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BenQ’s New Monitors have an “ePaper” Mode, or so the Marketing Fluff Claims

Remember Pixel Qi? This was a niche screen tech that was spun off from the OLPC project. It had a unique dual-mode LCD screen tech which offered a screen which gracefully faded from full-color (when viewed inside) to grayscale (when viewed in full sunlight).

I haven’t heard Pixel Qi mentioned anywhere for about 4 years now, but I was reminded of the tech when I heard about BenQ’s new monitors. No one’s seen them yet, but everyone is talking about how the marketing materials mention an ePaper mode that lets you switch to a black and white view for a distraction-free reading experience.

The BenQ GL2780 is a 27″ monitor built around a 1920 x 1080 resolution TN LED display. It has a 75 Hz refresh rate,  a pair of 2-watt speakers, and is expected to sell for about $180. There’s also a smaller model, the BenQ GL248, which has a 24″ with similar display features (but no speakers). It is expected to retail for $150

According to BenQ this monitor uses BenQ’s “flicker-free technology,” emits less blue light than a typical display, and has a “color weakness mode” that allows users with red or green color vision deficiency to adjust the tint of the monitor.

And most importantly, these monitors have a grayscale "ePaper" mode. It’s not clear exactly how this mode works; is it simply grayscale with the backlight turned down, or is this some adaptation of Pixel Qi tech (which actually is available for license)?

I did some digging in the hopes that I could prove it was the latter, but I didn’t find anything.

If it turns out that this is simply a grayscale mode for an ordinary LED monitor, that is hardly worth noting; I have a similar feature on my 5 year old Dell laptop, and I think there’s even a similar setting in Windows and most other OSes. Liliputing even noted that Google integrated something like this into their smartphones, and use it to encourage you to put your phone down at the end of the day.

If you find anything, let me know!

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