Showing posts with label Onyx. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Onyx. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Onyx Boox's confusing line of e-readers

Onyx Boox is probably the largest alternative vendor that specialises in larger e-readers. I use the Onyx Boox Nova and prefer it to the Likebook Mars (the software is better and build quality is superior).

However, there is a problem in Onyx releasing a device before quickly discontinuing the product. For example, despite the Onyx Boox Note Lite being released late 2018 it is not even listed as a product on the official website. There was also the recent release of the Boox Nova, but the e-reader is not sold officially by Onyx. Only the stylus supported Nova Pro is available.

Other than quickly discontinuing devices there is also the confusing list of e-readers. For example, the non-stylus Note Lite was released as part of the Note line despite having no stylus input note-taking capabilities. In the Note line, there are, now, officially three e-readers. The differences between these e-readers are significant and the user needs to be careful that they don’t order a device that doesn’t meet their needs. I think the Note line only needs two e-readers: a premium model and a more affordable one.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Picking the right Onyx Boox N96

Onyx's N96 e-reader comes in different versions and it is confusing to choose the right one. Below are the different versions of the Onyx BOOX N96:
  • Onyx Boox N96: No front-light; supports pen and finger touch. 
  • Onyx Boox N96C: No front-light; supports finger touch.
  • Onyx Boox  N96ML: Built-in front-light; supports pen touch. 
  • Onyx Boox N96CML: Built-in front-light; supports finger touch.
The above four models are previous generation devices with an E-Ink Pearl screen. The current generation is available in two models (there could be more but below are the ones I identified):
  • Onyx Boox  N96 Carta+: No front-light; supports pen and finger touch.
  • Onyx Boox  N96ML Carta+: Built-in front-light; supports pen touch.
The above two models are the latest generation ones with an E-Ink Carta screen. Both the previous generation and the current one support Android 4 and come with the same screen resolution (1280 X 825). The important difference is that the latest generation models have an E-Ink Carta screen. Onyx claims the E-Ink Carta refresh means darker text with more detail.

I have not tested any of these devices but, on paper, the model to choose is the Onyx N96 Carta+ (dual touch). In my view, dual touch is more important than front light functionality, as it is more convenient and with greater flexibility. In addition, if the stylus is lost, the device is still functional with touch support.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Why Kobo is the best option for larger e-readers

If you are looking for an e-reader larger than 6 inches then Kobo is the best option (Kobo sells devices at three different sizes: 6, 6.8 and 7.8 inches). Below are some reasons that make Kobo e-readers the right choice:
  1. Quality hardware: Onyx and Boyue screens are hit and miss. There are also problems with optimising the screen with the software. Consequently, problems with screen refresh are common with alternative vendors. Kobo's integration between software and hardware is superior.
  2. Easier returns: Front-lit e-readers can come with defects, e.g. bright spots is a common issue. Kobo's larger scale - owned by Rakuten - means device return is easier if there is a display defect. 
  3. OverDrive integration: You don't need to install an Android application, designed for tablets, to access OverDrive. Further, e-books may be borrowed and read using Kobo's software. 
  4. Cost: Larger e-readers are a niche product in an e-reader market dominated by the six-inch form factor and so pricing tends to be inflated. For example, the eight-inch ONYX BOOX I86ML is priced near £220 and the 6.8-inch ONYX BOOX T76 Plus is priced at £160. Kobo, in comparison, price the Aura One at £190 and the previous generation Kobo H20 (6.8 inch E-Ink Carta display) at £130.  
  5. KOReader: It is possible to install third-party e-reading applications on Kobo e-readers; this is a good thing, as Kobo's PDF support is poor. KOReader remedies the problem of poor PDF support and optimises PDF reading on a relatively small 7 - 8-inch screen.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Overview of eight inch e-readers

Six inches is the dominant e-reader size but there is a niche category of larger e-readers. Below is a list of available eight-inch e-readers:
  1. There are two re-branded Boyue T-80 e-readers available through Icarus (Icarus XL) and inkBOOK (inkBOOK 8). I've tried the Icarus XL and inkBook 8 and they are near identical but with differences in the processor used. Both devices run Android 4.2 and utilise the same stock e-reading software developed by Boyue. When I reviewed the Icarus XL, I noted the versatility that Android offers and this is further extended with some Android applications that work well in E-Ink. The biggest issues with the T-80 are: (a) Poor display quality with a lack of contrast and significant problems with ghosting; (b) Under-developed stock firmware with few features. The second issue is resolvable with the option to install third-party Android applications but the first issue, being hardware related, is not. A positive of Boyue's T-80 is the relatively powerful dual-core processor that renders large PDF files quickly in comparison to other e-readers. Android and the stronger processor does impact battery life but still gives the user a few days of regular use.  Finally, in comparison to the Kobo Aura One, re-branded Boyue T-80 e-readers are priced too high. The Aura One comes with a superior 300 dpi E-Ink Carta screen and retails slightly higher than the T-80. 
  2. Pocketbook InkPad 840 was one of the earlier eight inch e-readers. I tested the device and noted the lack of contrast, despite a relatively high 224 dpi E-Ink Pearl display, and both erratic software and battery performance. Unfortunately, the device doesn't come with Android and so the stock firmware is a serious limitation. The device's purpose-built Linux based operating system is not completely closed and there is the option, for the more proficient user, to install KOReader. The Inkbook's front light - considering this was one of the earlier eight e-readers - is surprisingly good and superior to the Boyue T80. Pocketbook released an updated model (the Pocketbook Inkpad 2) and state the contrast has been improved. Again, the device is priced too close to the Aura One to make it a plausible option.
  3. Onyx released the Onyx Boox I86ML with a 250 dpi E-Ink Pearl display that runs Android 4. I haven't tested the device but reviews praise the display quality. There is also a version of the Onyx I86ML with 1 GB of RAM (Onyx Boox I86ML Plus). At the moment, it is difficult to find an online retailer that sells the device.
  4. Bookeen released the Cybook Ocean 8 in 2014 with under-powered specifications. The Cybook Ocean was initially set to be released late 2013 but came out one year later. I haven't tested the device but reviews are negative.  
  5. Kobo Aura One - technically a 7.8-inch e-reader - is the one to choose. Kobo sells good hardware and the 300 dpi E-Ink Carta doesn't disappoint. Further, the front-light is the best I've seen on an eight-inch e-reader. I use the device as my primary e-reader and think the device works well enough with e-books. However, Nickel (Kobo's operating system) is significantly behind in software features compared to Amazon's Kindle line of e-readers. The biggest problem with the software, in my opinion, is the device's poor or near-absent PDF support. Installing KOReader is not an ideal solution but somewhat resolves the problem of poor PDF support.