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Onyx Boox M96C – 9.7″ E-ink Screen, Capacitive Touchscreen, Android 4.0

onyx-boox-m96-c[1]Onyx released a new version of its 9.7″ ereader today, and they finally fixed the screen.

When the Boox M96 shipped last July it was equipped with a 9.7″ Pearl E-ink screen and an EM (Wacom) touchscreen. I didn’t like it at the time because of the touchscreen tech, but with the new model I have fewer complaints.

The new Onyx Boox M96C has the same 9.7″ E-ink display with  a screen resolution of 825 x 1200 but it has a capacitive touchscreen. That is a useful improvement over the older model.

But other than that, the M96C is largely identical. It runs Android 4.0 on a single core 1GHz Freescale CPU with 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. In terms of connectivity, it has Wifi and Bluetooth.

It ships with Onyx’s own ereader app, which supports a wide variety of ebook formats, and since the product listing also mentions Google Play we can also assume that you can install other reading apps. The single core CPU might discourage you from doing more, but I have found that a similarly equipped Onyx Boox T68 (same CPU and OS, but smaller screen) was more than capable of running reading apps.

The Boox M96C can be had from, where it is retailing for 350 euros. That’s about $400.

Given that this device lacks a frontlight and has a relatively low resolution screen, I don’t think the high price is justified. That is the same opinion I formed with last year’s M96, and so I will repeat my recommendation.

Rather than buy the M96C, I would get either the Onyx Boox T68 Lynx or the Pocketbook InkPad 840. They are cheaper, offer higher resolution screens, and have a frontlight.

Here are some reviews to help you make up your mind:

If the M96C were cheaper, or had a frontlight and higher resolution screen, I might recommend it.  But if costs more and offers less. That’s not a good value, IMO.

On the other hand, I was content with the Lynx and I am very happy with the InkPad. I could recommend either device.


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Jmirko January 30, 2015 um 10:54 am

Indeed this screen tech is much better – unless you want to handwrite or annotate documents, in which case it’s a non-starter.

Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader January 30, 2015 um 11:00 am

When balanced against the many other uses for a touchscreen, I think the impact on handwriting is less important.

And who says you can’t annotate on this screen? I didn’t have any trouble with my T68, and a lot of people write on their iPad.

Jmirko January 30, 2015 um 11:59 am

I agree that for most people, writing is less important than quick and simple interaction with the screen, and capacitive touch is better for that.

I disagree with your second point, though. Capacitive screens normally respond only to thick, rubbery capacitive tips, which are not accurate enough for handwriting. Also, they usually don’t support palm rejection, so you end up with unwanted marks on the screen. (This is more annoying on a large screen than on 6 in.)

What sort of stylus do you use to write on the T68?

anothername January 31, 2015 um 11:58 am

A 9.7″ screen might just be usable as a monitor. A bit too small though. Really, I need at least 14″.

djrichard February 1, 2015 um 2:37 pm

Add a bluetooth keyboard and that’s a great combination for annotating PDFs. E.g. use ezpdf to create hand-drawn boxes or polygons (what have you) around text of interest. And then use keyboard to type in the comment.

Or use the on-screen keyboard for that matter. I do this already on my rooted Nook, but that screen is way too small for this type of work. A 9.7″ screen would make all the difference.

Raffaele February 9, 2015 um 12:07 pm

In your opinion, is it possible use the stylus on m96c if I buy it separately? Sometimes I consider it much better.

Nate Hoffelder February 9, 2015 um 12:08 pm

If you buy a capacitive stylus, yes.

Raffaele February 9, 2015 um 3:20 pm

What do you mean, capacitive? Do you recommend this one or icarus excel?

Soni April 8, 2015 um 3:19 am

Please add a light that comes from the sides (not the back of the screen) to this device, so that I can consider buying it (and probably many others too).

First Glimpse of the New Onyx Boox N96 eReader | Ink, Bits, & Pixels June 12, 2015 um 1:50 pm

[…] far as I can see, the N96 is effectively identical to the existing model, the Boox M96C. Both units run Android 4.0, sport a 9.7" E-ink screen (1200 x 825 resolution) with frontlight and […]

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