E Ink may be commonplace in e-readers these days, but innovation around the technology is still very much getting started. Beijing-based Dasung has been at the forefront of this wave since 2014, and now the company is launching its biggest product ever — literally.
Meet the Paperlike 253, a 25.3-inch monitor that uses E Ink technology rather than more traditional LEDs. The screen is large even for a regular monitor; in terms of E Ink screens, it’s positively enormous. Dasung has been making E Ink monitors for years, now, but its previous model is only around half the size of the Paperlike 253.
It’s a bold product, to be sure. There’s a solid reason E Ink hasn’t been picked up by most big tech companies yet — its best use cases are pretty niche. E Ink screens are really great for reducing eye strain and generally creating an experience that emulates what it feels like to read off a piece of paper. But E Ink also comes with some major caveats — not the least of which is the price point.
Not for everyone — If you’re someone who reads and works on computers all day, there’s no screen kinder to your body than E Ink. The headaches and eye strain associated with LCD screens is nonexistent with E Ink.
This is not a monitor for your average computer user, though. It starts at $2,000, for one thing — enough to buy a full gaming PC and monitor setup. Most people will choose a bit of eye strain over a $2,000 monitor.
And you do lose out on some functionality by taking away the tiny lights that comprise a traditional LCD monitor. Dasung’s monitor only displays in greyscale, for example, which means you’ll miss out on much of the web’s vibrancy when using it. Watching Netflix on E Ink just doesn’t hit the same. And gaming is pretty much out.
Pushing the E Ink limits — Even if it is expensive and somewhat limiting, Dasung’s innovation here is very promising. Large E Ink screens are particularly hard to come by; high-resolution ones are nearly nonexistent on the market. Dasung’s screen is exceptional in both cases, and the company has even created a chipset they’re calling “Turbo Tech” to speed up refresh times, which can be sluggish on E Ink devices.
Is E Ink going to replace LCD as the go-to monitor technology of the future? Probably not, at least for a long while. But that future is made much more possible by companies like Dasung that are willing to push the limits of E Ink, even if it’s far from the mainstream.