9.7-inch Onyx Boox N96 Carta Half the Price of 13.3-inch eReaders

Onyx Boox N96 Carta

Having just reviewed the new 13.3-inch Sony DPT-RP1, it has really made me appreciate larger E Ink screens. They are a joy to read on and are much better for reading PDFs and other larger-form content than a typical 6-inch ereader.

However, 13.3-inch E Ink screens are still relatively new and are very expensive. The Sony DPT-RP1 and Onyx Boox Max are both currently priced at $699.

That’s more than most people are willing to pay for a reading device, but there are some alternatives.

The new Onyx Boox N96 Carta is half the price of the 13.3-inch models, and it has a sizeable 9.7-inch E Ink screen.

A 9.7-inch screen can still be quite good for PDFs, especially since it’s a 4:3 ratio screen instead of the 16:10 screens on most tablets, so a PDF fits the page better.

Plus the N96 models have the option for finger touch and a frontlight, unlike the 13.3-inch Onyx Boox Max.

Onyx also recently showed off a new lighter 9.7-inch model and a 10.3-inch ereader that they plan to release later this year, so it’s good to have options. Those will probably be pretty expensive though since the screens are plastic-based instead of glass.

But the price of the N96 is pretty reasonable compared to other ereaders on the market. They’re selling the previous generation Boox N96 with a Pearl screen for as low as $285 at Banggood. That’s cheaper than the Kindle Oasis!

I’ve decided to get one of the newer Carta models to see how it compares to the Sony DPT-RP1, so check back in a few weeks for a review and comparison! The hard part is going to be deciding between the regular N96 or the N96ML. The regular Boox N96 has a touchscreen that supports both finger and stylus touch, but it lacks a frontlight. The Boox N96ML has a frontlight but it only supports stylus touch. So finger touch or a frontlight. Decisions, decisions…

22 Responses to “9.7-inch Onyx Boox N96 Carta Half the Price of 13.3-inch eReaders”

  1. This is definitely the sweet spot!! Now lets wait for the reviews to see if they fixed all the bugs in previous models…

  2. Yes, I’ve been really looking into these Onyx Boox N96 since they came to my notice, but now the Onyx Boox N96 Carta is out and I had one in my shopping cart at Banggood and was going to press the buy button. It looks like I’ll have to wait a few week for your review. :'(
    I am very tempted to buy one, but like you said, “Decisions, decisions…”

    • I think I’d rather have a frontlight so I’ll probably get that one but it doesn’t get released until the 27th so I’ve got until the middle of next week to decide. 😀

  3. Interesting… I just noticed that Banggood now stocks some of Onyx’s ereaders in a US warehouse, so shipping is faster and the price is lower. The N96CML with a frontlight is $50 less from the US warehouse ($294). Hopefully they’ll start stocking some of the new Carta models in the US too.

    • Yes that would be nice! I had an item I ordered on Amazon that took 4-5 weeks to make it over from China, and all it was, was a $3 wall battery charger for charging an extra battery for my Note 3. I’m not saying Banggood takes that long though, haven’t bought from them yet.

  4. OR, instead of yesteryear’s Pearl e-ink with a device that cannot be read in low light from a questionable (at best) website, you *could* get any number of *current* front-lit color tablets for the same price (or much cheaper) from Amazon.

    Just saying.

    • You can also get a Fire tablet for half the price of the entry-level Kindle with a Pearl screen and no light. Obviously plenty of people prefer E Ink over tablets so what’s the point of complaining about it.

    • C’mon, this discussion about whether e-ink or regular tablets are better is an old hat and actually quite beside the point.

      It’s obvious that typical tablets are more versatile, and probably the better choice for most people who just want a general purpose media consumption device. For specific use cases an e-ink screen can however be the better choice. I’m mainly thinking about readability in sunlight and to some extent battery life (though that goes down the more you use it like a tablet, of course).
      With the plastic-based moebius screens, reduced weight can also be a supporting factor (around 350g for the forthcoming 9.7 inch readers vs. around 500g for most 10 inch tablets).

