More than a decade after the first color, electronic paper displays popped up at CES 2010, the technology’s chief innovator E Ink has built a color panel capable of powering ereaders, smartphones, retail signage displays, and, now, even monitors.
This week, Chinese electronics manufacturer Dasung unveiled what it’s calling The World’s First E Ink Monitor which features a 25.3-inch Kaleido 3 color E Ink display. Based on details in the company’s Indiegogo funding campaign, the 25.3-inch display supports 4,096 colors and a resolution of up to 3,200 x 1,800. That sounds good but it should be noted that the number is likely based on Kaleido 3’s 300ppi rating. Essentially it’s the same resolution you’ll find on your best Amazon Kindle reader. On the other hand, that ppi beats Apple’s Studio Display, which has a resolution of 5,120 x 2,880 and 218 pixels per inch.
Dasung promises turbo refresh rates along with the company’s “Dasung X- color Filter” technology that should improve contrast, vibrancy, text darkness, and other on-screen effects. It’s not clear if all of this enhances or replaces E Ink’s own Kaleido 3 display enhancement technologies.
The look of color E Ink
In the promotional video, it’s clear the slightly curved display is quite thin and lets you switch from landscape to portrait mode orientation. However, the display also looks, well, a bit dull. Like most E Ink displays, its reflective technology is well-equipped for use in well-lit environments (there’s also a front light to decrease blue-light impact) but since there’s no backlight to shine through the colors, the display imagery looks flat and almost a little grayed out.
Despite Dasung’s promises of “unbelievable refresh speed on Color E Ink” the video makes it appear as if the display’s refresh rate might fall somewhere below 60Hz. Some of the best cheap monitors, meanwhile, promise 120Hz refresh rates or higher, and most reports have E Ink’s Kaleido 3 at a 350ms response time (so the best gaming monitor, this is certainly not). That means you should not expect the same kind of visual response you’ll find on any of the best monitors on the market.
What you will get is a cool-operating, easy-on-the-eyes, ultra-low-powered display that, we guess, could be the talk of your office, home office, or student set-up. As for how much such a display will cost you, we don’t know. Dasung’s campaign does not feature a price or any details about when the color E Ink display will ship to consumers, aside from the tantalizing, “coming soon.”.