Boox Palma is a smartphone-sized e-ink e-reader

Kindles have gotten bigger over time, and at the cutting edge compete with A4-sized e-ink beasts like the reMarkable 2 tablet. But what if we go smaller? The Boox Palma is a suprisingly enticing smartphone-sized device, and David Pierce loves it. E-ink's refresh rate makes it accidentally good as a focus/minimalist/dumb gadget that yet has all the bells and whistles of Android. The slow, monochrome screen poisons dopamine-tickling apps, but is perfect for the thing it was meant for, reading.

Photo: Boox

In a couple of months of using the Palma, a $280 device that has been on sale since last fall, that combination has turned out to be exactly what I needed. Because it's smartphone-sized, with a 6.1-inch screen and an overall footprint just a smidge larger than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus, I can hold it in one hand and fit in my pocket. Because it runs Android, I can download any app I need. And because it's E Ink, the battery lasts somewhere between four days and a week, the screen is easy to look at even in the dark, and — and this is the most important part — most apps are just awful to use.

There are drawbacks. The cut of Android is old. It's plasticky. It's not a phone, which might be desirable in the abstract but means there's probably going to have to be a phone in the same pocket next to it. Has anyone tried one of these?