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Boox's E-Ink External Monitor for Laptops Available, 25-Incher Incoming

Onyx International
(Image credit: Onyx International)

Sometimes, 16 shades of gray are enough for productivity workloads. This month Onyx International began to sell one of the industry's first 13.3-inch E Ink monitors that can be used as an external display for laptops. The company is also prepping a 25-inch E Ink monitor for desktop PCs.

E Ink displays are used rather widely for ebook readers and some specialized devices that can take advantage of their low power consumption and high contrast yet do not need colors. But the E Ink technology can also be applied to PCs that are used for things like reading, writing, or coding by people who experience eye strain when working with traditional monitors because of blue light, bright colors, or screen flash. In fact, E Ink monitors for PCs are beginning to emerge. Late last year Dasung started to sell its 25.3-inch Paperlike monitor and this week Onyx began to sell its Boox Mira E Ink 13.3-inch monitor 

(Image credit: Onyx International)

The Boox Mira display can display 16 shades of gray and features a 1650x2200 resolution as well as a 207 pixels per inch pixel density. The unit has a front light with color temperature controls (cold, warm), manually adjustable refresh rate (normal/text/video/slideshow), and supports capacitive touch. As far as inputs are concerned, the product has two USB Type-C ports and one mini HDMI connector. Furthermore, it even comes with VESA 75x75 holes in case its owner wants to use it on an arm.

(Image credit: Onyx International)

Onyx's Boox Mira weighs 590 grams, which is in line with weight of external LCDs for notebooks based on IPS, VA, or TN panels. Meanwhile, the Boox Mira promises more comfort when working with texts, spreadsheets, and code. Unfortunately, the 13.3-inch E Ink display is not cheap. It can be ordered for $799.99 directly from the manufacturer. 

(Image credit: Onyx International)

In addition to the Boox Mira, Onyx International is prepping its 25.3-inch Boox Mira Pro monitor featuring a 3200 x 1800 resolution (145 PPI) that is aimed at desktop applications. This monitor is going to have one DisplayPort, one HDMI, one mini HDMI, and one USB Type-C input. As for the price, the maker plans to charge $1799.99 for the unit when it becomes available.  

Obviously, E Ink displays in general and Boox Mira/Boox Mira Pro in particular are not designed for anything that might need a more or less decent refresh rate, so while they can  certainly be used to watch videos, they are not meant for gaming at all. Even a color E Ink display is unlikely to find  itself among the best gaming monitors.

(Image credit: Onyx International)
  • falcon291
    I enjoy my Kindle very much, and it almost replaced my paper books, but an E-Ink monitor with 16 shades of gray? It just seems like back to 1980s.
    Reply
  • Araborum
    I myself grabbed a Kobo Clara HD and haven't looked back since. Paper books slowly got replaced though a keep a handful of my favorites on the shelf. The monitor does seem like a strange move but i can still see its applicability in some cases. In this case, like with their larger screen e-readers, being able to read a PDF document without having to zoom and scroll around the page without straining your eyes is appealing. Granted its probably going to be a niche use case, but still, there is some potential.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    I'd love to have an e-Ink monitor for reading, though I'm not willing to pay more than the $300 of a decent quality conventional LCD for one.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Yeah, an e-ink screen such as on my Kindle is vastly superior to a regular monitor, for 'just reading'.

    For coding, you'd lose all the color enhancements in an IDE.

    This is neat, but very much of a niche product.
    And at $1800? Pass.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    USAFRet said:
    For coding, you'd lose all the color enhancements in an IDE.
    With 16 shades, you can still have some color-coding, just not quite as obvious.

    Using e-Ink for anything animated like typing text can be somewhat of a bother with ~1Hz refresh rate. Got to pause typing and wait for a bit for the display to finish refreshing to see the text exactly as it currently is in the frame buffer, same goes with waiting the display to catch up with a moving pointer or cursor. Also need to manually force a refresh to clean up ghosting and other artifacts from partial re-draws every now and then when using the fast-draw mode for responsiveness.
    Reply
  • voyteck
    And now people will use the built-in lighting and the entire point is moot since the only thing that really affects eyes is the contrast against the background, the contrast of the text being a distant second.
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    falcon291 said:
    I enjoy my Kindle very much, and it almost replaced my paper books, but an E-Ink monitor with 16 shades of gray? It just seems like back to 1980s.

    Dithering with 16 shades at 200 DPI should look decent enough. Should be superior to output from a laser printer (which can, of course, only produce black dots).
    Reply
  • lorfa
    25.3" 3200x1800 display that is mostly black and white.. for $1800?? What am I missing here?
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    lorfa said:
    What am I missing here?
    That you are not the target audience.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    lorfa said:
    25.3" 3200x1800 display that is mostly black and white.. for $1800?? What am I missing here?
    It is e-Ink.

    If you are the sort of person who feels like LCDs and other emissive displays are gouging your eyes out during extended reading sessions, these things can be life-savers. I am one of those people who still prefers doing non-trivial reading in dead tree format, can't focus on on-screen reading for more than about 30min at a time.
    Reply