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First Impressions: TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro Review

First Impressions

The display on the Nxtpaper 12 Pro is certainly a unique selling point. It’s a bit like a combination of a Kindle and a more traditional tablet and it really does reduce glare, while making writing a more natural experience. 

Key Features

  • Unique displayThe 12.2-inch display has a papery finish, reducing glare and blue light
  • Included stylusThere’s an E Pen in the box for drawing

Introduction

TCL makes a bunch of basic, budget phones – but it also experiments with a lot more interesting tech, notably its range of Nxtpaper devices.

The latest product to join the Nxtpaper family has arrived at CES 2023 in the form of the Nxtpaper 12 Pro – a mid-range Android tablet with a very clever display that helps set it apart from the saturated market.

I spent about an hour with the tablet ahead of its official launch and came away very impressed. Here’s why.

Screen and Design

  • Papery finish on the display
  • Keyboard folio sold separately
  • Big 12.2-inch screen with a 2K resolution

If the Nxtpaper range is new to you, then let’s run through a quick overview. The name refers to the screen tech used, which covers the usual display panel with a matte layer that reduces blue light to make it more comfortable for extended use and adds a papery, textured finish. 

Draw on the screen with the included E-Pen stylus and it does genuinely feel a lot more like you’re drawing on paper, rather than a typical tablet display like an iPad.

tcl nxtpaper 12 pro
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Nxtpaper idea isn’t new for TCL, and this is the third-gen of the product. However, even after my short time with the device it feels like the best interpretation yet mostly due to its far increased brightness levels. I put this model next to the previous one and the extra nits were instantly noticeable.

The rest of the screen is good too. The 12.2-inch size gives plenty of space for notetaking and drawing, while the 2K resolution ensures everything is sharp. I also like the 3:2 aspect ratio, which is better for productive work than 16:9.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Screen aside, the tablet lacks any interesting design quirks. It’s standard stuff, with a keyboard folio accessory that can turn it into something akin to a laptop. 

Performance

  • MediaTek chipset
  • Plenty of software tweaks

The screen tech is the unique selling point of the Nxtpaper 12 Pro, but a tablet can’t be a consumer success with a single standout feature. It has to impress elsewhere too.

Android tablets often fall down due to a lack of software optimisation, but TCL is certainly looking to avoid this by adding a few interesting features. There’s a greyscale reading mode that’ll turn the tablet into a Kindle rival, while apps can be popped into floating windows to improve multitasking. Oddly, the device seems to be running Android 12 – rather than the newer Android 13.

tcl nxtpaper 12 pro
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s an 8000mAh battery keeping the tablet going – we’ll need to test it out to see how good the endurance is when we get the tablet in our labs – and it’s powered by a MediaTek MT8771 chipset. 8GB RAM comes as standard, as does 256GB of onboard storage that can be expanded if you want extra space.

A 13-megapixel camera sits on the back, while there’s an 8-megapixel offering on the front for video calls. 

I didn’t spend enough time with the tablet to form a full judgement of its performance, though it did seem fairly snappy when I was jumping between apps. The lack of a fast refresh rate screen does take away some of the feeling of speed, though.

Initial Verdict

The display on the Nxtpaper 12 Pro is certainly a unique selling point. It’s a bit like a combination of a Kindle and a more traditional tablet and it really does reduce glare, while making writing a more natural experience. 

Elsewhere, the device is a more standard Android device with a mid-range chipset and the usual array of features.

TCL Nxtpaper 12 Pro specs

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A 'hands on review' is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it's like to use. We call these 'hands on reviews' to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don't give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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