TCL 40 NXTPaper
TCL 40 NXTPaper presents a compelling option for a specific target audience. Its unique features, solid performance, and competitive pricing make it a notable contender in its segment.
- Advance eBook centrist display
- Bundled Stylus
- Good camera
- Bundle note software could be better
In today’s age, we always see smartphone brands launching smartphones with claims of better performance, higher megapixels, outstanding design, and whatnot. However, many of these claims often do not change the general experience. The TCL 40 NXTPAPER 4G, while not being a powerhouse of smartphones, offers one of the most unique positions for this price range: an entry-level eBook focused phone.
In an unassuming exterior, the TCL 40 NXTPAPER comes with a 6.78″ FHD+ NXTPAPER display. Engineered to provide one of the highest grades of eye comfort, the NXTPAPER is a redesign of the traditional LCD. To clarify, NXTPAPER is not just a matte screen cover.
A typical LCD consists of a layer of LCD that generates colors placed above a backlight panel. This panel emits white light and serves as the base for “brightness” on the LCD display. To emit white light, the panel generates a wide spectrum of light, combining them into white light. At certain spectrum of light, 400 to 495 nm, which could strain the eyes after spending a long duration looking at it.
To overcome this, TCL replaced the conventional backlight with a specialized translucent backlight. Despite being called “Reflective LCM,” its character is akin to a transflective backlighting. This backlighting technology incorporates elements of both reflective and transmissive (conventional) backlighting methods.
During common usage, the conventional backlight is used to illuminate the display. However, when the NXTPAPER mode is enabled, reflective mode will be enabled, reflecting surrounding ambient light towards the display. TCL claims this emits no blue light as compared to the conventional way.
Paper like texture
The NXTPAPER comes with a matte display that gives it anti-glare capability like no other display can. Built onto the phone’s surface, the matte surface produces a paper-like matte effect not only upon touch but also when written on with the bundled stylus.
No compromise when it comes to color
Being a transflective backlighting LCD display, it doesn’t stop the TCL 40 from displaying very vibrant colors. It is capable of producing an NTSC 96% color gamut, suitable for everyday media consumption with no discoloration.
TCL also claims that with their NXTPaper technology, the display will still be able to output full-color imagery despite removing certain harmful colors. We put this to the test by verifying the display output between normal mode and NXTPaper mode.
As evident, there is no decrease in color between the two modes. However, we can see the brightness dropped, likely due to cutting out blue light and reflecting room environment light as backlight.
Beautifully Design, Heavily Enclosed
Encasing the TCL 40 NXTPaper 4G is a beautifully designed, glossy blue casing. It is available in two colors, we have the sophisticated Midnight Blue, while the other color is Opalescent. Other than the usual volume rocker, the lock button is doubled as the fingerprint sensor.
One odd thing is that instead of being level with the casing, TCL lifted the sensor slightly above the casing. It is lifted up to meet the finger better, especially since TCL has caved in the bundled casing power button area to provide better textural feedback.
Audio is not its strong suit
TCL includes a pair of stereo speakers with the phone. Using the earpiece and the speaker below, they output DTS surround sound, enabled through the “3D Boom Sound” option in the menu.
Based on the time we spent with the phone, we can’t exactly say the 3D Boom Sound actually does any good, rather it tend to drying up the sound, depriving it from it richness.
The smartphone features a versatile 50MP rear triple camera system, complete with a 5MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro sensor, effortlessly allowing users to capture landscapes, portraits, and intricate details with crystal-clear clarity. It also sports a 32MP selfie camera to capture striking details and unique expressions.
The main 50MP camera performs impressively, excelling at snapshots for daily use. It is evident that the selfie camera also packs a punch.
Humble spec, but practical
Powered by the mainstream MediaTek Helio G88, the phone can effortlessly handle your everyday productivity tasks while leaving some room for entertainment. It is equipped with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, with an additional 8GB of virtual RAM expansion.
The MediaTek Helio G88 is commonly found in the sub-RM900 price range, providing ample processing power to manage everyday media consumption and even handle light gaming. It excels in tasks like email writing, note-taking, and, if necessary, document editing without any hiccups. Additionally, in line with the e-ink theme, the Helio G88 has no issues handling ePub files.
Furthermore, it’s quite generous for a device in this price range to offer 256GB, especially many competitors only provide 128GB. What’s more, this device also supports external storage of up to 2TB in the form of a microSD card.
More of an afterthought
As mentioned earlier, TCL 40 NXTPaper comes with a stylus that is meant to pair with the bundled software, Jnote. However, the stylus feels more like an afterthought than a feature from the get-go. Here’s why we think so.
The stylus is just a passive stylus rather than an active one. While it requires no power, hence no recharge is needed, it lacks features like pressure sensitivity, customizable buttons, or, more importantly, palm rejection. This stylus essentially just mimicking a finger’s touch on the screen. Also, we notice the tip of this stylus cannot be replaced, making scratching the screen over time highly likely.
Second is the bundled software, Jnote is merely a trial edition, where users need to pay for the full version after the trial period has passed. While Jnote is among the better note-taking software in the market, we can’t help but feel that TCL could have included something else for users to better utilize.
We can still make it work
But does this mean the stylus is all for naught? Not necessarily. Paired with the right software, the stylus can still perform accordingly. By using Microsoft OneNote, as it not only has drawing support that a passive stylus can take advantage of, but it is also free!
As far as we can tell, Microsoft OneNote offers more functionality as compared to Jnote, plus the perks of being able to access your notes on PC or online.
Equipped with a 5010mAh battery and paired with 33W fast charging capability, the TCL 40 Nxtpaper has taken us through a few days of daily usage with plenty of juice to spare. While this is mostly intermittent usage over time, based on our tests, the phone can handle 6 hours and 23 minutes of continuous intense work.
The phone comes equipped with 33W fast charging. In our test, it takes about 1 hour and 47 minutes for the phone to be fully charged from 15% to 100%.
Priced at RM899, the TCL 40 NXTPaper faces fierce competition in this price range. However, it can be said that this phone carves its own niche as the device’s advanced display is a standout feature, appealing to ebook enthusiasts and users who value eye comfort. The stylus, while somewhat limited in its capabilities, adds a valuable dimension for note-takers.
On the photography front, both the main and front cameras deliver sharp and satisfactory results for everyday use. The phone’s performance, powered by the MediaTek Helio G88, meets the demands of regular productivity tasks and light gaming.
However, it’s worth noting that the passive stylus and the limited functionality of the bundled Jnotes. These shortcomings can be overcome by using alternative software like Microsoft OneNote.
In conclusion, the TCL 40 NXTPaper presents a compelling option for a specific target audience. Its unique features, solid performance, and competitive pricing make it a notable contender in its segment. If you prioritize distinctive technology and ebook functionality, this phone is worth considering.