The Boox Poke 3 is my new favourite e-reader

By | November 10, 2020

There are many e-readers to select from on the market, however by no means sufficient for me. I’m all the time questing for the one that can make me neglect that there are others accessible, and within the Onyx Boox Poke 3, I believe I’ve discovered it — at the least for now. The Chinese language e-paper gadget maker has nailed the dimensions, the display, and added a sprinkle of versatility that I didn’t know I used to be missing.

The Poke 3 matches in the identical “authentic taste e-reader” class because the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Clara HD: 6 inches, 300 PPI or so (which makes for very clear textual content), and someplace between $100 and $200.

These readers match simply in a pocket, not like the bigger Oasis and even bigger Forma; they have a tendency to lack something however an influence button and are very centered on books and saved articles.

However the Kindle and Clara each have main flaws. The Kindle is tied to Amazon in all of the methods I can’t stand, together with on-device advertisements by default, and the Clara… effectively, beside the display, the {hardware} is truthfully simply unhealthy. Kobo made my earlier favourite e-reading gadget, the compact and flush-front Aura, and I’ve lastly discovered a worthy successor to that beloved gadget.

The Poke 3 is the most recent gadget to return from Boox, the e-reader line from father or mother firm Onyx. The corporate has largely been a presence in Southeast Asia, significantly its dwelling nation of China, so don’t be shocked if you happen to’ve by no means heard of it. Boox makes all kinds of e-paper units (which I’ll consider in a separate article), and the Poke 3 is the only and smallest of them.

A Boox Poke 3 e-reader in a hand.

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

I’ll spotlight the gadget’s strengths first. Most significantly, it’s a beautiful piece of {hardware}. The flush entrance is a pleasure to learn on, as there is no such thing as a raised bezel to shade the textual content or acquire grime. The ability button is effectively positioned and clicky. There’s simply sufficient border to carry onto with out worrying about smudging or activating the display, and a bit of additional house on the backside permits loads of comfy grips.

It’s thinner than the competitors and the construct high quality is superb. The entrance is hardened glass from associate Asahi, which can hopefully forestall it from needing a canopy.

A Boox Poke 3 e-reader side-on.

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

The end is, to be trustworthy, one thing of a fingerprint and oil magnet, and might be grippier. The Paperwhite has it beat on texture however I favor the graceful again to the bizarre perforated one of many Clara.

At 150 grams it’s 16 lighter than the Clara and 32 lighter than the Paperwhite. That doesn’t sound like so much, however once you’re holding a tool for hours straight each little bit counts, and at this dimension it additionally helps with steadiness.

Its 6-inch display is just not meaningfully totally different from the Kindle or Kobo units on the market by way of decision or font rendering. I scrutinized the Poke 3 subsequent to the Clara HD and Forma and located no variations that anybody would discover studying from 10-20 inches away.

Screen of a Boox Poke 3 e-reader

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

It does differ in its method to illumination, although whether or not meaningfully so is a matter of opinion. As a substitute of getting a brightness slider and a temperature slider, it has a heat and funky slider, and rising or reducing both one adjustments each the brightness and temperature. You too can flip both one off completely or hyperlink them collectively so they’re adjusted as one.

If it sounds extra difficult… it’s. I don’t see that it provides any actual new capabilities, however when you get the texture for it, it isn’t that a lot more durable to make use of, both. I do want that once you linked the 2 sliders, they stored their positions relative to at least one one other. The entire system appears a bit of baroque and I hope Boox streamlines it. That mentioned, the standard of the sunshine is equally good and when you dial it in, it seems nice.

Sort formatting is sweet, and has loads of choices for tweaking how any of the numerous (too many…) included fonts look, even weight and distinction changes to essentially wonderful tune them. Including customized fonts is as straightforward as dragging and dropping them, identical to paperwork.

The working system of the Boox offers much more choices than both Kobo or Kindle. Amazon retains tight management over its ecosystem and out of doors of a handful of related companies the units can’t do a lot. Kobo at the least permits for extra file codecs to be loaded immediately on, and now has wonderful Pocket integration for saving articles from the online. Boox takes issues two steps additional with a customized Android launcher that you would be able to obtain full apps onto.

A Boox Poke 3 e-reader

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

Now, there are actually solely so many apps that you just truly would possibly need on an e-reader like this one. And never all the things works in addition to I’d like. However for the primary time I can truly get Simplenote on my e-reader.

It’s not so simple as it will be on an unusual Android gadget, although. As a result of the Poke 3 comes from China, it doesn’t have entry to Google companies proper off the bat. You may add it by means of settings, which isn’t laborious, however there’s additionally a sideloading retailer inbuilt with latest (if not fairly model new) set up packages of fashionable, vetted apps for the gadget.

Let’s simply admit proper now that in comparison with the simplicity of Kindle and Kobo, that is already a bit on the market. And whether or not you’re feeling comfy logging right into a model of Evernote that you would be able to’t (and not using a bit of labor) confirm the contents of… effectively, it’s not for everybody. However to be clear on this, Boox isn’t some fly-by-night operation — they will not be well-known over right here, but it surely’s laborious to argue with the standard of the units. The issue is solely that localizing an OS constructed for customers in China has some elementary challenges.

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

Happily for everybody, the fundamental functionality to load books on there and browse them is strong and it’s what you’d be doing more often than not. There could also be a busy interface once you’re doing different stuff, however you possibly can simply disguise all indicators like progress and title whilst you’re studying, dedicating each sq. inch of the display to precise studying.

It has 32 gigs of inside reminiscence, making storage of audiobooks (it has Bluetooth for sound) and ponderous paperwork straightforward, and connects shortly as a drive once you plug in its USB-C twine.

The Poke 3 will cost $189 when it ships subsequent week, which is on the excessive finish for any such gadget. That’s $30 greater than a Kindle Paperwhite and $70 greater than a Clara HD. However I truthfully suppose it’s well worth the premium. It is a higher e-reader, interval; regardless of the generally fussy interface, I take pleasure in utilizing it, and recognize that it offers capabilities that its competitors doesn’t. In case you want easy and don’t thoughts an inexpensive construct, the Clara is a superb cheaper possibility, however for a step up take into account the Poke 3.

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