Onyx Teases New 8″ eBook Reader with Hi-Res E-ink Screen

The Onyx i86 8 inch ereaderChinese ereader maker Onyx might not have the largest share of the global ebook reader market but they do have some of the more industrious and ambitious designers.

I have just found (via MobileRead) a spec sheet for the Onyx Boox i86. This big and beautiful ereader has an 8″ screen with a resolution of 1600 x 1200. At 250ppi this screen isn’t quite as sharp as the 6.8″ screen on the Kobo Aura HD, but it comes close.

The Onyx Boox i86 runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHZ CPU with 512MB RAM, 4GB Flash storage, and a microSD card slot. It also has Wifi and Bluetooth. On top of the high resolution screen you’ll find a frontlight and an IR touchscreen from Neonode.

I can also confirm that this device has at least one speaker or a headphone jack; one of the listed features is text to speech (provided by Ivona).

In terms of software, the i86 is probably running the same reading app as on Onyx’s other Android-based ebook readers (with the same note-taking and scribbling abilities). The spec sheet lists the usual broad range of format support, including ebook formats like PDF, Epub, and FB2 in addition to document formats like Doc, CHM, html, and RTF. There’s also support for MP3 playback.

Onyx i86 8 inch ereader

The spec sheet also lists the i86 as having a Pearl E-ink screen, and not the newer Carta screen, which makes sense. This is one of E-ink’s existing screen sizes, and it is actually on the market.

This 8″ screen unit is used in the Pocketbook Color Lux ebook reader.  That device has an 8″ color E-ink screen, and because it has a color E-ink screen the Lux also has a quarter the screen resolution (800 x 600).

E-ink creates a color screen by placing a color filter on top of a black and white E-ink screen. The filter changes each of the pixels in the underlying screen to either red, green, or blue, and it also leaves a 4th pixel as b/w. Because the color E-ink screen takes 4 pixels to display one color pixel (RGBW), it reduces the screen resolution by 75%.

Along with a grey tinge, the problem with screen resolution is one of the reasons I don’t like color E-ink screens. I’m glad to see someone using the 8″ screen sans color filter, and I hope to see it on the market.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Juan Luis Chulilla13 March, 2014

    Does somebody know if it is going to have access to google play? with android apps, this device would be much more interesting

    1. Feher14 March, 2014

      Sideloading the apps is possible in other android e-ink readers. Direct access to play store may not be there as very few apps can run on eink screens

      1. Juan Luis Chulilla14 March, 2014

        thanks for the answer. I want to connect such an appliance to a keyboard, which means both software and the appropiate hardware capability…

  2. Name13 March, 2014

    The specs read really promising. I wonder whether the Android will be upgraded though. It would be nice to get support for Bluetooth LE and Miracast with newer versions of Android and I hope that the hardware at least supports that. Could you find out which specific processor they’re going to use? Also, is there a higher resolution version of the spec sheet? Some entries in the table are hard to decipher.

    Also, if this comment can be posted, I’d like to inform you that your comment system is somehow broken since your last post about an invisible captcha. Whenever I tried to post, I got redirected to a page from your web site with a 404 error green creature image. I’m on a different setup now and hope that it works this time, but I don’t usually use this and thus won’t be able to send comments most of the time.

    1. Name13 March, 2014

      Test. The first time I tried to post the above comment, it didn’t work again. Then I chaged a setting (send referrer) and it worked. Now changed some other settings to see whether it still works.

      1. Name13 March, 2014

        Apparently, it worked. So in order to avoid the error page, it seems necessary to advise the browser to send some referrer. The error page was not helpful in that respect. Maybe it can be changed back to the original behaviour before the last post about invisible captchas (since it used to work back then).

        1. Nate Hoffelder13 March, 2014

          There are no captchas, invisible or otherwise, on this blog.

          1. Name13 March, 2014

            Still, the behaviour changed. If I try to post a comment with my usual setup, I’m directed to the following page: https://the-digital-reader.com/%5ehttp://$

            On it is image https://the-digital-reader.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/tb_sign1.png followed by:

            — (begin of page text) —
            image courtesy of The Oatmeal

            Please, try one of the following:
            Hit the “back” button on your browser.
            Head on over to the front page.
            Try searching using the form in the sidebar.
            Click on a link in the sidebar.
            Use the navigation menu at the top of the page.
            — (end of page text) —

            I did not see above page before the captcha with the number + word = answer was removed (and not either before it was introduced). Now, in order to avoid the error page and successfully send a comment to the moderation queue, a setting in the browser to send a referrer seems to be necessary. Not too much of an issue, but still means some extra work, and the error page gave no helpful hint that would have pointed to the problem.

