E-Ink Mobile Phones

Android phones usually have LED displays which are not super eye friendly; e-ink displays as known from e-book readers come to the rescue. E-ink phones are rare but they do exist. My personal list:

Hisense A7 (2021)

Hisense A7
Hisense A7

At 170x85mm and with 9mm thickness, the Hisense A7 [specs] [shop] is far too big for one-handed use. Android 10 (API 29), no Google.

It has a 1800x900 monchrome e-ink 6.7" screen, with presumably 3x the reflectivity of the color e-ink but otherwise similar HiSense A7 Pro CC [no specs] [shop].

Xiaomi Moaan InkPalm 5 (2021)

Xiaomi Moaan InkPalm 5
InkPalm 5

At 145x75mm and with 7mm thickness, the Xiaomi Moaan InkPalm 5 [no specs] [shop] is close to fitting into one hand. Android 8.0 (API 26), no Google.

With a 1280x730 monochrome e-ink 5.2" display, it is more compact than contemporary Hisense offerings. The comparatively old Android version is somewhat surprising, as is the lack of cameras.

Hisense A5 Pro CC (2020)

Hisense A5 Pro CC
A5 Pro CC

At 155x75mm and with 9mm thickness, the Hisense A5 Pro CC [specs] [shop] [mine] is quite big for one hand; I certainly wish it was a small phone. Android 10 (API 29), no Google.

With 4096 colors enabled by Bayer filter, it reflects only 30% of the light that the monochrome HiSense A5 Pro [specs] [shop] would. So while having colors is quite awesome, I do use the backlight a lot more than I expected. For completeness: 1440x720 on a 5.8" display.

Hisense A2 Pro (2017)

Hisense A2 Pro
A2 Pro

At 160x75mm and with 9mm thickness, the Hisense A2 Pro [specs] [shop] is too big for one hand. Android 7.0 (API 24), no Google.

Taking over the dual display mantle from Yota, it has LED on the front and monochrome 960x540 e-ink on the back, being close in specs to the Yotaphone 2, not 3.

Yotaphone 3 (2017)

Yotaphone 3
Yotaphone 3

At 155x75mm and with 8mm thickness, the Yotaphone 3 [specs] [shop] is almost too big for one hand. Android 7.1 (API 24).

With both LED on the front and e-ink on the back (mononchrome 1280x720), it was the last phone by Yota before the company went bankrupt in 2019. [blog].

Yotaphone 2 (2015)

Yotaphone 2
Yotaphone 2

At 145x70mm and with 9mm thickness, the Yotaphone 2 [specs] [mine] fits into one hand. Android 4.4 (API 19).

With both an AMOLED screen on the front and e-ink on the back, you get the best of both worlds. The monochrome e-ink screen is curved which does not matter in practice, and the low 960x540 resolution is also enough. There is no backlight, though.

Yotaphone 1 (2013)

Yotaphone 1
Yotaphone 1

At 135x70mm and with 10mm thickness, the Yotaphone 1 [specs] [review] is almost a small phone and fits comfortably in one hand. Android 4.2 (API 16).

The mother of all e-ink smart phones, the Yotaphone has both an LED screen on the front and e-ink on the back, the latter monochrome with 640x360 resolution, which I imagine could be a little coarse.


E-ink phones are incredibly eye-friendly and encourage book reading instead of web surfing; that alone is one reason why they will always be awesome in my mind. I hope you enjoyed our tour -- have a nice day!

EOF (Apr:2021)