Onyx Boox Tab Ultra brings iPad features to E Ink

Onyx Boox Tab Ultra front and back
(Image credit: Onyx)

We’ve been fans of Boox ereader and tablet devices from Onyx for a while now, especially the Boox Nova Air C, one of our picks for best ereader. The Air C has a color LCD layer on top of the black and white E Ink, but now, the company is pushing its E Ink even closer to full-featured tablet territory by adding features we normally expect on a tablet such as the iPad 10.9

The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra is a 10.3-inch E Ink tablet with a 16MP camera on the back, a feature we would never expect paired with an E Ink display. E Ink is very slow to refresh, but Onyx has done tremendous work making the Boox Tab Ultra move as fast as possible. The tablet features a Qualcomm 8-core processor and a GPU that Onyx says was custom-made for faster refresh rates on its screen. 

Onyx Boox Tab Ultra cameras

The 16MP camera on the Boox Tab Ultra (Image credit: Onyx)

The camera won’t be used for normal photography, we suspect. Instead, Onyx touts the sensor’s ability to photograph and scan documents, which is more in keeping with the technology. We’re curious how well the E Ink handles the viewfinder tasks with the camera.

Onyx says the Boox Tab Ultra builds off of the Note Air 2 Plus spec, and we found the Note Air 2 to be an excellent digital note-taking device. The Boox Tab Ultra gets a stylus, and Onyx wisely sticks with Wacom-style EMR technology, a much better choice than going with proprietary tech, like Apple and Microsoft prefer. Samsung uses this technology in its S Pen stylus.

The tablet strangely runs Android 11, putting it two generations behind the latest Android 13 release. It seems doubtful to expect such a unique offering will get regular updates, but hopefully Onyx manages to keep the Tab Ultra secure.

The Boox Tab Ultra gets 4GB of RAM, which should be plenty to drive apps on the monochrome display, and 128GB of storage. Don’t worry about the lack of space, because Onyx happily provides a microSD card slot.

The Boox Tab Ultra will launch on the Boox online store on October 27. The tablet will cost $599.99 in the U.S.. Pricing in our other favorite markets is not yet available.

Onyx Boox Leaf 2

Onyx Boox Leaf 2 (Image credit: Onyx)

In addition to the Tab Ultra, Onyx is also updating some of its other popular E Ink tablets. The Nova Air 2 updates the Boox Nova Air that we called “cute-looking, super-slim and incredibly flexible 7.8-inch device for digital note-takers on the go.”

The new device has a 7.8-inch E Ink display, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space, plus it supports the Onyx Pen Plus stylus. The Nova Air 2 will cost $399.99 in the US, though we’re still awaiting pricing in other markets.

The Onyx Boox Leaf 2 updates the company’s simpler line of ereading devices. Rather than a stylus, this device is for reading and gets updates with page turning buttons. It has a 7-inch display, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and a microSD card slot. The Leaf 2 sells for $199.99 in the US – again, pricing in other markets isn’t available just yet.

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.