The Bigme B251 is an all-in-one desktop computer with a 25.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixel, a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. But what makes this computer different from most is its display technology. Instead of a LCD display, it has an E Ink Kaleido 3 color display with support for up to 4,096 colors and a front-light with adjustable color temperature.
Whether that’s something you want in an all-in-one PC or not remains to be seen, but it’s the first All-in-One from any company to feature an E Ink Color display. And if you’d rather just get the display without the built-in PC, that’s an option too. The Bigme 251 Color E Ink Monitor is going for $1,299 and up during a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, while the Bigme B251 All-in-One is available for $1,899 and up.
Those are Super Early Bird prices. If you miss out on those limited deals, then the prices go up to $1,499 and $1,999, respectively.
And if you skip the crowdfunding campaign and wait for the retail versions, the Bigme B251 monitor is expected to sell for $1,999 while the B251 All-in-One PC has a list price of $2,999.
Still, at least during crowdfunding, the Bigme B251 monitor looks like a (relative) bargain. The closet competition would be the Dasung Paperlike Color, which is going for $1500 during crowdfunding.
Dasung and Bigme claim that E Ink monitors offer a more comfortable reading experience, since light doesn’t shine from the display directly toward your eyes. Instead E Ink screens are reflective displays that don’t need any illumination at all if you’re viewing them in an environment where ambient lighting is bright enough. But these screens also tend to have LED front lights in the bezels that cast light over the top of the display to make them easier to see indoors.
E Ink is also a low-power solution that doesn’t need any power at all to display a static image. Power is only consumed when you refresh the contents of the page.
Those features make E Ink displays excellent solutions for eBook reader, since you typically only need to refresh the display once or twice per minute, making it possible to get weeks of battery life from a device with a fairly small battery.
But there are also down sides to E Ink. The display technology typically has a very low refresh rate when compared with LCD or OLED screens. And while Bigme, Dasung, and other companies (like Onyx BOOX) have come up with workarounds that allow you to refresh on-screen content quickly enough for video playback, reasonably smooth web page scrolling, or other high-motion tasks, you have to sacrifice image quality to do that. Generally speaking if you refresh the screen multiple times per second, you’re going to see “ghosting,” where some pixels get stuck and you see a bit of the previous image as well as the new image.
Up until recently most E Ink displays were also black and white screens that only offered up to 16 shades of grey and no color. Over the past few years we have seen E Ink introduce several different color displays, but they come with their own compromises. Not only do they not display as many colors as other display technologies, but the colors tend to look more muted or washed out. And because E Ink’s Kaleido 3 displays place a color filter over a more traditional black and white screen, it means that you sacrifice image quality when viewing color content.
The Bigme B251’s 3200 x 1800 display packs 145 pixels into each inch of the display… for black and white content. But the effective resolution will most likely be lower than that for black and white content.
Those compromises would probably be easier to put up with if large E Ink displays weren’t so uncommon that they tend to be expensive. You can find plenty of LCD monitors with better color support and higher screen refresh rates for much lower prices. And the same goes for All-in-One PCs.
Anyway, if you’re still considering the Bigme B251, here are some things to keep in mind. Whether you buy the display or the all-in-one PC, you’ll get a device with a 25.3 inch display that measures 598 x 360 x 31mm (or about 23.5″ x 14″ x 1.2″).
Both versions feature built-in stereo speakers, and a set of ports that includes:
- Mini HDMI
- 2 x USB Type-C
- 3 x USB Type-A
- 1 x USB Type-B
- 1 x 19V DC power input
And both feature the same 3200 x 1200 pixel E Ink Kaleido 3 display with adjustable color temperature, allowing you to choose warmer or cooler lighting.
The Bigme B251 series devices come with a stand that features a swivel hinge, allowing you to position the screen in landscape or portrait orientation. There’s also support for screen mirroring, allowing you to, for example, beam your phone’s display to the bigger screen. And in addition to physical power, volume, and settings buttons, there’s support for interacting by voice by saying things like “power on,” “power off, “volume up,” “volume down,” or “brighter.”
But while the All-in-One has a processor, memory, storage, and Windows 11 software, the monitor version of the Bigme B251 is designed to be plugged into a PC or other devices.