Review unit provided by Bigme
Bigme has recently released the Bigme S6 Color series of e-reader tablets and the company sent me the S6 Colour+ model for review. The price of this tablet, pen and case is USD 479 at the time of review, and does not include shipping charges.
Bottomline: The user experience with the S6 Color+ is much better than the more expensive USD 699 Bigme Galy that I reviewed in December 2022. S6 Color+ is way more responsive when flipping through colour pages and scrolling.
While the Bigme Galy (above) appears to have richer colours and higher resolution (300DPI), colours on the S6 Color+ with Kaleido 3 technology also look pretty good even at 150DPI. Ultimately, the responsiveness wins it for me.
Battery life is good. Much better than other coloured e-readers I've tested.
Differences for the S6 Color models
|Model||Display||PPI||RAM and storage||Price (USD)|
|S6 Color+||Kaleido 3||300PPI for B&W, 150PPI for color||6GB, 128GB||$479|
|S6 Color||Kaleido Plus||300PPI for B&W, 100PPI for Color||6GB, 128GB||$479|
|S6 Color Lite||Kaleido Plus||300PPI for B&W, 100PPI for Color||4GB, 64GB||$389|
|S6 BW||Kaleido Plus||300PPI for B&W||6GB, 128GB||$369|
The difference between between S6 Color+ and S6 Color is 150 PPI vs 100 PPI for the colour resolution. I've not seen how 100 PPI colour resolution looks like so I can't say much, but 150 PPI looks good enough to me.
Having 6GB RAM will be good for multi-tasking and running more apps. I'm not worried about internal storage as there's microSD card slot.
The specifications for the Bigme S6 Color+:
- Display: 7.8-inch
- Resolution: 1404 x 1872
- B/W:300PPI, Color:150PPI
- Colour support: Over 5,000 colours
- Auto ghosting elimination
- CPU: MediaTek Helio P35 (octa-Core 2.3GHZ)
- Camera: Front 5MP, Rear 8MP
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 128GB
- MicroSD card support up to 1TB
- Double microphone
- Fingerprint unlock
- Pen support: Yes, with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
- Light: 36 level warm and cool
- Battery capacity: 3000mAh
- OS: Android 11
- Google Play Store: Yes
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wifi. 4G only works in China
- eBook format support: txt, epubpdf, mobi, fb2, zip, prc, rtf, html, htm, doc, docx, azw, azw3, oeb, epub3 and others
- Global handwriting
- 2x replacement pen tips with nib remover
- SIM ejection tool
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- Flip case
- Warranty card
- Quick start guide
The items were shipped in separate boxes. Tablet and pen in a box. Flip case in a box. Cable and pen accessories in the third box that I've lost.
The case has auto sleep and wake feature. There are two page flip buttons.
The flip case cover is not hard and has lots of flex which I don't like.
Magnet on the flap is weak. And the magnetic attraction of the pen to the tablet is weak. If you pick up the tablet from the pen side, the pen can dislodge and go on top of the tablet. This case can only be picked up from the left. If you pick up from the top and bottom, the cover will open because the magnetic flap is weak.
Design of the tablet looks good.
The bezels are quite thin with enough space for grip. The white surface compliments the gray of the e-ink surface well. I'm not sure how useful the front camera is though.
The sides are curved and comfortable for holding. Overall build quality is solid. This tablet does not feel cheap.
The display is 7.8 inches and resolution is 1404 x 1872. B/W PPI is 300 and colour PPI is 150. Text looks sharp enough for me.
The display is too small for reading PDFs since you cannot adjust the text size of PDFs.
For reading comics, the size is alright but I would prefer a larger display if that's possible. Something like 10-inches is good. The black level looks good enough but it's not deep black.
The back also has another camera which would be useful for scanning QR codes.
The power button is located on the top and comes with a fingerprint scanner on it. The speaker beside is loud enough and sound slightly hollow, but usable for listening to audiobooks. There's no 3.5mm audio jack so you will have to rely on USB-C earphones or Bluetooth earphones for better audio quality.
The SIM tray can take microSD card and SIM card. 4G cellular only works in China though.
At the bottom is the USB-C port for charging and data transfer with USB 2 speeds.
The included pen can attach to the side for charging. The magnetic attachment isn't that strong though and the pen can wobble easily, or even fall off when hit gently.
The tablet uses Kaleido 3 technology and can produce 5000+ colours.
Below are the five refresh modes available that will affect the colours and responsiveness of page flips.
- HD 256: Clearer details, suitable for viewing images and text.
- HD mode: Clear display, suitable for general text reading.
- Regal mode: Least ghosting, clearer display of text and images, suitable for reading.
- Normal (fast) mode: Slightly faster refresh, suitable for quickly flipping through images and text.
- Extreme (speed) mode: Fast refresh, some detail loss, suitable for browsing web pages, videos, etc
There are additional options to control the refresh frequency, dark enhancement, vivid enhancement and colour enhancement.
Shown below are how the colours look with the five refresh modes.
It is not easy to see the difference. HD 256, HD and Regal have the best colours, but longer page refresh time. Regal colours are slightly richer. Normal and Extreme mode has slightly less contrast but still looks good enough, and have much faster page refresh. Extreme mode has more noticeable ghosting, e.g. page impression from the previous page. Normal mode has the best compromise for colour support and page refresh time.
This is how the original image looks. Obviously the e-reader is not able to reproduce the same number of colours since there's only support for 5000+ colours.
It may not be obvious the the colour representation for Regal, Normal and Extreme is not as accurate compared to HD 256 and HD which have slower page flips. With HD and HD256, the gradation is more accurate from less to more saturation.
Anyway, this is e-ink so the colours will never be accurate. The colours may not need to be 100% representative, they just need to look right.
This is how the colour wheel actually looks.
There are 36 levels of warm and cool light.
Dragging the slider for the lights changes the brightness. You have to mix both warm and cool light to adjust colour temperature.
This is warm light.
This is cool light.
This is mixed warm and cool light. You can mix either in whichever amount you prefer, e.g. 80% with 20%, 100% with 100%.
The comic pages above is shown without any light.
Add some light and everything looks so much better.
Colours look brighter and more vibrant with light added.
Performance and responsiveness
The processor is the MediaTek Helio P35 (8 core 2.3Ghz) released in 2018. The processor may be 5 years old today but it's still powerful enough to run an e-reader. Overall performance is surprising smooth by e-reader standards and I am pleasantly surprised. There's 6GB of RAM which is sufficient for multiple reading apps.
This tablet has responsive page flips and scrolling animation. I've reviewed too many e-readers that feel sluggish so I'm pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness. The speed of page flips and scrolling will not match typical LCD displays but the performance as an e-reader is good, and it seems like we are at the limit of e-reader performance here. There's also no weird screen refresh with page flips.
The pen is said to support 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and there's palm rejection. This pen looks similar to the one that's included with Bigme Galy so I'll just duplicate the text that I've written for that review here.
This pen is powered by battery and charging is by attaching it to the side of the tablet.
The pen does not require pairing to work for writing. But pairing is required if you want to use the shortcut buttons. Strange thing about the pairing is even when Bluetooth is turned off, the pen's shortcut buttons will still work. So is Bluetooth really turned off?
IMPORTANT: Batteries in digital pens are small, and hence has smaller battery capacity, and hence can lose charge faster. Based on my experience of reviewing countless digital pens, such batteries can get damaged if the pen is not used for long periods of time. In short, charge the pen regularly, e.g. once a month or every two months. Keep the pen attached to the tablet often.
The pen has good build quality and looks good. The surface is glossy and it's comfortable to hold.
The pen nib is firm and does not move.
There are three shortcut buttons which are customisable. The shortcuts will vary depending on the app you're using. E.g. When playing audio, the buttons can be used to adjust volume, and when reading, the buttons can flip pages.
I've set the power button to refresh the page, and a long press will go to the home page.
It seems like Bigme has enabled their featured called Global Writing by default.
Global Writing is a feature that reduces latency while writing with third party apps, e.g. Microsoft OneNote and others. Global Writing writes with quick strokes which will then disappear to give you the actual stroke you've selected.
Note taking is responsive enough. That's the default note taking app I'm using and the colour green shows up well.
This is Microsoft OneNote with Global Writing feature in action. While writing, the lines will be thin first before the actual colour and width are shown. After you stop writing, the thin lines will convert after a second to the actual line style.
Downside with Global Writing feature is there is added latency when selecting tools, menus. E.g. It takes a second to switch from eraser to pen.
These are the colour options from Microsoft OneNote.
There's a slight gap between the line and the pen tip but there isn't parallax and the gap is small.
The tablet has too many software features for me to cover so I will just talk about the important or useful ones.
The tool bar at the top lets you quickly access e-ink settings, active apps, home screen, settings, quick settings (e.g. wifi, bluetooth, etc) and back.
These are the quick settings from the drop down menu from the top.
There's a floating navigation ball with 9 customizable shortcuts and that's very useful.
Google Play Store is pre-installed so there's access to all the apps. You can install Amazon Kindle or Libby or other reading apps to get access to countless books.
It's possible to write on PDF.
Reading settings such as font size, font type, page flip animation are controlled by the book app.
Battery capacity is 3000 mAh.
I was able to get around 8 to 10 hours of battery life with usage of light. You can probably get longer battery life with light and wifi disabled.
The audio is loud but sounds hollow.
There's no 3.5mm audio jack.
Pen side button customisation is limited.
There's no way to add eInk Centre shortcut to the navigation ball which is onscreen all times.
There's no way to display the top shortcut menu bar at all times.
To create a pin code or use fingerprint unlock, you have to sign up for a Bigme account
The Bigme S6 Color+ is a decent e-reader that supports colours. It's a good product and I don't mind seeing a larger version of this because comics with fixed font sizes will look better on larger displays.
The e-ink canvas and colours look good after adding lights to improve contrast and colours. There is ghosting but it's minimal and you can adjust the page refresh frequency to clear that.
Battery life is 8-10 hours long even with lights enabled.
Overall performance is responsive enough. This is probably at the limited of e-reader performance in 2023.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Clean and simple design
+ Solid build quality
+ Visuals are sharp with 300 PPI for BW and 150 PPI for colour
+ Colours look reasonably good by e-reader standards
+ 128GB internal storage
+ MicroSD card slot
+ Power button with fingerprint unlock
+ Pen included
+ Quite responsive overall performance
+ Page flips are quite fast
+ Minimal ghosting
+ Good writing experience
+ Google Play Store included
+ Navigation ball and shortcuts are very useful
+ No bloatware included
+ 8 to 10 hours battery life
- Tablet ideal for reading and writing, but not for other tasks
- No physical shortcut buttons, no volume buttons
- Pen has limited customisation
- Audio sounds slightly hollow
- No 3.5mm audio jack
- No way to permanently show the top shortcut bar
- No way to set eInk Centre as a shortcut for navigation ball
- Bigme account needed to for pin code and fingerprint unlock
You can find the Bigme S6 e-reader tablets via these links: