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E Ink displays offer a paper-like viewing experience that makes them useful for eBook readers and digital signage. But in recent years they’ve started popping up in other devices like note-taking tablets and occasionally even laptops or monitors. But there are down sides to E Ink displays, like slow screen refresh rates that make them poor fits for video and games, among other things.

The Philips 24B1D5600/96 dual-screen monitor attempts to offer the best of both worlds by effectively cramming two displays onto one stand. There’s a 24 inch color LCD monitor on the left and a 13.3 inch E Ink display on the right.

The display is available in China for around $850, but it’s not widely available in North America yet. Still, it’s an unusual device that’s either a very niche product for very specific use cases… or possibly a solution in search of a problem, depending on how you look at it.

The color portion of the dual-screen monitor is a 23.8 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, 123 pixels per inch, 75 Hz refresh rate, 178 degree viewing angles, 99.8% sRGB color gamut, 4ms response time, and 250 nits brightness. It can display 16.7 million colors and supports DisplayPort 1.2 and USB-C input.

You can also use this portion as a USB hub since it also has four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port with support for wake on LAN functionality.

The E Ink portion features a 13.3 inch, 1200 x 1600 pixel greyscale screen with a 3:4 aspect ratio, 150 pixels per inch, and an anti-glare finish. It has a front-light that can illuminate the display when used in a room where ambient lighting isn’t enough, and the E Ink portion of the monitor has a USB-C port for input and power delivery.

Theoretically you could use the E Ink screen to read documents or other materials while reducing the eye strain that some people experience when staring at more traditional computer monitors.

But the setup also means that you’ll most likely either position the color display off-center so that you can comfortably view both screens without turning your head… or you’ll position the color display so it’s centered with your keyboard, which means that you’ll have to turn your head to look at the E Ink screen.

It’s kind of hard to imagine this being comfortable enough to use for anyone to buy unless they really anticipate using both screens regularly enough that cramming them on the same stand makes more sense than using two separate screens or two different devices (like a PC and an eReader or eNote).

via Gizmodo

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  1. If I connected that E-ink screen to my PC to make it act like a 2nd monitor, and used it for text based things, I can’t think of a good way to interact with that screen.

    I’ve used an e-ink panel on a PC before, and using a mouse is a very painful and frustrating experience. Even the act of dragging a window over from my main screen to the E-ink screen is an exercise in patience. It’s not very fun to wait for your mouse cursor to settle down in one spot every time you move it. You’re basically watching a trail of smeared mouse cursor, and you’re not quite sure where it’s going to land until you stop moving the mouse for 2-3 seconds.

    I’m also not entirely sold on the idea that this is much better for my eyes. Yeah, E-ink screens are better for your eyes, but in this configuration I still have a bright 250 nits screen burning my retinas in my peripheral vision.

    Neat idea, but I’d sooner use a separate panel, which would afford me the ability to place it where ever is most convenient for me.

    1. I guess in this case you could use windows+arrow keys to make a window in focus move over to the second screen and maximize it without clicking and dragging. But then to avoid the “trail of smeared mouse cursor” problem, they’d need to go back and make the e-ink panel a touchscreen, while the monitor costs too much as it is.

  2. Yeah…I’d sooner spend $300-$500 on an e-ink tablet and $200-$300 on a good monitor and try to figure out ways to mount the tablet onto the monitor, and use the tablet as a monitor.