Color E-Ink technology has finally hit the market via a set of exciting handheld devices, and although we’re talking about the first generation of a new breed, they are still worth the investment.
We got a first taste of what’s coming right around the corner at the CES 2020, and indeed, the first product is here.
Hisense has released a smartphone named “A5C”, featuring a Snapdragon 439, a 4,000 mAh battery, 4GB of RAM, and generally average to low-specs. The price of $300 is justified by the deployment of a colored E-Ink screen which comes with a set of distinctive pros and cons.
PocketBook has also released a product featuring a colorful E-Ink display, calling it “Moon Silver”. This one is geared towards the E-Books space, so it’s intended for comic reading, art-book viewing, etc. This is why it’s less powerful than Hisense’s mobile phone, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The cost is set at $230.
The obvious benefit is the amazing battery life that comes with E-Ink displays. Besides that, these displays are shatterproof, easy on the user’s eye (they look like paper), suitable for when you need to read something during sunny days, and also very thin and light.
On the other side, it takes longer than what typical displays need to change scenes, so these devices don’t feel very responsive to user actions. Also, color fidelity is limited to 4,096 colors, the saturation isn’t very convincing, and the glossy top layer may be annoying in the absence of adequate lighting.
All that said, we are entering a new exciting era in electronics, and colored E-Ink is bound to have a long and successful run as it comes with very distinctive and important advantages over LCD and OLED displays. These first devices are lower-grade realizations that may be a bit cumbersome to use sometimes, but they are still the foretellers of a new and exhilarating age.