A few weeks ago, Cherry Mobile’s upcoming dual-screened phone the Taiji, was leaked on the interwebs. The Taiji is quite an interesting phone because it’s the first locally-branded devices that has a secondary e-ink display on its back. And while the usefulness of that display is debatable, there’s no getting away from the fact that it looks freaking cool.
Cherry Mobile Taiji
- 1.7GHz MediaTek octa-core processor
- 3GB RAM
- 5.2-inch FHD IPS main display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 4.7-inch E-Ink rear display, 960 x 540 resolution
- 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 13-megapixel rear camera, AF, LED flash
- 8-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 4G LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- 2500mAh battery
Initial impressions: Read entire books without draining your battery
Electronic ink displays aren’t new – they’re the display technology that’s used by Amazon on their Kindle book readers that have been on the market for a while now. And they’re incredibly effective at what they do, giving e-books insane battery life on a single charge, thanks to the power-efficient nature of e-ink.
It’s not surprising then that companies like Cherry Mobile and Yota before them have integrated this technology into phones. The theory is that a large amount of screen time on a typical mobile phone is spent reading and digesting content like books, PDFs and news sites, and replying to messages, emails and text.
By delegating those tasks to a low-power secondary display, the hope is that you vastly increase the battery life of a phone, even one with a smaller than average battery.
That’s the idea at least, and while we can’t comment on the overall battery life of the Taiji (we didn’t handle the phone long enough to test that) the potential is there.
So, in a nutshell the Taiji is a phone with a 5.2-inch display paired with a smaller 4.7-inch e-ink panel on the rear. The frame of the phone is made of metal, and hasa design that’s reminiscent of the ridges on bamboo. The power and volume rocker is on the right, while the bottom holds two speaker grilles, USB port and 3.5mm jack. There’s an IR blaster located on the top of the Taji.
On the rear sits the 4.7-inch e-ink display. You can’t turn off the display, and it shows the last thing you were reading when it locks itself after a certain period of inactivity. That’s not a software bug – that’s literally how e-ink displays work.
There’s a couple of things you can do with the display. You can make calls, send messages via SMS, check the time, your schedule, read news taken from several news sources and of course, read e-books. Since the phone was just an engineering unit, Cherry Mobile may be adding a few more things to the mix when they officially release the device, but that’s what we saw for now.
Switching back and forth from the main and secondary display was easy. With the primary display on, pressing the power button once will turn of the primary display and lock it. Pressing it again unlocks the e-ink display on the rear.
Moving onto the other stuff: the Taiji’s main 5.5-inch display has full HD resolution. Powering it is a MediaTek MT6752 octa-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the rear, along with a 8-megapixel front camera. The battery is Android 5.1 Lollipop which is unfortunate in the time of Android Marshmallow. The battery is a 2500mAh unit that’s non-removable.
If the Taiji has a big weakness, it’s its price. At Php 12,999, it’s a bit expensive and is the same price of Cherry Mobile’s full metal flagship, the Flare Infinity.