TCL's 50 XL Nxtpaper

TCL’s 50 XL Nxtpaper.

Tara Brown/CNET

TCL’s new phones want to make staring at your phone all day feel less burdensome on your eyes. The TCL 50 XL Nxtpaper 5G and 50 XE Nxtpaper 5G, announced Monday at CES 2024, both have a matte screen meant to simulate the experience of reading on paper versus a screen. 

TCL’s appropriately named Nxtpaper screens aren’t new to phones; the company launched two phones last year with the technology. But these are TCL’s first Nxtpaper phones to launch in the US as part of its broader 50 series phone lineup. Pricing and full details haven’t been announced yet, but all models in the new TCL 50 family — including those with its Nxtpaper screen — will cost under $300. 

240107-site-tcl-mobile-phone-first-look-v2 240107-site-tcl-mobile-phone-first-look-v2 Watch this: TCL’s New Phone Has a Paperlike Screen 01:37

The biggest benefit behind NxtPaper is that it should be easier on the eyes, with the company claiming that it filters blue light by up to 61%. It was difficult to tell how well the TCL 50 XL NxtPaper 5G lives up to those claims after using it for only a few minutes. But the screen’s matte finish was immediately noticeable, which I can imagine would make it more resistant to fingerprint smudges than a typical phone.

Read more: Best Phones of 2024

There was also virtually no glare on the display, which could make TCL’s Nxtpaper phones ideal for those who frequently read outdoors in bright sunlight. You can really notice this most when turning off the screen. Unlike many other electronics, the TCL’s Nxtpaper screen doesn’t turn into a black mirror. The step-down TCL 50 XE Nxtpaper 5G uses the previous generation of TCL’s Nxtpaper technology, while the XL version has the noticeably brighter 3.0 edition.

The TCL 50 XL Nxtpaper 5G being held next to another TCL phone without Nxtpaper. The TCL 50 XL Nxtpaper 5G being held next to another TCL phone without Nxtpaper.

The TCL 50 XL Nxtpaper 5G versus another TCL phone without Nxtpaper. 

Tara Brown/CNET

The phones have three different viewing modes: a normal view for general use with Android apps, a low-contrast color paper mode for comics and a black-and-white ink paper mode to act more like an e-reader. The NxtPaper phones will both include a 50-megapixel main camera, 5,010mAh battery and 128GB of storage. The XL will have a 6.8-inch FHD+ display, while the XE will have a slightly smaller 6.6-inch HD+ display with Nxtpaper 2.0 versus the XL’s brigher Nxtpaper 3.0 technology. While both phones will be the debut of the NxtPaper display in the US, TCL has previously included it in two phones that debuted internationally in August. 

TCL is also releasing two tablets with this newer version of NxtPaper: the TCL NxtPaper 14 Pro and the Tab 10 NxtPaper 5G. The 14 Pro will include a 14-inch screen with a 2.8K resolution display and run on a MediaTek 8020 processor. The Tab 10 has a 10.4-inch display with a 2K resolution alongside 5G compatibility.

While TCL’s Nxtpaper display isn’t new, its expansion to the US market is another sign that tech companies are trying to upgrade the part of your phone you use the most: its screen. There have been several efforts to enhance the display on your phone beyond just making it sharper and brighter in recent years, such as the iPhone’s Dynamic Island and the bendable displays on phones from Samsung, Google and Motorola. Those approaches are way different than TCL’s Nxtpaper screen, but the common thread between them is that they all represent an effort to make your screen more useful in one way or another.

15 Years of Android: Comparing the Newest Android Phone to the First

The first Android phone, the HTC G1 alongside Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5 The first Android phone, the HTC G1 alongside Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5 T-mobile G1 HTC Android phone T-mobile G1 HTC Android phone zfold5-3.jpg zfold5-3.jpg +12 more See all photos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *