Hisense is best known for its TV’s but that’s not the only identity it wants to live with. To disrupt the market in a way never before, the Chinese Electronics giant is launching two new smartphones – the A5C and the A5 Pro with color electronic ink displays. The handsets use state-of-the-art typographic color e-paper technology. This adds a layer of color filler on the basic black and white e-ink screen that can display 4,096 colors, which, to put in context, is far from the millions of colors on the OLEDs that are a common sight on smartphones these days.

E-ink displays are popular with e-readers especially the Amazon Kindles that are designed primarily for reading. They offer second-best experience to reading a book’s hardcopy, thanks to their high levels of contrast that reflects light in brighter conditions. To also make the phone displays equally effective in darker environments, Hisense has built light into the display.

If you have used an e-ink screen before, you’d know, the single biggest disadvantage of this sort of display is its slow refresh rate. In the era when most of the phones tout refresh rates of 90Hz or higher, where do the A5C and the A5 Pro stand a chance. To make its worth, Hisense has included a full-screen page turning function, which will eliminate the minuscule flashes visible in e-ink screen when turning a page and enhance the refresh rate slightly.

Will refresh rate really play in on the buyer psyche? Hisense doesn’t see gamers and high-end tinkers as its target. These phones should appeal to the bookworms and social butterflies who can enjoy reading and make calls from the same device. Let’s just go deeper and see what specs the phones bring to the table. Hisense A5C has a modest 5.84-in color ink display and will be powered by Snapdragon 439 processor.

It will run Android 10 and feature 4000 mAh battery. Things get interesting with the A5C’s optics, it feature only a single 13 MP rear shooter and a 5-megapixel camera on the front. Slated to roll out in 4GB + 64GB and 6GB + 128GB variants the phone will start at 1699 Yuan (approx. $240) and begin selling in China from April 29 in black white, and blue colors.

Hisense A5 Pro shares almost the same specifications with the difference in processor. It is powered by UNISOC T610 processor and touts a faster refresh rate. The phone comes in two versions – A5 Pro CC and A5 Pro classic. While the former features a color ink screen, the later has a black and white display. Both, however, get a fingerprint sensor, NFC, and Type-C port. A5 Pro CC starts at 1799 Yuan (approx. $254), the classic model will retail for 1599 Yuan (approx. 225). A5 Pro phones will be available for pre-order starting June 1 with an additional bamboo green color option.


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