Waited for him, and he did not disappoint: ONYX BOOX Nova Pro

10 min


Hi, Habr! After a few months of waiting, we did wait: ONYX BOOX released its first reader of the 2019 model year, and this is the professional version of the Nova e-book, which was a great success last year. The advantage of the new device is that it has an additional WACOM touch layer (paired with a stylus, of course) and an application for creating digital notes that allows you to draw as well as edit PDF files. Yes, this time they decided not to pull and dropped all the lyrical digressions, it would be better to go under the cat.

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For those who do not like to read, here is a brief list of technical characteristics:

Display touch, 7.8 ", E Ink Carta Plus, 1872 × 1404 points, 16 shades of gray, density 300 ppi
Sensor type capacitive (with multi-touch support); induction (WACOM, with support for determining 4096 degrees of depression)
operating system Android 6.0
Battery Lithium-polymer, capacity 2800 mAh
CPU 4-core 1.6 GHz
RAM 2 GB
Internal memory 32 GB
Wired connection USB Type-C
Supported Formats TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, FB2.zip, FB3, DOC, DOCX, PRC, MOBI, CHM, PDB, DOC, EPUB, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PDF, DjVu
Wireless connection Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.1
Dimensions 196.3 × 137 × 7.7 mm
Weight 275 g

So, Nova Pro. This reader has a screen with a diagonal of 7.8 inches (E-Ink Carta Plus) with a resolution of 1872 × 1404 and 300 PPI. It is made completely flush with the frame. You can read in the dark with the backlight – and yes, MOON Light + color temperature adjustment is available here.

It is possible to adjust the color temperature from cold to warm tones, and you can use both sliders together or separately. For an evening reading before bedtime, it is better to adjust a more yellow tint with the filtered blue part of the spectrum, since the blue color prevents the production of melatonin – the “sleep regulator”. Accordingly, in daylight, a cold shade is more suitable.

There is 32 GB of internal memory, 2 GB of RAM, USB-C, 2800 mAh battery and Android 6.0. There are several built-in applications (like a calculator, mail, and a couple of programs for reading).

Well, the browser, where do without it?

The design of the ONYX BOOX Nova Pro is pretty minimal. It has a black matte plastic case with a Home button at the bottom of the front panel of the device. It also has a USB-C port on the bottom, though the slot for microSD is “not delivered” – you will have to rely only on the built-in memory. Not to say that 32 GB will be small, but if you download a lot of technical literature with heavy pdf-kami, difficulties may arise. There are no speakers or even a 3.5mm headphone jack, so this is first of all a BOOK. The back of the reader is almost naked – it is decorated only with the ONYX BOOX logo.

Dimensions are 196.3 × 137 × 7.7 mm, and weight – 275 g. Much lighter than any tablet (hello to all fans to compare the incomparable).

Software / Interface

A few months ago, ONYX BOOX transferred its modern line of e-books to a new hardware platform, as a result of which many aspects were revised. Among them, an increase in the speed of opening PDF files by 30%, improved work in the "two pages" mode, handwriting input, text input from the keyboard through notes, application management and general optimization.


Nova Pro has already managed to get the firmware update right out of the box, which is applicable only to this particular model, as well as to future generations of Note Pro. Among the major changes worth noting the improvement in editing PDF files and the handwriting recognition system, which converts it into text.

Since we started talking about the interface, let's touch on some of its features. At the very top of the screen is a group with Android user interface icons. It includes the remaining battery charge of your device, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and volume buttons. If you tap the top of the screen, a small drop-down menu will appear that allows you to quickly turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

ONYX BOOX did something interesting with the library, where all your PDF files and e-books are stored. She can scan metadata to add covers to books that don’t have them. This is often found not only in free books, but also in those that are produced by major publishers. Very cool, because you no longer need to use programs like Caliber for this. This is all in addition to the already familiar library functions like displaying books in a list or as a grid (and deletion, of course).

File Manager allows you to view all the files that you downloaded to your device, including e-books and PDF-files, not copied directly to the main section with books, as well as downloaded applications.

Dual touch control is provided by two separate sensor layers. A capacitive layer is located above the surface of the ONYX BOOX Nova Pro screen that allows you to scroll through books and scale documents with the intuitive movements of two fingers. And already under the E Ink-panel there was a place for the WACOM touch layer to make notes or sketches using the stylus. And this is despite the fact that the distinctive feature of such a screen is its maximum similarity with the paper counterpart (no wonder the technology is called “electronic paper”).

There are several text entry modes – for example, traditional, using the keyboard. This text can be moved with the frame that surrounds it. For example, if it became necessary to rotate it 180 degrees, draw more / less, or drag it to any place in the document. Cool stuff for artists who paint comics or manga – you can as easy as possible to add "bubbles" with the dialogues of the characters. But the main thing – if you write a bunch of text by hand, the system automatically converts it into the desired text.

Using the stylus delivers true convenience, erasing content is also very simple. On the side there is an eraser, which by default simply cancels the last action. But there are more advanced settings for deleting content in a specific area, highlighting, and also deleting all the content on any page. Yes, to delete each word (or God forbid a symbol) is not necessary separately.

