Large Screen E-readers aren’t Dead: First Impressions of the Boox 90

Onyx has never been ones to give up on  a lost cause, and today I finally managed to put my hands on their 9.7" ebook reader. The Boox M90 was first unveiled up at CES 2011, and I unfortunately haven't covered it much since then. It's based on a 9.7" Pearl E-ink screen, and it has Wifi, SD card slot, an optical mouse (black square on the right), a Wacom touchscreen, and it's running Onyx's feature rich software on a 532 MHz CPU.

I just got it this afternoon, so I'm really still playing with it. It has a slim minimalist design that I like. All the ports and slots are on the lower edge (volume buttons, headphone jack, power button, USB, SD card slot). The other 3 edges are beveled and there's nothing on the back (aside from the logo). There's an optical mouse on the right side of the screen and 4 touch buttons on the left side of the screen.

I have to say that I'm really not impressed. Onyx has come up with a number of very nice 6" premium ebook readers. They set a high standard that the M90 doesn't meet.

It's slow. And I don't mean that it doesn't turn pages as fast as LCD; I mean that it's circa 2009 slow. Considering that I can buy an iPad for less than the M90, the laggy response is inexcusable. I'm also not all that overwhelmed by the software. Yes, it does have a lot of annotation options, but I don't get the impression that Onyx customized the firmware as much as they had for the Onyx Boox 60.

In any case, I plan to write a longer review some time next week; this post is just to show off the hardware details and give me a chance to tell you what the impression right out of the box.

You can buy M90 from Onyx; retail is 379 euros.

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About Nate Hoffelder (11473 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Large Screen E-readers aren’t Dead: First Impressions of the Boox 90

  1. aawww.. I had hopes. I really want a bigger reader with Wacom annotate functions. I had an Edge but it became so buggy after updating that I sent it back.

  2. Man, these 9.7″ readers really are inferior to the 6″ ones made by the same companies. Amazon has just forgotten about the DX, and I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the Boox 90.

  3. I’ve been planning to buy one, but like you said, it’s really slow and a lot of users also complained that firmware is not finished yet and the optical mouse has BIG problems when reading in sunlight (random page turns and actions), that’s why Onyx will release a new device by the end of the year with buttons instead of mouse. Pocketbook has also a 9.7 inch reader, but it lacks Pearl screen and basic things in firmware such as annotation (Pocketbook firmware is also a big issue). I still have my iRex DR800 and I’m fine with it, but I’ve been waiting for 2 years for a decent 9.7 inch reader and it failed to show up.

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