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Hi-Tech / Hardware

Onyx Boox Livingstone – rethinking compact reader

Daily news from the world of mobile devices 30.12.2019 at 14:46 - News , reviews smartphones, PDA and mobile devices

Company Onyx Boox offered to Russian customers a new model of e-books to Livingstone. This reader differs from the other 6-inch e-readers this brand both in design and overall concept.

Livingstone received the best design features of such series as Darvin and the Monte Cristo, combining them in a very original way. Also, the manufacturer announced the availability of this model of second-generation branded backlight Moon Light, which now does not flicker and does not spoil the vision.

the New illumination included in the list of main advantages of the book along with the new smart case is supplied with the book. At the time of preparation of the material Livingstone 12 worth 300 rubles, or a little less than $ 200. Outset that all of the e-book is targeted primarily to the consumption of textual content – books, Newspapers, magazines. Compare them with smartphones and tablets it is impossible – they belong to completely different categories of devices. Will begin testing.

Packaging equipment

Livingstone comes in a cardboard box is square in shape, very dense and with a magnetic fixing mechanism flip cover. The main color of box – white, all text and image marked in black, and the quality of printing is very high.

Informative boxes we have rated 4 out of 5. It provides a detailed description of the specifications of the device provides a list of his most interesting options, but it does not specify what is inside it. In addition, the image of the device is only present on the bottom face and allows to evaluate all features of the design.

the Book comes complete with the above-mentioned case (discussed in a separate section), 5-watt charger and a microUSB 2.0 cable for charging and connecting to computer. There are also well-detailed instruction manual and warranty card.

hardware specifications

the characteristics of Onyx Boox Livingstone can be found in three sources – the box, the manuals and on the official website of the manufacturer. Differences in given them the information we found.

screen: 6 inch, touch, panel E Ink Carta Plus 16 shades of gray resolution 1072h1448 pixels;

- backlight: Moon Light 2, led light, two shades (warm and cold), brightness adjustment;

- CPU: 4-core, 1.2 GHz;

- memory: system 1GB, built in 8GB, support microSD;

- interfaces: microSD, microUSB 2.0;

- wireless interfaces: Wi-Fi 802.11 n, Bluetooth 4.1;

- battery: non-removable 3000 mAh;

firmware: Google Android 4.4 KitKat with its own interface;

- support file formats: TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2,, FB3, MOBI, CHM, PDB, DOC, DOCX, PRC, EPUB, CBR, CBZ, PDF, DjVu, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP;

- housing material: plastic;

- the color of the case: black;

- dimensions: 156h113h9 mm;

- weight: 164 grams;

- features: backlight is flicker-free.

this list is to highlight the outdated interface microUSB 2.0, despite the fact that the reader is very modern. In 2019 a device has passed USB-C-symmetrical shape – it is more comfortable to use, plus it supports full fast charging. MicroUSB is just missing.


In this section, as in the following, we will consider separately from the Livingstone case. So, the book itself resembles the modern representatives of the line of Darwin – there are common design features of the hull front. At the same time, it has no side buttons to turn pages – if you use it without a case, all control is done through the touch screen.

Externally Livingstone looks very nice – at least the design elements are very beautiful. The front panel, besides the screen, is decorated with the inscription BOOX horizontal and elongated Home button – it performs the same function as the eponymous button in other devices based on Android. Also pay attention to the wide screen frame – they perfectly protect the screen from accidental touches while reading, which is very convenient.

Back from Livingstone there is only technical information, and the Assembly on the rear panel you can see three flat connectors – they are necessary to connect the complete original smart cover. Bottom book has a charging port and a slot for microSD storage, and the power button here, is placed on the upper end.


Livingstone is a very compact and lightweight reader that allows you to hold it with one hand. To operate it in this mode quite comfortably, but two hands is still much more convenient. The housing is pleasant to the touch, slightly rough surface, which almost does not collect fingerprints. The traces can of course stay, but due to the fact that the case is all brushed, they are removed very easily. On the display keep fingers and are not visible.

the power Button and Home have a tangible tactile feedback. The top button is pressed with a sufficiently great effort is done to ensure that owner did not accidentally turn on while in your pocket or bag.

On the part of ergonomics Livingstone makes a very good impression, but still really miss the hardware buttons to switch pages. Here they are present in the composition of the removable cover.


Case is the most interesting feature of Livingstone. Let's start with the fact that it is made of very high quality and durable materials – the main frame is made of plastic, the inner part of the upper cover has a soft coating to protect the screen and the outer side of the cover is trimmed with embossed eco-leather and even stitching around the perimeter.

This study will allow the case to last a very long time, but this is not important in it. Inside you can see the three spring-loaded contact, and on the right side – the Sami hardware buttons to turn pages.

These buttons are pressed very easily, and their size allows you not to miss them, and in General they really enhance the book. The only negative – they are located close to each other, and sometimes they can still be confused. But it is rather a matter of habit. While reading, they are easily located by touch by the thumb of the right or left hand in the book there is an accelerometer that allows you to hold it upside down and providing automatic rotation of the screen image.

will Add that when you close the cover, the book is automatically put into sleep mode to save power and the backlight turns off. In the cover embedded magnet which acts on the Hall sensor, and this causes activation of the sleep mode. In the closed position the cover is held securely by magnets – it won't open, if you drop a book, and the screen will not suffer from falling. When you open the book case and display backlight are enabled independently.

According to the case no complaints – very high quality, stylish and original decision. In fact, in the Russian market in the price range of "up to 15,000 rubles," no other reader can offer anything like it. And the actual model number Onyx Boox of such cases yet none of the books.


In Livingstone, as mentioned above, a screen e-ink, he is electrophoretic display. This model features a panel Carta Plus with high resolution, whereby the text is displayed more accurately with no noticeable graininess. High resolution also provides high quality rendering of images, but the screen is in any case a monochrome, so for photos it is not intended – only text, graphics, and formulas.

Touch screen layer works equally well throughout the area. It supports two simultaneous touches, allowing you to quickly zoom the text while reading, right on your smartphone.

concepts Such as angle and degree of fading in the sun to Livingstone (and indeed to all the e-books) are not applicable due to the nature of electronic ink technology. In the sun, unlike the screens of smartphones and tablets, such panels do not fade, on the contrary, the brighter the light, the more visible display text even without highlighting. Consequently, Livingstone you can use to read on the street, and turned off the backlight will save battery power.

Another feature of this book is the technology of the SNOW Field, providing the highest contrast. It makes the display acting as a background for text, white is maximum, whereby visible on it very well. This, incidentally, is the highlight of books Onyx Boox.


Livingstone is equipped with the second generation of the backlight Moon Light – Moon Light 2.

It differs from the original Moon Light that is powered by a constant voltage and therefore does not flicker, which greatly reduces the impact on vision. For comparison, the screens of almost all smartphones and tablets twinkle with a high frequency, and many love to read them and thus put yourself vision.

to Check for flicker is very simple – you need to point the smartphone camera at a book display. We checked the twinkle is missing completely, the manufacturer is not deceived.

Another feature of Moon Light 2 is two shades of light, warm and cold. The brightness of this model is adjustable in very wide ranges, and you can configure each of them individually and both simultaneously. Each of the shades will be useful in different situations – cold, you want to activate, if you are reading under a relatively bright external lighting with poor colour temperature, for example, a cheap led lamp from the nearest store. Warm light, in turn, will enjoy reading before going to sleep in the twilight and reduce eye strain. Night reading mode to turn the cold (blue) light is not recommended – inhibits the production of melatonin (regulator of circadian rhythms), which is necessary for the person to sleep. In other words, to sleep after reading it will be difficult – this effect can be seen if you long to read or watch a video at bedtime with the screen of a smartphone or tablet.

the brightness available from the primary menu, and also from the interfaces of regular reading. For example, in OReader this can be done by keeping your finger on the edge of the screen. A comfortable reading in low ambient light is achieved when the brightness of both hues at 40%.

