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CES 2023: TCL’s Nxtpaper 12 Pro could be a sweet iPad/Kindle hybrid tablet

At CES 2023, TCL dropped a whole bag of gadgets — including new phones, a Windows convertible, and a new tablet with its own take on the color e-ink tech. Say hello to the TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro tablet, which aims to beat the likes of Apple and Samsung with a palatable price, a screen that feels like paper, and a large canvas, too.

Unlike regular LCD panels that alter the screen temperature and give it a yellowish tint, TCL’s Nxtpaper tech relies on a built-in multi-layer filter system. This not only cuts down on the blue light exposure but also keeps the color profile as close to natural as possible and reduces the glare effect.

TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro tablet render.

TCL ships a dedicated reading mode with its Nxtpaper line of tablets that turns the screen output into a grayscale mode for an e-ink experience. As for the paper part in the marketing material, TCL claims “a tactile feeling just like touching real paper,” adding that the actual display surface has a paper-like finish to the touch.

On the software side, you get a dedicated PC mode for effortless file management, plus a floating window mode to handle multiple app windows with ease. Take that, iPadOS 16. Disappointingly, the TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro still runs Android 12 out of the box.

In 2023, TCL claims to have upgraded the Nxtpaper display tech, doubling the brightness output for a more comfortable outdoor viewing experience. However, the company assures that despite the bump in brightness figures, the screen is still capable of reducing the blue light output by up to 61 percent.

Delving into the technical side of things, the Nxtpaper 12 Pro tablet offers a fairly sharp 12.2-inch 2K (2160 x 1440 pixels) display with 370 nits of peak brightness and a 3:2 aspect ratio, somewhat like the iPad Pro. The stylus-ready screen, however, still doesn’t offer any high-refresh-rate magic.

Good value for screen enthusiasts

TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro with the official keyboard accessory.

The tablet draws power from the MediaTek MT8771 chipset, the same as the TCL 10S 5G tablet. It will be available in a single configuration packing 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. Thankfully, you can pop in an SDHC or SDXC card to boost the memory.

The 8,000mAh battery is claimed to last up to 13 hours, beating the figures Apple touts for the iPad Pro. The TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro supports 18W fast charging, and thankfully, the power brick comes bundled in the retail package. Notably, TCL bundles the standard e-pen stylus that can recognize over 8,192 pressure levels in the retail package, just like Samsung.

TCL also sells a detachable keyboard and a stand case, but you’ll need to fork over extra cash for that. There are a couple of 8-megapixel cameras on the front and a 13-megapixel camera at the back. The tablet is already up for grabs, priced at $499. There’s a 5G-ready version that will hit the shelves “later this year,” carrying a price tag of $549.

At its current asking price, the TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro definitely offers a superior screen experience compared to the 10th Gen iPad and undercuts the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8. However, it does so at the cost of a significantly weaker processor. Plus, TCL’s software update record isn’t as good as Samsung’s or Apple’s.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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