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TCL 40 NXTPAPER is a retail version of the nifty concept phone it had at CES

Feeling is believing when it comes to TCL's NXTPAPER technology, and we're happy to finally see it on a commercia phone.

Published onAugust 29, 2023

  • The TCL 40 NXTPAPER is the first phone with the paper-like feel of the company’s tablets and laptops.
  • TCL had a concept device at CES 2023 that looked a lot like this, but now it’s hitting retail.
  • The phone will have 4G and 5G versions in Europe and land in other countries soon.

TCL has a display technology called NXTPAPER. Appearing on select tablets and laptops, the tech gives the display a paper-like feel. It also dulls the overall look just like paper, making long-term viewing easier on the eyes. If you’ve ever used a Kindle Paperwhite, you have an approximate idea of what this tech is like (but it’s in full color).

At CES 2023, TCL showed off a concept phone with this technology baked in. We were huge fans (check out the video above). Now, the company is rolling out the TCL 40 NXTPAPER and TCL 40 NXTPAPER 5G, the first commercial phones with the NXTPAPER display technology.

Unfortunately, if you’re hoping for a flagship powerhouse, you won’t get that from these phones. TCL’s 40-series devices are budget models, and these two phones continue in that vein. However, the unique display offers something different in a sea of boring budget clones.

TCL 40 NXTPAPER series: 4G vs 5G


As usual, the 4G and 5G versions of the new NXTPAPER phones are not the same. As you can see in the image above, they don’t even look remotely the same.

The 4G model has a 6.78-inch FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a cutout for a 32MP selfie camera. On the back, it has a 50MP primary lens, a 5MP ultrawide lens, and a 2MP macro sensor. It has 256GB of internal storage, 8GB of RAM, and is powered by the MediaTek Helio G88 (MT6769). A 5,010mAh battery keeps everything going, and there’s 33W wired charging when you need some more juice.

Meanwhile, the 5G model has a 6.6-inch HD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a waterdrop notch. Inside that notch, you’ll find an 8MP selfie shooter. The rear camera includes a 50MP primary lens, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro lens. There’s also 256GB of internal storage, 6GB of RAM, and the MediaTek Dimensity 6020 (MT6833) controlling it all. When your 5,000mAh battery runs low, you can charge it up with a 15W charger.

Obviously, the main selling point of these phones is the NXTPAPER tech. That, coupled with the low prices of these phones, makes these ideal as pocket-sized e-readers.

TCL 40 NXTPAPER phones: Pricing and availability

The 4G model of the TCL 40 NXTPAPER line will cost €199 (~$215). It will hit European store shelves in September. Meanwhile, the 5G version will set you back €249 (~$269) and hit Europe in October.

TCL says these phones will roll out in other countries this year but didn’t give any specifics.

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