What is E-Ink Display? Its Pros and Cons?

You may need to learn about E-Ink technology to find the right display and manufacturer for your project. It includes the following:

  • What E-ink display is
  • How it works
  • Its advantages and disadvantages
  • Types of E-Ink Technologies
  • What applications it is good for

We will also discuss what you should ask to find a reliable E-Ink manufacturer.

What is E-ink Display?

E-ink display is a type of digital display technology that makes a screen look-like paper with ink. It uses electronic ink to create a black-and-white image.

Sometimes, people call it E-paper display. Both terms (E-Ink and E-paper) typically have the same meaning.

However, E-ink is a trademarked term owned by E Ink Corporation, the leading manufacturer of E-ink displays. At the same time, e-paper is a more generic term for any electronic paper-like display.

Unlike traditional flat panel displays, E-ink displays rely on ambient light rather than emitting light. This makes them more comfortable to read for a long time and allows for longer battery life.

They have become popular for e-readers, digital signage, and other applications. In recent years, advancements in E-ink technology have opened up new creative uses like wearables and other devices.

How Do E-Ink Displays Work?

To learn how an E-ink display works, I will learn the following:

  • Its basic structure
  • Its basic working principle
  • Some other additional technologies make it better

E-Ink Display Structure

An E-ink display consists of the following:

The top transparent electrode layer,

The middle clear liquid layer containing the E-Ink microcapsules,

The bottom electrode layer coated with a layer of circuit.

When an electric current is applied, particles in the microcapsules move. That is the basic structure of this technology.

Basic Working Principle

When a voltage is applied, the particles move to the top or bottom layer. This movement creates an image.

When the particles are at the top, it appears white because the particles reflect the light to the viewer.

When the particles are at the bottom, it appears black because the colored dye absorbs the light.

It can form a desired image by controlling the voltage applied to each pixel.

Some other technologies make it better

The particles remain in place even after the electric field is removed. So, E-ink displays do not require a constant power source to hold an image. We can still see the screen in direct sunlight without glare or reflection.

Some advanced E-Ink displays use thin-film transistor (TFT) technology that is used in TFT LCD and AMOLED. TFTs can make an Active matrix E-Ink display with higher resolution and faster refresh time. This can make them more suitable for more creative and new applications.

Advantages of E-Ink Display

After learning how it works, you may have to think about what it benefits for our applications.

E-ink displays offer several advantages over traditional LCD and OLED displays. They include the following:

  1. Use Lower Power
  2. Easy to read
  3. No Harm to the eyes
  4. Wide viewing angle
  5. A Long Lifetime

1. Use Lower Power

As mentioned in the section about how they work, E-ink displays only use power when the image changes. That means they use less energy than LCD and OLED displays.

2. Easy to read

E-ink displays are easy to read, just like reading on paper. They rely on ambient light to show an image. Users can see the screen even in direct sunlight without glare or reflection. That is an important function for e-readers and digital signage.

3. No Harm to the eyes

E-paper displays don’t need a backlight like LCDs or emit light like OLED displays. They don’t flicker. That is why they have no harm to our eyes.

4. Wide viewing angle

The E-ink screen has a wide viewing angle. We can see clear images from almost any angle.

5. A Long Lifetime

E-ink displays are known for long lifetime. They use very little power, so the parts inside don’t get as worn down as they would in traditional displays. Also, e-ink displays don’t emit light, so the pixels can have a longer lifespan than those displays that emit light. As a result, they can last for a long time over 10 years. Furthermore, this makes them better for the environment in contrast to LCD and OLED.

In conclusion, E-ink displays use little power, have high contrast, and are easy to read. Their displays have unique features not found in LCD or OLED displays. This makes them a popular choice for many special applications, like e-readers to digital signage.

Disadvantages of E-Ink Display

E-ink displays have advantages over LCD and OLED displays but also have some problems that you should consider. Their disadvantages include the following:

  1. Slow refresh rates
  2. Limited Color
  3. Limited resolution
  4. Price

1.Slow Refresh Rates

E-ink displays take longer to refresh than LCD and OLED displays. That is why they are less useful for applications like monitors, TVs, video players, game consoles, etc. These devices need to change images or play videos quickly.

2.Limited Color

Most E-ink displays can only show black and white. They can’t show full colors like traditional displays. However, there are some advanced color E-ink displays, like 3 colors and 7 colors.

3.Limited Resolution

E-ink displays have a lower resolution than traditional LCD or OLED displays. Therefore, companies choose high-resolution TFT displays or AMOLEDs in their products to show detailed information.


Most of the time, E-ink display prices are higher than LCDs. This is one of the factors that companies do not use them in their products. However, some E-ink display devices can save money because they last a long time and don’t need to replace the screen as often.

Overall, the pros and cons of E-ink displays depend on what they are used for and what the user wants.

Types of E-Ink Display Technologies

Several types of e-paper displays are available, each with unique features. And the most common types of them are the following:

  • Electrophoretic displays (EPD)
  • Electrofluidic displays (EFD)
  • Electrowetting displays

Electrophoretic Displays (EPD)

This type is just the one we often refer to as an e-paper display. They are usually white and black colors. EPD displays have high contrast, low power consumption, and easy-to-read in bright sunlight. So, e-book readers and digital signage applications often use these displays.

Electrofluidic Displays (EFD)

Electrofluidic displays use a fluid to create images by controlling an electric field. The fluid has colored pigment particles. These particles can be moved up or down the substrate to create an image.

EFD displays feature higher resolution and more color reproduction than other types. So, some applications like smartwatches and other wearables will use them.

Electrowetting Displays (EWD)

Electrowetting displays use colored oil that electricity can manipulate to create an image. The oil droplet is put between two electrodes, and an electric field moves the droplet to different parts of the display.

EWD displays feature faster response times and lower power consumption than other types. So, some applications like electronic shelf labels and portable medical devices will likely use these E-Ink displays.

 How to choose

In conclusion, each type of e-paper display has unique features and uses. Thus, it is important to choose the right type for your project.

EPD displays are best for applications that need high contrast and can be read in bright sunlight.

EFD displays are best for applications that need high resolution and color capabilities.

EWD displays are great for applications that need quick response times and low power use.


In short, E-ink displays are paper-like screens. They use little power, are easy to read, and last long. Though limited in color and response time, E-ink screens are ideal for e-readers, digital signs, and other apps that benefit from their unique advantages.

Choose the E-ink display that works best for you. As these screens keep improving, they will likely become more common in the coming years. They use the latest digital technology to give users a special experience that traditional LCD and OLED displays can not offer.

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