An E-ink desktop monitor isn't mad — and this wild Philips screen could prove it

philips e-ink display
(Image credit: Philips)

E-ink displays are a fascinating mix of traditional life with technology, and I’ve always found them intriguing. From E-ink notebooks like the reMarkable 2 to ebook readers with E-ink displays like the Kindle Paperwhite, something is mesmerizing about the technology that recreates a texture as simple as paper.

I’ve wondered about other ways we could be using E-ink technology and whether or not companies like Apple could one day take a piece of the pie by making an iPad targeted at readers and handwritten notes because, let’s face it, software aside, writing on a Kindle Scribe rules. It looks like Philips has had the same thought and decided to add an E-ink display to the side of a computer monitor.

The possibilities of an E-ink monitor

Philips 24B1D5600 with e-ink display

(Image credit: Philips)

Why would anyone want an E-ink monitor? It goes against everything we look for in bright and vibrant screens to make our entertainment and work look as good as possible. On the other hand, as someone who always uses blue light filters on my displays, the thought of reading news articles or writing on an E-ink is really appealing. I can imagine getting the most out of note-taking apps, for example, by having them similar to how they look on a reMarkable 2 but as part of my Mac. 

I also use a vertical monitor for reading, and It’s so helpful in fitting more words on a display. Now imagine that, but E-ink, it wouldn’t be fancy, but it would be a godsend for my dry eyes, which are getting worse the more I work at a desk.

The largest E-ink display I could find online was a 42-inch prototype showcased at ISE 2023 by a company called E Ink. Now, it doesn’t look like any monitor manufacturers are interested in a 24-inch E-ink monitor, but I think it would be so cool to have one set up vertically in a multi-monitor setup. While it’s not exactly the same as my idea, Philips does seem to see value in E-ink and has released a monitor with the technology built-in in Asia called the Philips 24B1D5600.

Philips looks to innovate with E-ink

The innovative new monitor from Philips combines IPS and E-ink display panels to create a one-of-a-kind desk option for those who want our technology to be more like paper. Admittedly, the display isn’t the fanciest, with a meager 250 nits maximum brightness in a 23.4-inch form factor. But, those looking at a product like this probably don’t care too much about the IPS side of things, more interested in the 13.3-inch E-Paper panel. 

The E-Paper display also has a 45-degree hinge, so you can tilt the display to create the ideal work setup. I could see this working alongside another monitor on your left to form a masterclass in productivity. "we'd love to get hands-on with one, but it's only in Asia, for now, retailing for around $600.

I would love something like this, so hopefully, Philips not only improves on the IPS display but also looks to bring the Frankenstein's monster of a monitor to the U.S. and European markets soon. If so, it could become one of the best monitors for Mac.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.