If you have the funds for an iPad burning a hole in your pocket and want to get an ebook reader then I have a deal for you. Arta Tech has announced that they have the latest Onyx Boox up for pre-order today, and they will be shipping after the 21st of July. Retail is 251 Euros plus taxes and shipping.
The Onyx Boox M96 Universe is the latest ereader to sport a 9.7″ Pearl E-ink screen. It runs Android 4.0 Jelly Bean on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. And yes, it has Google Play, but I wouldn’t rush out and buy it just yet.
With Bluetooth, Wifi, a microSD card slot, and a speaker, the M96 Universe is the bigger sibling of the recently released Onyx Boox T68 Lynx. It weighs in at 509 grams and is about the size of a 9.7″ tablet, and has many of the same software features as the T68 Lynx, including Ivona TTS, the option to install your own reading apps, and support for a broad range of ebook and file formats.
Alas, while it is larger it is not better than that smaller ereader/tablet. I was planning to buy one right away so I could post a review, but after seeing the specs listed on the product page I can tell you that my recommendation in that review would be to buy the T68 Lynx. And so I will save myself the money and explain why.
To put it simply, the M96 Universe is hobbled by the fact that it is really an updated version of an older Onyx ereader – one that was developed before frontlights and capacitive touchscreens were readily available.
If measured spec for spec, the M96 Universe would come up short when compared to the T68 Lynx. The larger device sports a screen with a resolution of 825 x 1200, which is a significantly lower resolution than the 6.8″ screen on the T68 Lynx. The smaller device has a screen resolution of 1440 x 1080, and I think you would appreciate the difference.
The M96 Universe also stumbles in the touchscreen and frontlight department. While the T68 Lynx has a capacitive touchscreen, the M96 Universe has an older and less desirable electromagnetic touchscreen which will only work with a stylus. It also lacks the frontlight found on many modern ebook readers.
This is a cool looking device, but it’s on my don’t buy list. Instead I would suggest you get the T68 Lynx. I reviewed it a couple weeks ago, and I have found it possible to turn it into a nifty little E-ink Android tablet.