How an E-Ink Display Can Help Keep You Focused and Happy

Philips offers a new monitor with the best of both worlds

  • A new monitor melds an e-ink display with a traditional LCD panel. 
  • Experts say e-ink reduces eye strain and can help with concentration by reducing distractions. 
  • A new generation of e-ink displays offer color and are being used in note-taking devices. 
Philips' e-ink dual display monitor


A growing number of e-ink displays offer relief for sore eyes and can help you focus on your work. 

Philips has released a split-screen monitor that includes both a black-and-white e-ink panel and a full-color LCD. The e-Ink display is meant to offer the paper-like viewing experience that makes them useful for reading ebooks, while the regular LCD will be useful for video and games, among other things.

"The main advantage of e-Ink displays is that they are capable of displaying information in an extremely low power state, making them ideal for devices that require a long battery life," Kelvin Wira, the founder of Superpixel, an animation agency, told Lifewire in an email interview. "Additionally, they are also very easy to read in bright sunlight and have a wide viewing angle."

Double Trouble

The new Philips 24B1D5600/96 dual-screen monitor tries to give you the best of both options by combining the two kinds of displays together. There's a 24-inch color LCD monitor on the left and a 13.3-inch e-Ink display on the right.

"Each screen delivers ultimate multi-tasking convenience," according to the product web page. "With two side-by-side screens, you can view vivid colors on the big screen and read long documents on the ePaper screen. Enhance your creativity and productivity."

E-Ink Is Easier on the Eyes

Electronic book on an e-ink reading device like the Kindle or Nook

hocus-focus / Getty Images

You might be familiar with E-Ink displays from Amazon's Kindle e-reader. E-ink displays are a type of electronic paper that can show text and images without using any backlight or power. 

E-Ink displays offer a glare-free viewing experience that makes them useful for eBook readers. But increasingly, they've started showing up in other devices like note-taking tablets like the Remarkable 2 and laptops such as The Thinkbook Plus Twist from Lenovo

"E-ink screens are easy on the eye, as they do not rely on harsh LEDs to make a clear and readable image," Steven Athwal, the managing director of The Big Phone Store, told Lifewire via email. "E-ink works by reflecting and absorbing light, which makes these displays fully readable even in direct sunlight, unlike LED displays. The screens do not emit blue light, which has been shown to cause eye strain. The displays also consume very little power, which makes them an eco-friendly choice for prolonged use."

E-ink screens are easy on the eye, as they do not rely on harsh LEDs to make a clear and readable image.

Some gadgets like the Onyx Boox Note Air feature E-Ink displays that support touch and pen input, which allow users to write, draw, or annotate on the screen as if they were using paper. These devices also have software that can convert handwriting to text or sync notes to cloud services.

"The most significant drawback is the relatively low refresh rate of E-ink technology when compared to LED or LCD technology," Athwal said. "LED technology can refresh hundreds of times per second, faster than the human eye can detect, whereas E-ink is notably slower, sometimes taking a full second to refresh fully. As a result, it is unsuitable for watching videos or anything requiring real-time feedback. E-ink displays are almost always monochrome, making them unsuitable for viewing images."

Philips e-ink display


E-ink displays are improving to the point where they might be a viable alternative to LED displays. E-ink now has a new technology called Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP), which can display up to 32,000 colors on an e-ink display. This new display can enable more applications for e-ink displays, such as magazines, comics, or art. The tech also offers Kaleido Plus, which can display video content on an e-ink display at up to 30 frames per second. 

"E-ink displays may be a good choice for people who want an electronic device that looks and feels more like traditional paper, or for those who want to reduce eye strain while reading for extended periods of time," Daniel Taylor, the co-founder of The Stock End said in an email. "I personally have a Kindle Oasis and love how it provides a relaxing relief to your eyes after spending too much time with typical phone and computer displays." 

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