TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet review

TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet: easy on the eyes (review)


With a paper-like colour display, the TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet is designed to reduce eye strain and improve both the reading and writing experience on a tablet. 

Tablets like Apple’s iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab aim to be jack-of-all-trades devices, but a vivid backlit screen isn’t always best suited to the task at hand. That’s why the etch-a-sketch style e-Ink displays, found on e-book readers like the Kobo and Amazon’s Kindle, are still popular with avid readers looking to avoid eye strain.

TCL’s NXTPAPER technology aims to offer the best of both worlds. While the NXTPAPER 10s features a backlit IPS LCD screen and runs Android, the display has a matte finish to reduce glare. It also uses a few other tricks to reduce eye strain, plus the finish on the display is designed to help a stylus glide more smoothly across the screen.

Review: TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet

Australian websiteTCL
Price$499 RRP
Warranty2 years
Other  More GadgetGuy TCL news and reviews

First impressions

Before you even power up the TCL NXTPAPER 10s, the difference in the display compared to a normal tablet is clear. The matte finish ensures minimal glare so, unlike most displays, you can’t see your face reflected in the black screen.

It’s also clear that the 10.1-inch display is designed to be used in landscape mode, with a wide 16:10 aspect ratio. When you hold the tablet sideways, the front and rear cameras are at the top – with the protruding rear camera preventing the tablet from sitting completely flat on a table. 

Held this way, the power and volume buttons sit at the top left corner, where they can be easily reached with your thumb and pointer finger. Speakers are built into each side of the screen to offer stereo sound, with a USB-C port on the left but no headphone jack.

Finally, you’ll find a micro-SD slot at the top and a connector across the bottom for attaching to the keyboard case which comes with tablet. At 490 grams, the tablet is a little heavy for its size but it’s still comfortable to hold.

Fire up the tablet and the display looks a bit flat, dull and fuzzy compared to the bright, vivid super-crisp displays found on high-end tablets like the iPad and Galaxy Tab. That’s because, for better or for worse, TCL has deliberately toned it down to look more like a piece of paper.

The display uses 10 layers of protection to lower blue light output by 73 per cent, with a focus on retaining natural colour representation. The technology won the 2022-23 Best Product In Tablet Innovation award from the Expert Imaging and Sound Association in Europe.

TCL claims NXTPAPER has higher contrast for better viewing, compared to traditional e-ink screens, or typical LCD screens. It’s also lighter, thinner, and offers more than 65 per cent better power efficiency.

That said, the display makes a fairly poor first impression if you don’t appreciate all of this and you’re just expecting a normal tablet screen. Whether it’s right for you depends on how you’ll use the tablet.

TCL NXTPAPER 10s close-up
The TCL NXTPAPER 10s is a little heavy for its size, but is still slender and comfortable to hold.

TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet specs

Display size10.1 inches, 16:10 aspect ratio
Display resolution1920×1200 pixels
Display technologyTCL NXTPAPER IPS LCD
ChipsetMediaTek MT8768 
Rear camera8 MP auto-focus
Front camera5 MP fixed-focus
Onboard storage64 GB
microSD slotYes
ChargingUSB-C 18 W
Battery8000 mAh
Wi-FiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac  2.4 GHz + 5 GHz 
Bluetooth5.0 A2DP, LE
Operating systemAndroid 11
SecurityFace Unlock
DimensionsH 241 mm, W 158.6 mm, D 8.3 mm
Weight490 gm 


Under the bonnet, the TCL NXTPAPER 10s packs a very modest MediaTek power plant accompanied by 4 GB of RAM. It has enough grunt for day-to-day tasks and basic content consumption, but it’s likely to frustrate those who tend to push their devices to the limit.

Likewise, the quality of the front and rear cameras is enough to get by but will disappoint those with an eye for detail. That said, it’s not a great screen for viewing photos or videos.

Fire up Netflix and the sound isn’t too bad, thanks to the stereo speakers. Yet when it comes to the picture, you lose a lot of detail in the dark scenes because the image is so dim and murky.

NXTPAPER’s strengths should shine through when reading on the screen but, rather than be impressed with the lack of glare, it’s easy to be frustrated by the fact the image is so dim and murky. If you expect it to look like a printed page, you’ll be disappointed.

Even at full brightness, the dull image creates contrast issues because the whites aren’t white enough. This actually makes it harder to read, even when inside. Take the tablet outside in the sunshine and it’s all but impossible to read what’s on the screen.

Dive into the menus and you can enable a dedicated monochrome reading mode, which is an improvement, but you’ll still probably want to override the automatic brightness option and turn it up to full brightness.

When it comes to content creation, the screen works with any passive stylus, although TCL doesn’t supply one in the box. A stylus does slide nicely across the screen, but it’s not that much of an improvement on the experience of writing with an Apple Pencil on an iPad – which offers a lot more functionality.

Alternatively, you can attach the keyboard case. At this point, the tablet engages PC mode to give Android a bit more of a desktop feel. Unfortunately, it’s a small, plastic, clackity keyboard which isn’t great to type on, plus the cover holds the screen at an awkward angle which you can’t adjust.

NXTPAPER technology is paper-like
NXTPAPER technology’s efforts to create a paper-like experience come at the expense of overall image quality.

GadgetGuy’s take

While NXTPAPER technology is a great idea and the TCL NXTPAPER 10s is a noble effort, unfortunately there’s no use case where it’s a better option than the alternatives. While it might reduce eye strain, the dim, murky and washed-out image means it’s frustrating to use, whatever the task.

If you’re primarily interested in reading books, then you’ll find an e-Ink device like the Kindle Paperwhite is sharper, clearer and easier to read – with the added benefits of easy library access and extended battery life.

If you’re primarily interested in consuming multimedia, then you’d benefit from the improved brightness, contrast and overall picture quality of a normal tablet. For $499 you’ll find pretty decent Android tablets, while a few more dollars gets you into iPad territory.

If you’re primarily interested in a note-taking device, then you’d be better off with a tablet that supports an active stylus and a better keyboard cover.

TCL NXTPAPER 10s tablet: easy on the eyes (review)
NXTPAPER technology's efforts to create a paper-like experience come at the expense of overall image quality, meaning the TCL NXTPAPER 10s isn't for everyone.
Value for money
Ease of use
Reduces eye strain
Monochrome reading mode
Stereo speakers
Dim, murky screen
Low powered
Doesn't come with active stylus