Review of Onyx Boox Palma: Bringing E-Ink Portable

The Onyx Boox Palma is an expensive smartphone-sized eReader, but for whom is it intended?

KEYNOTES FOR Onyx Boox Palma

  • With an excellent 300 ppi screen, the Onyx Boox Palma is an eReader the size of a smartphone that runs Android and lets you install a variety of apps from the Play Store.
  • The Palma provides enough of space for books and other things with 128GB of storage and the option to add a microSD card with up to 1TB of capacity.
  • The Palma has more features and capabilities than a standard eReader, but costing more than the 2022 Kindle. The choice to buy ultimately comes down to your own requirements and tastes.

It’s not a phone, but it has a smartphone-like form factor and runs Android. As an alternative, the Onyx Boox Palma is a neat little eReader with a few more functions and a little identity issue. Although it’s not the first eReader with this specific size or software, the Palma is undoubtedly novel. It also somewhat facilitates reading when on the run.

The Boox Palma costs $280, or €300, thus purchasing it in Europe is significantly more expensive. The item includes a protective case, paperwork, a charging cord (without an adapter), and the gadget itself. Additionally, you’ll receive 10GB of cloud storage space, which you can use to quickly download books and other media to your device.

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The Onyx Boox Palma Tech Side

The majority of eReaders are book size, so they fit nicely in your bag and aren’t overly big. Nor are they particularly weighty. However, because the Boox Palma is only 6.13 inches—roughly the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S23 or the Apple iPhone 15—it fits perfectly in your pocket. The device weighs about 170g and has dimensions of 6.3″ x 3.1″ x 0.31″.

Nevertheless, the Onyx Boox Palma has an E-ink HD Carta 1200 display with 300ppi resolution in place of a screen with a billion colors, which is good for quickly scrolling pages but not so great for playing games or watching videos (though Boox says you can do that).

Since the screen and bezel are flush, you might add a case to enhance protection. Thanks to the review unit, I was able to keep the Palma intact even after my puppy chewed through a hanging cord on my desk and took everything off.

The power on/off and volume up/down controls are located on the right side of the device. Additionally, there is a button on the left side, which is useful if you decide that flipping pages by swiping the screen isn’t your preferred method. Let’s face it, you can program every button to do anything from scroll through articles to do other things. The microSD card slot is located on the left side as well.

The eReader features a speaker and a USB-C connector on the bottom for charging. For the purpose of symmetry, there’s a microphone there as well, with a grill that looks similar. The top of the screen houses a supplementary speaker.

The Onyx Boox Palma has a 16MP camera on the rear that you may use to scan paper documents into digital format. The embedded flash allows you to improve the document scans’ clarity. After you’ve read “one more chapter” before bed and need to find your slippers without turning on the light, it can also function as a flashlight. It must have taken hours to complete that “chapter”?

The Onyx Boox Palma has a Qualcomm Octa-core processor, 6GB of RAM, and a substantial 128GB of storage space under the hood. If you require additional storage, you can install a microSD card with up to 1TB of capacity.

Additionally, there is a 3,950mAh battery that, depending on how much you read and what other apps you use, should last for a few weeks.

Onyx Boox Palma An eReader Powered by Android

Operating on Android 11, the Boox Palma is completely compatible with the Google Play Store. This implies that you can download almost all of your preferred apps, like Google Books, Spotify, Maps, and games. Naturally, you can also download your favorite e-readers, such as Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or Hoopla, which allow you to access your local library as well as Goodreads, which lets you manage your list of books and what you’re reading.

With the device’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, you can use it to stream your preferred music or audiobooks to your wireless headphones and connect to your home network. Additionally, you have the option to screencast or record anything you’re watching. Using the Palma as a voice recorder is an additional feature.

Since this is an Android smartphone, you may visit the Control Center, where you can make several modifications, by dragging the top bar. For example, you can activate and deactivate auto brightness, adjust color temperature, adjust volume, switch to Airplane Mode, and set your Palma to automatically rotate its screen when you turn it sideways.

Among the pre-installed apps, BOOXDrop is one that you will notice. When sending files to your device, this is the default tool that you can use. The only steps in this method are to link your device, create an account, and login in. Upon completion, you can proceed to send e-books, create RSS feeds, store URLs for convenient loading onto the Palma, and more. This same software lets you manage notes and any files on the device, including the ability to remove anything through the Library.

You’ll notice that the action bar at the bottom of the home screen view has a few more options than it would on a standard Android smartphone. Here’s where you can quickly reload the page if there are any broken images or text. You can get more screen configurations from there as well. In addition to changing the contrast levels, you may select from a variety of screen refresh modes. There are five options that, depending on what you want to achieve, steadily increase the screen’s performance. Ultrafast or Royal are better options if you want to view videos, but HD will work just well if you just want to read books.

You can also program the Onyx Boox Palma to switch to refresh mode automatically when it senses the app you are using. Thus, you can select a different speed for the Kindle, Audible, browser, clock, and so on. in order to maximize both the battery life and the responsiveness of the screen on your portable eReader.

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If you want to give your children control over the Palma, you can also turn on the Kids Mode for people with children. You can manage which apps and information they can access, as well as when and how long they can use the smartphone, by switching the mode. Selecting which apps you allow them to use is one of the first things you do when activating this mode, aside from creating a password. With its two distinct categories for content, Library and Apps, the Kids Mode UI is more organized.

Perusing the Onyx Boox Palma and Additional

It is undoubtedly a duck if it quacks and walks like one. Correct? At least not right now. The Palma is not truly a phone, but it has the form factor of a smartphone and runs Android. As a matter of fact, this is an unreservedly little Reader, which is fantastic all by itself.

The screen is well-lit and comparable in quality to practically any Kindle. It’s easy to alter the brightness as well, and unless you have certain preferences, you can typically let the Palma choose its own settings.

When reading novels, there is minimal to no ghosting because to the rapid refresh rate. For example, Kindles have an automatic screen refresh every few pages; this Palma doesn’t seem to have that feature. I saw no lingering text and no actual page refreshes, regardless of whether the screen was in HD or Ultrafast Refresh Mode. The transitions were seamless.

Unless you require access to libraries that are otherwise inaccessible, the Onyx Boox Palma reader app is user-friendly and doesn’t require any other programs. You can see your progress at the bottom of the screen, and you can access more options by tapping the top of the page. For example, you can choose to listen to the book instead of reading it by turning on Text-to-Speech. But like with any non-AI text-to-speech technology, the voice is somewhat artificial, so you have to get used to it.

You may also activate automatic page flipping, modify the bold and font size, swap out fonts, change the distance between words or lines, and more using this program. Make sure that watermarks are removed or that the photographs in your book are sharpened if it contains a lot of them. Boox’s extensive development and experience have resulted in an e-reader software that contains all the features you would anticipate.

You might quickly become lost in the words when reading. Despite the fact that you could read on a smaller screen using an eReader app on your smartphone, the Boox Palma is better because to its higher-quality screen. The displays on smartphones are far harsher on the eyes than e-ink panels. Those who prefer to be able to fit their eReader into their pocket and go will undoubtedly benefit from the Palma’s portability. Even while eReaders aren’t very large, there is a benefit to owning one that is the same size as your most often used device.

It’s also important to remember that you may program screen motions to control the gadget. For example, you can activate swipe motions to alter the volume and brightness on the left and right sections of the screen, respectively. Additionally, you can swipe from the left and right sides of the screen to enable forward and backward movement. Remember that you may also program the buttons to perform as you choose, giving you even more possibilities, if that makes it more comfortable for you.

Onyx Boox Palma Is Not Just Reading

You’ll need to take into account the screen’s limits when it comes to other programs you wish to use on the Palma. Is YouTube compatible with this Android device? Yes, theoretically you can. Would you, though? Not at all. Even with the Regal option, the framerate isn’t the best for this. But it works just great to read emails, for example, or articles that you find online. E-ink screens serve a very specific purpose, and attempting to use them for anything else will only disappoint you. Keep that in mind.

In the end, it all comes down to reality. Despite the fact that they may run the same operating system, you won’t be able to use the Palma for everything you use your smartphone for. Check your calendar, read news items, read emails, explore Reddit, and read or listen to books, but don’t expect to do anything more complex than word games or Sudoku. The way the screen responds may probably irritate you, even with these very simple game forms.

In the end, this is all good. You could read books on your smartphone if that’s what you wanted to do. However, you will require an appropriate eReader if you want a screen that won’t strain your eyes.

Is the Onyx Boox Palma Worth It?

With some fantastic features, the Onyx Boox Palma is a good choice if you’re looking for an eReader in a compact form factor. However, this is a quite pricey piece of equipment. This is far more expensive than the 2022 Kindle, for example, at $280. This Amazon gadget is a little bit lighter than the Palma, but it is slightly wider. Not including discounts, the 2022 Kindle with equivalent sizes costs $100, while it has been as low as $75.

In the end, it comes down to your needs and whether you truly want or need Android’s additional functionality.

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