Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1, Very Thin Electronic Paper Tablet, Feels Natural to Write

Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1, Very Thin Electronic Paper Tablet, Feels Natural to Write

The easy-to-read display technology ‘Electronic paper’ is expanding into more-high-end devices. The DPT-RP1 is a 13.3-inch monochromatic tablet designed for those legal and educational professionals who live in PDFs. This slate provides a natural-feeling writing experience that is far closer to what you get with pen and paper than with an iPad and Apple Pencil. Unfortunately, at $699, this tablet costs even more than the already-pricey reMarkable($599) tablet and doesn’t do as much.


  • Natural writing experience
  • Convenient stylus
  • Large
  • Lightweight design


  • Prohibitively expensive
  • Limited to PDFs and writing
  • Cumbersome sync with no cloud option

Technical Specifications:

  • 13.3-inch flexible electronic paper display (1,650×2,200 pixels), 16-level gray scale (displays full-size views of 8.5 by 11-inch documents)
  • Projected capacitive touchscreen capable of pen input
  • Dimensions (HWD): 8.82 x 11.9 x 0.23 inches (224 x 302.6 x 5.9 mm)
  • 12.3 ounces (349 grams) — about the weight of a 70-page print out
  • Up to 3 weeks of battery life with Wi-Fi off, or up to 1 week with Wi-Fi on (takes 3.5 hours to fully charge)
  • Rechargeable stylus included
  • Stylus tracking speeds have been optimized for minimal delay between pen and Digital Paper, so writing feels natural and responsive
  • Wi-Fi and connectivity
  • 16GB of internal memory (11GB usable; stores around 10,000 PDF files)
  • Send any direct from your PC wirelessly to view it on your Digital Paper device, for paperless printing (Digital Paper Application is required for synchronization and document transfer)
  • Supported unsecured file format: PDF
  • Ships in June for $700

Design: It measures 11.9 x 8.8 x 0.23 inches and weighs 12.2 ounces and it is slightly heavier legal pad. This slate was made with lawyers and professors in mind. The smaller reMarkable slate weighs 12.5 ounces and measures a slightly bulkier 0.3 inches thick. The Digital Paper’s display is surrounded by a black bezel that’s thinner than the white bezel on the reMarkable. That’s likely because the Digital Paper has no buttons corresponding to where the reMarkable’s navigation buttons sit. You charge the Digital Paper via the micro USB 2.0 port on the slate’s top edge, which is next to the device’s power switch. The home button is near that, in the middle of the top bezel. The Digital Paper’s pencil magnetically attaches via a small divot in the upper right corner of the device.

Display: The Digital Paper DPT-RP1’s 13.3-inch electronic screen measures 8 inches wide and 10.5 inches tall, close to the size of a sheet of letter paper. By contrast, the reMarkable’s screen measures 10.3 inches and bears no resemblance to any existing format. Just like all e-reader displays, the Digital Paper’s screen is highly readable, as you can read off of it in direct sunlight. But unlike Amazon’s backlit Kindles, there is no backlighting in the Digital Paper, so you can’t use it in darkness. The display is the faint grid-rule pattern and you get a basic set of templates;  including graph, notepad, legal pad and blank.

Writing Experience and Pen: Writing on the Digital Paper DPT-RP1’s e-paper screen feels natural, but includes a slight lag. In practice, it does begin to draw each letter before we can move to the other, but the time difference will take some getting used to. That lag may not be as perceptible to those who haven’t written on other e-paper devices, as a colleague didn’t find the delay that bad until they drew on the reMarkable for comparison. Sony doesn’t say what the Digital Paper’s latency is, but it definitely looks longer than the 55-millisecond delay in the reMarkable. The best part about the Digital Paper, though, is how its stylus’ top button allows you to easily erase. With reMarkable, you need to tap on the screen to pull up the eraser, feels like downgraded. The second button on the Digital Paper’s stylus is used when you’re highlighting text, another tool that requires tapping the digital interface on the reMarkable.

Writing on the Digital Paper feels so natural due, in part, to the slate’s stylus tips, which naturally decay over time. Each unit includes four tips: two felt tips, which make writing feel like you’re using a pencil, and two polyoxymethylene (aka, POM) plastic tips, which make it feel like you’re using a ballpoint pen. Annoyingly, switching out tips requires using a metal tweezer designed just for this task. The reMarkable changes the tactile writing sensation based on the digital tool you’re using. Sets of 10 replacement tips cost $20, and a replacement stylus costs $80.

Interface: The Digital Paper DPT-RP1’s interface is navigated mostly via a menu that appears when you click the home button. This is less of a button than it is an outline of an oval that looks like a port should be there. From there, you can access documents and notes, create new notes, and access settings. You find the second set of menus, which is more specific to the document you’re currently working on, by tapping the screen with your finger. There, you can add a new page to a note by swiping left, tap a menu icon to see recent documents, adjust stylus preferences, use the zoom tool, search for terms and change various other settings. Of those, the pen settings may be the most important, as you can switch between blue and red ink. Sure, that difference is faint on the black-and-white digital paper, but you’ll see the change once you’ve synced files to desktop apps. Because the DPT-RP1’s made for writing, your other tools are minimal, with the option to adjust pen thickness and eraser size. Over on the reMarkable, you’ve got your choice of a trio of digital tools (pen, pencil and marker), with the options to adjust the size of the marks you make and the surface area you erase. And in addition to zoom, you can use clone and adjust tools and work in layers, which appeals to the artists trained in Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator.

Apps and File Formats: To get documents onto the Digital Paper DPT-RP1 and sync your notes from it, you use its app for Macs and PCs. It syncs with these over USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but the latter is kind of annoying to set up. In order to connect the Digital Paper to your over Wi-Fi, you need to first plug the slate in to said via USB, then open the Mac or PC app, and then add a Wi-Fi network via that app’s preferences. The lack of a cloud-sync solution or the option to send to a third-party service may be annoying, but it makes us grateful that the reMarkable even offers one. While the Digital Paper is targeted at those looking to read and annotate files, this slate is decidedly not an e-reader. Its app rejects any attempts by users to sync any files other than PDFs, the same format the device produces notes in. The reMarkable, on the other hand, also supports epub files and can output to PNG.

Battery Life: The Sony Digital Paper is rated for up to one week of use with Wi-Fi on and three weeks with Wi-Fi off. The battery icon remained completely full even after a few hours of testing.

Replicating the feel of writing with a pencil or pen is still such a novel trick that we applaud the Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1 for both its nifty stylus and excellent tactile sensation. Its slight lag and lack of support for other file formats make its $699 price more difficult to accept.


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