Home / Phones / E-book Onyx Boox Columbus 2: read, not read!

E-book Onyx Boox Columbus 2: read, not read!

The assortment of electronic books Onyx company, already one of the largest not only in Russia but throughout the world, added a new model Boox Columbus 2. This reader became part of the line, dedicated to the great travelers, and the model number is located next to the book Onyx Boox Miklukho-Maklai, the review of which you can find on our portal.

Book Onyx Boox Columbus 2, without a doubt, has all chances to become very popular on the territory of our country, as it carries a lot of modern technology but has a more than attractive price given the current status of the national currency. To achieve this combination was clearly difficult, because developers had a task of preserving the functional, configuration and price. How they managed to achieve results, and what they had (or perhaps did not have) to donate, read our test review.


The book Onyx Boox Columbus 2 comes in a box from traditionally very dense cardboard, endowed with a little non-standard configuration for Onyx: and the device itself and the accessories are on the same level. This allowed to mark on the package is very much useful for the potential buyer information, including a General description of the gadget, its features and characteristics, as well as a short biography of Explorer Christopher Columbus, after whom the book got its name, along with his image.

The packaging is held closed by two magnets – a simple and at the same time very reliable solution.

Package contents

New from Onyx comes with mains charger, branded data cable, instruction manual and warranty card, and the main component of the kit is brand case with a unique design, which is examined below in the relevant section.

The complete manual is not useful for advanced users and for those who have not dealt with electronic books, it will be a great help in learning a new device. Very often, a paper manual contains only basic information, but for details you’ll have to go to the official website to download the electronic descriptions, but in this case it is not. All the necessary information is stored in this folder, so no additional arrangements to retrieve the information is not required.

The specification sheet

Gather data about the capabilities of the book Onyx Boox Columbus 2 directly from the box or from the instruction, and web users can find the desired information in the appropriate section of the official website of the Onyx. So, what is contained in this device? Let’s face it.

Screen: 6 inch E-Ink pearl, 16 shades of gray, the contrast is 14:1, 758×1024 pixel;

– processor: 2-core, 1 GHz;
– backlight: MOON Light;
– RAM: 512 MB;
– internal memory: 8GB, microSD slot;
interfaces: microUSB 2.0;
– supported file formats: text: TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, FB2.zip, MOBI, CHM, PDB, DOC, DOCX, PRC, EPUB; graphic: JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP; other: PDF, DjVu;
– battery: Li-ion, 1700 mAh;
– dimensions: 170х117х9 mm;
– weight: 169 grams;
– case color: black, grey;
– operating system: Android 4.2.

Book Onyx Boox Columbus 2, as can be seen, endowed with quite modern hardware and decent software component, but without certain restrictions has not done: in order to keep the price within a certain range, the developers abandoned the use of the touch screen. However, the less convenient it was not, what you will see after reading the section on ergonomics.


Test reader inherited your appearance from most 6-inch brand Onyx books, but in this case, the constancy is really a sign of skill. The authors of this design seems to have spent a lot of time designing it, because it takes into account all modern requirements to such kind of gadgets. In particular, it should be noted minimum thickness of the lateral and upper part of the screen in the book Onyx Boox Columbus 2, which makes it more visually. The whole body has a slightly rough surface, which is a nice touch, and its thickness on each side actively strives to zero.

To our testing the reader arrives in gray, which was very becoming to him. In our opinion, this color looks much better in comparison with black, and there are a number of reasons: first, the original, because black is the color of modern mobile devices, and it has become boring; secondly, rich, full-bodied taupe shade looks stylish and expensive; thirdly, the grey color turned out to be significantly less soiled than black. Of course, the fingerprints remain on it, but they are barely visible on both the front and back body panels.

The exterior of the book Onyx Boox Columbus 2 has brought us a very pleasant impression, which, looking ahead, there has never been marred in the process of further testing.


So we got to the most important – up to usability testing book. Of course, the absence of a touchscreen will seem strange to modern users, but it is compensated by a rich set of hardware buttons. You will only have to spend a little time to get used to (and we did it in less than 10 minutes), and the touchscreen you no longer need.

On the sides of the screen are situated two pretty large buttons with a clear click and a pleasant tactile feedback. Random clicking in both cases excluded. The functions of these buttons differ from their counterparts in the reader Onyx touchscreen: button to the left of the screen brings up a menu to minimize the program to read in a short press, and prolonged her hold on the screen displays the advanced options menu navigation the keys below the display (it will be discussed later). The button to the left of the screen is responsible for the transition between pages: a short press moves to next page, and returns you to a previous. In the settings of the book provides additional options for using both buttons, but they seemed less comfortable in comparison with the standard. However, it is only a matter of habit.

Thus, with default settings buttons book Onyx Boox Columbus 2 you can hold in your right hand, move around the page using the thumb. If you’re used to control gadgets with your left hand, try the other options settings – one of them will surely suit you. The weight of the book is not there, so one hand is always free. This variant of retention is suitable for all users, regardless of the size of the palm and length of fingers. The minimum shell thickness is also conducive to comfortable use of the book.

The upper end of the device body placed under the power button with embedded blue led and the reboot. The latter is recessed deep into the housing to avoid accidental presses and to activate it in case of hang books will need a paper clip or a needle. In our case, a week of use without turning off the notebook never freezes, from which we conclude: reset here is a convenient solution for emergency cases, which are known to be rare.

Bottom Onyx Boox Columbus 2 panel interfaces: this is a microUSB 2.0 for charging and PC connectivity and microSD card to install a memory card. The back of the case does not carry anything useful or functional.

