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Onyx Boox Darwin 5: the fifth generation of one of the best e-books on the market

Company Onyx Boox at the end of December 2018 has introduced in Russia a new pocket e-book Darwin 5 with a 6-inch screen. This is the fifth generation of the model initially combines compact size, advanced software features and good hardware support. The new revision quite a lot of changes as invisible to the average user, and immediately evident when you first glance at the device. Overall, the novelty has managed to retain all the original benefits of the series and complement them with new, previously unavailable opportunities.

In the Russian retail book Darwin 5 is available in dark gray (graphite) and classic black color options corps. In our case, the test came dark grey reader. The recommended price of the model at the time of this writing – 11 000 rubles, according to “Yandex.Market”. Proceed directly to the analysis of new items.



Onyx Boox approached the design of the box 5 Darwin with a pinch of creativity and a fine sense of style. Packaging came compact, the main color in it is black, but there are inserts of white and bright red shades. The top cover has a magnetic mount that is not only convenient, but also indicates the status of the gadget – budget devices such useful frills deprived.

The top cover of the box meets us a clear picture of the evolution theory developed by Charles Darwin, in whose honor and named the book. There is a portrait of him, supplemented by a brief of his biography.

Alas, render the book on top of the box no, it is only the bottom, but so tiny that can evaluate its design it is not possible. The main area of the bottom face of the box given under the description of the reader, and a detailed list of its characteristics submitted to one of the side ends.

The package itself is made of very durable cardboard and are made in such a way that the book inside will not be damaged even at very careless transportation. For the quality of performance put 5 points, and for information – 4, as there is no image of the book a more manageable size.



In addition to the reader, Darwin in a box 5 you will have to wait warranty manual, by the way, very detailed – it is like a separate book, contains almost all the information that is necessary for comfortable use of the device. Lacks only a bit of information – in particular, it does not say how to take a screenshot. Spoiler: we found how to make it – enough to simultaneously press both side buttons.

Along with trash kit Darwin 5 consists of the charger to 1 amp, data cable with connector microUSB 2.0 and signature leather case noble light brown color. The vast majority of books comes without it, we either have to sacrifice the body, which without the proper protection inevitably will be covered with scratches, and the screen, or you can buy the case separately.

Complete cover, in fact, deserves special attention that we pay her right now.



Complete case belongs to the family of the Smart Cover or the smart cover, because the function of protecting the device from external factors – not only from her. The accessory will also help to save battery charge in the book: as soon as you close the cover, it automatically activates sleep mode and reduces power consumption to zero.

Opening the cover automatically includes the reader, and it’s not magic and modern technology: in the cover sewn in small magnets, interacting with the built-in reader housing of the Hall sensor. It, note, you can disable in the settings, but in this case the magic will stop working.

The case is made from very high quality materials: top and back of this eco-leather with embossed in the form of the tree of evolution, but inside this kind of black velvet. To the touch it is soft material will not damage the body of the book. The reader is placed in a plastic holder with four “ears”, the breathtaking angles of his body. The fastening is reliable, the book falls and is fixed very firmly. The case is stitched around the perimeter, which greatly improves its operational properties and increases the usage time.



Specifications book Onyx Boox Darwin 5 you can visit the official website of the manufacturer in the appropriate section. Even before the time of purchase. If no access, the rescue box from a book or complete manual here this information is transferred to at least detail. Differences in the information provided was not found.

– display: 6-inch Carta E Ink, 16 grayscale, contrast of 14:1, resolution 758×1024 pixel, multi-touch, capacitive, SNOW Field;

– backlight: Moon Light (warm and cool);
processor: 4-core, 1.2 GHz;

– memory: 1 GB RAM, 8 GB ROM, microSD;

interfaces: microUSB 2.0, microSD;

– wireless interfaces: Wi-Fi 802.11 n;

– battery: lithium-ion, non-removable, 3000 mAh, without quick charging;

– firmware: Google Android 4.4 KitKat with its own interface;

– supported files: TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2,, FB3, MOBI, CHM, PDB, DOC, DOCX, PRC, EPUB, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PDF, DjVu;

– dimensions: 170х117х9 mm;

– weight: 182 grams;

– case color: black, graphite;

– housing material: plastic;

– warranty: 1 year.


