When Dasung shipped the Paperlike 13.3" E-ink monitor last year, I was hard-pressed to say anything nice or to recommend the monitor to any but the absolutely desperate. The drivers simply didn't work, and I had heard several complaints of hardware failure.
Fortunately, at least one of those problems has been solved in the second production run, and possibly both.
A new Paperlike arrive on my doorstep last week, and I have spent the past few days putting it through its paces. The software is still far from perfect, and I have not had the hardware long enough to express an opinion, but the new model is significantly better than the original.
And you can buy one today from Sol Computer, where it is listed for $1300. (I paid around a thousand dollars when I bought one direct from Paperlike.)
There's only minimal visible differences between the hardware of the first- and second-gen Paperlikes; the original has a silver shell and the new model a black shell. But the software is much improved.
The original drivers were not finished before the Paperlike was shipped, and installing them required a blood sacrifice of a Google intern made at midnight two nights after a blue moon.
But with the new model, the drivers simply install. I had to reboot a couple times (once after installation and a second time when the drivers froze my laptop) but it's working now.
On the other hand, I installed the drivers on Windows 7. There is a report that Windows 8/10 users might not be so lucky.
For me, the drivers enable me to use the Paperlike as either an external secondary USB monitor, or a duplicate of my laptop's screen. The external option offers more screen resolution options (including 800 x 600, 600 x 800, 1600 x 1200, 1200 x 1600). My only options for a duplicate is 800 x 600 or 600 x 800 (possibly because my laptop doesn't support higher screen resolutions on its screen).
I have had the Paperlike for a week, and I have generally found it best to use it as a duplicate monitor. While I can use it as an external USB monitor, it doesn't work well. I don't think my computer has the graphics power to run a second monitor off USB; when I do it looks something like this:
The refresh rate can't keep up with the cursor, which is why it jumps around the screen. It's also too low to handle things like a scrolling web browser or video.
But that's when I use the Paperlike as an external monitor. When I use it to duplicate my laptop's screen, the performance more closely resembles the demo videos posted by Dasung:
As you might be able to infer from the video, Dasung is running the monitor at 800 x 600 resolution. Given that the Paperlike supports a higher resolution I think that might count as cheating, but as you can see it is very usable at that screen resolution.
In fact, the Paperlike has improved enough that I now feel comfortable recommending it.
Dasung has held a couple limited sales, but the best place to buy the Paperlike right now is at Sol Computer, the North American retail partner. Sol Computer also carries similar screen tech products like Pixel Qi laptops, tablets, and monitors.
Sure, with a price tag of $1,300, the Paperlike is ridiculously expensive. Plus, there are cheaper options (including Pixel Qi screens). But if you can afford a Paperlike and have vision problems which render LCD monitors unusable, this can help.