Onyx Boox Max Lumi 2 Review


The Onyx Boox Max Lumi 2, an oversized tablet that runs a customized version of Android 11, sets the bar high for large-format E Ink computing devices. It lets you read, annotate, download and upload documents using your favorite apps on a large 13.3 inch screen. If you frequently work or consume large documents, a smaller device just won’t perform as well. Additionally, if you are bothered by the way the LCD screens flicker and cool off, the Max Lumi 2 might be nicer to use due to its grayscale E Ink panel. That said, it costs quite a bit at $ 879.99. If you don’t need that much screen space, the 10.3-inch Onyx Note Air 2 offers more value at $ 499.99, which earned it our Choice of the Year award. editor for large format e-book readers.

Tall, but thin

The Max Lumi 2 looks and feels almost exactly like the previous Max Lumi. Despite a large frame that measures 12.2 by 9.0 inches (HW), the tablet is very thin at 0.3 inches and weighs only 20 ounces. Onyx uses a lightweight black plastic material to make the tablet easier to hold in one hand, but it is still too large to be effectively balanced in this position. In contrast, the 14-ounce Note Air 2 sports a metal frame for what appears to be more durable construction.

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Onyx Max Lumi 2 Depth

The tablet is super thin

A physical home and back button sits under the bezel, while the bottom houses a single USB-C port. The tablet doesn’t have a headphone jack, but it does have built-in speakers and a microphone. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0, which means you can connect a pair of wireless earphones or headphones.

The display unit is the same as on the previous Max Lumi, a 2200 x 1650, 207 ppi (pixels per inch) E Ink Carta HD display. E Ink’s new technology, Carta 1250, offers faster page rotation speeds, but this technology has yet to appear in 13.3-inch devices in the United States. The screen isn’t as crisp as those of smaller e-book readers, but its huge size more than makes up for this loss of density – you get more words, more lines, and more space for note-taking than. on a 10.3-inch device. As with the Note Air 2, the Max Lumi 2 allows you to independently adjust its blue and yellow front lights to suit your tastes.

Comics about Onyx Max Lumi 2

The comics look big and bold, albeit in grayscale

The Max Lumi 2 takes a step back from the original, in that it doesn’t have an HDMI port and you can’t use it as a secondary monitor. The third-party Spacedesk app offers a workaround, but in my experience, third-party monitoring apps tend to introduce a lot of latency when used with Onyx tablets. Either way, Onyx is probably trying to direct E Ink monitor users to its dedicated monitor, the Mira.

Like the Note Air 2, the Max Lumi 2 includes Onyx’s active stylus at $ 45.99. Unlike the Note Air 2, it does not attach to the tablet. The stylus is ridged to improve grip and has a flat side, but it lacks buttons or an eraser.

Medium power

The Max Lumi 2 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage (106 GB is available for users). The processor is poor, but the delays are masked by the slow refresh rate of the E-ink. It connects to the internet through dual-band Wi-Fi.

Onyx tablets run a highly customized version of Android (version 11 in this case). Google Play is not preinstalled because E Ink tablets cannot pass Play certification (due to video frame rate requirements), but the Play Store is easy to install if you follow Onyx’s instructions. Once you’ve done that, you can safely skip the Onyx App Store, which mainly lifts a handful of APKs from the APKPure library.

Gameplay on Onyx Max Lumi 2

You can play games, but they are a bit slow

Onyx’s built-in NeoReader application can handle many formats including CBR / CBZ, EPUB and PDF; it’s the only app on the platform that lets you use the included stylus to draw and annotate PDFs.

Most of the Android apps I loaded worked fine, especially when I changed the tablet’s refresh rate or contrast settings. Kindle, Kobo, Libby, Marvel Unlimited and even games (Stardew Valley and Asphalt 9) worked without a hitch. The VIZ Manga app, on the other hand, had zoom issues that made the manga unreadable. Additionally, the Max Lumi 2’s stylus does not work consistently with third-party apps.

As with the other Onyx tablets, the software is a bit offbeat. My unit spontaneously rebooted a few times, mostly after reading very large, graphics-rich CBRs or PDFs. Evernote was also unstable. That said, Onyx is pretty good at rolling out bug fixes and has released several updates for each of its existing tablets.

Battery life is hard to measure on E Ink tablets, but the Max Lumi 2’s 4,300mAh cell suggests three to four days of use. After a day of testing, I had dropped to around 80%.

10.3 inch tablet vs 13 inch side-by-side tablet

The larger Max Lumi 2 (right) gives you more room to read complex legal documents than the Note Air 2 (left)

Why become big?

As I noted in the original Max Lumi review, a 13.3 inch screen is ideal for viewing 8.5 x 11 inch documents at 100% zoom because one of those pages is 13.9 inches diagonal. I then compared a Note Air 2 and a Max Lumi 2 with several different types of documents. For standard books, such as eBooks and Kindle textbooks, the Note Air is very bulky. Ditto for manga. With full-page PDFs, the sharpness of your view matters a bit. I prefer the Note Air’s portability, but the text is undeniably bigger on the Max Lumi 2. The Max Lumi 2 triumphs with sheet music and PDF brochures that include detailed maps and graphics.

Musical score on Onyx Max Lumi 2

Sheet music looks great at 13.3 inches

A 13-inch screen is best for side-by-side note taking, especially for academics and lawyers. For example, you can directly read and annotate a court decision on the left half of the screen and also take freehand notes on the right half. I noticed a bit of a lag when switching focus between windows, but it’s manageable.

The screen of the Max Lumi 2 does not have the textured coating of the Note Air 2, so the stylus is a little more slippery on the screen. However, you will probably only notice the difference if you compare the experience side by side.

The stylus works best in Onyx’s own note-taking app, which lets you take notes or sketch in four colors, as well as export to PNG or PDF. When I used the stylus with the built-in drawing app, I didn’t feel too much of a lag, although it certainly isn’t as smooth as using the Apple Pencil 2 with an iPad. The lag is imperceptible if you’re in a note-taking flow, but it might bother you a bit if you’re an artist used to drawing on an LCD screen.

Onyx Max Lumi 2 and pen

Plenty of room to take notes on the big screen

Onyx also supports OneNote and Evernote, although the experience is a bit odd. The system caches the strokes, then when you pick up the stylus, it stops. Then the screen flashes a bit before the ink “sets”. This delay is worse in other third-party applications, such as Inkredible and Autodesk Sketchbook, since they are unusable.

Big screen, high price

The Onyx Boox Max Lumi 2 at $ 879.99 is expensive, but it works well for reading and annotating large format documents. The Note Air 2 at $ 499.99 is simply more affordable, more portable, and more manageable, and we think its 10.3-inch size is ideal. As such, the Note Air 2 is our most recommended E Ink tablet. That said, the Max Lumi 2 is the only 13.3-inch E Ink slate available in the US and is the best among its few global competitors. As with Onyx’s Mira monitor, which is a better option for productivity, we wholeheartedly recommend the Max Lumi 2 to the few people who might prefer its specific size. If all you want is a capable ebook reader, the $ 139.99 Kindle Paperwhite is our editorial pick within the Amazon ecosystem. We also like the Kobo Libra 2 at $ 179.99 because it supports more formats than Kindles.

The inconvenients

  • Very expensive

  • No monitor mode

The bottom line

The expensive Onyx Boox Max Lumi 2 tablet can handle large format documents and sheet music on its 13.3-inch E Ink display.

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