Skip to main content

TCL’s latest phones try to put an emphasis on eye comfort

TCL’s latest phones try to put an emphasis on eye comfort


The TCL NXTPAPER 40 includes a matte display for a paper-like finish and will be available in 5G and 4G-only variants.

Share this story

Rendering of TCL NXTPAPER 40 in blue.
Confusingly, the 4G-only phone seems nicer than the 5G version.
Image: TCL

Is your phone screen just too darn bright and uncomfortable to look at? Do you long for the comforting matte-like finish of a page of paper as you swipe through Tinder? No? Well, TCL went and made a couple of phones to try and remedy these problems anyway. The NXTPAPER 40 and 40 5G include screens with a matte-textured finish that emphasize eye comfort with reduced blue light output, which TCL says gives them a paper-like look and feel. If nothing else, they’re a refreshing departure from the stream of unremarkable budget Android phones the brand has been putting out over the last few years.

Confusingly, the 4G-only NXTPAPER 40 includes a few more high-end touches compared to the 5G version. The NXTPAPER 40 5G uses a newer MediaTek Dimensity 6020 chipset, while the 4G-only model includes a lower-caliber Helio G88 chipset. But outside of that, the NXTPAPER 40 offers more amenities like a bigger 6.78-inch 1080p screen, 8GB of RAM, and 33W wired fast charging. It’s also compatible with an optional T-pen stylus; the 5G version isn’t. The NXTPAPER 5G has a 6.6-inch 720p screen, 6GB of RAM, and slower 15W charging. There’s good news, though: they both have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Rendering of front and back of both TCL NXTPAPER 40 phones
The TCL NXTPAPER 40 and 40 5G are largely unremarkable but offer something a little different, at least.
Image: TCL

TCL’s whole NXTPAPER deal first showed up in concept form at IFA in 2020 and was later released in an 8-inch tablet the following year. This first iteration didn’t include backlighting and was more like a color E Ink screen. The version included in these 40-series phones does use a backlight like a traditional phone screen, though you can switch between color and monochrome display modes if you want to use it as an e-reader. Is this a thing people want to do with their phones? I’m not sure it is, but I respect TCL for trying it anyway.

Both phones arrive in Europe this fall — the NXTPAPER 40 will go on sale in September for €199 (about $215), and the 40 5G will sell for €249 (about $269) starting in October. The company says the phones will be sold in more countries later in the year and that details about US availability will come in early 2024.