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Hands On With the Onyx Boox i62HD Firefly – Frontlight, HD E-ink Screen

The Kindle Paperwhite is getting all the attention this week with the many reviews, shipping delays, and what not, but that’s not the only knew ereader which I’ve been waiting for.

For a couple months now I have been anticipating the release of Onyx’s next device. This Chinese ereader maker has been teasing its fans with glimpses (here, here) of a frontlight equipped ereader. That ereader is just now getting into the hands of Onyx dealers, and one posted the following hands on video.

You’re looking at the Onyx Boox i62M Firefly. It’s currently up for pre-order at, with a retail of 199€. It has the same HD E-ink screen found on the Kindle Paperwhite, as well as a frontlight, IR touchscreen, Wifi, 8GB Flash storage, a microSD card slot, and a head phone jack.

This ereader was why I faulted Sony for not offering better hardware on the PRS-T2, and it is also what I was secretly hoping we would see at the Amazon event. This  is the next generation of ereaders, and I’ve been wanting to announce that it had hit the market for over a month now. When I first saw it, I decided that this was the device I’d carry around at CES, just to have something no one else had. But now that the Kindle Paperwhite is on the market and the Kobo Glo might be on the market by CES, all of a sudden the Firefly isn’t as cool as it used to be.

But I’m still looking forward to it. This ereader incorporates all of the annotation features that Onyx has been working on for the past 3 plus years. You can do so much with this one that it rivals Sony in terms of sophistication.

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Mike Cane October 4, 2012 um 7:16 pm

Kindle PW doesn’t have an SD card slot, so Onyx beats that.

David Goldfield October 5, 2012 um 9:27 am

Does it have any kind of text-to-speech capabilities? I’m a blind user of the Kindle Keyboard and the KK is one of the few mainstream ereaders with enough accessibility so that it can be used by a blind person.

Ingo Lembcke October 5, 2012 um 2:50 pm

I just looked at the website and they list text-to-speech under the tab details. The sound requires headphones or speakers, an internal speaker is not listed in the specifications.
This is a (multi) touch device, not a lot of buttons.
In the video there is one main homebutton, which is now more than the Kindle Paperwhite has.
So I cannot say how good it can be used buy a blind person.
The Website says I can order now, it is available on October 19th 2012. Currently Kobo, B&N and the Kindle Paperwhite are not available in Germany, I looked on ebay and a Paperwhite would cost me between 170 Eur and 250 Eur, and maybe for 170 Eur an additional 19% (32.30 Eur) as import duty.
So the i6hd firefly looks pretty good pricewise.

My first thought when I heard that the Kindle lost Text-to-speech was that it opens Amazon to a Lawsuit in USA (Americans with disabilities act), I wonder why that did not happen?

Nate Hoffelder October 5, 2012 um 2:58 pm

Under US law some institutions are required to buy accessible devices, but there is no requirement for corporations to make an accessible product. That’s why almost no ereaders meet the definition of accessible.

But the K3 does, so Amazon is a step ahead of the game.

Andreas October 11, 2012 um 6:20 pm

The only thing this model lacks is a fast 1 GHz processor, like the Kobo Glo has, but nevertheless this is the definite winner for me. It beats the Glo in every other respect.
I will want to read and see a few more reviews, but this might be my next reader.
If only Sony made something like this. I love their ample selection of high quality dictionaries. But Sony has lost the battle. Their readers are too expensive and show too little progress. Sony currently has nothing to compete with readers like the Kobo Glo or the Onyx Boox Firefly.

Nate Hoffelder October 11, 2012 um 7:44 pm

Fast is relative. The Nook touch s quite speedy and it has an 800MHz CPU. If you want to claim the Kobo Glo is faster then show me some benchmark test results.

rousta bout October 12, 2012 um 5:23 pm

my nook glow has a ghz cpu, and is running an ondemand governor rather than the default conservative goernor – I like a lot of what this reader has, but there’s a pretty engaged dev community around the glow.

The oc kernel is a new development in the last couple of weeks, and very nice.

Don’t know if that’s true for this, also.

Andreas October 23, 2012 um 9:56 pm

"If you want to claim the Kobo Glo is faster then show me some benchmark test results."

I do not want or need to claim anything, but to me a 1 GHz cpu seems 'somewhat' more powerful than a 800 Mhz cpu :).
I do not want to compare the Firelfly to the Glo, I only want to compare it to itself, so to speak. It seems only logical to me that if the Firefly would have been outfitted with a 1 GHz cpu instead of the current 800 Mhz cpu it must be able to be even more responsive, faster, especially when the on board 8Gb memory is filled with thousands of books.

My concern is a practical one. I own a Sony PRS950 and experienced severe slowdown when actually using a memory card filled with books for example.
I would like to own a reader that can actually handle all the books I load onto it with ease and without slowing down.

But as I said before, perhaps 800 Mhz is enough.
I believe the Sony PRS950 has a 532 Mhz processor, although I am not quite sure. Sony seems to avoid mentioning processors in their specs.

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