The 10.3-inch Onyx Boox Note, along with the larger 13.3-inch Boox Max2, are among the top devices on the market when it comes to reading PDFs and writing handwritten notes.
Onyx’s ereaders have always been among the best PDF ereaders thanks to their advanced software, and now they’ve taken things to another level.
The upgraded hardware and newer software combine for the smoothest PDF reading experience yet on E Ink.
With the quad-core processor and increase in RAM, the Note is noticeably faster and more responsiveness than previous Onyx models.
Even when testing a large 90MB image-heavy PDF the Note doesn’t bog down at all, and it has no problem loading 9-page view and turning pages swiftly.
Since the Note runs Android 6.0, it can install various PDF apps from Google Play, but I don’t see why you’d want to because the Boox’s Neo Reader 2 app is optimized for E Ink and it offers a wide range of features.
One downside is the fact the Note lacks a memory card slot, but it has 32GB of storage space and you can transfer documents the traditional way via USB, with cloud apps, or wirelessly.
The Note has a library with different sorting and filtering options, or you can just use regular folders to organize your PDFs and use a file manager app.
Zooming Options – The Neo Reader app offers several zooming and cropping options to fit a PDF to the screen. There’s crop to width, crop to page, you can zoom in and out in increments, there’s pinch-zooming and a handy manual selection tool to set the crop region exactly how you want it. The zoom level remains when turning pages, and cropping is retained when exiting and re-opening PDFs.
Navigation – There are various navigation settings to customize how the app pages forward and in what order parts of the screen are shown. For example, with two column PDFs you can set the navigation settings to follow the columns from top to bottom and left to right, and with manga you can set it to go from right to left.
Notes and Highlights – You can attach text notes to highlights or enter writing mode to write notes directly on the screen using the stylus. They added a new sidenote feature as well that switches to landscape mode and shows the PDF on one side and a blank notes page on the other. You can press and hold to add highlights with either the pen or a finger. All notes and highlights can be exported.
Multiple Documents – With Neo Reader you can have up to four documents open at the same time. Tabs show at the top of the screen to switch between documents, and you can choose to go full screen as well.
Contrast Adjustment – The app includes a contrast adjustment tool to make text appear bolder and darker. It works well and really helps make the text stand out more, especially how some PDFs have light text.
Text-to-speech – TTS works with PDFs but the only downside is the speaker is so quiet that you’re most likely going to need to use Bluetooth headphones or speakers unless you’re in a completely silent room.
Reflow – The Neo Reader app offers PDF reflow, which works best for basic text-based PDFs. This makes a PDF appear more like an ebook and gives it adjustable font sizes and layout settings.
Dictionary – Onyx uses StarDict for the dictionary, with different languages ready to install, and you can download more online. Holding a word opens the menu showing a definition or you can search the dictionary manually.
Misc – The Onyx Boox Note also offers search, table of contents (up to 3 list levels), you can set page refresh frequency, add bookmarks, use hyperlinks, rotate the screen in all four directions, jump to pages, go forward and back, it can automatically turn pages, and view 4 or 9 pages at once.