The Hisense Touch Lite has an E INK display and it’s a dedicated music player. The product was designed to easily fit in your jeans pocket, just like a smartphone, as it has the exact same candy bar design. Unlike a traditional phone, the battery is large and will give you about a month, before you need to recharge it. This phone can support wired headphones through a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it does support Bluetooth. Should You Buy This? This hands-on exam will answer that question.
The Hisense Touch features a 5.84 E INK Carta HD capacitive touchscreen with a 1440 x 720 solution resolution with 287 PPI. It has a front-lit screen and a color temperature system, which allows you to interact with the screen in low light conditions. The screen is completely flush with the bezel and protected by a layer of glass. The front and back are piano black.
Under the hood is a Qualcomm quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. There is a USB-C port for charging the device and WIFI for accessing the internet and downloading apps. This device supports Bluetooth 5.1, so you can pair headphones wirelessly. If you want better sound quality, you can plug in a wired pair via the 3.5mm headphone jack and the sound can reach 122dB. If you don’t feel like using headphones, there are dual 1216 AAC stereo speakers and they have that neat little grill design. It is powered by a 3000mAh battery and weighs 155g.
The overall design and features are similar to the Hisense Touch HIFI music player, but it costs about $35 less and lacks the HIFI chip and lacks many codecs. The Touch Lite has less RAM and internal storage and lacks a camera. Most of the major streaming platforms like Spotify or YouTube Music don’t even offer a HIFI listening experience, only Tidal does. Apple Music offers spatial sound and you will get a very good experience with Apple Music on the Touch Lite. However, if you’re the type of person who invests in high-quality sound, has expensive wired headphones, and listens to FLAC, you’ll be better served by picking up the Touch HIFI for $329.99 in the Good e-Reader Store. If you want to buy the Touch Lite, it sells for $299 in our store.
The retail packaging is rather ordinary. It’s made of cardboard and it just says Touch with a cool font on the front and on the back it lists some of the other devices Hisense sells. Inside the box is a quick start guide and the device, encased in waxed paper. There is no USB cable inside, maybe Hisense forgot to include it, or they think everyone already has a USB-C cable.
The feel of cool aluminum when you take it out of the box, the look of an all-new form factor from Hisense, and the sound of some of the best speakers of any electronic device on the market. With the Hisense Touch, there’s no need for external speakers as this unit gives you all the bass range and decibels you’ll ever need.
Hisense bills it as a music player, but it does so much more too. It runs Android 11 and uses an all-new interface called Touch OS, which gives every main function a big, sparkling square. This will launch commonly used features like music player, audio settings, screen settings, system updates, etc. The main navigation is at the bottom of the page and provides shortcuts to the ebook reader app, music player, app menu, and settings.
This device comes with 4 different refresh modes, similar to the Onyx Boox range of eReaders. Normal mode is clear mode, which gives you beautiful app icons, text and PDF image clarity, it also has the same A2 mode, which degrades image quality and offers a slight increase in performance. The two additional modes are speedX and X-mode, which makes playing audio on Youtube or other streaming services extremely viable.
Importantly, the Hisense Music Player primarily targets the Chinese market and has a number of pre-installed apps, as well as an app store full of them. Hisense has always made its E INK products internationally friendly and supports up to 46 different languages, including English. This means that all interface and UI will be in your native language, which is essential.
If you want more control over the E INK experience, Hisense has you covered. There is an anti-aliasing option to make fonts look sharp and not blurry. There is a contrast mode to make the differences between black and white more pronounced. There are different battery saving modes, such as standard power saving mode and super power saving mode. You can get about three weeks of use in super power saving mode, as it shuts down many background processes.
You can install your own app markets or apps on an individual basis. Since there are no cameras on this product, you cannot do video chats, but you can do audio chats, such as WhatsApp, Line, or even make WIFI calls to your friends. The music player is typical Android fare, so you can install your own. I have Audible installed and I listen to audiobooks while taking long walks or working out. I almost like audiobooks better than my dated playlist because I can lose track of time and immerse myself in a story.
This Hisense Touch goes beyond just listening to music, but is also a handy little e-reader. The stock reader app supports all major formats, such as EPUB, PDF, MOBI, TXT, DOC, CBR, and CBZ. You can download all your favorite books, comics and manga. You don’t need to pinch and zoom to read the images, it’s also great for webtoons. You can increase font size, increase font type, change line spacing or margins. You can use the volume keys to turn pages, which is handy if you don’t always want to swipe or gesture with the touchscreen.
If you’re the type of person who has a huge library of DRM-free books on your computer or hosted on cloud storage, you can get away with using the stock reader app. For everyone else, you’ll want to download your favorite reading app like Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Moon+ Reader, Scribd, or audiobook providers like Audible, Audiobooks.com, Librovox Audiobooks, or just listen to them on YouTube. You will need to upload your own APK files, or install an alternative app market like the Good e-Reader App Store, Samsung Galaxy App Store, Amazon App Store or simply upload the files directly via apkmirror with your web browser. I found that using the web browser and accessing Webtoons and Goodreads websites provides a good experience, where you don’t even really need to install the apps.
You’re not going to want to use it as a PDF reader because the screen is too small, but that’s the same with the vast majority of smartphones on the market. Screens just aren’t going to give you a good reading experience. If you want an E INK screen to read them, you will at least have to opt for a 10.3-inch reader, of which there are many, or a 13.3, which will read A4 documents.
If you don’t listen to HIFI music, but still want an audiobook or music player, the Hisense Touch Lite has you covered. Most smartphones these days have ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack and opted for Bluetooth, which doesn’t have enough bandwidth for a HIFI listening experience anyway. This is why Hisense becomes a brand that does it all. They have a dedicated e-reader with the Hisense Reader, Hisense Touch HIFI and Hisense Touch, in addition to their range of modern smartphones such as the Hisense A9 4G. They seem to market dedicated E INK displays for all sorts of different usage scenarios and they’re the only ones that do.
I dig the Hisense brand, they make everything user friendly and don’t burden an arm and a leg. Their products in North America and Europe are not easy to find in a retail environment as they are mostly sold online. I think our store is the only one outside China that sells it. The only good thing about Hisense E INK products in general is the support for nearly 40 major languages, so there’s huge value there.
Hisense Touch Lite
- E ink screen
- Long battery life
- Android 11 operating system
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Two speakers + Bluetooth
- No SD card
- Doesn’t have Google Play
- Having to download apps
- Can only buy online
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.