Boox Palma E-ink

Boox Palma E-ink Android Phone Review: Best E-Reader Device of 2024

The pocket-friendly Onyx Boox Palma e-reader takes its design cues more from smartphones than books. We love the vivid E Ink display and smooth performance, and access to the Google Play Store lets you download apps and read books on your favourite reading platform. That said, the Palma is significantly more expensive than competing e-readers, and its screen is too cramped for long reading sessions comfortably.

Boox Palma E-ink Android Phone Review


You can use Palma as a phone in every way. It’s advertised as being like a phone, which only solidifies that impulse. It has a 6.13-inch display, making it mobile-phone-like. The bezel takes up part of the display, but e-ink isn’t as competitive as AMOLED tablet or phone displays, so we leave it at that.

Onyx boox palma

The problem is that the display gets in the way of that, not necessarily in quality but in functionality. The biggest attraction of Palma is the display; the E-Paper HD Carta 1200 screen looks and feels more like paper than glass. Excellent at that job. The display is as minimal as possible without a backlight, providing a comfortable viewing experience, almost like printed paper.

Equipped with onboard climate control and backlighting, it is flexible for any use case. The problem is not with detail or lighting but with touch. Returning to our phone comparison, it looks and feels like a phone when you pick it up.

You may want to explore apps, internet browsers, and social media. But you can’t do that because it’s an E-Paper display. At the highest refresh rates, navigating at a similar rate to a 60Hz display is nearly impossible.

Boox Palma has built-in tools to change how it processes text and content. The more detail you want, the slower the display will refresh.

At its highest setting, Ultrafast, Palma still requires the user to be patient. But once you realize you can’t use the device at the same speed as your phone, it suddenly becomes a different device. Your best bet would be an E-reader that you can carry in your pocket.


Onyx Boox Palma phone e-reader provides excellent display performance in bright environments, reduces eye strain, and lasts for weeks with virtually no power consumption.

Boox palma review

Boox Palma aims to do just that but on a smaller scale. At its core, it runs Qualcomm’s humble octa-core SoC and is powered by 6GB of RAM.

From a comfort standpoint, the Palma is a fun little device. The back has a textured surface that makes it easy to hold despite being almost light in weight. There are a few buttons on the side and the standard volume and power keys.

However, there are customizable buttons on the left that can be used to adjust certain aspects of the device on the fly, which become increasingly helpful as you learn how to operate the display to your advantage.


Onyx Boox Palma runs on a highly customized version of Android 11. The company plans to provide three years of firmware updates, but it won’t update the devices to the latest version of Android. This is a significant security concern since Android 11 is already several years old.

Boox palma e-ink android phone

The Palma has a more straightforward layout than other leaders in the Boox lineup. A large widget containing the date and time occupies the top portion of the home screen, followed by a row of apps below.

Major apps span the bottom of the home screen, including the web browser, Google Play Store, storage folder, and Settings app. The layout is customizable, so you can add, remove, or change the placement of any items you want.

Swiping down from the top right corner of the screen will bring up Control Center, giving you access to Bluetooth and screen brightness settings. The E Ink centre is also here, allowing you to choose between four screen modes.

HD mode is excellent for reading general text; Balanced mode increases the refresh rate so you can move through documents quickly; Fast mode is excellent for browsing websites; and Superfast mode is excellent for browsing websites.


The Palma looks and functions like an Android phone, but it can’t replace your phone because it lacks SIM support. It has a side-loading card tray but only accepts memory cards up to 1TB. It can be used for phone calls over Wi-Fi with supported apps Google Voice.

boox palma phone

The device has both speakers and a microphone and supporting Bluetooth headphones. You can also run most messaging apps over Wi-Fi, but you may need a SIM-free phone number.

The lack of SIM support should not be an issue for you if you have no intention of replacing your phone with an e-ink device.


One thing you don’t have to worry about with the Boox Palma is the battery. If you just plan to read this article or take it out to catch up, you’ll see strength for days or even weeks.

onyx boox palma e-reader price

This makes sense when you realize the Palma has a 3,950mAh battery. This is enough to power some modern phones for about a day. It may be overkill, but it is a welcome addition in every way.

You don’t have to worry about it dying while travelling, and it’s so tiny that it fits just about anywhere. Like all of its products, the Palma charges via USB-C, so you’ll have more to consider later wherever you go.

Overall Performance

One of Palma’s biggest strengths is its Android OS. It runs Android 11 and has access to the Play Store. This means access to all the apps you need for E-Reader and more.

boox palma ereader

Another fantastic use case from Palma is using it as a dedicated music library. You can connect it to a Bluetooth DAC like the Fiio BTR5 and load all your songs into Palma. This simple device can do so, making it a perfect replacement for a small MP3 player.

Of course, Onyx stripped down the shell of the device. Luckily, it’s not heavy skin and works well with that device. It took me a few minutes to get used to the new set of gesture controls explicitly designed for Palma.

Swiping up from the centre takes you to the home screen, and swiping up from the right edge opens the refresh and contrast controls. Swiping down from the right takes you to the Control Center, and swiping down from the centre opens Recent Notifications.

Most of the aspects of Android that I appreciate work and are well integrated. Palma doesn’t feel sluggish either, although moderate refreshes take some getting used to. 6GB of RAM is enough for everything you do on the device. You won’t be playing graphics-heavy games.


  • Best Android E-Reader
  • Fast performance
  • Use of various reading platforms
  • Google Play Store Support


  • Lacks SIM support

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Once you get used to the refresh rate and realize that the Boox Palma isn’t intended to replace your phone completely, it becomes an excellent device for reading and performing light tasks on the go or around the house.

The $279 price tag feels reasonable for a device with full Android and endless technological possibilities. The Palma comes in black and white.

If you’re in the market for an E-Reader with a perfect display and fantastic battery life but don’t want to lug around a tablet, the Boox Palma is a great choice. The form factor may seem minimal to some, but the longer you use the Palma, the more you’ll appreciate its portable footprint, fantastic ePaper screen, and incredible battery life.

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