If you’re anything like me, you probably read dozens of emails, news articles, and even the occasional e-book on your phone each day. The problem with constantly reading on your phone, however, is that it can wear the battery down pretty quickly . Not to mention all the reports that claim staring at LED screens for long periods of time can damage your eyes.
Which is why one company has created a device that seems like a cross between an e-reader and a normal Android smartphone. Yota Devices’ YotaPhone 2 looks like a regular Android phone, but when you flip it over there’s a second monochrome E-Ink screen on the back.
The phone was announced a few months ago, but E-Ink, the company that makes the device’s display, showcased it at this week’s Consumer Electronics Showcase.
The main benefit of this secondary screen, according to the company, is extra battery life. E-ink displays are much more power efficient than the full colour LCD backlit screens on regular smartphones.
So, if your phone’s battery is down to its last 10%, shutting off the standard screen and switching to the E-Ink side could allow you to get some more use out of your phone. The company claims that if you only use the E-Ink screen on the YotaPhone 2, the device will last for five days on a single charge.
E-Ink displays are generally easier to see in bright sunlight, too, which is another perk. And, since it’s not backlit, you won’t strain your eyes the same way you might after staring at a smartphone or tablet for hours.
The YotaPhone 2 comes with its own e-reader app, but since you can mirror the phone’s regular Android home screen to the E-Ink side, you can also access your Kindle library there.
The E-Ink screen works smoothly, too. I played with it for a few minutes, and tapping icons and scrolling felt just as natural as it did on a standard touchscreen.
The downside, however, is that you can’t get the phone in the United States just yet. It’s only available unlocked in Europe and some parts of Asia where it sells for $US700. E-Ink says it will come to the US sometime this year, but didn’t offer a specific timeframe.