by james | 7:25 am

Today I’m taking a look at another EReader from Onyx. It’s the Monte Cristo 3 which was released in July 2017. Onyx seem to have plans of world domination as they’re continually pumping our new EReaders like they’re going out of fashion. From Onyx website, it looks like they’re focusing on the US and Russian markets which in my opinion is a pretty good strategy as both counties are massive. So let’s dive into the review and see if the the Onyx Boox Monte Cristo 3 has the potential to be an Amazon killer.

 

 

Special Features

 

It’s Running On Android

 

This seems to be a good standard they’re setting as the Onyx Boox Max 2 was also running on the Android OS. What I love about this is that it means you’re EReader is really customizable. You can install and remove apps as you see fit to add extra functionality, just as you would with you phone.

 

One example is that you can actually install Amazon’s Audible app and listen to audiobooks. This is because the device is Bluetooth ready, meaning you can connect your wireless headphones to it. This is the same approach that was taken with Amazon’s Kindle Oasis. There is a downside though, you have to have wireless headphones as there’s no audiojack.

 

Oddly you can also connect your wireless keyboard to your EReader too. This seems a bit of unnecessary move as if you wanted to write out a large piece of text, you’re either going to use your phone or a laptop. Not sure what the purpose of this feature is to be honest, unless you like writing all of your text on a grey screen.

 

Moonlight Tech

Hold onto your seats, we’re about to get a bit technical. So initially when I read about this, I just thought “OK, this is just a fancy way of saying the EReader has a backlight, so you can read in the dark.” Turns out I was mistaken.

 

So Onyx, employs a technology called reflective light distribution. In simple terms it means that the light from the device goes through a number of filters first before it hits out eyes. This means that when reading at night, you’ve got a much more comfortable experience and are less likely to get eyestrain.

 

Moonlight tech is used on the Onyx Monte Cristo 3 to give a more natural night time reading experience

 

Open Reading Format

As the Monte Cristo 3 runs on Android, this means you can pick and chose which store you download books from. By default, EPUB works out of the box which can allow you to download books from the Kobo store. For Amazon books, simply download the app and you’ve got the ability to read those too.

 

This is a really handy feature if you’ve had a combination of Kindle’s or Kobo’s in the past and just want the one device to read them on.

 

A Built In Browser That Works

What I like about Onyx is that they don’t mess around when it comes to the web browser experience. They don’t call it experimental like some other companies, they put the time in to make it work. Also, because the EReader is running on Android, its got a much higher chance of success loading those more complex sites. The UI is fairly easy to use. However, if you want something a little more familiar, simply download Chrome from the Google Play store.

I personally find I can focus on reading the content more when viewing sites on an EReader as they get rid of a lot of the visual noise when browsing as everything is displayed in grayscale as opposed to vibrant colours.

 

The Onyx EReader has a native browser but you can also download additional browsers from Google Play

 

Decent storage

The Monte Cristo 3 comes with a massive 8gb storage as standard. With that kind of space, you can treat your EReader like your personal USB stick.

To give you some numbers, with 8gb you can store:

  • 2000+ songs
  • 3000+ images
  • 4000+ books

The EReader also comes with an expansion slot to allow you to increase this storage if you so wish.

 

The Design

So let’s take a look at the design. The outer shell is made of metal as opposed to the standard plastic option which in my opinion gives EReaders a more professional look and feel. Ever since I reviewed the new Kindle Oasis, which comes with a metal frame, I’ve not been able to look back.

Onyx have also added a level of protection to the screen which you don’t normally get on standard EReaders. It comes with ASAHI reinforced glass which means it can take a number of impacts before getting damaged. With other EReaders, you would have to spend extra for this level of protection, but with Onyx you get this for free. Something I really admire

Onyx have also included a case with the Monte Cristo 3 which is a nice bonus. The case also puts the EReader into sleep mode when it’s closed which is a great idea to save the battery.

