- 1 Introduction
- 2 Pros and Cons
- 3 Specs
- 4 Unboxing
- 5 Hardware
- 6 Software
- 7 Shortcomings
- 8 Conclusion
NOTE: The testing device is Boyue Likebook Mars which was purchased in China.
Boyue Technology is an e-ink device manufacturer based in China. They have recently released their new e-ink reader called “Likebook Mars” and will be sold as “Illumina XL6″ elsewhere. This 7.8” e-reader is powered by Android OS, and as far as I know, this is the first e-ink Android device with an octa-core processor. Therefore I had been looking forward to testing it out. I have just received and tested it, and I am incredibly happy with the device! In this article, I will cover all aspects of this newly-released fantastic e-reading device.
Likebook Mars is available at Amazon.com
Pros and Cons
Very fast thanks to Octa-core processor
Reasonably priced (around 250USD)
As of September 10th, Google related apps (such as Gmail and Chrome) are not working
UPDATE: Google apps are working now! App testing videos here
Handwriting could be better
No stock note taking apps
Battery life is not very good
Some people prefer smaller or bigger size
Well done for Boyue to bring such a device to the market. I’m sure this will bring the company a huge success in the e-reader market, and it’ll surely increase the reputation of this e-reading manufacturer and will help them their international expansion. Are they going to make any profit out of these? Given the high cost of e-ink paper, I am not quite sure…
Model: Likebook Mars
Display: 7.8 inch, 300ppi, 1404*1872 pixels
Backlight: White and Warm
Weight: 246 grams
OS: Likebook OS
Processor: Rockchip RK3368 Octacore 1.5GHz
Battery life: 2 weeks
Expandable storage: Up to 128GB
Wi-Fi: 2.4 / 5G
Before receiving Likebook Mars, first octa-core powered gave me a lot of excitements. I believe this device would be the first Octa-core powered Android e-reading device! And it didn’t fail my expectations! Very snappy.
RAM and storage
Thanks to 2GB RAM in the device multitasking is real here. This device is capable of doing multiple things at the same time. For example, it just works using an app while installing multiple apps in the background. I didn’t see much lag apart from the technology limit of the e-ink paper. The device has 16GB storage and when it was clean it had around 12GB of available space to be used. It also supports up to 128 GB of micro SD card (haven’t tested yet though).
Geekbench 4 and GFXBench results here:
Single-Core Score: 577
Multi-Core Score: 1778
Screen is very sharp. Because of relatively small screen with pixels, it’s hard to see each pixel by just looking.
Warm and White lights
Likebook Mars has a back light, and interestingly, it has two different options which are white backlight and warm back light. The white back light is a normal white back light, but the warm back light gives you a yellowish filter on the screen which helps reduces eye strain even more. Warm light is useful especially when you’re using the device late at night or right before you go to bed to avoid having eye strain.
Normal and A2 refresh mode
Also, there are two different refresh settings which are normal refresh and A2 refresh modes. It looks like A2 works well with non-native apps. With the normal refresh some apps looks just unusable.
Here are the examples. Taking a reddit app as an example, with the normal refresh scrolling is such a pain. But with native apps like the default browser, there is not much difference between the normal refresh and the A2 refresh modes.
Normal refresh mode on Reddit is fun
Normal & A2 refresh mode on default browser
So far Wi-Fi has no issues. It hasn’t dropped even once so it’s good enough I think.
I paired with my Logitech K480 keyboard and works with no issues. I haven’t tested any other devices yet.
Tested on Logitech MX Master bluetooth mouse and works well.
Likebook Mars itself doesn’t have any speakers, but it has earphone jack at the bottom which allows you to connect to your favourite earphones/headphones. Bluetooth headphones are another option as well.
Likebook Mars has a massive 3100mAh battery in it. This looks great on peper, but am still not sure if it can last long. This is Day 1 of my use, and looks like the battery level fluctuates a lot.
I have used AccuBattery to monitor the battery consumption and it shows 5 hours of SoT (Screen on Time) on the app, and I think it’s close to my experience using this device. So one hour of use = 20% of battery usage. HOWEVER this really depends on how you use this device. If you just use a normal reading app like Amazon and stock reading app it should last much longer.
Testings for popular apps can be found via the below link.
I tested using Kindle, Moon Reader and WPS. Among them Moon Reader is the best to be used.
I tested using Evernote. It just doesn’t work…too slow.
More reading apps were tested here.
There is a default Android browser installed on the device. It works very well.
More browser apps were tested here.
I’m not sure if there’s any demand in watching videos on an e-ink reader…but anyway I tested. I used the stock browser and ran a video on YouTube
Although Likebook Mars has powerful hardware including an Octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM, it gets slow and crashes sometimes like any other Android devices. When the device gets slow you just need to close apps to free its RAM space.
Dedicated note taking apps needed
I love listening to podcasts…so just wish there could be at least one speaker in it.
So far very happy with the device.
Likebook Mars is available at Amazon.com