TCL has been selling tablets with its NXTPAPER display technology for a few years, and now the company is bringing NXTPAPER to smartphones with the launch of the TCL NXTPAPER 40 and TCL NXTPAPER 40 5G.

Both models are budget phones set to launch in Europe soon before rolling out to the rest of the world later this year. And both feature displays that TCL positions as better for your eyes than a typical LCD… although if you were hoping for an E Ink, paper-like experience, this ain’t it.

TCL says its screens offer a “paper-like viewing experience” with reduced blue light, a matte, anti-glare, and smudge-resistant finish. There’s also a sensor that automatically adjusts the display’s color temperature and brightness based on time and environmental variables.

But these aren’t the low-power, high-contrast screens you see on Amazon Kindles or other eReaders. They’re full-color LCD displays with support for refresh rates up to 90 Hz, which is great if you’re looking for smoother motion or better color reproduction, but maybe not as great if you’re looking for something truly paper-like that can, for example, display a static image indefinitely without consuming power.

As for the phones themselves, they’re an interesting pair. Normally you’d expect the 5G variant to be a higher-performance phone. But while the TCL NXTPAPER 40 5G does have a faster processor than the 4G-only TCL NXTPAPER 40, it has a lower-resolution display, less RAM, slower charging, a slightly inferior camera system, and only a mono speaker.

It seems like TCL was trying to keep the prices of both phones reasonably low, so it offset the costs of the processor and 5G support in that model by cutting corners when it comes to some other features.

The 5G model still ends up costing a bit more though. TCL says the NXTPAPER 40 will go on sale in Europe in September for €199 while the NXTPAPER 40 5G launches in Europe in October for €249.

Display6.78 inches
2460 x 1080 pixels
369 ppi
90 Hz
450 nits
6.6 inches
1612 x 720 pixels
269 ppi
90 Hz
500 nits
ProcessorMediaTek Helio G88
2 x Cortex-A75 @ 2 GHz
6 x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
MediaTek Dimensity 6020
2 x Cortex-A76 @ 2.2 GHz
6 x Cortex-A55 @ 2 GHz
GraphicsMali-G52 MC2Mali-G57 MC2
microSD card (up to 2TB)
microSD card (up to 1TB)
OSAndroid 13
1 major OS update
2 years security updates
Battery5,010 mAh5,000 mAh
Charging33W (wired)15W (wired)
Cameras50MP primary
5MP ultra-wide
2MP macro
32MP front
50MP primary
2MP depth
2MP macro
8MP front
Bluetooth 5.1
4G LTE Cat 4 DL / Cat 5 UL
Bluetooth 5.1
5G (2.7 Gbps DL / 700 MBs UL)
4G LTE Cat 13 DL / UL
AudioStereo speakers
3.5mm audio jack
Mono Speaker
3.5mm audio jack
SensorsFace unlock
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Proximity Sensor
Light Sensor
Dimensions168.2 x 75.5 x 7.9mm164.5 x 75.4 x 9mm
Weight195 grams192 grams
ColorsMidnight Blue
AvailabilityEurope in September
More countries later this year
Europe in October
More countries later this year

TCL say the NXTPAPER 40 also supports an optional T-Pen for writing and drawing on the phone, and there’s an optional case case with a slot for storing the T-Pen when it’s not in use.

press release

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