In terms of size, they opted for a 6 inch model, which is pretty standard across the industry. Although this makes it fairly lightweight, my personal these days is for something a little larger

 

Some Specs To Compare Against

I’ve included some specs below to give you an idea of how the Monte Cristo 3 stacks up against other market leaders:

Onyx Boox Monte Cristo 3 New Kindle Oasis Kindle Paperwhite Kobo Aura One
Size 6 Inches 7 Inches 6 Inches 7.69 Inches
Weight 205g 194g 217g 230g
Display 300 PPI 300 PPI 300 PPI 300 PPI
Colours available Grey Grey Black/White Black

 

Where To Buy & Price

At the time of writing, the Monte Cristo 3 is priced around the $300 US mark which makes it comparable to the Kindle Oasis. This is a little steep in my opinion as whilst it does offer a number of features comparable to Amazon, it isn’t a well known brand. This product isn’t on Amazon so you’ll have to shop around a bit to get it. They have stores you can visit in the US, Russia and Ukraine as well as a couple of online stores you can purchase it from:

http://wavestore.by/books/onyx/

http://www.ectaco.com/eBook-PDA-Dictionaries-items/

 

It’s also worth checking out EBay as these EReaders come up time to time.

 

What I Like

Like other Onyx products I’ve reviewed, I think it’s great that it’s running on Android. This makes the Monte Cristo 3 more than just an EReader and allows it to keep up with the times as well as the need of the user. A big plus for me is the look and feel of the product as well as including protective glass as standard. I also appreciate the fact Onyx have taken the time to make a working browser and don’t call it experimental.thumbs up

 

What I Don’t Like

So for me the price is a little high for the features you get. I know Onyx are aiming for the more high end market but I would expect a few more features for this price (e.g. for it to be waterproof). The support for the device seems to be a little lacking too. Even though Onyx are claiming they have a presence in the US, I could not obtain a user manual in English from their website or from contacting their support team.

 

Conclusion

So that’s my review of the Monte Cristo 3 from Onyx. A great all-rounder device with great extensibility, although a little on the pricey side. So is it an Amazon killer? Not quite yet but

I’ll be keeping a close eye on Onyx to see how they plan to make their mark on a heavily monopolised market.

 

Until next time

Cheers

James

 

Any questions, Own an Onyx? Feel free to drop in a comment below

Comments

Spot On Website!

On the surface this is a great looking tablet and the fact it runs on Android is a plus.

Do you have an English version of the video? I was able to get a good picture of what it can do but I would like to be able to read it as well.

I am a little concerned with support for the US market. Where would I go to get service?

What is the price in the US verses the Kindle Oasis, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kobo Aura One?

Finally, for the US customers, is Ectaco the best option? I went the first link and it was in Russian (until I translated) and all the prices are in Russian currency.

Thank you!

May 04.2018 | 12:31 pm

    james

    Hi There,

    Thanks for your post and hopefully I should be able to help you out on this one. Unfortunately, the only official video I could find is in Russian. However, you can find a more detailed English translated of the spec here:

    https://onyxboox.com/boox_monte-cristo3

    In terms of service these are the contact details on their New York branches:

    Lingvobit-Astoria

    31-21 31 Street

    Long Island City, NY 11106

    718-728-6110

    Lingvobit-Brighton

    223 Brighton Beach Ave.

    Brooklyn, NY 11235

    718-891-7449

    I’d recommend giving them a call first just to see what level of service you get on the phone.

    At the time of writing the Monte Christo 3 is around the $250 mark, which puts it around the same price as a Kindle Oasis.

    That is a little odd on the Ectaco Site as for me it came up in US dollars. Can you try this link and see what happens?

    http://www.ectaco.com/onyx-boox-monte-cristo/

    Looking at their site can also pay via PayPal so that’s an added level of security.

    Good luck and let me know if you have anymore questions!

    Cheers

    James

    May 05.2018 | 11:32 pm

So Your Kids Play Sports

I would be interested to try the onyx for the moonlight tech feature alone! Wow. I’m always reading at night and the night vision setting on my iPad just makes the screen back and the text white… which can be straining after some time. Sam someone who has struggled with itchy and sore eyes from reading, but also loves digital readers, this may be a game changer! I would say the only downside is the price behind this product. $300 is a little steep. I hope to see it in stores soon and to play with it a little before making that kind of financial commitment. What a neat reader! Thank you for sharing!

