Day sale with a $30 discount that drops their price to $99 from $129 originally. There's still some time until the holiday, but it's not recommended to wait for it before you make your purchase because stocks may be gone by then. Buy the second-generation Apple AirPods now if you want to get them for less than $100.

Why you should buy the Apple AirPods
The second-generation Apple AirPods have since been overshadowed by their successor, the third-generation Apple AirPods, and the more advanced second-generation Apple AirPods Pro. However, they remain a worthwhile purchase, especially for iPhone owners. Setting up the AirPods 2 is extremely easy -- you just need to open their case, hold them near your iPhone, and they will automatically get paired. The next time that you take them out of their case, they'll instantly connect with your iPhone. The wireless earbuds are compatible with Android smartphones and other Bluetooth devices though, though you'll miss out on certain features like hands-free access to Apple's Siri.

Read more
Your iPhone could steal this Pixel Tablet feature when it gets iOS 17
iPhone 14 Pro with always on display no wallpaper or notifications

With iOS 17 coming in hot for its expected June reveal during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, iPhone owners are anxious to hear about any big features coming with the update. According to Bloomberg, a major change is coming in the form of a complete interface overhaul for locked devices that effectively turns your iPhone into a smart display.

The new interface will supposedly display a plethora of information like the weather, push notifications, upcoming significant calendar dates, and more. Per the report, this new interface displays automatically when your iPhone is locked and laying horizontally with its screen facing up.

Read more
5 things the iPhone 15 Pro Max needs to fix before I’ll buy it
iPhone 14 Pro Max in hand.

I’ve been using the top-of-the-line big iPhone for two years now. I shifted to the iPhone 13 Pro Max due to its amazing battery life – which inspired my favorite phone of 2022 article. I tried getting back to the non-Max iPhone 14 Pro, but I couldn’t stay long due to the weak battery life. Since then, I've shifted to the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

After using the Pro Max iPhones for over 18 months, here’s what I think the next big Pro iPhone — the iPhone 15 Pro Max — must improve on to deserve the best phone of the year tag again.
The design needs a lot of work
Flat edges make the iPhone 14 Pro Max uncomfortable to hold. Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Read more