        2. Nate Hoffelder13 March, 2014

          And just to be safe I reinstalled the latest version of WordPress. That should fix whatever problems you may have encountered.

          1. Name13 March, 2014

            Actually, that might have introduced the problem. Well, since I now know what the problem was and how to circumvent it, I guess I can live with it. Thanks for the well-intended effort though. 🙂

  3. Peter14 March, 2014

    This device sounds pretty high end for an eReader, which shows the (compared to tablets) poor hardware eReaders suffer from. Still, for the lack of better options, I think I’ll seriously consider buying this one once it is available. 512 MB Ram, the high resolution screen make it sound like it could be a good option for reading PDF – I do that on a tablet now, but LCD just offers way to many distractions for me.

  4. Piotr14 March, 2014

    This seems to be very exciting year for ereader thanks to Onyx.

    Not only they will refresh their current 9.7” M92 ereader with M96 but also release a 13.3”(!) device in the autumn that compared with Sony’s 13.3 will handle plenty of formats as well as will be definitely cheaper – started saving money already! 😀

    1. Nate Hoffelder14 March, 2014

      So that 13.3″ device is confirmed? I have heard rumors but nothing definite.

      1. Piotr14 March, 2014

        Based on comments from @Zeng who is working with Onyx:

        “The 13.3 model will definitely be cheaper than SONY reader. It uses the same flexible screen of SONY reader. The processor is iMX 6 and the OS is android 4.0 or above. We may use IR touch in 13.3 model to get best contrast, but not finally decided yet. The screen resolution is 1600×1200. With android, you should be able to use it as second monitor.”

        Straight from onyx:
        “Thank you for your interest on 13.3 reader. Most likely we will release the device in late of this summer or early of this autumn. So far, the hardware is almost ready. We’re cooperating with our partner to provide best IR touch for 13.3 reader.”

        More on:

        (not to boast,well actually yes;), but it’s me who started that thread but I would never imagine that so many great news from so many people will follow.

  5. Piotr14 March, 2014

    And there is M96 coming as well:



  6. D14 March, 2014

    I wished Onyx wouldn’t use Facebook. Why don’t they care more to maintain their own web site, on which no information about T68 and i86 can be found? Or did I overlook it?


    1. Nate Hoffelder14 March, 2014

      I couldn’t find anything either.

      You’re right that they don’t maintain their website; this isn’t the first time that I’ve had to look elsewhere for details on Onyx products.

  7. Feher14 March, 2014

    Has Onyx Officially partnered with Ivona?

    Earlier, only devices from Artatech distribution had Ivona TTS. Onyx C65 available at eBay doesn’t mention Ivona anywhere.

    1. Nate Hoffelder14 March, 2014

      That’s a good point. I’ll ask Onyx.

      All i know at this point is that the spec sheet lists Ivona.

      1. Feher14 March, 2014

        Thanks 🙂

      2. Herm14 March, 2014

        If you write them an email, please also ask for the processoer model (i.e., iMX 6 Solo, DualLite, Dual, or something else) and whether Bluetooth LE would be supported at a later time with an Android upgrade. And while you’re at it, since the spec sheet mentions an open SDK, please also enquire whether that would allow people to create custom firmware for their devices. Thanks in advance!

  8. Bob16 March, 2014

    Will bluetooth support allow us to use bluetooth keyboards with ereaders finally?

  9. Kino16 April, 2014

    Will be avalaible in Spain? Else, will be shipped through internet??

    1. zuhjg16 April, 2014

      Pretty prolly.

  10. […] Ink Pad 840 has a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 (the same as on the Onyx Boox i86), and it will cost 9990 rubles (about $290 USD) when it ships in Russia in […]

  11. […] hasn’t said much about their upcoming 8″ ebook reader since first quietly announcing it this spring, so when these several photos crossed my desk today I had to […]

  12. […] 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 […]

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