Using Bluetooth Keyboards with Onyx Boox eReaders

Onyx Note Pro

A number of people have asked about using Bluetooth keyboards on the Onyx Boox Note Pro and the Onyx Boox Nova so I wanted to put together a quick review about it. The same applies to Onyx’s other devices running the Android 6.0 software, like the Max2.

I’ve been using the on-screen Onyx keyboard ever since they added the option to convert handwritten text to typed text.

However, the same Onyx keyboard does not seem to work well when using a Bluetooth keyboard; I keep having a problem with it randomly switching to Chinese for no reason.

So I switched over to the default Android keyboard and it works a lot better.

One question people keep asking about is whether or not the on-screen keyboard can be closed while using a Bluetooth keyboard. It can. You just have to hit a keyboard icon next to the space bar and then it remains closed even after selecting a new text entry field.

There’s a delay in response time with the E Ink screen, so that takes some getting used to. You can turn on A2 mode and then the delay is barely noticeable, but there’s more ghosting and afterimage effects when using A2 mode. I’ve been using the navigation ball to refresh the screen from time to time to clear things up; for some reason the refresh button in the note app does nothing with A2 enabled.

I tried using a Bluetooth keyboard on the original Onyx Boox Note with the older software, and the most frustrating thing about it was there was no way to open things. You could scroll through the selections on the homescreen but there was no way to open a book, for example.

With this newer software you can navigate through several aspects of the interface just using the keyboard, except there doesn’t seem to be a way to access the top menu bar and you can’t access the menu bar in the note app so you still have to select things with your fingers or the stylus. But you can open books and apps with the keyboard, go back to the homescreen, scroll through the on-screen selections and use the return key to select things.

However, I did encounter an issue when using the default note app to type notes with a Bluetooth keyboard. If you use the keyboard’s home button it will not save your note page and your notes will disappear into thin air. I think this is because there is no access to the home button from Onyx’s note app, which is designed to save the note automatically when exiting using the back button, not the home button.

So in short, Bluetooth keyboards do work pretty well with Onyx’s ebook readers, but it’s not as smooth as typing on a regular computer—there are some compromises when using a slower E Ink screen. Also, you don’t have to use the default note app for typing; you can install other 3rd party writing apps but they aren’t designed for E Ink screens so they may or may not work well.

4 Responses to “Using Bluetooth Keyboards with Onyx Boox eReaders”

  1. What bluetooth keyboard are you using?

  2. thanks for posting this nathan. i finally did get the nova pro. love it but still having issues getting eoreader to work properly and playing with web browers to see if there’s a better alternative to the onyx one. it works on my work site but is very jittery. will get to keyboard after those things get straightened out.

  3. Wow!!! Thank you so much for this information! You are very considerate. Sometimes simple nuts and bolts explanations are what is needed, and I appreciate it so much.