Product Type: Kobo Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... feeling of exciting when turning a page. If you are split between a Kindle and a Kobo....Kobo without a doubt! Cheaper price tag that do... more
A good alternative to a Kindle
Member Name: jipp05
Advantages: The price, easy to use,
Disadvantages: Thin bezel, not as huge a selection as Amazon
I am a big reader and usually go through a couple of novels a week. I have always loved my books and resisted getting an E-reader for a long time until the amount of books that I had started taking over my house and I started become more receptive to the idea of being able to store all one books on one device.
In the end I bought a Kindle Keyboard and loved it. I found that reading on an electronic device didn't detract from the story at all and if anything I read even more with the Kindle than I did when I was reading paper books.
Unfortunately my Kindle broke down a few weeks ago and I was devastated as I probably used it more than anything else that I own. I went on Amazon and had a look at the new Kindles that were available and was going to buy myself a Kindle Touch which cost £109 and £169 for the WIFI only and 3G versions respectively. Unfortunately I had to wait or payday before I would be able to buy one.
On payday I was in town and was going to pop into Tesco to get my new Kindle when I popped into WH Smith and saw that they sold KOBO Touch E-readers which were a lot cheaper than a Kindle. I decided that instead of buying a Kindle I would take a punt on buying a KOBO instead and to be completely honest I have had no regrets so far with buying the KOBO over of the Kindle.
##### KOBO #####
KOBO is a Canadian company that have been selling E-readers for a couple of years. I was surprised to see that it is actually putting up a considerable competition in chipping away at Amazons market leading dominance. For instance in Canada KOBO account for nearly 50 per cent of the E-book market share.
Obviously since they are fairly new within the UK their market share here is nowhere near what Amazons is but thanks to their partnership with WH Smith they are becoming a more common sight on trains around the country.
##### Touch Edition #####
I bought the KOBO Touch as opposed to buying one where I had to press a button for page turns. I chose the touch for the fact that it was the newest model and with everything being touchscreen this day it seems to be the way most technology is heading.
The KOBO Touch has a 6 inch screen which uses pearl ink technology to mimic the look of real ink. There is 1GB of internal memory for storage which is enough for 1000 books however if you find that this isn't enough then the memory can be upgraded up to 32GB by way of an SD card which would be enough to store 30,000 books.
It also supports more file types than the Kindle with it supporting the industry standard in E-books EPUB, it also supports the MOBI format like the Kindle and you can also view PDF files on it.
##### First Impressions #####
When I got my KOBO out of the box I was impressed that it wasn't just a Kindle copy and it instead looks completely different. It is made from plastic and has a white bezel round the front with only one physical button which is the home button.
It is round the back where the KOBO really differentiates itself from the Kindle. You can get the KOBO is a selection of colours and mine is silver but more than the colours it is the fact that the back of the KOBO is 'quilted' that make it look so different. This quilted effect sounds horrible but in the flesh it looks really good and nowhere near as tacky as it sounds. The effect also makes it nicer to the touch and the more tactile feel of it makes it nicer to hold for long periods of time.
##### Using the Touch #####
Setting up the KOBO Touch was a piece of cake and only took a few little steps before I was able to use it.
First of all you need to connect the KOBO to your laptop and connect to the KOBO software before you can use it for the first time. This set up is pretty easy and the software walks you through the process. Once you have downloaded the KOBO software to your computer it will automatically update your KOBO to the newest version of the software and then you are pretty much good to go.
Adding books to the KOBO is a simple process and you can buy them direct from the KOBO software on your computer. Because the KOBO supports EPUB which is the industry standard you can also buy books from most retailers with the exception of Amazon. For example WH Smith also have a large selection of E-books.
If you have a collection of Ebooks on your computer you can just drag and drop them to the KOBO which literally takes seconds.
The KOBO software is quite intuitive and isn't a complicated faff unlike so much software. After the initial set up the software remains in the background and doesn't demand your attention constantly.