Possible firmware wireless modules

Another innovation in Livingstone was redesigned shell firmware. It would seem that everything remains the same, but some differences is there, and a lot of them. First and foremost it should be noted that the section "Library" combined with the start screen – we this change seemed very comfortable.

the Book has learned to quickly sort the books, for example, according to the authors, and got a new settings section, and settings. In particular, now it is possible to download additional covers – they are few, but in the future the developers will surely add a new one. Under applications there is a new function "Transfer" allows to transfer files to the smartphone via Wi-Fi using a QR code.

Wi-Fi here is also used to access the Internet (there is preset a basic browser), but let's be honest, look for a web page with screen e-ink is not very convenient. The main use of wifi is to connect to the network libraries (OPDS catalogues), which contain hundreds of thousands of free books with easy sorting.

the book also has a Bluetooth module. It can also be used to transfer books to your smartphone, laptop, or other equipment, and in the opposite direction. By the way, the firmware supports auto-update over Wi-Fi, which is very convenient.


By default, Livingstone has two apps for reading books – and Neo Reader OReader. You can switch between them by long touch on the book – a pop up will appear with the choice, you can choose any of them to set as default.

the Interfaces of both programs is completely Russified and is quite easy to learn. Overall, OReader and Neo Reader very similar in terms of basic capabilities – support for bookmarks, quick navigation to the desired page of the book, finding the right words in the text and set the font. The scale of the text can be changed on the fly right during the reading familiar to all smartphone users two-finger gesture.

Despite these similarities, the application OReader has a significantly large number of settings. In our opinion, it is a professional solution to read, because it allows you to customize the drop cap, header and footer, pagination, hanging punctuation, and other settings, the importance of which many do not even know.

on the other hand, OReader is not able correctly to work with formats having a fixed page size: PDF, DjVu, CBR, CBZ. The appropriate default document open in Neo Reader. In the end, both programs are worthy of attention, each is great for reading books and documents. Again, you can always install additional applications, but it is important to remember that not every utility will be displayed correctly on the screen with electronic ink, while OReader and Neo Reader initially focused on such devices.

autonomy and charging time

Livingstone curb integrated lithium battery capacity of 3000 mAh.

the fact that the screen books based on electronic ink, makes it the most economical – while working by itself, it almost does not consume energy (only during page refresh).

With a good capacity battery and electrophoretic display reader just has to hold on a single charge long enough. The developers, unfortunately, did not lead indicators of autonomy, so check everything yourself, while testing the wireless modules were turned off.

– mode without backlight: 26000 pages;

– in the mode of one illumination color 50%: a little more than 19000 pages;

– mode with single color backlight 100%: 14,000 pages;

– the mode with two colors backlight 50%: 12,500 pages;

– the mode with two colors of backlight 100%: almost 11000 pages.

At the end, the book Livingstone in all modes runs longer in comparison with the Darwin model 6, the current flagship of the series of Darwin, with equally high resolution display. He showed the following results: 24000, 18500, 13000, 11500, and 10,000 pages, respectively. While the hardware specifications and battery capacity of these e-readers are identical, so, probably, the superiority of Livingstone is connected with improved optimization software, but we can't do that.

the Charger supplied is designed for 5 watts of power (5 volts and a current of 1 ampere). Charge time is about three hours, heating of the battery is completely absent. Fast charging wasn't supported.

the Advantages of the Onyx Boox Livingstone

- high quality smart cover;

- user-friendly software interface

two applications for reading

- the ability to install additional software;

- great lighting;

- non-marking case.

the Cons of the Onyx Boox Livingstone

- outdated microUSB interface.