The Onyx Boox Leaf 2 will handle any reading service you throw at it

The Onyx Boox Leaf 2 will deal with any studying service you throw at it

I do not imply to be choosy, however the Kindle is not sufficient for me. For years, I referred to as the Amazon Kindle Oasis the Platonic best of e-readers, with its bodily page-turning buttons, crisp show, stable backlight, and (then) distinctive design. It felt like I had hit the e-reader endgame. However then I embraced Libby for library books, particularly for manga, and began studying extra galleries instantly from publishers, and the Kindle felt extra prefer it was getting in the best way than serving to me learn the issues I needed.

So I began shopping for Android E Ink tablets from China, ready for one to lastly merge Android’s flexibility with Amazon’s superior design and construct high quality. And I am fairly positive Onyx Boox’s new $199 Leaf 2 has it. That is, not less than for now, my playoff e-reader.


You will not be conscious of Onyx Boox, and that is okay. The corporate is predicated in China, and the one option to get its merchandise within the US is from Good e-Reader (a web site that opinions e-readers and likewise sells them), Onyx Boox’s web site (, or Amazon. And for the reason that firm is essentially primarily based in China, tech assist is patchy at greatest. Complicating issues much more is the truth that Onyx Boox additionally shares its identify with what seems to be a Russian firm with a just about an identical URL and fully an identical product line. The sense of fraud is robust with this model.

However I’ve interacted with actual folks from the (Chinese language) firm, obtained embargo and pricing info, and now bought not less than three completely different merchandise from its web site with out subject, so the Boox discovered on is, not less than in my expertise, on the up and up.

Onyx Boox has been making Android E Ink tablets for years now, however they are usually extraordinarily costly in comparison with a Kindle or a Kobo. The Leaf 2’s $199 worth is much more than you’d pay for a fundamental Kindle or perhaps a Paperwhite, nevertheless it’s a full $150 lower than the premium Kindle Oasis. For the worth, you get 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a seven-inch 300ppi E Ink show, heat and funky entrance lights, Android 11, and a microSD card slot. The one factor lacking is that it is waterproof, however I do not often settle into a shower to learn, so this is not a deal-breaker for me.

Its show is just about an identical to that discovered on the most recent Kindle Oasis, and textual content is sharp and simple to learn. Black and white comics look simply nearly as good on it as they do on an iPad, and the entrance mild offers you the flexibility to regulate the brightness of heat and funky lights individually or individually so you possibly can all the time modify them to the proper brightness for any given studying scenario. (I often go away them off if I’ve different mild sources close by.)

However the characteristic that actually units the Leaf 2 aside from all different Android E Ink tablets (or their much less versatile e-reader counterparts) is its web page flip buttons, which magically make this top-of-the-line e-readers I’ve used. The Leaf 2 comes with two bodily web page flip buttons on the left aspect of the gadget, and due to the interior G-sensor, the web page will shortly reorient itself if you swap arms.

New to the Leaf 2, the buttons will work with nearly any app – no matter whether or not it has a built-in characteristic to acknowledge page-turning buttons. Usually, Onyx Boox and different Android E Ink pill makers have relied on an accessibility characteristic that turns a cellphone’s quantity buttons into page-turning buttons. The e-readers would merely map the web page flip buttons to quantity, and voilà – a Kindle or Nook expertise as pure as their native e-reader.

Nonetheless, with the Leaf 2, there’s another setting within the menu (underneath aspect button settings) that lets you power different apps to acknowledge web page flip as effectively. So with the Nook and Kindle app, I take advantage of the Quantity Button setting, and with apps like Libby, which don’t have any web page turning characteristic in any respect, I leap again to the Flip Web page Button setting. It’s kind of fiddly and may be annoying should you’re leaping round a number of apps for each day studying, nevertheless it additionally permits me to show pages properly in Libby – one thing I have not been in a position to do earlier than!


As for battery life… it relies upon. In case you have a number of Android apps working and Wi-Fi lively, you possibly can anticipate a few week of battery life or much less. However turning off Wi-Fi means I often solely have to cost each few weeks.

The Android apps can drain the battery, however additionally they give this gadget flexibility, and it is the flexibleness of the Leaf 2 that charms me. The Leaf 2 comes with its personal built-in mediocre app retailer, and being a Chinese language e-reader, Google Play is not available. However Onyx Boox gives a information to get the Play Retailer working – which mainly means registering the gadget together with your Google account and ready for Google’s servers to acknowledge its existence (in my expertise this takes about two to 3 hours, however Onyx Boox warns it could possibly take as much as 48 hours).

As soon as the shop was up and working, this simply turned a full-fledged E Ink Android pill, and it was straightforward to obtain apps for Libby, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and even NetGalley—which manages e book galleries for publishers. You too can add video apps, should you’re so inclined, however laggy black-and-white variations of YouTube and TikTok aren’t a perfect means to make use of both app, so I would not suggest it.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white md:text-40 lg:-ml-100″>Approve to proceed: Onyx Boox Leaf 2

Each good gadget now requires you to comply with a sequence of phrases earlier than you should use it—contracts that nobody really reads. It’s unimaginable for us to learn and analyze each single one in every of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions it’s a must to hit “settle for” to make use of gadgets once we overview them, as a result of these are agreements that most individuals do not learn and positively cannot negotiate.

By configuring the Onyx Boox Leaf 2, you comply with:

Alternatively, you possibly can add the Google Play Retailer. In that case, you comply with:

  • Google Phrases of Service
  • Google Privateness Coverage

Remaining tally: one obligatory settlement and two voluntary ones.

An precise automated obtain for me was EinkBro, a browser designed for E Ink. It sounds foolish contemplating the Leaf 2 comes with its personal browser, however EinkBro is quick and can paginate web sites as an alternative of forcing you to scroll – extraordinarily helpful should you’re studying a 200,000 phrase cafe AU on Archive of Our Personal.

Moreover the built-in browser, the Leaf 2 has a number of different apps that should make it work extra like a pill than I would like. There’s an audio recorder, a gallery, a music participant and, not like the iPad, even a calculator. With the Play Retailer put in, I by no means bothered to make use of Boox’s app retailer – the identical goes for BooxDrop, the unique cloud storage app. Each require an Onyx account, however I’ve by no means created one and have not missed something because of this.

Regardless of the various, many caveats, and regardless of all of the foolish built-in apps that attempt to body this as a competitor to conventional tablets, the Leaf 2 is solely one of the vital gratifying methods to learn books. I am not confined by anybody’s walled backyard, and I haven’t got to make bizarre sacrifices to learn what I would like after I need. I’ve precise bodily buttons to press to show pages. The Onyx Boox Leaf 2 has lastly scratched that itch I’ve had for a perfect e-reader, and I do not see something displacing it anytime quickly.

Image of Amelia Holowaty Krales / The border

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