      For some people, the reduced amount (or lack) of distractions is claimed to be a plus too, although I never quite got that and it probably is less valid on e-ink devices with full Android – at least it’s probably less tempting to spend your time watching youtube videos on them…
      Then there are people who have trouble with backlit screens or just prefer the viewing experience on e-ink.

      So as ever it comes down to what one needs or prioritises.

      • Agree with grg. The issue is that a tablet is not a perfect substitute for an e-reader, and e-ink based e-readers will probably always have the three advantages that grg spelled out. They are well known as they get mentioned over and over.

        1) Ability to read in bright sunlight.
        2) Battery life — measured in weeks.
        3) Reduced weight, believe me it makes a difference if you do a lot of reading.

        It all really comes down with how important these three reasons are for you.

    • I just purchased a Kindle Paperwhite, which is an e-paper front light reader. There are things I really like about it, but I do not like it’s limited ecosystem. Therefore an e-paper front light flexible reader that is Android based is of high interest. Being able to access my documents in their native form and read them on a reflective screen… That is of special interest to many people in my circles.

      • You can get all sorts of documents onto your paperwhite by using Calibre software in conjunction with the “email to kindle” feature. The “settings” tab on your Amazon account “manage content and devices” page has an entry for your paperwhite, or should. You can email documents to your account from approved addresses, which is another setting area. Use Calibre to turn your document into mobi and then have it email it. This works suprisingly well once it’s set up, with the added advantage that your document is saved in your amazon account.

    • It’s Carta not Pearl, its a new product.

  5. Off-topic but *here’s* an interesting development


    Interesting because Indigo seems to have a direct -pipeline to Kobo in Canada. Perhaps Kobo will finally have distribution in America.

    It’s also (potentially) one more nail in B&N’s coffin

    • That is interesting, but knowing Kobo they probably wouldn’t allow them to sell their ereaders in the US anyway. Kobo’s devices are also available through Best Buy, Walmart, and Staples in Canada, but none of those stores carry them in the US.

  6. I didn’t know plastic based e-ink screens were more expensive…

    • I don’t know that they’re more expensive per se but anything new and unique they always charge more for. I bet the new 10.3-inch model will cost in the $550 range and the 9.7-inch will be above $400.

  7. frontlight of course…..

  8. What about your new adquisition? Have you already tried it enough?

    • Their website said the one with a frontlight would be in stock toward the end of July but that never happened and it’s still not available so I never got one. Now that I’m going to be reviewing the 10.3-inch reMarkable I probably won’t bother with the N96 anytime soon.

  9. Hi,
    the main reason I post this is to say that on many of the reviews of e-readers the screen size is not mentioned. Which to me makes the whole review worthless, for no matter how positive the review might be, without saying what size the screen is I still can’t make up my mind whether that e-reader is for me or not. For me the first issue is the screen size, and I want it large. Otherwise I’m not interested.

    The second reason I post here is that I see no contact option on this website. Otherwise I would have let my suggestion to always mention the screen size right at the top of the review, so people like myself know right away whether to read on or not, via e-mail.

    An old saying shops used to display in my country was: “If you like something about us, tell others. If you don’t like something about us, tell us.”

  10. PS:
    Another reason I came here is that my Onyx Boox M92 has just crashed. It got stuck on a pdf page, and doesn’t react to the buttons nor the stylus. Not even pressing the reset button in the back. And it has been on for about half an hour now, and does not go into standby mode, let alone turn off by itself.

    I guess it will eventually turn of when the battery is empty, one of these days…

    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed it since it just came out years ago, so I got my money’s worth out of it. : )

    Also, for some time now I’ve though of maybe getting an e-ink reader with a larger than the 9.7″ screen my M92 has…

  11. PPS:
    I just pressed some of the buttons again, and again no reaction. But then I tried one more time to turn my M92 off pressing the button for that, and this time it worked. Turning it back on also worked.

    Funny thing, I was reading something that make me feel anger for seeming very wrong, and projected it onto the e-reader. From that moment on I could not get rid of that page. Until now, after posting here while cooling off a bit. 😀

    So again I keep the though of getting a larger screen on the back burner for now…