Why I'm ditching Kindle for a Boox this Black Friday

The e-ink display on the Boox Palma
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

It wasn't too long ago that I got my first Kindle. I was several years late to the e-reader party but my wife loved her Kindle and we both love reading together, so I figured, why not get one for myself?

The 2018 Kindle Oasis was expensive but it did everything I needed at the time, and it made the digital book-buying experience easy. But as competing online bookstores have cropped up over the years, my Kindle is still stuck reading books on Amazon's store. If I want to buy a book on sale on the Google Play Store or Barnes & Noble's digital storefront, I can't read them on a Kindle.

That's when I started looking elsewhere for an e-reader that could do more. My first foray into this adventure was with the Kobo Elipsa 2E, a giant $400 e-reader that comes with a stylus for note-taking. But I quickly realized I don't like Kobo's design or build, as the tablet both feels too heavy and, strangely, too cheap for my liking.

Looking around, Onyx makes several similar products with even better functionality, thanks to the fact that they all run Android. The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra is massive but has great note-taking capabilities, while the Boox Page and Boox Poke5 offer a smaller form factor and a much lower price. The Boox Tab Mini C is even on sale right now as an early Black Friday deal.

But how about going even smaller? That's where the Onyx Boox Palma comes in.

Onyx Boox Kant: $229.99 at Walmart

Onyx Boox Kant: $229.99 at Walmart

If you can't find the Boox Palma in stock and don't need all the extra features, the Boox Kant comes with a more budget-friendly price and less powerful internal hardware. It's still powered by Android and retains the amazing phone-sized form factor of the Palma, making this a great alternative.

A phone-sized e-reader

Reading a book on the Onyx Boox Palma

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

I feel like the Onyx Boox Palma sells itself. It's an Android-powered phone-size e-reader with a fast 6.1-inch e-ink Carta display. That display runs at 1648 x 824 resolution (300 ppi) but looks sharper than an LCD or OLED would at the same resolution because of the way e-ink works.

My one complaint is that there's no way to stick a SIM card in it, as the removable tray on the side just supports microSD cards. At least you'll never run out of storage on it!

It's also got a heavenly paper-like back to it, adding a nice grippy surface that complements the svelte, smaller frame, which makes one-handed reading as comfortable as possible.

The rough, paper-like back of the Boox Palma

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

And, yeah, those are cameras on the back but they're only intended for document scanning, even if the 16MP resolution is rather generous.

Reading one-handed is incredibly comfortable thanks to the size and the paper-like back.

Reading on this thing is an absolute dream thanks to a combination of factors. As I said before, it's very comfortable to read one-handed, and since it's powered by Android you can read anything you want to on its display.

I tend to buy books through several different outlets — Google Play Books being a very commonly used service because I frequently have reward points to use — and reading them on the Palma is as simple as opening the app you want to use.

There's no need to transfer PDFs, no need to digitally sign things with Adobe's software, and no hoops to jump through. It works just like it does on your phone, and that's a dream come true for me.

Reading is as easy as opening the app you want to use. No transferring PDFs or other nonsense as you have to do with other e-readers.

It's also important to me as a PWM-sensitive individual that the built-in backlight doesn't flicker. Thankfully, this is a solidly-lit display with no flicker and it even has built-in color adjustment to make the light warmer or cooler depending on your preference.

And, believe it or not, the Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and 6GB of RAM make it powerful enough to run most Android games. Plus, the display's fast-refresh mode makes it possible to play even visually-busy games like Vampire Survivors.

Warcraft Rumble's intro video running on an Onyx Boox Palma

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Personally, I'd probably just stick with playing games with less movement on this thing. Not because the screen isn't capable of playing, but as Tech Spurt also noticed in his review, it's difficult to play certain types of games because of the lack of color.

If I had to recommend one e-reader to buy this Black Friday, it would be the Onyx Boox Palma.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu