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Boyue / Boeye

Do You Want Page Turn Buttons on Your eReader?

It may be hard to remember this in 2020, when the Paperwhite has become the archetypal ebook reader, but there was a time when ereaders all used to have page turn buttons.

The first Kobo ereader, the first Nook, the first four Kindles, and all the Sony Readers all had page turn buttons (even Google’s ereader had page turn buttons), but then touchscreens started taking over about five years ago. Manufacturers started phasing out page buttons in favor of minimalist designs, and now physical page buttons are so uncommon that they are a rarity on new ebook readers.

Sure, some device makers like Onyx, Pocketbook, and Boyue keep releasing ereaders with page turn buttons, but for a lot of people the first new ereader they’ve seen with real page turn buttons (and this doesn’t include the faux buttons on the Kindle Voyage) is the Kindle Oasis.

Some readers, including this blogger, prefer the convenience and feel of real page turn buttons. In fact, we like buttons so much that we seek out reading apps for smartphones that let you re-purpose volume buttons as page turn buttons.

We find it easier to maintain a one-handed grip, and turn the page simply by pressing down rather than tapping or swiping  the screen, which sometimes requires adjusting one’s hold on the ereader.

Buttons are also more consistent in how they respond to your touch; one often has to be careful with a touchscreen to make sure that the taps are recognized as page turns, and not as a long press (this could trigger the note-taking or dictionary look-up function).

And then there’s the the fact that bezels are getting smaller all the time. Even when you’re holding your ereader with your thumb or finger off the screen, it’s easy for your finger to slip onto the screen and cause inadvertent page turns.

And now Amazon has recognized that fact, and brought page turns buttons back into vogue with the Kindle Oasis.

This $290 ereader hearkens back to an early ereader, the Rocket eBook.

The Rocket eBook holds the distinction of being the very first ereader. It was never commercially successful, but as you can see it does share certain design elements with the  Kindle Oaxis.


The Rocket eBook was just the first of many ereaders with page turn buttons. They could be found on ereaders of all shapes and sizes, including the Pocketbook 360, with its 5″ screen, the Pocketbook Inkpad (8″ screen), and even on large screen ereaders like the Kindle DX or the Onyx Boox Max.

When it comes to ereaders, there are many were/are may different ways that page turn buttons could be configured. Some, like the models mentioned above, only had buttons  on one side of the screen, while others like the Nook Touch, the early Sony Readers, and the first several Kindles all had page turn buttons on both sides of the screen or below the screen.

Other ereaders had navigation wheels (or d-pads which doubled as page turn buttons), and one even had the page turn buttons mounted on the edge of its frame. That ereader was the Pyrus Mini from Trekstor, and it was the smallest ereader I’ve ever seen.

And now the Kindle Oasis has page turn buttons to one side of the screen, and an accelerometer so it can tell which way is up and flip the screen orientation to suit both lefties and righties.

Alas, the Oasis costs more than most of us can afford, but it’s still a good inspiration for the following question:

Do want page buttons on your next ereader? If so, what kind of button layout would you want?

lead image via Mashable

Boyue Likebook Note Features 10.3″ Screen, Runs Android 4.4

Soon the Remarkable writing tablet and the Onyx Boox Note won’t be the only 10.3″ writing slates on the market.

A reader has tipped me to the Likebook Note, a new 10.3″ ereader from Chinese OEM Boyue. (Thanks, Carlos!)

The Likebook Note is a 10.3″ ereader that runs Android 4.4 on a 1GHz single-core CPU with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.

It’s powered by a 4.7Ah battery and has Wifi, Bluetooth, a headphone jack, a USB type-C port, and speakers, and is only 7.5mm thick.

The 10.3″ Carta E-ink screen has a screen resolution of 1404 x 1872 as well as a capacitive touchscreen and an electromagnetic stylus.

While it is great to see another large-screen ereader, the Likebook Note really has nothing to recommend it. It’s running an old version of Android on an average-power CPU. And what’s worse is that it is ruined by a USB type-C connection.

Adding that port almost makes me think Boyue set out to make the most pointless update they could. They didn’t update the OS, they didn’t improve the CPU, but they did add a type-C port.

If you like this device, you should wait for either the second model or for Boyue to come to their senses and revise the design with better hardware.

Based on what we see right now, the Likebook Note deserves a hard pass.

Boyue T65s Likebook Air is an Imminently Forgettable Android eReader

The Chinese ereader maker Boyue has released another minor variation on its 6″ Android ereader.

Boyue T65s, aka Likebook Air, aka the JDREAD Venus, runs Android 4.2 on a single core 1GHz CPU. It costs $148 on Banggood. You can also find it for $159 on AliExpress.

The Likebook Air has 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, but no external card slot. It features a 6″, 300 ppi Carta E-ink screen (1072 x 1448) with frontlight and capacitive touchscreen.

It also has Bluetooth, Wifi, and a 2Ah battery.

In terms of software, the built-in reading app supports ePub and PDF. It also has marginal support for FB2, RTF, Mobi, and DJVU files (you can read them, but you won’t want to). The Likebook Air also has Google Play, so you can expand its abilities by installing apps.

Unlike other Boyue models on Banggood, this is actually a model made for one of Boyue’s partners rather than the OEM version sold by Boyue. This is the JDREAD Venus from Chinese retailer JingDong, who sells it for the equivalent of $166 USD.


All in all, it’s not clear why JDRead wanted this model; it’s essentially the same as the Boyue T63, which was rebranded by JDRead in spring 2016. The only real difference is the lack of page turn buttons.

Do you suppose they want to release enough similar 6″ models that they can play a matching game?

Boyue Likebook Plus 7.8″ Android eReader Now on BangGood

For about 3 months now the  OEM version of the Icarus Illumina XL HD  Android ereader has been available through AliExpress. Now you can also buy it from Banggood (a significantly more reputable source).

The Boyue  T80s Likebook Plus runs Android 4.2 on a quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU. It is up for pre-order on Banggood for $196 with free shipping and a free case, and is expected to ship next week.

It has 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, but no external card slot. It features a 7.8″, 300 ppi Carta E-ink screen (1404 x 1872) with frontlight and capacitive touchscreen.

It also has Bluetooth, Wifi, a headphone jack, and a 2.8Ah battery.

In terms of software, the built-in reading app supports ePub and PDF. It also has marginal support for FB2, RTF, Mobi, and DJVU files (you can read them, but you won’t want to). The Likebook Plus also has Google Play, so you can expand its abilities by installing apps.

In short, this is an Android ereader in the same price and size range as the new 7″, $199 Kindle Oasis. The Likebook Plus has its merits, but I find the new Oasis much more appealing.

How about you?

Boyue Likebook Plus 7.8″ Android eReader Now Listed on Aliexpress

The Icarus Illumina XL HD  is a 7.8″ ereader that runs  Android 4.2 and uses the same sized screen as the Kobo Aura One. It was supposed to ship last month, but hasn’t yet.

Fortunately, we now have a second option. A reader informed me this morning that the Boyue Likebook Plus, the OEM version of this 7.8″ ereader, is now listed on Aliexpress for $199. (Thanks for the tip, Shamik!)

The Likebook Plus has a beautiful frontlit Carta E-ink display with a capacitive touchscreen and a screen resolution of 1872 x 1404. Behind that 300ppi screen is a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.

It also has Wifi, Bluetooth, a headphone jack, and a 2.8Ah battery.

All that impressive hardware is available today at a third the price of the Remarkable.

Which would you get, if you had the funds?


Boyue T62 Mega eReader up for Pre-Order – Android 4.2, 300 ppi Carta E-ink Screen, $120

Chinese ereader maker Boyue (aka Boeye) has released an updated version of its T62 ereader.

The T62 Mega, as it is being called on Banggood, features what, for 2017, counts as a retro look. It’s up for pre-order on Banggood for $120, and is expected to ship on 22 June.

Like earlier T62 models, the Mega has protruding page turn and action buttons on either side of a recessed 6″ Carta E-ink screen. It runs Android 4.2 on a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 8GB storage, and Wifi.

In terms of software, the Mega supports Epub and PDF natively, and you can listen to music through its headphone jack. Since it runs Android, you can install apps.

Its 6″ screen comes with a frontlight and touchscren, and according to the product listing it has a 300 ppi screen resolution (the actual resolution is not named, just the sharpness).

The Mega measure 10.5mm thin, and packs a 2.8Ah battery into its soft rubberized shell.

In many ways the mega is as up to date as the Boyue T63, which Banggood sells as the T63 JDRead. There are a couple key differences, however; the T63 doesn’t have audio, and it has a  slab-like design with a flush screen and recessed page turn buttons.

Me, I prefer the protruding buttons, but it is nice that Boyue is offering up to date ereaders in two different styles.


Boyue T80 – Android 4.2, 8″ E-ink Screen, $197

Chinese ereader maker Boyue (aka Boeye) has been teasing the 10.3″ T103 as its next ereader, but in the meantime it has quietly released a rather unimpressive 8″ ereader.

The Boyue T80 runs Android on a dual-core CPU, and can be bought today from Banggood.

Like other Boyue ereaders, the T80 runs Android 4.2 and natively supports Epub, PDF, and a number of other formats.

The Boyue T80 has a dual-core 1Ghz CPU with 512MB RAM. It has 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot, Wifi, and a headphone jack. Weighing in at 278 grams, it measures 8.4mm thin and has a 2.8Ah battery.

That’s not a bad spec sheet so far, but then we get to the screen.

The t80 has a relatively low resolution 8″ screen with frontlight and touchscreen.  The screen resolution is 1024 x 768, or about 160 ppi.

The screen on the T80 is about half as sharp as the latest E-ink screen tech, and yet this ereader costs only $30 less than the Kobo Aura One, which has a 7.8″ 300ppi screen.

I do not know why Boyue even bothered. Yes, there’s a market for 8″ ereaders, but it makes little sense to release an ereader that is so obviously inferior.

Edit: It’s been so long that I forgot, but someone at Mobileread noticed the T80 is the same hardware as the Icarus Illumina XL and the Inkbook 8. o it’s less that Boyue released a disappointing ereader than that they recycled a two-year-old design.

Don’t buy the Boyue T80. If you need a device with a similar screen size, buy the Aura One.


Boeye T103 Due Out Next Year, Comes With 10.3″ E-ink Screen

boeye-t103Charbax has given us our second look at the Boeye T103 ereader I showed you last month.

The T103 is going to have a 10.3″ E-ink screen when it launches next year, but as one observant reader pointed all we have right know is a mockup. (Good catch, Freda!)

Nevertheless, it still looks intriguing.

As you can see in the video at the end of the post, the T103 mockup is specced as having a screen resolution of 1404 x 1872, or about 227.2 PPI. The unit also shows some type of docking port on the back, perhaps for a powered cover.

Judging by the three buttons below the screen the T103 will run Android, making it the largest Android ereader if and when it is released.

There’s no word on Price, however, or a specific release date.

Stay tuned.


Hands On With the New Boeye eReaders, Including the 10.3″ T103

boeye-t103-lesen-net-ereader-androidThe Chinese ereader maker Boeye (or Boyue) is at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, and Johannes Haupt of went hands-on with their new and upcoming ereaders including one with a screen size we have never seen before.

According to the video below, the Boeye T103 sports a 10.3″ Mobius E-ink screen with a resolution of 1404 x 1872, or about 227.2 PPI.

That is a sharper screen than any of the 9.7″ or 13.3″ screens on the market (although it pales in comparison to the Kobo Aura One).

That would make the T103 highly appealing – if we knew when it will reach the market, and for how much. But at this point it is still in pre-production. and Johannes didn’t say when that would change.

Johannes also got a chance to look at a pre-production sample of the Boeye T65, a 6″ ereader with a flush-mounted screen. As you can see in the video, it looks completely different from the T63, Boeye’s flagship 6″ ereader.

The T63 has page turn buttons, while the T65 is a Kindle featureless black rectangle.

I don’t see the appeal, do you?


Boyue T63 Shine Android eReader to launch in China as the JDRead

jdreadThe Chinese ereader OEM Boyue updated its website this week and has taken down the page for the long awaited T63 Shine. In its place is a new page for a new ereader called the JDRead, which has essentially the same hardware, only now with a new brand.

China’s second largest online retailer (after Alibaba) Jingdong is getting into the ereader biz. The retailer is in the middle of a crowd-funding campaign to raise interest in the JDRead, its first ereader.

The JDRead features a 6″ Carta E-ink screen with frontlight and touchscreen, and like the earlier and related ereader Ridibook Paper, the JDRead runs Android an an dual-core 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and 8GB internal storage. It’s not known, however, whether the JDRead lets you access the Android and install apps (the Ridibook Paper does not).

Weighing in at 190 grams, the JDRead is a little heavier than the Kindle Voyage. It has a 1440 x 1072 resolution display, a 2.8Ah battery, Wifi, and a microSD card slot. It also has page turn buttons, and according to one source the JDRead has a haptic feedback system (it vibrates when you touch the screen). My Ridibook Paper doesn’t appear to have that option, so I can’t confirm this detail.

According to Boyue, the JDRead is going to launch/ship in May. Jingdong is charging 799 yuan for the ereader, or about $123.

Based on what I’ve seen with my Ridibook Paper, that’s not a bad price, although an English speaker is probably going to have trouble with the Chinese-language menus.

The language conflict is the single biggest issue for my Ridibook Paper, which I got in late December. It has been available in Korea from the bookseller Ridibook since last fall, but it’s not available internationally and even in Korea the supply was limited. I had to buy it through Ebay and put my money down on a pre-order with the hope that I wasn’t being cheated, and even then I still had to wait for a month.

The Ridibook Paper is a very pretty ereader, and it’s fast to turn the page, thin and light, and while the buttons are low profile I still find them easy to use.

If it had an English language option I would recommend that you get it, but as it stands, the Paper and the JDRead are best left to people who understand the language, or are willing to hack their ereader and install another firmware. via AllChinaTech, CNW

Energy Sistem Announced Three New eReaders, Including an Android eReader

1_.V1454425839._Spain’s Energy Sistem is starting the new year off with a bang with the release of three new ereaders. This company has been putting its brand on ereaders for several years now, and they’ve just added a trio of ereaders with medium-resolution Carta E-ink screens to their catalog.

The 3 ereaders range in price from 75 euros to 129 euros making them (roughly) competitors to the basic Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite, which retail for 69 euros and 119 euros, respectively, in Europe.

The Energy eReader Slim HD is a cheap ereader that lacks a touchscreen or Wifi but makes up for it with page turn buttons, a 1024 x 758 resolution Carta E-ink screen, 8GB of storage, and a microSD card slot.

That’s an odd set of trade offs, one which might not appeal to everyone who can afford the 75 euro price tag. Do you think it’s a good value?


If not, the Energy eReader Screenlight HD is basically the same device, only with a frontlight and costing 95 euros. (For that price, I would want at least Wifi or a touchscreen.)

Neither of the cheaper models are worth it, IMO, but the Energy eReader Pro HD is a different case. This device costs considerably more, and it justifies the higher price tag by running Android 4.2 on a 1Ghz dual-core CPU with 512MB RAM, 8GB internal storage (and a microSD card slot).

The Pro HD has the frontlight, touchscreen, and Wifi I would expect from its 129 euro price tag, but it still has the same medium-resolution Carta E-ink screen (1024 x 758 resolution, which is far lower than the Paperwhite’s 300ppi screen).

The Pro HD even has page turn buttons:


So what do you think of the ereaders?

From what I can see, the design of the homescreen suggests that they were made by the Chinese OEM Boyue. This company has a good reputation for decent hardware and software, but I have only encountered their Android ereaders.

