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Kobo Touch eReader Review
Light & compact
Stylish with choice of colours
Temperamental touch screen
Slow page turns
Book store is hard to navigate
A light, compact & stylish ebook reader with just a few flaws, none of which can detract from the overall quality of the device.
Kobo have added a touch screen to their latest ebook reader to compete with the other market leaders. But does the introduction of the touch screen mean that the Kobo eReader Touch can compete with the hugely popular Kindle Touch. Lets take a look below.
The Kobo eReaderTouch is one of the lightest and smallest ebook readers on the market, weighing only 7.05 ounces, which is slightly lighter than the Kindle Touch, and measuring 4.5 x 6.5 inches. It feels very compact, and is very easy to hold with one hand, helped in no small part by the unique textured surface on the back of the device. This now comes in four different colours (grey, lavender, blue on the white edition, and all black on the black model).
As with other touch ebook readers, Kobo have reduced the number of buttons on the Kobo Touch. Gone are the page turn buttons, and there is only a home button at the bottom of the device, and a power slider at the top right. There is also a micro USB socket on the bottom, plus a micro SD card slot on the side for expandable storage. We really like the design, and think it could be one of the most stylish of all the ebook readers, especially with the options on the different colours.
Ease of use
The E ink display on the Kobo Touch uses a 6 inch pearl touchscreen, with a 16 level greyscale. The text on the Kobo is darker than on the Barnes & Noble Nook, but not quite as dark as on the Kindle Touch. There are seven different font styles available, with 25 different font sizes. To change between the different fonts, or adjust line spacing etc. this can be easily achieved by tapping the bottom of the screen which calls up a menu, and everything is navigated from here. The screen is comparable with any of the top ebook readers, and long reading sessions are a joy on this device.
Page turning works similarly to most other touchscreen ebook readers, by swiping a finger across the screen (left to right turns back, right to left turns forward etc.) or tapping on the screen. It works well for the most part, but unfortunately if there is any vertical movement in your finger swipe, the instruction is ignored, which can be quite frustrating. We also found the speed of page turns is slightly slower than on the Kindle Touch and the Nook Simple Touch, and that there can be a bit of ghosting creeps in. You can improve this by changing the rate at which the page refreshes, but it still falls behind slightly when compared to the top ereaders’ touch screens.
Unlike a lot of other ebook readers, the Kobo eReader Touch is not tied to just one retailer. The Kobo Touch supports many formats, including TXT, PDF, HTML, MOBI, and RTF, so this means you can purchase books from almost any other store, which is a big plus for the Kobo (Amazon books are in their own format, so you wont be able to buy books from the Amazon store). Kobo claim that the Kobo Touch supports the comic book formats CBR and CBZ, but as there is no colour, this probably wont sway comic book fans. There are also a collection of apps available (for Android, Palm, iOS, BlackBerry) that allow you to sync titles and bookmarks between the Kobo Touch and other devices.
The actual Kobo store is a little disappointing. While there is a good selection of content, with over 2 million titles, navigating the store isn’t easy from a laptop, and it isn’t the cheapest around either. Purchases are not as simple as on the Amazon store, and this is something Kobo need to address if they want to rival the Kindle in all departments.
There is no 3G available for the Kobo eReader Touch, so downloads can be carried out via Wi-Fi, which we found was relatively quick (we downloaded Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian in under 10 seconds using the eReader).
Battery & storage
The battery life on the Kobo eReader Touch is claimed to be one month with the Wi-Fi switched off. We would say it is slightly less than that, as we needed to charge the device just after three weeks of use.
There is 2GB of storage available, of which 1GB can be used for media storage. If you use a micro SD card for extra storage, Kobo claim that you can store up to 30,000 books on the eReader Touch, which is a huge advantage over some of the other leading devices that have no room for expandable storage.
As well as the variety of colours the Kobo eReader Touch is available in, the Touch is also available in a variety of languages, including French, Spanish, German and Italian.
There is also the Reading Life feature, which allows you to earn rewards and points for reading, and gives you the option to share your Reading Life with friends via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Kobo Ereader Touch is a good quality ebook reader. It’s stylish, light, compact, has good content available, and has a great screen that can rival anything else on the market. It has a few drawbacks in that it is a little slower than the Kindle Touch, the touch screen can be temperamental, and the book store cannot compete with Amazon’s in terms of usability. However the positives definitely outweigh the negatives on the Kobo eReader Touch, and this could just be the ebook reader for those of you that want something a bit more individual than the majority.
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