eWritable > E-BOOK READERS LIST > BOOX GO COLOR 7 INFO & SPECS > Boox Go Color 7 Review: A fantastic color e-reader, but let down by the physical page-turn buttons

Boox Go Color 7 Review: A fantastic color e-reader, but let down by the physical page-turn buttons

BOOX GO COLOR 7
Overall rating

Pros

  • Android (support for 3rd-party apps)
  • Color screen
  • Great reading app
  • Great hardware
  • MicroSD Card
  • Speakers/Microphone

Cons

  • Inconsistent page turn buttons
  • Screen susceptible to finger marks
  • Steeper learning curve

Where to buy?

Boox Euro Store, Boox Store , Amazon ,

A fantastic color e-reader, but let down by the physical page-turn buttons

Following my unboxing, I’ve been using the Boox Go Color 7 as my regular e-reader for a little over a week.

I’ve been reading on it for at least an hour every day to get a good feel for it, and I’ve also been spending a little time playing around the settings and installing third-party apps to see how they perform.

For those that are interested, I’ve read the first book of the sci-fi trilogy “Three Body Problem” by Cixin Liu using the Kindle App on the Go Color 7, and enjoyed it so much that I’m partway through the second book.

Transparency Notice: Boox sent me this review unit of the Go Color 7 free-of-charge, however, they understand that this will not influence my views and opinions of the e-reader.

In addition, affiliate links on this website mean that I may get a small commission if you buy a device after clicking on them. This does not cost you
anything but greatly helps to support my work.

Again, the presence of affiliate links does not affect my editorial control – I say what I think and try to objectively cover both positive and negative aspects of the devices I review.

Design & Build

The Boox Go Color 7 has a plastic chassis and glass screen. The corners are nicely rounded and the rear panel is textured. which makes it comfortable to hold with a decent grip – I didn’t feel as though the e-reader was going to slide out of my hand (as was my experience with the Kindle Oasis) but the screen and surrounding bezels are a little slippery and were somewhat prone to my sweaty finger marks.

Whilst the Go 7 is not the lightest 7″ e-reader on the market, I found it comfortable to hold for long periods without feeling my muscles aching (I prefer to read lying on my back when I can).

The screen is flush with the black bezels , with a wider bezel on one side to house the physical page-turn buttons (and most of my greasy fingerprints). The black colouring is also present on the rear panel, however, Boox’s marketing materials also show a white version (although I’ve not been able to find an option for this on the Boox Store).

The top and left edges of the Go 7 are bare. The power button protrudes from the right side of the bottom edge, and the right edge houses the speakers, microphone, USB-C port (for charging/data/OTG) and MicroSD Card Slot. Boox provide a tool for ejecting the MicroSD card tray, as well as a USB-C to USB-A cable in the box.

The device feels firm and sturdy with no audible creaking when a little bend pressure is applied. However there is a very slight rattling sound to be heard when the e-reader is shaken, which appears to be emanating from the physical page-turn buttons.

Hardware

Firstly, this is an e-reader, not a tablet, so it has no writing capabilities or stylus input – although most people will already know this, I feel it is important to point to point this out to people that are new to e-ink technologies.

The 7″ screen is arguably the perfect size for e-book reading, combining portability and a (fairly) lightweight and compact form factor with a decent enough screen area to read comfortably. My one criticism might be (and this applies to many e-readers with physical page-turn buttons) that the additional width prevents it from fitting neatly into the pocket of my jeans.

It has a color e-ink Kaleido 3 screen, and so has all the ‘compromises‘ that come with Kaleido 3, including a lot less colors and lower resolution than your phone/computer/TV, and a darker overall screen than a monochrome e-ink equivalent.

The Go Color 7 has a top-drawer 300PPI pixel density for monochrome (with a resolution of 1264 x 1680), which is great for reading, however, this drops to 150PPI for color, which (along with the limited colour palette) makes colours appear quite pale and washed out.

Having said that, the Boox Go Color 7 does display colours very well (within the limitations of Kaleido 3), which is good for reading colour comic books or highlighting passages of text in colour (but not so well for viewing photos). It also has the advantage of being easier on the eyes than an LCD screen and having a great battery life (lasts over a week with medium usage).

A factor that vastly improves the battery life on the Go 7 compared to previous Boox Kaleido 3 devices (such as the Tab Mini C) is the absence of a GPU and Boox Super Refresh (BSR). Whilst BSR can improve the performance of third-party apps (particularly those that have a lot of movement or fast frame rates), it does so at the expense of the battery’s charge, reducing battery life to only a day or two.

Internally, the Boox Go Color 7 utilises a Qualcomm 2.4GHz octa-core processor and 4Gb of RAM, which is perhaps overkill for an e-reader, but does ensure that it can handle most things thrown at it, including large and complex PDF files, and multi-tasking between different apps. It also has 64Gb of storage capacity, which should be more than enough for a handful of apps and a large e-book library.

The frontlight is even across the whole of the screen, and there is also a warmlight, which offers a reddish hue for more comfort when reading at night.

For connectivity, there is a USB-C port (cable provided), which also supports OTG connections. In addition, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a g-sensor (for auto-orientating the screen).

The Boox Go Color 7 also has a built-in speaker. It’s not the greatest speaker, but it works, and should be okay for listening audiobooks. Similarly, the microphone is a very basic, but can be useful for recording voice notes or reminders.

The physical page-turn buttons, however, were very disappointing. If you press the lower button at the lower edge, there is no audible or tactile click. It still works (most of the time) but I didn’t feel as though I had actually pressed it, which led to me pressing again and turning two pages instead of one. In addition, the page-turn buttons feel a little loose (hence the rattling experienced earlier when the e-reader was shaken). Whether this is something unique to the unit I was sent, or a design flaw that is present on all devices is unclear – I will be doing some further checks in this regard.

Another thing that I didn’t like about the page-turn buttons is that there is no separation between them. By this, I mean that they are adjacent to one another, rather than being separated by a small gap so that you can ‘feel‘ where each one is with your thumb tip. Because of this, I did occasionally press the wrong button.

Cover

As I said in my unboxing, the cover looks and feels nice, with a faux-leather exterior and softer interior. It is quite nondescript and minimal (which I really like) and has no mountings because the Go Color 7 snaps in place using magnets.

I was a little concerned that the magnets would not hold it securely enough but it has not fell out once during my travels with it over the last week. I’ve even accidentally dropped it (onto carpeted flooring) a few times, and the e-reader has remained safely inside in the cover (and suffered no damage). As a further test, I dropped it several times onto a padded chair (from a height of one metre, and ensuring it landed on every edge and face), fully expecting the e-reader to pop out of the cover but it stayed firmly within. And because there are magnets on both sides, the front cover didn’t even open.

So, I’m now much more confident that the magnetic cover is fit-for-purpose. Of course, it’s not going to be quite as secure as other cover types which rely on the e-reader being squeezed into a plastic tray/bucket, providing a physical hold, but in my opinion, the magnets are good enough for this device.

The only issue that I did have with the cover was that sometimes I would open it up the wrong way (lifting the back cover rather than the front cover). This occurred partially because both the front and rear look almost the same (the front does have an embossed Boox logo but it is not immediately apparent). And also because the magnets on both the front and rear sides of the cover have pretty much the same strength, so you can’t ascertain which is the front or back by the ease at which you can raise the cover, either.

Native Software

The Boox Go Color 7 runs Android 12, however, it uses Boox’s own proprietary app launcher.

This includes a set of icons along the bottom of the screen for:

  • Library – Access and organise your e-books (including e-books on cloud drives)
  • Store – The Boox Store allows you to download a selection of public domain e-books to your e-reader
  • Storage – Browse your e-reader’s file system
  • Apps – Run and install native and third-party Android apps
  • Settings – Change the settings on your e-reader

A swipe-down from the top-right third of the screen brings up the Control Center, which provides quick access to commonly used apps and settings, such as wi-fi, screen rotation, screencast, screen recorder, volume, and frontlight brightness/warmth.

A swipe up from the lower left third of the screen brings up the E-Ink Center, which has various options for improving the performance of third-party apps on the e-reader.

And there are also various customizable gestures, such as sideswiping to go Back, or swiping up from the middle third of the screen to go back to the home screen.

Boox provide a ton of configuration options for their devices, both within the operating system itself and in their native apps – I’ve written extensively about how configurable and flexible Boox’s native e-reading app (NeoReader) is, which is why I rate it as one of the best on the market.

However, this complexity can lead to a steeper learning curve, and because configuration options are spread around in various areas of the operating system, it can sometimes be difficult to find the setting you’re looking for. So, you need to be prepared to do a bit of tinkering to get the most out of the e-reader (this is true for all Boox devices).