From this list we see that the book is quite modern in its class equipment. Question we only have the choice of charging interface – microUSB in 2019 has long been outdated, and it’s time to move on to a more comfortable and convenient USB-C, having a huge a lot of advantages.

Also, looking ahead, we note that the Wi-Fi module, there is practically no need to use it in this reader the vast majority of users in connection with the restrictions, which are discussed below, will not.


The appearance and continuity of generations

Design books Darwin 5 literally classic in the same style was executed and the very first version of the model. But this makes some sense: the design concept is, in fact, very good from the point of view of the absence of unnecessary elements and correct location are available. Reading do not interfere, and deal with the device and get used to it even without a previous business with e-readers user. He will spend it on the strength of a few minutes.

Let’s recruit an army and compare the designs of the books Darwin Darwin 5 and 2. As you can see, there is no difference and it is good. Except that, the second generation is executed in the devil color but the same shade is available for a fifth revision.

Now more details about appearance. The book has a very slim body with a screen, which took three-quarters of the front panel. Under it there is a Back/Home button, and on the sides of the buttons turning pages of the book, flows smoothly on the side edges.

The back panel has a label and logo of the Onyx, and the interfaces microUSB and microSD are brought to the lower end. The upper face of the housing are given under the power button and forced a reboot last much recessed into the case to prevent accidental pressing.



The first thing to note immediately – the book is noticeably thinner than the stated 8 mm and easier to 182 grams. Its weight is not felt at all, and who knows what that reason is, but as they say, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Low weight allows to use the book for long hours, besides, if you adapt, then it is quite possible to manage with one hand – screen-touch.

The side buttons are pressed very easily, and there is a risk of accidental clicks. Clicks trigger them tangible, like the buttons under the display, but the latter has higher resistance to pressure, as well as the power button with corrugated surface.

The location of the charging interface at the bottom of the case allows you to read the book even while recharging cable to interfere with just will not. The body though looks pretty rough, in fact, has a fairly smooth surface. However, it does not slip.

Note that the gray coloring is the most practical – it practically does not remain traces of fingers, and the screen cannot be called easily soiled due to the matte surface. And once I started talking about it, we consider it more closely.



The Darwin 5 touch screen and supports two simultaneous touches is the need to on the fly adjust the zoom of images and text. However, the picture on this display to look useless – he still monochrome, but the equations and graphs, on the contrary, it displayed just fine.

Resolution panel Carta is enough for comfortable reading even at very small scales – on the quality of information output does not suffer.

The sensor layer responds to touch is equally good over the entire area, even in corners and edges. Also, the display technology is endowed with a Snow Field, due to which its substrate is almost white, like sheets of real paper books.


A feature of the technology of electronic ink used in the screen, allowing him to fade in the sun than suffer the usual screens on liquid crystals (LCD). On the contrary, the brighter the light, the better you will see the text, so that reading can be as at home on the couch or in the chair in the Park or on the beach.

The latter, however, is not recommended from getting into the body of water and sand, the workbook is not protected. And another comparison in favor of e-ink: in contrast to the screens of monitors, laptops, smartphones and tablets, E Ink screens have no adverse effect on vision and do not spoil it, so you can read even from morning to evening.



Backlight, and screen are the main components of any modern e-books. In the Onyx Boox Darwin 5 can be used as Moon Light+ is an advanced version of backlight Moon Light.

If the original Moon Light fills the screen milk-white cold light, with the blue colors at maximum brightness, the Moon Light+ already offers two variants of light – warm and cool. They can be combined, used individually, achieving optimum color. The introduction of warm light helped to reduce eye strain without reducing the level of comfort while reading.

