Meet the world’s first phone with a color e-ink screen

Hisense A5
Credit: Hisense (Image credit: Hisense)

Hisense just debuted the world’s first phone with a color e-ink display at CES 2020, and it looks pretty good based on this photo.

The company is best known for its TVs and home appliances, but it has some Android phones in the market too. The Hisense color e-ink device is not its first foray into the idea of using e-ink displays in a smartphone. 

Last year at IFA, the Chinese company launched the Hisense A5, a $220 phone with a high quality grayscale e-ink display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 octa-core processor that could last for weeks on one charge. 

Hisense also has a phone that has a dual display that follows in the footsteps of the innovative Nubia Z20. But instead of OLED, the Hisense phone uses e-ink for its secondary back display and LCD for the main one. Called the Hisense A6L, it costs about $470 in Europe. 

The reasoning behind the dual e-ink/LCD phone is that people who want to read the news, web pages or ebooks can easily turn the phone around and save a lot of battery power by using the e-ink display. And if they want to watch videos or play games — something that it’s impossible with the low refresh rates of e-ink — they just can use the main screen.

The new color e-ink phone will not be capable of displaying video, but according to Hisense, it has “better refresh rates than previous e-ink phones”. There’s no video showing how fast is “better refresh rates”, though. And we haven’t tried it yet, so we can’t really tell if this is true or not. 

Good for your digital wellbeing

If video and games are not your priority, a phone with a gorgeous color display that can be seen under any lighting conditions and lasts for weeks on a single charge sounds like a great device to have. It’s also seems great for your digital wellbeing.

The color e-ink display seems ideal for reading the web, comics, and working with emails, spreadsheets, and presentations. And since the nature of the display is not conducive to video binging, you will be able to curb your phone usage better. Not to mention the fact that you won’t be wasting your eyes looking at a bright LCD or OLED screen.

We are here at CES 2020, so stay tuned for more.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.