The stylus itself is more like a regular pen, and this makes it even more sensible that you are holding not a gadget for reading electronic books, but a sheet of paper. Support for 4096 degrees of stylus presses (two times more than the Apple Pencil, for example, but the norm for WACOM tablets) makes the device a full-fledged tool for taking notes. Why so much? The greater the number of degrees of depression, the more close the experience with the device to ordinary paper. Wanted to draw a thin-thin line – slightly spent a stylus on the screen; a little fatter – put a little effort.

It feels that the stylus is very coolly calibrated – you can easily slide the pen (you can’t call it another way) and reproduce visual images as accurately as possible, as if you were drawing with a normal pen (the author of this review doesn’t draw much, but appreciated the function). The stylus is constantly active and does not require recharging: if you wanted to sketch or write something, you got it and did it.

And since we started talking about using Nova Pro among professionals, there are several different backgrounds for entering text, such as notes or plain white text. At the same time it is possible to import your own backgrounds that you use at work (or if you just decided to go shopping).

All notes can be saved in PNG format, which remain in the internal storage. Of course, you can also connect the Nova Pro to your PC or Mac and manually transfer the files to your computer via a USB cable, the benefit here is USB-C.

Reading

ONYX BOOX Nova Pro has a standard e-book reader application that works with files in PDF, EPUB, TXT, DJVU, HTML, RTF, FB2, DOC, MOBI, CHM formats.

The 7.8-inch screen is enough to read your favorite pieces and work with technical documentation, but my favorite in this matter is still MAX 2, because it supports A4 documents (and can work as an external monitor). However, this player is a little bit from another league (generally different, to be frank), and it costs more.

Turning pages is fast, and there are many options that allow you to change the font type, font size, line spacing, margins, and so on.

Nova Pro has several different features that I really liked. When reading an e-book, you can turn off the navigation bar and other windows of the user interface, so the whole page is just text, without any annoying notifications in the system tray.

Adjusting the contrast allows you to change the shade of the text. I like how thin lines are thickened, because you don’t need to choose a separate “bold” font (like Ember Bold), you can just use your favorite one. By the way, a useful thing when working with scanned documents, where the text and graphics, as a rule, are too pale. If you define text settings that you are completely satisfied with, you can put a special tick in the settings to apply them subsequently to each book.


As well as in other ONYX BOOX readers, we didn’t forget here about the search by text, a quick transition to the table of contents, the installation of bookmarks (the same triangle) and other possibilities for comfortable reading.

For avid book lovers (and just fans of editing documents) there is an opportunity to give yourself more freedom in the landscape mode. For example, a blank page will be on one side of the screen, and the text will be placed on the next. This allows you to draw and take notes while reading, while it is impossible to draw directly on electronic books. But there is an editor!


Nova Pro is great at handling PDF files. You can draw directly on the PDF document if the corresponding mode is on. Edited PDFs can then be saved and downloaded to a computer.

Since professional literature is often not available in Russian, it may be necessary to translate it (or interpret the meaning of a word) from English, Chinese, and other languages. In the Neo Reader this is done in the most native way. Simply select the desired word with the stylus and in the pop-up menu choose “Dictionary”, where the translation or interpretation of the meaning of the word will appear – depending on what you need.

Do not disappoint!

Now on the market there are several 7-inch e-books with which Nova Pro competes. We will not name specific names here, but we note that these devices block you in your ecosystem. ONYX BOOX basically generates all its income from hardware and does not limit its users, so every year a lot of new e-books appear in the manufacturer’s portfolio, and every generation gets better than the previous one.

Nova Pro is definitely suitable for people who want a large 7-inch display with a WACOM screen and a stylus. This is a great advantage over other readers, which basically just allow you to read books. Nova Pro will be appreciated both by professionals who want to replace paper with an advanced solution, and students in search of a device for quick recording of lecture notes and lectures, in order not to go broke into more expensive devices.

Yes, 27 thousand rubles (namely, Nova Pro costs so much) is also a rather big amount, but you should understand that for this money the manufacturer offers not just a “reading room”, but a full-fledged working tool with an advanced E-Ink screen (by the way, a monopolist in the market displays, which also caused the price).

Wait, what about the box?

In fact, when writing this material it was not the goal of making a regular boring review with unpacking, benchmarks and other fashionable words. You can look at it more from the first impression and experience of use, but for members sect delivery setwho is sometimes the author of this review, I will tell you what is in the box: a stylus, a USB-C cable for charging and documentation.

Everything is done cool, for each element has its own recess, the box is straight beautiful-beautiful – in general, Apple-Style, not ashamed to donate without gift wrapping. The only thing that upset (and this is probably the only significant disadvantage) is the lack of a cover-cover in the kit. However, it can be purchased separately – with a solid frame, material to protect the screen and keep it clean, a hall sensor, a stylus holder and other buns.


But for dual touch control and autonomy (a month without charging for this reader is not a myth) – forgivable.

Ready to answer your questions in the comments.


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