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Home / Features / The Boox Palma can’t replace my phone, but it’s the perfect supplement to cut down screen time

The Boox Palma can’t replace my phone, but it’s the perfect supplement to cut down screen time

It's an e-ink smartphone running Android. While the Boox Palma isn't a smartphone replacement, it's a perfect supplement

Boox Palma Feature

As much as I’ve tried to cut down on using my smartphone, it’s annoyingly high. My inbox is always getting flooded, Twitter pings make me live on the app, and WhatsApp never seems to go quiet. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cut down on my usage. The only other social apps I use are Instagram and Snapchat, one for close friends/family and the other solely for messages. But I still find myself on my phone more than I want to. And it seems I’m not the only one, with a new dumbphone revolution unfolding. In the quest to cut this down, I turned to the Boox Palma for help.

It’s billed as a cross between an Android smartphone and an e-reader. You get the e-ink display of an e-reader like the Kindle, and most of the smartphone features you’d expect. After using it for a while, it’s not quite up to scratch to be a smartphone replacement. But I think it’s the perfect supplement to help cut down on screen time – here’s why.

Is the Boox Palma the perfect screen time slasher?

The Boox Palma is an e-ink smartphone that blends the best parts of an e-reader with the core functions of a smartphone. It features a 6.13-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen, offering a 300 PPI display with high contrast and adjustable dual-tone front lights for late-night reading. Boox’s Super Refresh Technology, backed by a Qualcomm Octa-core CPU, eliminates lag. You get Android 11 and Google Play Store, for a full-on smartphone experience. It’s pocket-friendly, water-repellent, and equipped with a customizable button and a 16MP camera for document scanning. With 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and support for 24 file formats, you can use it as an e-reader. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Sounds pretty good, right? But it’s not quite good enough to replace your smartphone. While the Super Refresh Technology is pretty good at minimising lag, it’s still not as responsive as a normal smartphone. There’s a noticeable time-gap between pressing a button and that thing actually happening. But hey, that’s e-ink. And the biggest limiting factor here is the lack of a normal camera app (without third-party workarounds). I get it, it would be hard to deal with the live viewfinder and take colour photos in black and white. But the lack of a traditional smartphone camera experience writes this off as a smartphone for me.

Which is why I think the Boox Palma is the perfect smartphone supplement. I’ve relegated all apps I’d use to read content on the Palma. The Google app, Feedly, and (most notably for me) Twitter. This means I’m spending less time on my smartphone using these apps. But I’m still looking at them on the Palma, right? So how does this cut down my screen time? Distractions! Well, the lack thereof.

By keeping reading on the Palma, it’s more targeted and direct. I’m more thoughtful about what I spend time looking at. And I’m less likely to get distracted by other things, especially media. I love it. Of course, I don’t always use the Palma, but I try to as much as I can. I’ve also put my messaging apps on there, but turned off the notifications entirely. That means if I do want to use the Palma for an extended period of time, I can. I could take it out and about with me and reply to messages, as if it were my phone. It can even play YouTube videos on the screen. But I still carry around my iPhone 15 Pro Max as my smartphone.

But why not an e-reader?

This begs the question, why not just use an e-reader? I think this comes down to preference. I’ve never really “got” tablets. I’ve used iPads in the past, but never felt myself drawn to them. For quick tasks, I’ll use my phone. And for anything longer, my laptop or desktop. That’s personal preference.

Perhaps an e-reader tablet would be better for you, but it lacks the smartphone familiarity of the Boox Palma. Not to mention lacking some of the features. When using the device, it still feels like I’m using my phone. But it’s different, it’s better for me, and it’s more thoughtful. And that’s why it’s my perfect smartphone supplement to help me reduce screen time.

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss


Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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