E Ink displays are easier to read outdoors than full-color LCD or OLED displays, and they use less power. But they have slower screen refresh rates, which is why you often find E Ink screens in eBook readers, but rarely in smartphones.

But Chinese phone maker Vernee has a phone with a fake E Ink mode that should help you get longer battery life when you need it most.

The $110 Vernee Thor E has a full-color display. But press the E-ink key on the side of the device and the screen shifts to black and white, the display brightness is lowered, the CPU and GPU are underclocked, and background tasks and push notifications are restricted. In other words, the feature is sort of like Android’s battery saver mode… but more so.

The reason I’m calling this a fake E Ink display is that the phone doesn’t actually use a display from E Ink Corporation, and as far as I can tell it doesn’t even use similar technology. I suspect someone’s not too happy with the choice to use the trademarked name “E Ink” to describe the battery saving feature.

While you probably won’t get the same kind of outdoor visibility in black & white mode on the Vernee Thor E as you would with a Kindle, Vernee does promise some pretty serious power consumption improvements. The company says a battery with only a 20-percent charge should last all day when in E-ink mode.

It doesn’t hurt that the phone also has a hefty 5,020 mA battery.

Other features include a 5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel display, a MediaTek MTK6753 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 13MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera. The phone supports WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G LTE, and GPS and has dual SIM support. It supports microSD cards up to 128GB.

There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, and the Vernee Thor E ships with Android 7.0 Nougat.

Like most Chinese smartphones, the Vernee Thor E has limited support for US wireless networks, but the phone is relatively cheap: Gearbest and TomTop are both taking pre-orders for just $110.

via Notebook Italia


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8 replies on “Vernee Thor E is a budget phone with fake E Ink mode for longer battery life”

  1. friends, i want to buy Geotel Note because this is fit in my budget, at this time this is available only in $80 and come with 3gb ram, 5.5 HD display, 3200mAh battery so suggest me this is good ?

  2. What are the chances this is a Pixel Qi screen?

    Pixel Qi is a type of LCD screen, and the “E-ink Mode” sound like what Pixel Qi can do.

    Btu this probably isn’t a Pixel Qi screen; the price is too low.

    1. And the company’s out of business. In fact, as far as I can tell, some tech blog bought their domain name, because pixelqi.com now redirects to a site that is definitely not associated with the display company.

      1. The company is dead, but the IP ended up in the hands of EFF founder John Gilmore:

        The screens are still in production.

        But none of that really matters to this phone. Pixel Qi developed custom LCD screens, and they had manufacturing partners. One of those partners could have used what they knew to make the screen for this phone.

        But as i aid in my first comment, the phone doesn’t cost enough so i doubt it.

        1. It’s definitely not Pixel Qi (which is a transflective kind of panel) and almost certainly not transflective technology. At least, the videos of the Thor E from MWC are highly indicative that it’s not. None of the videos show the display working in transflective mode. They’re all the same: black and white display with backlight on.

          It looks like what’s going on is that the phone drops the color bit depth to black and white in order to reduce the GPU’s load. That method is similar to reducing the resolution to save power. Basically calling it “e-ink mode” isn’t just misleading — it’s patently false. They’re calling it e-ink mode because it’s black and white. Unfortunately, it’s with the backlight on.

          Xiaomi made a transflective display on a budget phone in the past. For example, the first Xiaomi Phone had a transflective panel and cost $300, back when phones cost more. It wouldn’t be unreasonable if a transflective panel showed up in a $100 phone. In fact, a lot of China-designed smartwatches use transflective panels and they’re dirt cheap. There’s nothing special about transflective panels that would make them substantially more expensive than LCD.

    2. Yeah, this just looks likea ripofff samsung’s ultra power save mode (combined with a strange rip off of the eink name), no special hardware besides the physical button. Samsung used the grayscale thing too. Of course, they use AMOLED, so they can save on the blacks. I guess these days a 720p AMOLED might be that cheap…

    3. It’s probably just a normal display, but instead of showing colors, they show it in black and white. I’m not sure they save much out of this, and most of the saving is with the lower brightness, lower CPU and GPU frequencies, and other tricks.

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