TCL might be a name you more readily associate with affordable TVs, but the company has a whole range of other tech to shout about, from soundbars and headphones to robot vaccums and mobile devices.

On the latter, it recently announced a couple of budget tablets and two bargain smartphones to add it its line up.

Of the new trio, all of which come in under €300 (the only prices currently confirmed – but should be around $320/£265), the TCL NXTPAPER 11 piqued our interest, with TCL’s next-gen NXTPAPER 2.0 technology built into it – a paper-like laminated display that gives the impression of E Ink but with the benefits of a colour display.

If you’re in the market for a budget Android tablet, is this quirky 11-inch slate worth a look? We got our hands on it to get a closer look.


First impressions

The TCL NXTPAPER 11 is a budget tablet that’s doing its bit to stand out in what can be a marketplace of lookalikes. You do lose out on a better chipset that you’ll see at higher price points, and nice-to-haves like wireless charging, but it’s an attractive-looking tablet with a pretty intriguing USP.


  • Decent build
  • Stylus compatibility
  • NXTPAPER 2.0 tech is an interesting USP
  • Good price


  • Might not be the best for all uses


  • 259 x 163.6 x 6.9mm
  • Weight: 462g
  • 128GB storage, 4GB RAM

For a tablet costing €249 (around $270/£220), the TCL NXTPAPER 11 does its bit to look pretty premium. Its casing is made from a lightweight aluminium, available in a choice of Dark Grey and Digital Lavender (more like a silver), and it has a slim, flat-edged design, a bit like we’ve seen from Apple in recent iPad iterations.

It’s not quite as thin as an iPad though, measuring in at 6.9mm thick in comparison with the iPad Pro 11 at 5.9mm. Whether you’ll be able to notice this in use – particularly when they weigh about the same (with TCL’s 462g to the iPad Pro 11’s 466g) – we’ll have to wait and see. We’d say the iPad still takes it on premium feel though, but then the price tag is much higher.


The NXTPAPER 11 keeps branding to a minimum. When in landscape there is a logo in the top left corner of the back panel (as you look at it) but from the front, it’s all about the display. That’s is an 11.2-inch 2K offering with uniformed bezels around the side – but more about that in a moment.

Buttons for power and volume control are on the left hand-side of the tablet – on the top and side when in landscape – and there’s a tray for a nano SIM and a microSD card too, for expanding its 128GB on-board storage.


The main 8MP camera sits relatively flush to the body in a compact rectangular housing, while a selfie camera sits centrally to the display in landscape more. This is clearly how the tablet is expected to be used for the most part, with stereo speakers at either edge – so you’ll need to be careful how you hold it to get their full impact.


  • 11in 2K display (2000 x 1000)
  • NXPAPER 2.0 technology
  • Up to 500 nits

The TCL NXTPAPER 11 has an 11in 2K (2000 x 1000) LCD display with a 213 pixel density. That might be on the low side for compared with something like the OnePlus Pad or Samsung’s range of tablets, but this doesn’t feel like a tablet you’d be looking at if video watching and gaming was your prime focus.


That’s because it features TCL’s newest NXTPAPER 2.0 technology. That is a nano-chemical material coating that sits on top of the display and gives it a matte appearance, which is not dissimilar to e-ink at first glance.

Not only does that help to stop reflections from all angles, it helps to reduce harmful blue light too, making the display easier on your eyes. This is only bolstered further by an integrated light sensor, which can automatically adjust the colour temperature depending on the light conditions around you.


TCL has upped the brightness capability in the second iteration of this technology by 150 per cent, so the screen can now go up 500 nits, which feels plenty bright enough when combined the lack of reflection in bright light.

The coating also gives the display a very tactile feel, which works particularly well with the low-latency T-pen stylus, available separately. TCL says it should feel like writing on paper, and while we’re not sure that’s quite accurate, the added friction and feedback the coating brings with it definitely helps it to feel more authentic. The only slight downside? If you opt to buy the T-pen, there’s no way of storing or attaching it to the tablet for safe keeping.


Dig into the NXTPAPER 11’s menus and you’ll also find a reading mode, which very much feeds into its E Ink-esque design. This turns the screen black and white, so you can read in monochrome – but having the ability to switch it back onto colour for things like comics and graphic novels is definitely a bonus.

While the NXTPAPER 11 display won’t be as kind on your eyes as real E ink, you can feel when using it the difference in how your eyes react to it in use. We’re quite taken with it and can see the appeal for people looking for a catch-all device – as long as they’re not overly critical of things like picture accuracy.

This feels like the display of a tablet aimed at productivity first, not multimedia. That’s not to say you can’t watch videos on this – of course you can – but in terms of accuracy of colours and overall brightness, you’re going to get a better experience on a regular LCD tablet.

Hardware, software and features

  • Mediatak Helio P60T octa-core processor
  • 128GB storage, 4GB RAM
  • Android 13
  • 8000mAh battery
  • 8MP camera main camera, 8MP wide-angle selfie camera

The NXTPAPER 11 uses the Mediatek Helio P60T octa-core processor, alongside 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage. We didn’t get long enough with the tablet to get a true idea of how that all works together, but in our time with it, everything ran smoothly and loaded quickly.


It runs Android 13 as its operating system, as you might expect, and there is an 8000mAh battery with reverse charging built in. That’s the same battery capacity as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, but how long it lasts may vary due to the differences in processors and things like screen brightness. TCL has no claims, so it’ll be down to a full review to find out.

There’s no wireless charging here though, and no fast charging either – so you’ll be stuck with 18W wired when it’s time to charge it up.

As far as cameras go, you’ll get an 8MP camera on the back and an 8MP ultra-wide selfie camera for video calls. The rear camera has “AI camera” written into its housing, but what that means warrants further time spent with it. We did have a very limited play around with the camera in our hands on time, and found modes that included a panoramic mode and a stop motion option.


Like all tablets, it won’t be a camera that’ll come close to the one on your phone, particularly in low light, but it looks like it’ll do a fine job for the odd snap here and there. The selfie camera is likely to be the most important of the two, and was suitably wide-angled for video calls, and was clear and noise free in the brief time we spent with it.


The TCL NXTPAPER 11 is a budget tablet that’s doing its bit to stand out in what can be a marketplace of lookalikes and same-old same-old. You do lose out on a better chipset that you’ll see at higher price points, and nice-to-haves like wireless charging, but it’s an attractive looking tablet with a pretty intriguing USP.

The NXTPAPER 2.0 technology does look lovely, and feels good too, with stylus compatibility that extends its functionality. It may not be the very best for watching videos on, from an out-and-out performance perspective, but if you’re looking for a device that can double up as a tablet for work and an eye-friendly reading device, the TCL NXTPAPER 11 could well be worth a look.

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TCL NXTPAPER 11 initial review: Budget tablet with E Ink aspirations

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