One of the exciting developments in the past few years has been the introduction of a new kind of display called “electronic ink” or “e-ink.” Unlike LCD displays in many ways, it looks more like paper and opens up some interesting avenues for new watch designs. Today’s review is of the Phosphor Ana-Digi, an analog-digital watch with an e-ink display. Specifications include:
•45mm by 13mm, about 190g.
•3-hand analog movement, unsynchronized with the digital, set via the signed crown.
•Lumed hour and minute hands.
•Multi-mode digital display – white/black or black/white, with selectable displays of hour markers, date and time.
•Waterproof to 50m (150′).
•Stainless steel case and band, domed mineral crystal. Bracelet is 24mm, non-tapering, center section polished with pushbutton release and fliplock.
Read on for the full review.
The analog movement is quite basic, just hours/minutes/seconds, with quick-fading luminous paint. Note that the analog and quartz movements are separate, which is both a pro and a con: You can set different times for traveling, but on the other hand, its annoying if they drift apart.
The showcase of this watch is the e-ink display. As you can see from the pictures, it has incredibly high contrast, a 180 degree viewing angle and looks almost like newsprint. The blacks are speckled with white and vice-versa. It’s very easy on the eyes. The whole screen redraws for every update, which takes some getting used to as does the slow (one second) refresh (which is common to e-ink — even the Kindle).
I like the design of this watch. It has a clean, unfussy look of satin and polished finishes, and the non-tapering bracelet nicely balances the substantial heft of the watch. The crown is signed, and the two buttons control the digital display. The lugs curve down to meet the integrated bracelet.
The display is changed a bit from the predecessor Christian reviewed – the ‘E-ink’ logo has been removed and a bit of lume added.
The Ana-Digi is available on bracelet ($10 more, $195), leather or rubber strap ($185). Personally, I like leather, but you can choose and $10 is a very reasonable premium for the bracelet.
I’ve had a lot of fun wearing this one, changing the display modes and enjoying the novelty of the e-ink. It’s still not very readable after dark, though, since the lume fades quickly and there’s no illumination.
The lack of other features also makes this a bit less useful – no alarm, stopwatch, or timer. What it does have is that unique display, really.
Phosphor has also sent us their two latest digital-only watches – keep an eye out for those reviews hopefully this week. Those are a bit more innovative in form than the ana-digi. As is often the case, a new invention like e-ink first imitates the current system before being used to full advantage.