This E Ink 'Phone' Is Actually a Pocket-Sized Screen That Wirelessly Connects to Your Real Smartphone

You can pull out the Dasung Link for tasks like reading or email.

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Gif: Dasung (Other)

Although E Ink’s electronic paper technology thrives on devices like e-readers and e-notes, it’s less ideal for devices designed for far more than just reading and note-taking. So while Dasung’s new Link might look like a phone, it’s actually a pocket-friendly E Ink screen that’s designed to occasionally connect to a user’s more capable smartphone.

In recent years, with the arrival of electronic paper screens that can display full color text and images, we’ve seen a handful of companies release E Ink-based smartphones designed to make staring at them for hours easier on the eyes, and to leverage the low power consumption of E Ink screens to help maximize a mobile device’s battery life. But the limitations of electronic paper technology, including screens with low refresh rates, have meant these devices, like the Hisense A5C we tested back in 2020, have been kind of awful.

We’ve been spoiled by the beautiful full color, high resolution screens on smartphones from Apple, Google, and Samsung, so with its new E Ink-based Link, Dasung isn’t trying to compete with any of those devices. The Link might look like a smartphone, but it’s instead designed to connect to Apple or Android-based devices wirelessly, or with a cable tether, and serve as a compact external display that just so happens to bring with it the benefits of electronic paper technology for certain tasks.

Dasung Paperlike U and Link launch event (Dec-9-2022) Chinese no English subtitles yet

The E Reader Channel has shared Dasung’s product launch video for the Link on YouTube (it starts at around the 9 minute, 12-second mark) and while it’s all in Chinese, some of the key features of the device have already been translated and shared online. It features a 6.7-inch black and white E Ink display with a 300 pixels per inch resolution, adjustable screen lighting, and touchscreen capabilities allowing the UI of a connected smartphone to be operated without having both devices open in front of a user.

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The general idea is that users can switch to the Dasung Link for tasks like reading ebooks, emails, text-heavy websites, and even texting, while reaping the benefits of E Ink screens. And while Dasung does claim the Link offers a “Turbo” refresh mode that makes scrolling appear faster and smoother on its electronic paper display, users will still want to switch back to their smartphones for gaming or watching video content.

The Dasung Link is available for pre-order starting today in China in three different models: one that connects wirelessly to iOS devices, one that connects wirelessly to Android devices, and a thinner, less power-hungry model that skips wireless connectivity for a USB-C connection to certain smartphones from companies like Huawei and Samsung. Pricing details haven’t been announced yet, but we’re hoping the device is a closer match to basic e-reader models than the pricier E Ink smartphones we’ve seen released to date.