Legibility and visual fatigue of electronic papers (EPs) were studied and compared with printing images under different ambient lighting conditions, font types and polarity of Chinese text. EPs made of cholesteric liquid crystal (Ch-LC) and electrophoretic electronic ink (E-ink) were used in this work. In terms of visual performance, the results showed that ambient illumination had significant effect on the search time of letter-search task. Display medium and polarity were significant factors for the search accuracy of letter-search task. Higher illumination level, positive polarity and black-white display medium provided better legibility. However, none of these factors was significant in the rating of visual fatigue.