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8.8/10
Informr score
The Onyx Boox Note Air currently has an Informr score of 8.8 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 7 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

If you’re looking for a tablet that’s designed more for learning or work, the Onyx Boox Note Air is an excellent middle-ground between full-featured tablets like Apple’s iPads and the more pared-back features of e-readers. It checks all of the boxes for what a professional or a student might need when reading, writing and note-taking, even including the availability of installing the Google Play store. It’s a great tablet and very well rounded.

What's good

  • Premium design
  • Nice pen with magnetic storage
  • Suitable format and app support

What's bad

  • Not waterproof
  • So-so third-party app support for pen
  • Low refresh rate means no second monitor use

Onyx has sought to bridge the gap between e-readers and tablets with its series of academic-friendly tablets. Meant primarily for those who have textbooks, reports, and other complex documents they need to view, the Onyx Boox Note Air looks excellent on paper, but how does it perform?

Design

Made from solid metal, the Onyx Boox Note is a departure from Onyx’s usual plastic reliance. Reviewers said this added a premium feel when using the e-ink tablet. The tablet’s design is minimalist, with only one button and one USB-C port.

Display

The Onyx Boox Note Air has a beautiful 10.3-inch E-ink display. Offering 16 gray levels and an anti-glare coating, reviewers stated the screen worked very well - as long as you don’t need color. However, when displaying letter-sized documents such as PDFs, everything remains readable despite shrinking slightly.

The display also features a colour-changing front light that can transition from very yellow to intensely blue to reduce eyestrain in varied reading environments.

Performance

The Onyx Boox Note Air’s ability to annotate PDFs on the fly was a favorite feature among reviewers. Just start underlining and circling things; there are no extra modes to toggle on and off or menus to wade through.

Reviewers said they would not call the tablet powerful. But being an e-ink display, it’s not meant to top benchmarks. It works great for what it’s designed for: note-taking, reading and annotating.

Software & Storage

Surprisingly enough for an e-ink device, the Onyx Boox Note Air runs Android 10. While the Google Play Store isn’t pre-installed, you can easily add it. Reviewers had no issues opening apps as long as they didn’t require fast refresh rates to work well. The tablet features 32GB of space, which is on the large side for an e-ink tablet, so there is plenty of room to do what you need.

Cameras

There are no cameras on this model.

Battery Life

When you compare it with other tablets, the battery on the Onyx Boox Note might look tiny. But for an e-ink tablet, it’s surprisingly capable. Manage the backlight wisely and use the tablet primarily to read and write, and reviews indicate days of battery life on a single charge. However, if you download complex apps like games or spend large amounts of time browsing the Internet, battery life drops quickly.

Audio

The audio isn’t so great. There’s one speak and reviews note that it’s pretty poor. Thankfully, the tablet supports Bluetooth and USB-C headphones. If you plan to listen to anything, you’ll want to use them.

Accessories

The Onyx Boox Note Air comes with a Wacom pressure-sensitive pen that reviewers found very useful. It helps that the tablet has a higher refresh rate than usual tablets of its kind -- though it’s still not what you’d find on a standard tablet or laptop. One side of the pen is flat, allowing you to connect it to the side of the tablet for storage. Unfortunately, the magnet is not very strong and won't stay attached while bouncing around in a bag or briefcase.

Specs at a Glance

  • Metal design
  • 10.3-inch E-Ink display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Android 10
  • 32GB of storage
  • No camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Mono speaker with Bluetooth support
  • Wacom pressure-sensitive pen

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a tablet that’s designed more for learning or work, the Onyx Boox Note Air is an excellent middle-ground between full-featured tablets like Apple’s iPads and the more pared-back features of e-readers. It checks all of the boxes for what a professional or a student might need when reading, writing and note-taking, even including the availability of installing the Google Play store. It’s a great tablet and very well rounded.

PC Magazine says, “The Onyx Boox Note Air is a well-priced, well-built, and extremely flexible E Ink tablet for academics, students, and others who work with textbooks or letter-sized documents.”

Good E-Reader states, “The Onyx Boox Note Air is one of the most intriguing new digital note taking device of 2020. It features an all new asymmetrical design and has a very fast Snapdragon processor and tons of storage.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.8 GHz
Screen Size
10.3"
Camera
No


What the Critics Are Saying...


The Next Web

Not everyone interested in an e-reader needs a giant screen, stylus compatibility, and the ability to install your own apps. And some might prefer the idea of a device that can only really do one thing. If that’s the case, the Boox Note Air might not be the right choice. But the great thing about th...

- Napier Lopez, The Next Web
Business Insider

The Onyx Boox Note Air is a special device. It may not replace a computer or tablet in every case, but for everything text-based, it's phenomenal. Whether reading novels, taking notes on PDFs, or writing documents, the Boox Note Air is a trusty partner with a battery life that other devices with bac...

- Mark Knapp, Business Insider
TechRadar

A fluent pen-and-paper experience awaits anyone looking for a power-efficient slate for annotating PDFs and taking notes via the included Wacom stylus. Glare-free readability and an ability to deal with all kinds of digital files, the Onyx Boox Note Air is prime paperless office tech – although shor...

- Jamie Carter, TechRadar
Input

If the Note Air were $199 this would be a totally different story. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy the Note Air if you’re really dying for an E Ink Android tablet, because aside from the perplexingly small battery, the Note Air actually accomplishes a lot of what it sets out to do. But give...

- Evan Rodgers, Input
Make Use Of

If you can afford one, the Onyx Boox Note Air is hands-down the best 10.3-inch eReader and digital notebook. Its standout features include an ability to read any ebook, an innovative and almost magical assortment of reading tools, and outstanding note-taking capabilities. For both students and profe...

- Kannon Yamada, Make Use Of


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Screen Size
10.3"

The Onyx Boox Note Air's screen size is 10.3 inches with 1404 x 1872 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.8 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on the Android 10 operating system (OS).

Camera
No
This model has no built-in camera. Sorry, no selfies.
Storage
32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
3000mAh

The tablet is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 3000 mAh battery.

Boox Note Air Specs

Overview
Release date September 20, 2020
Regions available USA
Networks
No
Mobile / Cellular Data
No (Option available)
SIM card size
No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 10

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz
Internal Storage 32 GB
RAM 3 GB
ROM No
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English, French, Spanish, Chinese
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included Manual, Data Cable, Stylus
Power & battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 3000 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Battery Charge Time Unknown
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) No
Reading Time Unknown
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 22.94 x 19.54 x 0.58 cm (9 x 7.7 x 0.2 in)
Weight 420 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Grayscale
Technology E-ink
Colors No
Resolution 1404 x 1872 pixels
Pixel density 227 pixels
Size 10.3 inches
Sensors Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics No
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touchscreen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech Yes
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity None
Multiple Numbers Per Contact No
Contact Groups No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client No
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HID
Bluetooth Audio Codecs No
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
No
Dual lens
No
Zoom
No
Flash
No
Additional Main Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats MPEG-4
Streaming Video No
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert No
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar No
World Clock No
Alarm No
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator No
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, RTF, JPG, GIF, DOC, DOCX, PDF, EPUB, HTML, MOBL, BMP
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps No
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder No
Games No
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Onyx Boox Note Air Reviews
Where to buy Onyx Boox Note Air
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