May 09.2018 | 02:50 pm

    james

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s great that EReaders are as a whole are looking at the challenge of eyestrain and creating technology to help reduce it. Onyx has done a great job on this front. I agree the price is a bit of a commitment when you’ve not had a chance to play with it in a store. If you are living in the New York area you do have a chance to take a look at them before purchasing. The store address details are below

    Cheers

    James

    Lingvobit-Astoria
    31-21 31 Street
    Long Island City, NY 11106718-728-6110
    Lingvobit-Brighton
    223 Brighton Beach Ave.
    Brooklyn, NY 11235718-891-7449

    May 09.2018 | 09:47 pm

Chris

Hey James,

I’ve never heard of Onyx before, to be honest. But this piece of tech sounds pretty neat. I find a bit hard, though, to believe that it has the “power” to kill or really compete with amazon’s kindle devices. Not in terms of tech, but rather in terms of infrastructure. Amazon has such a powerful and dominating integration of their hard- and software and services; it’s hard to compete against that.

However, for the enthusiast, I agree that having a technical superior device with a customizable OS maybe the kicker here.

One thing I didn’t quite understand how this moonlight technology is different compared to the prism technology that amazon uses in their paperwhite devices. Do you know?

Thanks,
chris

May 14.2018 | 02:15 pm

    james

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes I thought it is a pretty impressive piece of kit based on the spec and the review. Whilst I agree that at present Onyx have got a long road ahead of them to make a dent on Amazon as it stands now, I’ve seen bigger tech companies rise and fall. For example, taking a look at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer usage in the 90’s and early 2000’s, they were the dominant player. Now it’s Google Chrome. I’m interested to see how their game plan progresses.

    So comparing the Amazon’s Prism technology and Onyx’s Moonlight technology there are some key differences. The Moonlight technology is only meant to be used on flat surfaces, such as an EReader whereas Prism technology they’re looking to use on doors, walls and other surfaces throughout buildings to make them more ‘interactive’. You can find more info on this topic here:

    https://www.geekwire.com/2015/e-ink-magic-behind-amazons-kindle-launches-prism-ces-architects-designers/

    Thanks again for your comment!

    Cheers

    James

    May 15.2018 | 03:45 am

Ray Brocklesby

I travel a lot so the idea of buying an ereader is very appealing. I went to live in the Philippines and had to throw a whole bunch of books away at the airport because I was over the weight limit. How I wish I had all my books on an ereader then! I am wondering, why do other readers prefer an ereader to real books? Maybe you could share that information in this comment section.

May 19.2018 | 08:19 am

    james

    HI Ray,

    Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear about your reading plans being scuppered because of the weight allowance. Talking from personal experience, I love the fact that EBooks don’t weigh anything so I can happily take 50 books on holiday if I wanted, just on one device. I’m also a big fan font size customisation which you don’t get with traditional books. At least with my EReader, I know that when I get older, I’ll still be able to enjoy books without the use of a magnifying glass.

    Feel free to have a look at some of the other EReader reviews on the site and hopefully you’ll be able to find one that’s right for you.

    Cheers

    James  

    May 21.2018 | 09:43 pm

Ken

Thanks for the review. I am researching new ebooks, after losing my paperwhite, but the current Kindle offerings have their flaws and not appealing enough for me to buy right now. Like the Oasis with its much shorter battery life, and its asymmetrical design too, although like the larger 7″ screen. What is the battery life on the Monte Cristo 3? Thank you.

Aug 18.2018 | 06:07 pm

    james

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the comment and happy to help out where I can. So with the Monte Cristo 3, you can get around a maximum of about a months worth of use from the device if you use various tricks (such as not having the WiFi on all the time and turning the device off when not in use). This is close to the equivalent of other Amazon devices. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any further questions.

    Cheers
    James

    Aug 23.2018 | 02:27 pm

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