In July 2019, Dasung started shipping its third-generation E Ink secondary monitor, the Paperlike HD-FT. This e-paper monitor is based on a 13.3" 2200x1650 touch display with a front light. Dasung was kind enough to send us a unit for this review.
The Paperlike HD-FT is a surprisingly slick and lightweight monitor. It's like a large tablet or a large e-reader, but one that connects to your computer via a single cable that requires two connectors - USB for power and HDMI for data. The monitor than acts like a regular 2nd monitor.
The 13.3" E Ink display
The Paperlike monitor uses a 13.3" 2200x1650 monochrome E Ink display. I personally love these displays, similar to an e-reader. These are very easy on the eyes and look like real paper. Black and white is obviously a serious drawback, so this cannot be used for all applications.
The Paperlike's display is very fast. If you have in mind the Kindle's refresh rate then you got it wrong - the Paperlike can show video quite well, as you can see in our video above. One thing you will notice is that the E Ink display suffers from quite visible ghosting. This is not a monitor to actually view videos on, in my opinion - but it is useful for short informational clips, etc.
The fact that the HD-FT supports touch (note that Dasung also has cheaper Paperlike HD models without touch) is very useful - especially as one of the main applications for such monitors is prolonged reading of documents or web sites.
The Paperlike monitor in use
Having a second monitor is not for everyone, and having a small one that is monochrome is even more limited. But E Ink does have some major advantages. For people that suffer from eye fatigue, the display is much more easy to read on. And it is much healthier than LCDs or even OLED displays. If you find yourself looking at your monitor, reading or writing for long periods of time, this should seriously be considered as a good alternative.
When you think of a large tablet for reading documents or books, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting down on a sofa or your bed to read. But the Dasung monitor does not have any internal storage or battery - so it requires a cabled connection to your computer at all time. This is a serious drawback which limits the usefulness of the device.
Dasung's 3rd-gen Paperlike HD-FT monitor is an excellent device. It offers a relatively large and high resolution E Ink display with a fast response time. It is easy to install (at least on my Windows laptop) and all that is really needed is an HDMI outputs and a USB port.
The Paperlike provides a beautiful E Ink display that makes for comfortable and healthy reading. It is not useful for everyone - and the fact that it needs a constant connection to your computer limits the usefulness. But if you find yourself staring at a computer monitor for many hours, mostly reading or writing, than this could be a very good addition to your setup.
The Paperlike HD-FT was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo, and is now shipping globally (at Amazon.com you can buy it for $1,259). This is an expensive device, but if you suffer from eye fatigue or other related issues, this could certainly be worth it!