TCL has announced a pair of budget smartphones with paper-like screens designed to reduce eye strain.
The £179 TCL 40 Nxtpaper and £219 TCL 40 Nxtpaper 5G run Android with full colour screens that claim to have better visibility in sunlight and be generally kinder on the eye than regular LCD or OLED screens. They can also be drawn on with a stylus accessory.
LCD or OLED, displays usually found on phones, are backlit and pixel-lit technologies respectively. They produce blue light that is linked to eye strain and can affect mood and sleep patterns if used extensively.
Though the 40 Nxtpaper phones use LCD as the underlying display technology, TCL thinks its Nxtpaper tech, which it also uses on some of its tablets, help these smartphones appeal to those who do a lot of reading on their phones or want to take notes on a pocketable device that feels more paper-like when scrawling notes on it with the optional T-Pen.
Though they look a little like it, these are not E Ink devices that would have to refresh to display information. E Ink is commonly used for eReaders such as Kindles and Kobos, while E Ink phones have usually been stripped-back devices such as the Light Phone 2. There are also E Ink tablets such as the reMarkable 2 or Kindle Scribe that are designed to be note taking tablets.
Although the product names of the 40 Nxtpaper and 40 Nxtpaper 5G differ only in the inclusion of ‘5G’ on one, the two phones have different design and specs. I think the cheaper, 5G-less 40 Nxtpaper looks better and more premium with a cut-out selfie camera and a matt blue or pearlescent white rear finish standing out next to triple cameras in two circular modules.
It has a generous 256GB storage and 8GB RAM, as well as dual speakers and 33W wired charging. Those are impressive core specs considering this is a £179 phone.
Its 6.78in FHD+ screen is also larger and of higher resolution than the 90Hz 6.6in HD+ panel on the 40 Nxtpaper 5G, which has an older looking teardrop style selfie camera at the top of its screen.
I haven’t got my hands on either model yet to see what the screens looks like to use and whether I’d recommend these as your main smartphone.
TCL is yet to confirm full availability, but both models are coming soon to the UK and European market with a potential US release later down the line.