The iPhone 16 needs to steal the TCL 50 XL NxtPaper's best feature pronto

TCL 50 XL NxtPaper MWC homescreen ink paper
The TCL 50 XL NxtPaper (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Back at CES last month, TCL announced a swath of new phones and tablets touting the latest generation (3.0) of its NxtPaper display technology, and after seeing it in person at MWC 2024, it's the kind of upgrade we hope rivals like Apple consider adopting too.

TCL's NxtPaper tech essentially combines the convenience and readability of E Ink displays – like those you'd find on the best Kindles – with the color, brightness, and super-smooth refresh rates of modern smartphone LCDs. In the case of the TCL 50 XL NxtPaper – launching in Q3 this year – it'll be the first time the company has brought a smartphone with the technology to the US market.

Being able to seamlessly switch between a monochromatic UI and a full-color one (with 'color paper' mode serving as a halfway house) opens up the viewing experience on TCL's smartphones to no end.

Not a huge leap, but a small step for Apple

Apple already does a great job with its take on the always-on display that we've had on various Android phones for generations now, but add to that Galaxy S24 Ultra-beating levels of low reflectivity and technology that is far better adapted to reading without compromising on high-fidelity full-color visuals at up to 120Hz, and you start to wonder why it's the iPhone 16 that might be playing catch-up here.

While TCL's NxtPaper tech is proprietary and thus would have to be licensed by the likes of Apple, the underpinnings don't appear to be horrendously expensive, when you consider that the latest of TCL's phones boasting NxtPaper 3.0 panels – the TCL 50 XL NxtPaper and TCL 50 XE NxtPaper – will cost less than $229 and $199, respectively.

More from MWC 2024

Alex Walker-Todd
Senior Phones Editor

Alex joined as TechRadar's Senior Phones Editor in June 2022, but brings over a decade's worth of experience to the role, with an expertise in smartphones, tablets and wearables. He's covered keynotes hosted by the biggest brands and attended the launches for some of the most influential mobile products of the last few years. His experience was amassed at some of the most reputable consumer technology publications out there, including GSMArena, TechAdvisor and Trusted Reviews.