It took over a year before the first units showed up on the market in China (they weren't worth buying), and another 4 months passed before the i86 showed up for pre-order last week from a European retailer.
Reports are coming in that eReader-Store.de has just put the Onyx Boox i86 HDML Plus with frontlight up for pre-order for 199 euros (plus VAT). That translated to about a US price of about $270 to $300 after you factor in the shipping charges.
The i86 is expected to ship on Friday, 5 June. And yes, I did spring for one.
According to the specs on the product listing, the i86 HDML Plus is the much upgraded version of the i86 ereader I reviewed earlier this year. It has twice the storage, twice the RAM, and a frontlight, and as a result it comes closer to justifying its high price tag.
This ereader runs Android 4.0 (with Google Play) on a 1GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. It's 8" E-ink display has a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200, and the device also has a frontlight and IR touchscreen.
You can find the complete specs below.
All in all this is not he most powerful ereader, nor even the best from Onyx (current 6" models sport a dual-core CPU) but in the 8" category this is still a solid contender. The open Android makes it possible to install 3rd-party reading apps and extend the i86's abilities.
Want better PDF support? Install ezPDF (I thought it worked well on E-ink). Want an 8" Kindle? Then install the Kindle Android app.
The possibilities are not infinite, and there are downsides (slow page refresh, for example), but the i86 offers a lot of bang for the buck.
Onyx Boox i86 HDML Plus Specs
- 8” E-ink display
- Screen Resolution: 1600 x 1200 (250 dpi)
- Frontlight, IR touchscreen
- CPU: 1GHz
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 8GB internal, microSD card slot
- Connectivity: Wifi, Bluetooth
- Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: 1.7Ah, lasts up to 2 weeks per charge
- Supported ebook formats: PDF, TXT, HTML, EPUB, CHM, PDB, MOBI (Non-DRM), FB2, DJVU
- Dimensions: 210 x 160 x 9mm
- Weight: 340 grams