E-Ink has, pretty much, owned the e-paper space for the better part of two decades, with their panels being used for most of the popular e-readers you can find in the market. Of course, it doesn’t mean they are the only game in town. TCL’s NXTPAPER 3.0 is one of the more interesting players in the space, as it takes standard OLED panels and gives them a paper-like appearance that makes them ideal for reading. The TCL NXTPAPER 14 Pro is the outfit’s upcoming tablet that uses this display technology.
That’s right, TCL’s e-paper alternative turns OLED panels into paper-like displays by fine-tuning them to be a lot gentler on the eyes. Does it recreate paper as well as E-Ink’s panels do? We doubt it. However, if you want an e-paper device that will hold up to long reading sessions without quickly tiring out your eyes, while retaining the resolution, refresh rate, and color reproduction of OLEDs such that you can use it like a regular tablet, this definitely makes for a more interesting proposition.
The TCL NXTPAPER 14 Pro is a 14-inch tablet equipped with the outfit’s NXTPAPER 3.0 display, an OLED panel that filters out of up to 61 percent of blue light to ease its effects on user’s eyes. It’s also extremely bright at 700 nits, making it highly readable even in direct sunlight, while including a Circularly Polarized Light (CPL) layer to light up onscreen text in a more natural manner, allowing it to create a reading experience that resembles reading a traditional book under natural light. The panel also supports DC dimming, which should help minimize screen flickering to further recreate the paper reading feel, while an Adaptive Color Temperature feature automatically adjusts the color temperature based on time of day and ambient light.
The tablet actually comes with two modes: reader and tablet. In reader, it turns into a grayscale panel that takes advantage of all the aforementioned tech to create a paper-like reading experience that’s supposedly a big departure from the typical reading experience on a tablet display. In tablet, it, basically, switches to standard OLED function, so you get the full 2.8K resolution (2,880 x 1,800), 120Hz refresh rate, and full use of the supported color space. The press release also mentions a color paper setting that, we’re guessing, looks to mimic colored publications, although there aren’t really any details supplied for that.
The TCL NXTPAPER 14 Pro houses reasonably good hardware, including a MediaTek Dimensity 8020 chip, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, although the unique display is definitely the big selling point here. Truth be told, we have no previous experience with TCL’s NXTPAPER displays, so we’re not really sure what to expect with the tablet, especially for long, sustained reading sessions. At a glance, though, the reader mode definitely makes the tablet a lot easier on the eyes, as it even includes software elements that simplify the UI, so it looks similar to e-reader interfaces without the noticeable lag every time the screen refreshes.