With the release of the Go series, Boox seem to be taking the first steps into streamlining their software and making it look nicer and more intuitive to use. The icons and buttons now look more stylish and consistent than they were previously, and there are lots of helpful hints and tutorials whenever you use a feature for the first time. There’s still plenty of work for Boox to do to improve the user interface (perhaps starting by consolidating the Library and Notebook settings into the main Settings page) but it now feels a little more elegant and uniform than it did previously.

As well as the e-book reading app, Boox also provide several other native apps, including a calendar, calculator, Boox Drop (to share files over your local wifi), an RSS Reader, a web browser, and a sound recorder. You can also access the Google Play Store to install other third-party apps.

Third-party apps

The beauty of having an Android e-reader (that is certified for the Google Play Store) is the ability to install and use third-party apps on it.

Essentially, any app from the Google Play Store can be installed, however, that doesn’t mean it should. As noted previously, e-ink screens have low refresh rates and colours are not as vibrant as LCD or LED screens, which does limit the performance of some apps. In addition, the Go Color 7 does not have BSR, so app performance will not be as smooth as some other Boox tablets and e-readers either.

So which apps do work well?

Well, I’ve been using the Kindle app flawlessly for nearly two weeks. Similarly, other reader apps, such as Kobo Reader and KoReader also perform well. So, you have a lot of choices with regards which e-reading software you use and where you buy your ebooks from.

You also have a lot of choice about which web browser you use. As well as Boox’s native NeoBrowser, you can also install Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave etc. depending on your preferences. However, please be aware that Android versions of web browsers are more lightweight than their desktop versions – for example, the Android version of Chrome does not support extensions.

Web browsing works well (providing you set the refresh mode to Speed), however be prepared for low-resolution grainy photographs and some ghosting whilst scrolling. Again, these are limits to the e-ink technology rather than the device itself and Boox does a great job of mitigating them. However, the device did occasionally register swipes as taps (but this could just be me).

Pocket is another useful third-party app to install on an e-reader (Kobo have gone so far as to integrate it into their software). You can install an extension on your desktop web browser to Save web articles that you come across whilst browsing, ready to read later on your e-reader.

In general, any apps that don’t require fast screen refreshes work well on the Boox Go Color 7. So, you can comfortably read your email but watching videos is not a very pleasant experience. You can access your cloud drive but you’ll be disappointed if you try to play Candy Crush!

I was actually pleasantly surprised about the performance of many third-party apps on the Go Color 7, despite not having BSR.

Final Verdict

In all honesty, I like almost everything about the Boox Go Color 7.

It is compact, portable (although not “pocket” portable because of the width), stylish, and the colour screen looks great.

It has great hardware specs (for an e-reader) and the Android operating system makes it possible for the Go Color 7 to be used for a variety of other tasks (including web browsing and email) as well as providing choice and flexibility with regards to which e-bookstore (and associated e-reading app/ecosystem) you use. It can even be used to record voice notes.

Despite my reservations the magnetic case does a great job of protecting the e-reader, as well as being pleasing to the eye.

However, I was extremely disappointed with the inconsistency of the physical page-turn buttons, which felt rather cheap and shoddy in contrast to the rest of the e-reader. Whilst they do technically work, the auditory/tactile ‘click‘ varies depending on exactly where you apply pressure. In the end, I stopped using them completely, and used the touchscreen for turning pages instead.

This is perhaps something Boox need to spend a little more time on for future models – both the 7″ Kaleido 3 Kobo Libra Colour and Bigme B751C do better in this regard (and also have writing capabilities, but fall short in almost every other area compared to the Boox Go Color 7).

Similarly, some work still needs to be done on the operating system to make it more intuitive and user-friendly. Boox provide far more configuration options and flexibility than any other brand but sometimes it feels like its all been thrown together with no overall design strategy, which can mean a steep learning curve for new users. Thankfully, Boox seem to have taken some steps in this direction already and I expect further improvements in the near future.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed using the Boox Go Color 7, and will continue to do so. It is, in my opinion, one of the best e-readers currently on the market. However, if you are somebody that puts a high value on the tactile feel of physical page-turn buttons, then it probably isn’t for you.

The Boox Go Color 7 is available from:

About the author

Me and my e-ink tablets
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Dan Dutton is passionate about E-ink writing tablets, which bring together the pleasure of writing on paper with the power of digital technology. When he bought his first tablet, he realised that there wasn't a lot of unbiased information available for people that were considering buying an E-ink tablet, and so he built eWritable.