Onyx Boox i86 8 Inch Android eReader Shows Up on Amazon, Ebay

Onyx-Boox-i86[1]First teased around this time last year, the Boox i86 has proven to be an elusive device. The closest it has come to reaching the market is a limited beta test in China, but now some helpful person has started selling it on Ebay and Amazon.

If you're interested in getting an unreleased and possibly incomplete ereader which runs Android, now's your chance. Earlier this week a single unit popped up on Amazon.com (and was quickly snapped up by yours truly), but there are still multiple units available on Ebay, where it is selling for $249.

According to the official specs, the Boox i86 runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. It has Wifi and Bluetooth, and there's also a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. The 8" Pearl E-ink display has a screen resolution of 1,200 x 1,600. The touchscreen is IR, but there's no frontlight.

Compared to the Pocketbook 840, another 8" ereader on the market, the Boox i86 isn't a very good deal, but the detail about Android 4.0 holds out the hope that we might be able to add more reading apps.

But is this seller legit? I'm really not sure.

I've tried to get an i86 from Onyx, and was told it wasn't available. But I also know that the i86 is being sold in limited numbers in China (I've been following the discussions among beta testers), so this could well be a seller who bought the i86 in China and had it imported into the US.

I won't know for sure until I get home on Saturday and can open the unit I bought off of Amazon. A cautious buyer would wait, but if you want to take the risk you can still get a unit on Ebay.

In all honesty, I would recommend waiting for the official release. I'm expecting this ereader to ship with a frontlight, but even if it doesn't have one the official models will likely have more polished software than what is currently running on the beta units (we don't even know if it supports English).

Stay tuned.

About Nate Hoffelder (11466 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."

17 Comments on Onyx Boox i86 8 Inch Android eReader Shows Up on Amazon, Ebay

  1. Name (required) // 11 March, 2015 at 2:13 pm // Reply

    Most of the Boox devices are elusive.
    I have broken the case of my recent reader. It still works but I do not know how long it will last.
    So I am looking for a new device.
    A 5″ front-lit e-ink with Android would be ideal.

    I have been looking at Onyx Boox and most of the e-ink readers are “not in stock” in their site onyx-boox.com

  2. I’m really looking forward to your review! Supposedly Onyx added “Fast Refresh” (in addition to A2 mode), which you can find video of online. Fast Refresh allows for full video to be displayed — at the expense of battery life.

    Curiously, Fast Refresh did not really impact battery life on the Nook Simple Touch. I’m hoping to hear more about this feature — particularly its usability. Thanks again Nate!

  3. Why do you expect your reader to ship with a front light, when the description says, it hasn’t one? The discussions on mobileread.com had it, that there is demand in China for devices without front light (supposedly in order to have no layer between eye and script), which is why these models are sold now. Since nobody seems to have been willing so far to place an order over the minimum order quantity for the version with a front light, these are not yet in the wild.

    Unfortunately for people in Europe though, no seller seems to have been willing to order the non-front-lit device either. On the other hand, you can hardly blame them, if $249 would have to be their price, since PocketBook’s Inkpad 840 is available here for €175 (including VAT). The i86 without light probably wouldn’t sell too well at any higher price.

  4. Hi Nate, Please post your first impressions when you receive it. I am thinking of ordering one but too chicken to pull the trigger without any first-hand info about build quality, speed, general usability and of course the presence or absence of Google Play Store!

  5. Any news?

    • I’m posting reviews this weekend.

      It’s really not worth getting.

    • Let me add a little more detail.

      To start, it’s real.

      It’s slow, and the software is not finished. The interface looks like it was made for a smaller screen and then blown up. There’s Google Play, but very limited storage for apps.

      There’s no frontlight, and it’s not very nice to hold and read on.

  6. Thanks, Nate – disappointing, but at least your readers won’t need to waste money on this device. Seems like the Onyx disclaimer was true: someone got their hands on pre-production units and started to sell them. I look forward to the review, and hope that you can return it!

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Early Review: Onyx Boox i86 Android eReader ⋆ Ink, Bits, & Pixels
  2. Onyx Boox i86ML vs Pocketbook InkPad (video) | Ink, Bits, & Pixels

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