Product Type: Kobo Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... price of the cheapest kindle, and as far as I can tell they are entirely comparable. The screen is very good to look at, however there n... more
Member Name: Donnabroom
Advantages: Beautiful, Easy to use, Versatile
Disadvantages: Not great for Graphic Novels
I want to start this review by explaining just how much me and my (soon-to-be) husband love and covet books. Our flat looks like a library with books from our childhoods, reference books, fiction and books purchased simply because they are beautiful. Once a book finds it's way into our home it is never let go, we cherish it forever. Which leads me to why we chose to get each other e-readers for last Christmas. We do not have any more space. We are getting married in April and after 12 years together we don't want to feel as though we are still living in student "digs" but instead that we want a home and that means less "stuff". Neither of us could bear to stop reading new "books" nor could we part with any of our collection so e-readers did seem the best option for us.
We did a lot of research to chose the best e-readers for us personally and I wanted something tactile, beautiful and easy to use where-as he wanted something completely practical. He chose the Sony PRS 300 and I went for the more feminine KOBO Touch.
Looks wise I think the KOBO Touch is the best model out there. It has a luxurious quilted effect to the back and the whole thing has an almost velvet like finish and it's soft and warm in your hands. Despite being made of plastic it doesn't feel or look "plasticky" and it doesn't make my hands sweat even after an hour or more of use. Mine is white with a lilac back but other colours such as a white and turquoise and an all black version are available. I was worried the white body would look grubby quickly especially with the soft finish but I have used it daily since Christmas day and it looks as good as new.
At only 185g the KOBO Touch is one of the lightest e-readers on the market and it's thin too, much thinner than most books. It's dimensions are H165 x W114 x D10mm which makes it a great size for carrying around. It's so easy to hold for long periods, I have to admit that I am pretty impressed.
The screen is probably the most impressive thing for me. The screen has that same, soft touch feel as the rest of the thing and it's a comfortable size at 6". It is not backlit nor should it be, nor is it colour and again this is how it should be. The KOBO Touch uses e-ink technology which doesn't strain the eyes like a "normal" screen and is visible in all kinds of lighting (obviously any lighting you could normally read a book in). I always remember the frustration with my Game Boy screen which you could only see if the light was hitting the screen just right. I still find the e-ink completely amazing!
The KOBO Touch has 2Gb of storage built in which is apparently space for "up to" 30,000 books. I don't have many on there as I prefer add a couple and then read them instead of filling it up all in one go. You can use a micro SD too to increase the storage capacity should you need to. I think it would take me a really long time to add any where near 30,000 books! The battery life is amazing and a single charge, (which takes no more than a couple of hours), lasts a month easily for me. If you read more or less it will obviously effect the battery life but even if you read constantly it will last a couple of weeks!
There are only two buttons on the KOBO Touch; one is the on/off button and is located at the top and the other is the main menu button. I like the fact it has so few buttons and it makes it so easy and natural to use.
Obviously given the name, the KOBO touch is touch screen. I normally avoid touch screen gadgets as I find them difficult to use but the KOBO Touch is really responsive and simple to use. To turn page you simply tap the appropriate side of the screen. I do find that occasionally I double tap and end up turning two pages at once but this isn't really a problem for me. I did worry that the screen would get really dirty from finger prints but it has a matt finish and doesn't get dirty at all. I would recommend blowing off any pet hairs or anything that falls on the screen as brushing them off will turn pages!
The library set up on the KOBO touch is a lovely addition and makes navigating your collection really easy. You can choose to view your library in three different ways; One cover per page, six covers per page or a list showing the cover to the right and then the title and author to the side. It will also show you your progress on that book or if you have finished reading it reguardless of the layout you choose. To pick a book you simply click it and it will open on the page you left it at or at the start if you have never opened it.
As well as the library there is a "home" page that shows you your current book, a random selection of other books from your library and five recommended books that available from the book store. This is generally how I navigate as I only read one book at a time and it always right there. The KOBO also remembers where you are and by default it will load the page you were on when it went to sleep/you turned it off. I do wish it had a line marker feature so I could see exactly where I left off but to be honest that is just me being lazy. You can also access the store from the home page too but I haven't used that yet as I am still reading the books the other half got me for Christmas. The other menu options are settings, (exactly what you'd expect it to be), your reading life, (interesting statistics like how long you have spent reading, how long you read for at a time on average, how many books you have finished etc.), a help feature, (that I have never needed to use) and a sync option which resets your WIFI connection.
The last feature I want to mention are the awards you get for completing certain tasks like reading 5 times between midnight and two am or reading your first book. I love this feature and get excited when a little message pops up, (very unobtrusively), at the bottom of the screen! You can instantly publish this to Facebook if you are using the WIFI connection if you like that sort of thing, (I do). If you aren't connected to the internet you can publish your achievement later on.
You can either get books via the store or via your PC using a cable and the software that come with it or using a memory card. It's really easy to do and doesn't take long at all. The KOBO Touch can handle EPUB, PDF, Adobe DRM, RTF, HTML, TXT, Comic Book archive file, JPEG, PNG, BNP, GIF and Tiff files which makes it much more versatile than a lot of the other popular e-readers out there. You can also get apps for various phones and tablets if that is your thing.
I really love my KOBO Touch and although I do miss handling a real book this e-reader has a lot of features which make up for it and to fair it has some advantages over books like being able to read one handed. The only negative thing I will say is that with a grey scale, 6" screen this e-reader isn't great for comics or graphic novels and it also makes reading Japanese books (that go from right to left) a little confusing. I do think that is the case with all e-ink readers though, not just this one.
I am very happy I got this and I can definitely recommend it to anyone who wants an attractive, versatile e-reader and at only £89.00 from John Lewis it's great value for money too.
Summary: Makes up for not being a "real" book
|Ease of use:|
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