Mentioned the navigation button is located on the front panel under the display and is five-way. At first glance, it is unreasonably small, but this is a misunderstanding, because its original form is suitable for people with different thickness of the fingers. Only owners of large fingers will be a little awkward to press the Central button, but there is always can be done. All five of the buttons have quite a considerable impact when pressed.

Now a little about the build quality. The case itself is very solidly crafted of: durable plastic, safe mounting, very neat and even, one might say, monolithic. Backlash it wasn’t noticed, the screen is not skewed, as is often seen in e-readers from other manufacturers, and with the navigation button everything is in order. We claim only to the side buttons: they sometimes squeak when pressed, but doesn’t say anything about that with them something not in their grooves they sit quite confidently and firmly.


The screen in Onyx Boox Columbus 2 is an electrophoretic panel with a diagonal of 6 inches. Displays of this type are called screens on electronic ink. In this case, it was developed by E-ink, which owns a corresponding patent, and is the most modern (at the time of this writing) modification of the matrix – it is called Carta.

From previous generations Carta a substantially improved image contrast that is visible to the naked eye: in sunlight, where the screen, by the way, never fades (we checked), there is a feeling that we have not electronic and conventional book with pages of bright white paper.

Under artificial lighting high contrast also plays a role: the text on the screen Onyx Boox Columbus 2 perfectly legible from almost any angle. The ability to maintain readability under all conditions is one of the key features panels on e-ink. This also includes record-low energy consumption and no harmful effects on the eye. All this fully applies to this book.


Everything said above about the possibility to read in sunlight or artificial light is important when backlight is off, the Moon Light, which is useful if the overhead light is not enough bright. In the book Onyx Boox Columbus 2 lights based on the special LEDs located in the vicinity of the bottom face of the display. The exact number is not counting possible, as they are tight enough to each other – so much so that neatly fill the entire screen with a milky white color. We didn’t find any overflow or shadows from the light source: the light here perfectly smooth.

The brightness can be adjusted programmatically as in the main menu, and during the reading. Comfortable readability in low ambient light levels in our case started with 15% of backlight brightness and lasted to 65 percent. Anything above that is already beginning to operate on the eyes, and the battery drains more.

In the complete absence of light is the upper 20-50% of the brightness of Moon Light, to the reading process is not turned into a permanent pridobivanje in an attempt to determine what is written on the display.

Work offline

The book Onyx Boox Columbus 2 needs recharging very rarely due to the possibility of adjusting the brightness of the backlight, the screen economical, as well as the sleeping mode and automatic off functions. Energy stored in the built-in battery with capacity 1700 mAh, will last for more than a month of operation of the device in the standby mode and approximately three weeks in the regime of moderate use, and it is only 1.5-2 hours from a regular charger. Depending on the intensity of the brightness of the backlight can be divided into three result of testing of Autonomous work:

– with the backlight turned off: 16000 pages;

– with backlight at 50%: ~ 13200 pages.

– with backlight at 100%: about 10,000 pages.


Note that the measurement unit “page” is not a page of the book, and the number of screen updates. That is, the amount of text, which is displayed on him at the moment – this is one page.



Reader Onyx Boox Columbus 2 is based on Google’s Android OS is quite modern, by recent standards, version 4.2 Jelly Bean. Here there is access to the application directory Google Play, but there is the ability to install them directly from the internal memory, before they are required to write when you sync with the computer.

However, this possibility with you 99% guarantee demand will not be, as the book comes in the kit with all the necessary software: here is easy reader OReader, image viewer, and a built-in dictionary. OReader here fully translated into Russian language and works with all popular formats of text files.

Due to the absence of any other apps besides these, the book loads and works really quickly, because nothing loads its RAM and processor. The loading time after pressing the power button is 21 seconds.

To simplify the process of copying books to the device memory of the latter is determined on the computer just like a removable drive, i.e. like a flash drive. If the microSD slot put memory card, these “flash drives” will be already two. To copy books directly to the root directory, since Android provides a very convenient file Manager.

Cover case

As mentioned above, the Onyx Boox Columbus 2 is supplied with a branded case-book. It protects the book from many external factors, covering the corners of the device, as well as front and back panels.

The case is made of several materials: outside is textured skin a nice bronze color that covers the entire surface, with monochromatic stitching. From the front it is embossed in the form of a ship of Christopher Columbus.

The inner part of the cover for Onyx Boox Columbus 2 is trimmed with velvety material, and the mounting for the books made of very durable black plastic. The device can be easily detached from the cover, however inadvertent falling out is absolutely impossible. Upper case shell cover has built-in magnets, with which it is attached directly to the book.

I would also like to note that this is a smart cover – it contributes to energy saving of the book, as when closed will activate sleep mode and turns off the backlight. This is done through the built-in magnet that activates the hall sensor inside the book. The quality of the case and we are very pleased – there was an impression that even after prolonged use it will not lose its properties, neither aesthetic nor physical.


Summarizing all the above, I note that Onyx Boox Columbus 2 is a Prime example of when for relatively little money you can get the device capabilities comparable and even better than many more expensive counterparts. Less than 10,000 rubles (at the time of writing a review article), the buyer will acquire multi-functional reader that is able to work with all common formats of books, as well as with archives that contain them.

The presence of cover and charger in the kit will save time and money on the selection and purchase of these accessories, and economical display coupled with long battery life guarantee the absence of need to charge a book more than once every few weeks.

Pros Onyx Boox Columbus 2:

– high speed of work;

– attractive price;

– refined ergonomics;

– economical battery consumption;

– the screen backlight;

– case included.


Cons Onyx Boox Columbus 2:

– the lack of touch screen.

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