The Boox Note Air is what you get if you smash a Kindle and an Android tablet together

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Look, the perfect eReader already exists — it’s called the Kindle Paperwhite (10th gen), but there are some compelling options out there from Kobo as well. And then there’s the Boox Note Air, which sounds like it was named by someone who used to work at both Samsung and Apple.

Let’s be up-front with this — this eReader, which isn’t tied to an app store (though it has one), is a little pricier than the average Kindle at about R6,900 but it’s still cheaper than the Kindle Oasis, which it’s clearly targeting. And it’s also a little difficult to find in South Africa, since the company doesn’t ship here. Which is a pity.

The power of Boox Note Air

Going back to our headline, don’t actually smash Kindle and an Android tablet together. The most you’re going to get is splinters of glass and a very annoyed insurance company. But Boox’s device takes a different track. It takes a high resolution 10.3in E ink display (1,872 x 1,404) and affixes it on top of internals that wouldn’t disgrace a 10in Android tablet.

Inside, there’s an octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, as well as WiFi and support for a stylus and Bluetooth 5.0. There’s a 3,000mAh battery, a month-long standby time (if you’re just using the Boox Note Air as an eReader), as well as speakers and a microphone. It charges using USB-C and runs Android 10.

This means that, besides using the Boox App store and displaying anything that uses one of many document file formats (PPT, EPUB, TXT, DJVU, HTML, RTF, FB2, DOC, MOBI, CHM, and more), you could technically use this thing to watch Netflix (badly) or browse the internet — in monochrome. The included stylus also lets you use it as a note-taking machine, if that’s your damage.

All of which set the Boox Note Air apart from its competitor devices — though not everyone will want (or need) those features. The only item missing? Waterproofing, which really should be built into every new eReader on the planet. If you’re not occasionally reading in the bath, are you even really reading?

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