TCL unveiled its NxtPaper 2.0 technology in early 2023, a specially coated panel that gives the device a paper-like feel. One of the first phones is the TCL 40 NxtPaper 5G, and we finally have a unit with us.
The phone is an affordable device with two key features – the first is the clear screen, the other is the next-gen connectivity, achieved by the Dimensity 6020 chipset. The display itself has a 6.6-inch diagonal and HD+ resolution, but the paper-like finish is what sets it apart.
Other specs include a 5,000mAh battery with 15W charging, a 50MP rear camera, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a 3.5mm audio jack next to USB-C.
Okay, let’s get to the actual opening. The retail box 40 NxtPaper 5G is made to look like a book, including leather texture, so it’s very comfortable to read. To access the device, we flip the hard cover and then the transparent first page. Opening the “book” in the middle brings us to the USB-A to USB-C cable and the SIM tray ejector pin – there is no charger in the box.
We’re not impressed that TCL decided to skip the adapter, but since the charging speed isn’t anything spectacular, we’re guessing an old USB-A charger lying around the house will do. The phone itself is pretty light with a plastic body that has a papery feel to it.
Powering on and setting up the device is very easy, no different than any other Android smartphone. The screen is fast, and there is nothing like other e-ink gadgets – the touch screen responds to all kinds of touches. At first glance, the colors seem a little dull, but we’ll make sure to do more detailed comparisons.
There’s still a display colors setting, and the Vivid mode is rather tame. There is no glare or reflection, and fingerprints are not a problem, which allows the screen to be enjoyed from all directions.
There is a Nxtpaper mode with two settings – Color Paper and Color Paper. Here is where the change is visible – colors are thrown down and are not active. The whole color picture is still there; 4K videos run smoothly at 60fps, but brightness is low to make it easier on the eyes.
Color Paper mode removes all colors and makes everything on the display black or white. Coupled with the lack of blue light is a new visual sensation, which is much easier on the eyes.
Switching between modes also affects how icons appear on the screen, but you can’t take a completely black and white screenshot – the effect is only applied to the panel, not the actual system.
Standard • Colored paper • Colored paper
TCL is currently selling the 40 NxtPaper 5G in Europe for €250/£220 for the 6/256GB memory variant. It’s definitely a phone worth considering if you value eye comfort over performance.