Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1 Review

Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1 Review

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Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel

There are plenty of affordable tablet computers available, but few of them truly stand out. While the majority of them offer similar features, the Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1 stands out because it brings an affordable price tag and a tablet experience that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

It’s the first Android tablet to feature Sony’s new “Digital Paper” OS, which makes it easy to use your tablet as a paper notepad. This tablet also has a few other noteworthy features, such as impressive battery life, a dual-core processor, and more. Read on to find out what we thought of the Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1

Physical Design: Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1

Sony digital paper DPT-RP1

  • Lightweight
  • Sleek design
  • Easy control

Despite its astonishing size, the DPT-RP1 is as light as a pad of paper. It really is a marvel: a 13.3-inch screen with 2,200-by-1,650 pixels surrounded by a soft, matte plastic back that still lies flat on the table. Despite its size and weight, its dimensions are 8.8 by 11.9 by 0.2 inches.

In addition to the power button and micro USB charging port, the tablet has one home button. Other than that, it has no control. I appreciate its simplicity and elegance.

There is no backlight on the screen, and the background is gray like those on lower-cost Kindles. When reading small texts or looking at maps, you can tell that its display does not have the sharpness of a 300-PPI display on the most recently released ebook readers. A grayscale scale of 16 levels is standard for E Ink displays, which are great for charts and graphs.

It comes with 16GB of storage, of which 11.1GB is available, and no SD card slot. According to Sony, the tablet is capable of lasting up to three weeks on a single charge. The handling of this tablet is quite similar to other E Ink tablets since it is essentially a flipping tablet. During the test period, I had to recharge the unit every three to four days; it takes three hours to fully recharge. In comparison to the Kindle, charging is something you need to do fairly often.

Software for the Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1

Sont digital paper DPT

It appears that the software here is from 2004. For starters, it only reads PDFs that are not DRM-protected. Neither ePub, nor Mobi, nor CBR, nor library PDFs, nor any other format. Only PDFs are supported.

With open-source software such as Calibre, you can convert other files to PDF. I previously bought books and graphic novels from Amazon and converted both to PDF. Even some hotlinks were left intact, including charts, graphs, and images. Although the app may fail at any moment, we cannot recommend that as a standard of living.

It’s no problem, some of you say! It’s possible that you still run Windows 7 and you read exclusively non-DRMed or cracked documents. Good for you! But keep in mind that you are not part of the mainstream audience.

Since it does not have cloud connectivity, users have to download Sony’s clunky PC/Mac software to get documents onto the tablet. Installing the drivers might require your antivirus or firewall to be disabled, just like in 2004. Using the software, all you have to do is drag and drop PDFs between your PC and tablet or rearrange them into folders. As long as you don’t have a portal page or domain authentication on your Wi-Fi, you can do this through dual-band, 802.11ac Wi-Fi. You need a PC to browse and download content from the tablet itself.

Basically, there’s only a file manager on the main screen. The home button opens a list of files or lets you jot a note. Documents can be viewed as thumbnails, as a list of annotations, compared side-by-side, annotated, or created as side-by-side pages of notes. The PDF viewer does not have the option to jump to a specific page within the file, only the grid view, and an imprecise slider. This makes it challenging to handle long documents.

As you read, you swipe to turn the pages. Although the screen flashes a little while changing pages, the swipe is responsive. While there is no direct pinch-to-zoom function, you can still zoom by tapping the zoom icon at the top of the screen and tapping the area you want to zoom. This time, the zoom is also slow and clunkier than it needs to be.

To make notes on your documents or to mark them up, Sony provides a stylus. If you lose your stylus, you’ll have to replace it for $79.99. During re-importation, the marks and notes will be preserved. You can also see notes and annotations on the tablet.

Rather than taking notes and sketching live, the tablet is ideal for annotations. Despite the excellent grip of the stylus tip on the screen, there is a little delay when the E Ink commits, and the pen is not pressure-sensitive. This tool is intended for underlining, marking up, circling, fixing, and bulleting things—not taking long notes or drawing pictures. The iPad Pro is better suited for such tasks.

This tablet is pretty much limited to that. In addition to reading in-depth, translating languages, hooking into a keyboard, and browsing the web, it does not search through books. Rather, it reads and marks up documents.

Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1: Reading Experience

Sony digital paper

With its 13-inch screen, the DPT-RP1 stands out from other e-readers and is unlike large tablets like the iPad Pro and Surface Pro with its E Ink feature. There are competitors for it, and we’ll discuss them later. However, it really satisfies a need that no other e-reader can.

Other E-readers easily accommodate reading books, so I didn’t experience that itch. When I was reading textbooks, music sheets, or travel guides with strong graphics, the DPT-RP1 really opened up possibilities. I could just read more notes on the big screen at a time than I could on a small e-reader, and that made a huge difference when I was glancing at pages of notes and trying to absorb them. Legal briefs, for instance, could be affected by this.

There is a slight amount of reflection on the matte screen, but not enough to bother me. Although it’s not as easy on the eyes as the latest Kindles, with their higher-resolution panels, it’s still very good.

It is very common for marginalia to appear in textbooks. Even a big textbook page is a bit larger on the screen, and there is generally white space around the edges of the text for bullet points, underlines, and doodles, all of which can be synced back to your PC.

Despite that, I couldn’t do pure note-taking with this tablet, as the slight latency in E Ink rendered me unable to focus. DPT-RP1 simply does not offer enough versatility in a creative setting. One of the artists I know didn’t like the latency or the lack of pen sensitivity.

There was no other way to get files onto the tablet other than syncing from a PC, and I kept wishing that the tablet supported public library apps. By email? Via a mobile application? Online? Google Drive? What else?

Comparisons and Conclusions

The DPT-RP1 is a device that I can absolutely see people loving. Back in the day, you may have owned a Kindle DX. The device is perfect for lawyers who print out stacks of 11-by-14 legal briefs, convert them to PDF and sync them from their office PCs. The new tablet will be your best friend if you have PDF-format journals cluttering up your desk. Musicians who want to carry sheet music in a compact form without getting dog-eared should skip the iPad.

In terms of file formats, apps, and using a keyboard, though, an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil is a better option if you’re a creator. In terms of a large ebook reader, you won’t find a better option than the Kobo Aura One, which is significantly less expensive, has a higher-resolution screen and accepts more file formats.

Although both the ReMarkable and Onyx Boox Max Carta tablets have some benefits over the Sony Digital Paper, I am not convinced. Sony’s screen is enormous, and one of the selling points of its tablet is how huge it is, so Remarkable’s pen is more responsive. There are all kinds of issues with Onyx Boox Max Carta, such as a non-finger-touch screen, a version of Android that is old, insecure, and a handful of apps that are erratic (that said, there are some apps). Additionally, it costs $1,000. Although it has flaws, the Sony DPT-RP1 is still a great choice for a large e-reader.

Pros Cons
Documents can be marked up with the included stylus. Pressure sensitivity is lacking in the stylus.
Lightweight only supports PDF.

The verdict?

You can easily read and mark up large numbers of digital documents using Sony’s Digital Paper DPT-RP1.