The brightness of Moon Light+ can be adjusted within very wide ranges, but remember – the brighter the LEDs, the faster you consume battery power, and the less resources they have. However, this is nothing to worry about for comfortable reading is more than enough 40% brightness and in bright ambient light, artificial or natural, lighting and all can be turned off.



Darwin 5 runs on OS Google Android 4.4 KitKat with a proprietary interface. He was imprisoned in the first place to read and work with images so the user can quickly find the right document or text and open it.

In the list of available applications includes two reading room is a favorite with many OReader new NeoReader. The user decides which reader him use to select the tap delay required books icon in the popup menu, select “Open with”. All as on Windows – you can even assign a default application.

OReader and NeoReader are a number of advantages and this is the first fully translated into Russian language interface. User has access to a wide range of features, including: support for bookmarks, text search, font selection, fast zoom the text, the transition to the desired page, and more. Programs are easily interchangeable, and each user will decide which one he likes. In each program, you can configure actions for the short and long presses of the side buttons is very convenient, you can adjust the reader for yourself.

Both apps allow you to turn pages in several ways – tap, swipe on the screen or side buttons. There is even a paging with when you want to focus on the text – speed turning, you can put any. Please consider that OReader, and NeoReader are able to work with all current formats of books and documents – they even open the DJVU files and the PDF, in which, as a rule, apply to educational and scientific literature. This adds value to the reader as a tool for self-education.

In addition, in Darwin there are 5 built-in English and Russian dictionaries for those who want to know the meanings of all unknown words encountered during reading. Access to the dictionary is done via the menu “Applications”.

From the system cut almost all third-party applications, and there is even access Google Play store. So if you need to install some application, you will have to do it manually is to download the APK from the Internet to your computer and to connect a book on wire. About it, by the way, is directly stated in the instruction manual.

In this regard, the benefits of Wi-Fi module, as mentioned above, for most users tends to zero – Yes, through it you can still go online and download books, and even have the regular Android browser, but the features of the screens on electronic ink is not comfortably surf the web faster will, again, download books to PC and then transfer them to the memory of the reader through the wire. However, Darwin 5 it is possible to Supplement the calendar and into an electronic Notepad, and email client it is already there, so to find a use for wifi is still possible. True lovers of reading, for example, will appreciate Darwin 5 connect to network libraries OPDS (catalogs with thousands of free books and easy sorting). This is a great source of new books to read. In addition, the Wi-Fi module will be useful to those who read Darwin on 5 in OReader, but on a smartphone or tablet – in AlReader: the book enables you to synchronize the reading process between these applications over Wi-Fi. As you can see, the Darwin reader 5 is primarily a device for reading electronic books, and its task it copes on a solid “five”, and everything else is just extra and to offset not going.


Autonomy and charging time

Darwin 5 equipped with a battery 3000 mAh – as put in today’s flagship smartphones, which can not but rejoice. The manufacturer, unfortunately, not official data about the autonomy, so to compare us with nothing. Just list the results of our measurements with and without illumination.

— mode of illumination: 23000 pages;

— in the mode of one illumination color 50%: a little more than 18,000 pages;

mode with single color backlight 100%: nearly 13,000 pages;

— in the mode with two colors backlight 50%: 11500 pages;

— in the mode with two colors backlight 100%: nearly 10,000 pages.

If we translate this into more understandable values, then a single battery charge Darwin 5 will be enough, on average, a month and a half of usage, and even more – it depends on how actively you read. Rarely any book with the touch display can boast of such autonomy.

To charge the battery from complete 5-watt (5 volt, 1 ampere) takes about 3 hours. The book does not support fast charging, and because a 10-watt memory it charges exactly the same rate.


Pros Onyx Boox Darwin 5

– illumination of Moon Light+ two shades;

– case in the package;

– great battery life;

two readers;

– supports all popular formats of books;

module Wi-Fi for email and download books.


Cons Onyx Boox Darwin 5

– microUSB 2.0 instead of USB-C;

– the need to install applications through your computer;

– lack of support for audiobooks.

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