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TCL NXTPAPER 11 hands-on: Glare today, gone tomorrow
TCL introduced its NXTPAPER technology a few years ago, essentially being a fancy term for a matte display. Now, the company has announced the NXTPAPER 11 Android tablet just prior to MWC 2023, using NXTPAPER 2.0 tech.
The new tablet is an 11-inch slate meant to be used in landscape orientation, although it works just as well in portrait orientation. TCL’s tablet weighs in at 460 grams, but this weight is well-balanced and it’s relatively thin, to boot. But the star of the show here is the aforementioned NXTPAPER 2.0 tech.
Who needs glare and reflections?
This technology means you can expect far less glare than a typical tablet or smartphone screen. In fact, we were able to shine a smartphone flashlight on the NXTPAPER 11’s screen and there was minimal glare to be had.
The NXTPAPER 11 screen isn’t perfect though, as strong direct sunlight does affect the viewing experience due to the low 500 nit brightness, but the tech still makes for a major difference when under harsh artificial lighting.
It’s also worth noting that matte displays don’t offer Gorilla Glass or other similar protective glass solutions. This is less of an issue for tablets compared to smartphones, which are more prone to drops. Otherwise, you’ve got a 2K display resolution here, and content seemed sharp enough on this panel.
What about the rest of the NXTPAPER 11?
Aside from the screen, you’re looking at a squarely mid-range offering at best in the NXTPAPER 11. The company has opted for the MediaTek Helio P60T chipset here, which is derived from 2018’s Helio P60.
Expect an octa-core CPU here (four Cortex-A73 and four Cortex-A53) as well as a Mali-G72 GPU and an APU. Don’t expect to play demanding titles like Genshin Impact and Wreckfest on here, at least not without major graphical downgrades.
Nevertheless, our brief time with the tablet suggests that this chipset should be adequate for everyday tasks such as web browsing, hopping between a few apps, and video streaming.
The TCL NXTPAPER 11 delivers a matte display, but don't expect much else in terms of pure specs.
The use of an older chipset also usually means long-term software updates will be a problem. And sure enough, TCL is only pledging three years of security updates for the NXTPAPER 11. Unfortunately, the company wouldn’t commit to any OS upgrades for the slate, which is a real shame when people tend to hold on to tablets for a long time.
In any event, the tablet is running Android 13 out-of-the-box here. TCL has customized some elements like the notification shade and settings menu, while there’s no shortage of bloatware here (e.g. four games, Bamboo Paper, JNotes). But you’ve otherwise got stock-like elements here such as the app drawer and home screens.
TCL is also offering a quad speaker setup here, with two speakers each on the left and right sides. These speakers delivered plenty of volume but sounded extremely tinny, even when not pushed to maximum volume. So you definitely want to use a Bluetooth speaker or earphones instead.
Other notable features include 4GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage (up to 2TB), an 8MP rear camera, an 8MP selfie shooter, and an 8,000mAh battery with 18W charging. The latter figure suggests that you’ll need to wait for more than three hours to get a full charge.
TCL NXTPAPER 11: Is it worth considering?
The Chinese brand confirmed that the NXTPAPER 11 will retail for $249 when it goes on sale in May 2023. TCL says this is a global release, including Europe, but there’s no word on a US launch just yet.
TCL NXTPAPER 11: Hot or not?
That price point means that you’re getting a budget slate with a slick screen here. However, compromises had to be made somewhere, and the biggest casualty seems to be the speaker quality. That’s a shame given the great screen and the form factor’s media consumption focus in the first place.
In any event, the new tablet will be up against some stiff budget competition thanks to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8. TCL’s slate delivers a better screen, more base storage/RAM, and a bigger battery than the Galaxy tablet, but Samsung has you covered with a better update pledge, a feature-rich Android skin, and better speaker quality.