Onyx Boox has just done something exciting; they have taken a page from the Hisense playbook and released a dedicated e-reader with the familiar candy bar shape as a smartphone, except it is a dedicated e-reader. You can do phone calls with this unit and talk to people on Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or WeChat with dual microphones. However, it does not support SIM cards or eSim, and you must be on a WIFI connection to do anything useful. The most significant advantage of the Onyx Boox Palma is carrying an e-reader around with you in your pocket; you can’t do this with the vast majority of e-readers on the market. The Palma is available as a pre-order for $249; when it launches, the price will go up to $279.99.Only a small batch of units are available as a first come, first serve basis and will ship out sometime in August 2023.
The Onyx Boox Palma features a 6.13-inch capacitive touchscreen display and utilizes E INK Carta 1200 for fast page refreshing. The resolution is 824 x 1648 with 300 PPI. The screen is flush with the bezel and protected by a layer of glass. The device colour scheme is a piano black on the front and back platting. It has two speakers, two microphones, a volume rocker (which can double as page-turn buttons), and an ambient light sensor to adjust the front-lit and colour temperature system based on the environment. It does not have a front-facing camera but does on the rear with a 16 MP snapper and LED light. A USB-C port will charge it and also transfer data.
Underneath the hood are a Qualcomm Octa core processor, a staggering 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It does have a MicroSD card, capable of an additional 1TB of storage. You can connect to the internet with Wi-Fi (2.4GHz + 5GHz) and has Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless earbuds or headphones to listen to audiobooks, music or podcasts. It is powered by a 3,950mAh Li-ion Polymer battery, which should be good enough for a couple of weeks of light reading or using Android apps. The dimensions are 159 x 80 x 8.0 mm and weighs 170 G.
The Palma uses Google Android 11 as the operating system and fully supports the Google Play Store, so you can download your favourite apps or discover new ones. Users will likely want to download their preferred e-reading ecosystem, such as Kindle, Kobo or Nook, and library apps like Libby or Hoopla. Since it has Google Play Services, you can also access all official Google apps such as Maps or Google Books.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.