I haven’t tried their cheaper ereaders, or heard user reports, so it is impossible to say whether the budget models will be as good.

Icarus Illumina XL 8″ Android eReader Now Available on Amazon

icarus illumina xlFollowing a partially successful Indiegogo campaign, Icarus started shipping their latest 8-inch ereader to customers last month, and they have now also started selling it through for $199.

The Illumina XL is an 8″ ereader that runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM, 8GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, Wifi, and a headphone jack for audio.

It’s one of only a handful of 8″ ereaders to be released, and it’s one of an even smaller number of run Android on such a large epaper screen. Its 8″ screen has a relatively low resolution of 1024 x 768, and it has both a frontlight and a touchscreen.

Thanks to the high price tag there aren’t very many reviews yet, but if you head on over to MobileRead you will find a number of people who had bought one either through the Indiegogo campaign or direct from Icarus (one even posted a video).  The reviews are generally positive, although pretty much everyone agreed that the so-called "app store" bundled with the device was useless (you’ll need to use a trick like this to get apps).

It’s not a bad ereader, and it comes originally from a Chinese company, Boyue, that has been making Android ereaders for several years now. But those were all smaller models with 6″ screens. Based on some of the complaints about the frontlight, I think Boyue is still figuring out how to make a large-screen ereader:

I notice quite a bit of white bleeding along the left and the bottom border. Is mine the only one showing this or is this considered to be normal? And at the top, on an empty page, 7 or 8 small whitish clouds, of the size of a child’s fingernail, can be seen

There are other complaints which suggest that the Illumina XL’s frontlight is about as good as the one on the original Kindle Paperwhite.

But on the plus side, several users reported that you can install apps like the Kindle Android app.

So if you do get one, the versatility of the large screen plus Android should outweigh the disappointing frontlight.

Icarus Illumina XL Specs

  • CPU: 1GHz dual-core
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Screen: 8″  epaper display, frontlight, touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Wifi
  • Storage: 8GB, microSD card Slot (supported up to 32GB)
  • Battery 2.8Ah
  • Supported formats: TXT, PDF, EPUB, PDF, FB2, HTML, RTF, MOBI, DJVU, CHM, IRC, JPG, BMP, MP3
  • Audio support via 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 145 x 200 x 9mm
  • Weight: 275 grams


First Look at the Icarus Illumina XL 8″ Android eReader (video)

icarus illumina xlFirst introduced in October, the Icarus Illumina XL is an eight-inch ebook reader which runs Android 4.2.

It’s powered by a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM, and 8GB storage. It also has a microSD card slot, Wifi, and a headphone jack for audio. Its screen measures 8″, and includes both a touchscreen and a frontlight. It’s a "knockoff" epaper screen with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768.

It’s still not widely available,  but the Illumina XL went up for pre-order in October before going through a failed crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo. between one and the other, Icarus has gathered enough funding to place a small order from the Chinese manufacturer.

Those units are about to ship to customers, and in order to build more interest in the Illumina XL, Icarus has posted the following video. (Thanks, Joel, for the tip!)

The video looks like it was shot with someone’s smartphone, and it clearly shows that the software running on the Illumina XL was written by the Chinese OEM Boyue. It goes through all the basic features, and about three minutes in the video shows that you can install Android apps like Kobo, Dropbox, and Kindle (there’s no direct access to Google Play, however).

All in all it’s a great Android ereader, and if it had better screen I would heartily recommend it. But the screen is rather low-res, which is why I find it hard to justify the Illumina XL’s 200 euro price tag.

Icarus Illumina XL Specs

  • CPU: 1GHz dual-core
  • OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 8″  ePaper Display
  • Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Frontlight, touchscreen
  • Wifi
  • Storage: 8GB, microSD card Slot (supported up to 32GB)
  • Battery 2.8Ah
  • Supported formats: TXT, PDF, EPUB, PDF, FB2, HTML, RTF, MOBI, DJVU, CHM, IRC, JPG, BMP, MP3
  • Audio support via 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 145 x 200 x 9mm
  • Weight: 275 grams

Inkbook Obsidian Android eReader – Carta, Dual-Core CPU, 117 Euros

inkBOOK Obsidian ArtaTech used to be known as one of the two European distributors for Onyx branded ereaders (and that short-lived Onyx Midia smartphone), but earlier this year they started working with a new Chinese OEM, Boyue, and now ArtaTech is releasing its second rebranded Boyue ereader.

The Inkbook Obsidian is in many ways the same device as the Inkbook Onyx which was released earlier this year, only in a new shell with a new color.

Both devices run Android 4.2 on a 1GHz dual-core CPU with 512MB RAM. The 6″ screen has a resolution of 1024 x 758, for 212 ppi, topped by a frontlight and capacitive touchscreen. Under the hood you’ll find 8GB storage, a microSD card slot, and Wifi, but no audio support or Bluetooth.

But they’re not perfectly identical. The Inkbook Obsidian has a larger 2.8Ah battery and weighs a few grams less than its predecessor, and it also has page turns buttons which don’t stick out but are instead flush with the front bezel.

In terms of software, the Inkbook line doesn’t have Google Play but it does have access to ArtaTech’s own app store, and of course you can still sideload apps. The Inkbook Obsidian also ships with a very adequate reading app, web browser, and a suite of cloud services from ArtaTech (including free 2GB of cloud storage).

The Inkbook Obsidian can be had today from ArtaTech’s website, where it retails for 118 euros plus VAT and shipping. You can also find a basic cover for 15 euros.

All in all this is a pretty good ereader. Although it’s not a huge improvement on past Boyue models, it’s still an excellent alternative to the more mainstream ereaders at a competitive price. While it does not have the 300ppi screen found on the Kindle Voyage, the new Nook, or the Kobo Glo HD, the open Android makes up for the lack.

Streaming eBook Service Skoobe Gains Support for the Illumina eReader

skoobe icarusFor the longest time Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited has had one unique advantage over its competition: it was the only streaming(*) ebook service that worked on an ereader with an E-ink screen. That changed this week.

The Dutch ereader maker Icarus has released a new version of its Illumina ereader. The Illumina line run Android, and now there is a model that ships with the Skoobe Android app integrated into the firmware.

The Illumina Skoobe edition has a Carta E-ink screen, frontlight, and touchscreen. It costs 120 euros (the same as other Illumina models) and comes with 512MB RAM 8GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, and Wifi.

Thanks to the fact that the Illumina runs Android 4.2 on a dual-core CPU, it was not too difficult for Icarus (or more likely their hardware partner, Boyue) to integrate the Skoobe app.

That app offers access to a catalog of 120,000 mainly German language titles at a cost of $10 euros per month (and up).

And this, folks is why I like Android on ereaders (even though it has battery issues).

The new Illumina is not the first ereader to run a subscription ebook app; I have installed apps like Oyster and Scribd on the Android ereaders that I’ve reviewed, starting with the Onyx Boox T68, last June). But this is the first device (other than the Kindle) to ship with a streaming ebook service integrated into its firmware.

Skoobe is owned by Bertelsmann and Hotlzbrink. One owns about half of Penguin Random house, while the other owns Macmillan. According to the website, the Skoobe service is only available in Germany, Austria, and Spain.

In Germany, Skoobe competes with Kindle Unlimited, which costs 10 euros per month, offers a catalog of 850,000 titles, and works on the Kindle.

Other competitors include 24Symbols, Scribd, and Readfy. All offer an Android app, but none directly support ereaders in general or Android ereaders in particular.

P.S. I am now referring to services like Skoobe and Kindle Unlimited as streaming ebook services, not subscription services. Coverage of recent ebook news, including the closure of Entitle, has convinced me that we need to be more specific in discussing details like Entitle being a retailer and Skoobe being a streaming service. Too many people were misinterpreting the impact the one had on the other because both were called subscription services.

Icarus via Self-Publisher Bibel