Onyx Boox has released a new e-reader, the Boox Nova2. This e-reader is a 7.8 inches under Android 9. Being versatile, you can read any type of document and write with a stylus. Is it the ultimate 8-inch e-reader?
Hardware level: a powerful e-reader!
The Boox Nova 2 is based on a 2Ghz Octa Core processor, 3GB of RAM. For the rest it is quite similar to the Boox Nova Pro, with the addition of a microphone, USB OTG support and dual-band Wi-Fi. There is also a 7.8″ eInk Carta screen.
We can say that the Nova 2 is an 8-inch version of the Boox Note 2 (which is 10.3 inches). This allows to obtain a powerful Android 9 e-reader at a lower cost than the 10-inch e-readers.
In practice: a high-performance e-reader!
In practice, the e-reader is pleasant. Good grip, it is light and the increased autonomy compared to the manufacturer’s previous e-readers allows you to use it without a charger for several days (or weeks, depending on use!). Running under Android 9 (a version modified by Onyx, adapted to an e-reader) you can install many applications and read any type of file. Azw3 protected files can be read well, like all open files. Reading PDF files is pleasant: it is for this purpose a very good e-reader, like the Boox Note 2 and the Boox Max 3 (see our article about choosing an e-reader for reading PDF documents).
It is possible to annotate the documents (mainly useful for PDF reading and annotating) but also to take notes or draw. On this last point, the e-reader is not as comfortable as a reMarkable, even if you can adapt the line to what you want to obtain.
With the USB-OTG support, you can connect an external disk or a keyboard with an adapter. In theory, therefore, you can do everything with this e-reader, which would make it a real eInk laptop. In practice, however, the screen is a limiting factor. Not that an eInk Carta screen is bad (even if Mobius screens seem more durable to me): the contrast is good, the adaptive lighting is really efficient, and you can read books comfortably. But for a wider use, this is where the e-reader reaches its limits. To use a text editor or an FTP client, the eInk screen does the job without any problem, but to watch videos for example, despite the different display modes offered by Boox – which considerably improve the experience – even if you can see them without too many jerks, the image quality is far from what you can expect with a tablet.
But that’s exactly what it is: even though it runs on Android, this device is an e-reader, not a tablet. Its strength is its eInk screen that allows to read in full sunlight, limiting eye fatigue. Not surprisingly, with its powerful processor, the screen also becomes its limitation, but it is still possible to use this e-reader for many purposes: with large PDF files, the system remains stable, runs well, it is possible to zoom easily (unless the file contains too many graphics, in which case we can see slowdowns).
On the other hand, it should be noted that the Boox Nova 2 does not contain integrated speakers or a headset socket: it is thus necessary to use an external Bluetooth box to listen to digital books (audiobooks). In my opinion this e-reader is interesting for those who are looking for an e-reader to read and annotate PDF documents, while being able to be satisfied with a 7.8 inches format. This format is suitable for books, but too small to read A4 documents regularly, even if they can be read quite comfortably in “landscape mode”. For those who prefer a larger format, it may be interesting to turn to the Boox Note 2, and possibly the Boox Max 3 for those who want to read A4 documents in native format, with in both cases the advantage of a Mobius screen, more resistant to torsion.
What about note taking?
Note-taking is similar on this e-reader to the experience you can have with other Onyx e-readers. Switching to Android 9 brings some improvements. You can convert your notes into text; in practice this system is not perfect: words are often pasted together, for example.
We can see the possibility to choose between two stylus functions: with or without taking into account the writing pressure, with 8 line colors (black, dark gray, gray, light gray, white, red, blue and green) and a 20 line thickness range. It is also possible to insert images, to use the stylus as an eraser, to insert typed text, to protect your notes with a password, and finally, to export them both in PDF and PNG format. They can be shared on Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote and Youdao.
The functionality is interesting, but it seems to me that to take notes a laptop (or an e-reader with an external keyboard, such as the Boox’s Bluetooth keyboard) is more pleasant, allowing you to be faster and especially to rework your text with a word processor easily.
Conclusion: an ideal e-reader for some users.
This e-reader is very powerful; moreover, running under Android 9 it is versatile. With its HD Carta screen and its large battery capacity you can read for several weeks without worrying about the need for power supply. For those who are looking for a versatile 7.8-inch e-reader and are willing to put the price (the e-reader costs a little over 300 euros on Amazon) it is clearly a good choice.
However, it is important to take into account its limitations: equipped with an eInk screen, this e-reader, although running Android 9, is still an e-reader and not a tablet. For those who want to read videos and are looking for a more multimedia use, a tablet like the latest iPad may be more appropriate. For those who see an eInk screen as an advantage and not as a drawback, an Android e-reader allows to adapt the device to its use in a much more precise way than a more minimalist e-reader (like the 7.8-inch PocketBook Inkpad 3 or the Kobo Forma, for example) which, if it allows to read ePub or even PDF documents, will be more limited on other possible uses. Once again, it all depends on what you want to achieve with your e-reader!