Icarus Illumina HD with Android 4.2 Now Selling on Amazon

Icarus Illumina HD

The Onyx Boox T68 isn’t the only new ebook reader that runs open Android. A new version of the Icarus Illumina HD (E653 series) has just been released in the US and Europe.

It sells from IcarusReader.com for 119 euros, or 135 euros bundled with a cover. In the US it sells from Amazon.com for $182.95, plus $5.04 for shipping, and that includes a cover and four color choices.

The folks at Icarus were nice enough to lend me one to test out, so expect some reviews over the next couple weeks.

The Icarus Illumina HD has a 6-inch E Ink Pearl screen with a resolution of 1024 x 758. It also sports a frontlight, a capacitive touchscreen, page buttons along both sides of the screen, Wi-Fi, a 1Ghz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and a microSD card slot.

The Icarus Illumina HD isn’t quite as advanced as the Onyx Boox T68—it doesn’t support audio, Bluetooth, or come with Google Play—but it runs a newer version of Android. Instead of Android 4.0.4, the Illumina HD runs 4.2.2 (both are Jelly Bean).

I’ve only been using the device for a couple of days, but the software seems to run a little smoother and faster than the T68’s. For one, the Illumina HD enters partial refresh mode automatically when scrolling without having to manually turn it on, and it works quite well. The Kindle app comes pre-installed and it works better than on the T68, especially when shopping the Kindle store, which is almost impossible on the T68 for whatever reason.

So far it looks like a promising ereader. The built in reading app is pretty basic, but other apps can be installed. Without Google Play onboard it’s harder to get apps, but I installed both the Amazon appstore and 1Mobile appstore and both work well enough to install Android apps. Except the battery has started going down much faster since doing so; now I have to figure out which app is sucking extra power. Regardless, I’ve heard that Icarus might be including an app store in the near future with only apps optimized for E Ink and tested on E Ink ereaders—that’s a good idea and is something to look for.

I’ve got a lot more testing to do…check back soon for a full review.

16 Responses to “Icarus Illumina HD with Android 4.2 Now Selling on Amazon”

  1. Looking forward to the review.

    I’m still using a Kindle Keyboard because I love the physical page turn buttons, but I would like something with a backlight. If the buttons work with the Kindle app and the battery life can be optimized, I’ll be really interested in this device.

    • I meant front light, not back light.

    • The buttons don’t work with the Kindle app or pretty much any other apps because most apps aren’t coded for page buttons. The buttons work with the pre-installed apps and stuff like Moon+ Reader that the developer has coded for E Ink ereaders.

  2. Hi,
    isn’t it possible to install Google Play if you directly fetch the apk? On Android Police in instance (http://goo.gl/Z9EwCl).

    • No, it’s never that easy. Installing the app alone does nothing. Same goes for sideloading Google Play Books—it doesn’t work.

      • I suppose it’s normal since Google Apps rely on the Google Services framework. I’m a bit surprised, when to have Google Play working on Cyanogen we just needed to install the Google App store.

  3. I think this device is actually a re-branded BOYUE T61. And you forgot one more thing, unlike previous Illumina HD, this one does not support sound any more, so no TTS.

    • There’s also this Boyue T62 which is the same as T61 but has Audio output and a higher battery capacity (2800mAh compared to 2000mAh on T61).



      The one that they sell on the link above comes with 8GB of internal memory (4GB more than T61). I asked them and they said you can also install Google Play or other market apps on it yourself to download and install apps easily. It’s just 599 Chinese Yuans which is like $95!

      I may buy one of these T62 ones if a website like banggood starts selling them; because buying stuff from chinese online stores like tmall (aka taobao) is not possible from outside china (well there are some ‘agent’ websites that get their own fees and do it for you!)…

      • If this Boyue T62 had a higher-resolution screen and bluetooth (like Onyx Boox T68) it could’ve simply be called ‘The most perfect E-Ink e-Reader in existence’!

      • I asked banggood customer service if they will sell T62, and they said they will start selling it in 7 days.

        • yeah they told me the same. i’d most probably buy one!

          • Boyue T62 is already offered at banggood. Although the price is 125.37, a 25% on top of T61, which I think does not justify the 4GB extra ROM and a headphone input.

          • Also, T61 comes with a case and screen guard, whereas T62 does not.

          • Here it is at last:



            They increased the price of the T61 to $128.99 and are selling the T62 at $125.37.

            None of these devices ‘come with’ a screen guard and a case; the seller (banggood) puts them in the package.

            The producer (Boeye) sells T61 and T62 at the same price and I think the higher $3.62 on T61 is for the leather case and the screen guard that BangGood is putting in T61’s package. You’d most probably be able to ask them to put them in your T62 package too because both devices are the same in size. (actually the case is not half the quality of most of the leather cases you can find in stores!)

            T62 comes with 800mAh more battery capacity than T61’s 2000mAh. It also has 4GB more internal memory (=8GB) and an Audio Output At the Same Price! At the very least, it has an audio output which I think is so necessary on any device. I would Never buy an android device (or any modern e-reader) that doesn’t have a headphone jack!

          • @ceomo

            Well they’re not the same size.

            T61: 159 x 112 x 8.5 mm
            T62: 160 x 123 x 8.5 mm

            It actually doesn’t matter and as I said you can buy much better leather cases from any store that sells tablets/phones!

            There actually is a leather case sold with device on Tmall.com (link above); I don’t know why Banggood isn’t putting it in the package! You should most probably be able to get the Boyue case for this exact model model anyway if you send them an e-mail tho!