The e-reader industry is dominated by six inch devices chiefly because of the portability and cost effectiveness. Large screens tend to be very niche and carry a huge price tag. Onyx is hoping to buck this trend with the advent of the i86 HD e-reader which has an 8 inch screen and costs $325.00.
The Onyx i86 HD features an eight inch IR touchscreen with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 with 250 PPI. It does not have a front light like most contemporary e-readers which helps keep the cost down.
This particular e-reader model is not using a super modern version of e-paper, as found on the Kindle Voyage or Kobo H2o, instead it is employing an older form of Pearl. Normally, I would lament the screen quality is poor, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, reading e-books, manga and PDF files is amazing. Onyx has a bunch of software functions that enhance the rendering of image heavy content.
Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ single core processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. There is compatibility for an Micro SD, so you can easily enhance it further up to 32 GB.
One of the most exciting features about this reader is the fact it has Bluetooth and a 3.5mm headphone jack. This allows for the playbook of audiobooks and music. In addition, you can hook up external speakers to get a ton of streaming content from companies such as Spotify or Soundcloud.
The Onyx Boox i86 is running Google Android 4.04 as the primary operating system. It comes bundled with Google Play, which gives customers the ability to download their own e-reading apps, without limitations.
When you take this e-reader out of the box for the first time there isn’t very much content on it. There is two e-reading apps and Google Play, and that’s it. There is no library of royalty free e-books to get you started right away, which is a good thing. Many e-readers these days are shipped with a few hundred books on them and are normally instantly deleted to make room for paid content.
When you take the i86 out of the box for the first time there is no digital bookstore bundled on it to start buying e-books, digital magazines, manga, newspapers or audiobooks right away. You will want to employ Google Play with your existing or new account to download your favorite apps.
It is important to note that despite it can run Android apps, it will not play many games. In addition, anything with complex animations will also not give you a good experience. I would recommend Kobo, Nook, Manga Meow, Replico Reader, Adobe PDF Reader as apps that are fully compatible with the i86.
The Onyx i86 HD is not officially released yet and the version we reviewed was the final production model. It is currently available only via EBAY and costs $325.00 US.
I think this e-reader is perfect for people who need a larger screen to read and felt underwhelmed by the Cybook Ocean. I like the fact it has audio capabilities and allows users to install their own apps via Google Play.
Does a good job reading e-books and manga
Dictionary Support is non-existent
Bluetooth accessories drain battery life fast
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.