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The TCL 40 NXTPAPER phone brings full-color e-ink to reality
TCL's award-winning concept topped The Shortcut MWC 2023 awards earlier this year. Now we know the specs, release date and price.
Update: We’ve added a video showing the TCL 40 NXTPAPER announcement.
I got to see the TCL 40 NXTPAPER phone concept – with a stunning full-color e-ink display – in person earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, and The Shortcut team liked it so much that it topped our MWC 2023 awards. It was one of those things in tech that you have to see to believe, and I did just that in Barcelona.
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Now you can see it, too – the technology is moving from concept to reality, as TCL today announced that the TCL 40 NXTPAPER phone will makes its way to Europe starting in September and “more countries globally this year.” Yes, the same month we’ll see Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max release date with a few minor upgrades, TCL launching a way more unique phone. I’m equally excited to test this one out.
In my hands-on review with the new color e-ink phone (then a concept) and its tablet counterpart, I had opined TCL's Nxtpaper 11 tablet and phone concept look better than my $1,000 iPad and iPhone screens. It’s true. The non-glossy, easy-to-read-without-glare screen looks great at angle angle and dramatically reduces blue light.
The result is a phone display that looks like a printed piece of paper and brightness levels that have increased by 150% vs NXTPAPER 1.0, reaching 500 nits.
TCL 40 NXTPAPER release date and price
When can you buy the TCL 40 NXTPAPER phone? It depends on where you live and whether or not you want a 5G smartphone. TCL will begin selling the 4G LTE phone in Europe in September for €199 (about $215, £251), with the promise that it’ll “come to more counties globally this year.” Let’s hope the US is on the roster.
The TCL 40 NXTPAPER 5G will go on sale in Europe in October (probably worth it to wait a month if you’re a cutting-edge techie), and the price won’t be that much more: €249 (about $269, £314). It’s also slated to launch globally this year.
TCL 40 NXTPAPER 5G specs
The TCL 40 NXTPAPER 5G full-color e-ink display is cutting-edge, but its specs are more fitting given the lower price point vs a new iPhone. This feels as if TCL is testing the waters to see how this technology is received before developing a smartphone with top-of-the-line specs that costs a lot more money for itself and consumers.
Also, this is what TCL specializes in: budget smartphones, like the TCL 40 XE 5G, that don’t break the bank. That might not be TCL’s roadmap forever. This is how TCL TVs started out too. I reviewed the very first TCL Roku TV in the US a decade ago, and they’ve only got better and better (and rightfully doubled in price) to compete with Samsung. So TCL isn’t using the TCL 40 NXTPAPER 5G to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra currently, but it doesn’t mean the technology can’t go there one day, or it won’t be licensed out (the way Samsung Display manufacturers screens for the iPhone and others).
📆 Release date: October
💰 Price: €249
📺 Screen size: 6.6-inch display
🖥️ Resolution: 720 x 1,612
💡 Brightness: 500 nits
📸 Main camera: 50MP
📸 Depth camera: 2MP
📸 Macro camera: 2MP
🤳 Cover camera: 8MP
⚙️ Chipset: Mediatek MTK 6833V (Dimensity 700)
🐏 RAM: 6GB
🗄️ Storage: 256GB
🗃️ microSD slot: Yes (up to 1TB)
🔈 Speakers: Speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
🔋 Battery: 5,000mAh
🔌 Wired Charging: 15W
⚡ Wireless Charging: No
📶 Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.1
👇 Fingerprint sensor: Yes (side button)
📐 Dimensions: 164 x 75 x 9mm
⚖️ Weight: 192g
🌈 Colors: Starlight Black
🤖 OS: Android 13
We’ll have more about the TCL 40 NXTPAPER phone and the fascinating use of full-color e-ink displays soon, especially if we get our hands-on this novel phone and if it ever comes to the United States.
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