Onyx Launches the Boox Classic, a 69 Euro Kindle Competitor

frontWith the $69/€59 basic Kindle, the $79 Kobo Touch, and the $99 Nook Glowlight, it’s pretty clear that it’s not easy to offer a cheap and good ereader without losing money or selling old hardware, but Onyx is going to give it a shot.

Arta Tech, an Onyx retail partner in Europe, has just unveiled the Boox Classic, a stripped down 69 euro ereader which lacks many of the features common on the latest ereaders.

The Boox Classic runs a closed version of Android 2.3 on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. It also has Wifi and a microSD card slot, but no audio. This ereader has a 6″ Pearl HD E-ink screen, but (in order to cut costs) no touchscreen or frontlight. While it does have page turn buttons, the only way to manipulate the menu is with the d-pad below the screen.

In terms of software, the Boox Classic runs Onyx’s proprietary reading app (it’s not bad) and it also ships with a couple other apps, including a cloud drive client and a feed reader app from Midiapolis. It’s not clear at this time whether you can install additional apps, but given the lack of a touchscreen I am not sure why you would want to.

While Arta Tech and Onyx are pitching this as a new ereader, it also resembles models released last year in Russia. A couple Onyx models ran Android but lacked touchscreens. They also cost a lot more, so perhaps they are unrelated.

Weighing in at 210 grams, the Boox Classic has a 1.7 Ah battery and is 8.7 mm thick. And as another cost-cutting measure, the Boox Classic is only available in Blue. You can order it today on Onyx-Boox.com.

So what do you think?

If it had a touchscreen I would buy one in a heart beat, old version of Android or no. But I’m not sure how useful it will be without a touchscreen.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor 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. TheGreatFilter21 November, 2014

    If the basic Kindle with touch is 59 euro, and this is 69 euro without touch, then it doesn’t stand a chance. The only way it could work is if working outside the Amazon buyosphere is an advantage, which may be the case in some parts of Europe and in Russia.

    1. Nate Hoffelder21 November, 2014

      I don’t see that this has much of a chance, either – not when the basic Kindle is a very nice ereader.

    2. Timothy (likes zebras)28 November, 2014

      The interesting thing for me with this is the PDF viewing. I’ve heard that can be problematic on a Kindle when you have images in the PDF.

      If this handles that better then the lack of a touchscreen and €10 is but nothing.

      This is because I am thinking of using it to read scientific papers – otherwise the PDF marlarkey would not be so important.

  2. Reader22 November, 2014

    This is good news for Amazon-alternative e-readers. The basic Kindle is a good e-reader, but I much prefer EPUB to MOBI. While I very much like my Nook SimpleTouch, it is no longer manufactured, which means that eventually I will need to find a replacement for it. I am crossing my fingers that Onyx, Kobo, or another company will be manufacturing an e-reader several years hence.

    I don’t consider the Nook Glowlight as a suitable e-reader, because it doesn’t have micro SD card capability. While Barnes & Noble’s Simple Touch was a good product, Barnes & Noble’s website usability and customer service was inferior to Amazon’s, which killed the SimpleTouch as a revenue stream for the company.

    Perhaps regular tablets will get their battery efficiency improved over the current ~10 hours per charge, but I am not holding my breath.

  3. isdrfhos22 November, 2014

    If you want is to read plain text literature, why would you need a touchscreen? This reader’s screen has a higher resolution than the basic Kindle’s and can read microSD cards and doesn’t come with special offers. I therefore don’t see why it would not stand any chance against the basic Kindle.

    At least for Germany, however, I also don’t see a lot of potential for this reader, since some discounter has apparently announced to sell the illuminated Tolino Shine for EUR 69.95 from November 25. But in general, the Boox Classic does not look that bad on paper, IMHO.

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 November, 2014

      Because if it had the touchscreen we would be able to install alternate reading apps. That would radically increase the usefulness.

      1. Adam Kaczmarek - Arta Tech25 November, 2014

        Those people with bigger needs purchase AfterGlow 2 instead of Classic.

    2. Nate Hoffelder25 November, 2014

      A 70 euro Shine is going to undercut the new Boox Classic, all right. The latter is a much better hardware.

    3. Timothy (likes zebras)28 November, 2014

      It doesn’t bother me personally, that much, but I can see the reasoning. I find myself assuming that screens are touch-capable now, so it is a bit jarring when they are not.

      Touch is just an obvious way to interact with a screen, whereas using buttons and a d-pad is severely non-intuitive, and means that one has to learn how to use the device, to an extent that isn’t true of a touchscreen device.

      Not a problem for some people, but it would be an annoyance for most people that they wouldn’t be prepared to accept.

  4. whateveragain23 November, 2014

    It’s the lack of touch when all the same-priced or cheaper ereaders have touch. It’s a no-brainer unless you are one of the few who specifically dont want touch.

  5. […] also less than what I would pay for Onyx’s other new Android ereader, the Boox Classic (which lacks a touchscreen but has a Pearl HD E-ink […]

  6. exc15 June, 2015

    1. I don’t want touch screen.
    2. I want to read mainly in PDF format. This one has reflow.
    3. I don’t need crazy Sci-Fi features that empty the battery.

    This seems like a good option for me.

  7. gthdri15 June, 2015

    @exc: If you want to “read mainly in PDF format”, then you don’t actually *want* reflow. You either want a larger screen to preserve PDF’s layout or you don’t actually want your documents to be in PDF format.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top