It also looks a lot nicer than my Kindle did. Unlike Kindles functional interface the KOBO looks a lot nicer. Books are laid out nicer and cleaner looking and it has some nice functions such as when it is in sleep mode the screen saver is a picture of the book that you are currently reading and it also tells you how far through the book you are. It isn't a deal breaker but I do much prefer the layout on the KOBO to the Kindle.
The screen is lovely to read for long periods of time and for someone that has never used an E-reader you need to trust me that you honestly do forget within minutes of using one that you aren't reading from paper. I honestly find it a more pleasurable way to read than from paper and the kindle is a nicer size and weight for reading than even a paperback.
You can also change the font from the default one if your eyesight isn't the greatest so you can make it either bigger or smaller and this is a simple thing to do from the onscreen menu.
Pages turn really smooth and quick with only the tiniest lag but quick enough that by the time my eyes have got back to the top of the page the next one has loaded so it never takes me out of the story.
It has nice little features such as being able to highlight text and a dictionary where you can just highlight a word by tapping on it and then search to find out what the word means etc.
The lightweight size of the KOBO also means that not only is it extremely portable but it is also really comfortable to hold for long periods of reading at a time without feeling heavy cumbersome.
The best thing about E-readers compared to other electronic devices is that the low power consumption of them means that the batteries last for ages.
A full charge on the KOBO Touch is supposed to last for a month before you need to charge it again and I find that I can go at least a couple of weeks of reading before I can even notice the battery icon going down slightly.
##### Any faults? #####
There are no major faults with the KOBO for me at least. The biggest problem that I have with it is that the bezel round the sides is slightly thin which means I do have to be careful not to accidentally touch the screen and change my page.
I think the biggest problem that I have with this E-reader compared to my Kindle is that I am still getting used to the touch screen. When I am tired and reading I have a bad habit of touching the screen and losing my page. If the bezel was slightly thicker then I think this would be less of a problem.
I also miss the 3G that I had on my Kindle. Obviously this isn't a deal breaker but I liked the option of being able to download samples to my Kindle no matter where I was. The KOBO is WIFI only but these days you can find a WIFI connection pretty much anywhere.
Buying books and getting them delivered to your KOBO by WIFI takes literally seconds from when you buy them to when they show up on the KOBO.
As good as the software on the KOBO is and the huge availability of content that you can get it still falls a little short of the shopping experience of Amazon. Nearly every book that you can get from Amazon you can purchase elsewhere but there are a few titles which can be found on Amazon that you won't find for the KOBO. For all major titles this won't be a problem but if you are looking for more obscure books then Kindle is probably still your best bet.
No product is 100% perfect and the KOBO has a few little things about it that I wouldn't mind being changed but none of them are bad enough for me to not recommend it. In almost every way I find it to be equal if not superior to the Kindle. It is a fantastic E-reader and extremely easy to use. The only downside compared to the Kindle would be the fact that Amazon have a larger selection of books though for most people you will never notice this as you can buy all the major titles for it. Like with the Kindle there are also millions of free books out there for you to download to your KOBO.
##### Price and Availability #####
The price is the big thing that the KOBO Touch has over the Kindle. The KOBO touch costs £79.99 while prices for the equivalent Kindle Touch start at £109.99.
You can buy the KOBO online or else you can buy it on the high street from WH Smith and Asda.
##### Recommendation #####
Definitely. I love my KOBO and for £30 cheaper than the Kindle Touch it represents fantastic value for money. The Kindle has the slight edge when it comes to content but in daily use I have never failed to find a book that I want.
I also much prefer the styling of the KOBO and it looks a lot nicer in my opinion than the plain grey of the Kindle.
Reading on the KOBO is a joy and it has been a pleasure to use with no annoying software quirks. It is exactly how technology should be. Easy to use and non-intrusive the KOBO means that I can fully immerse myself in a novel and forget that I am reading on an electronic screen.
Summary: A good alternative to a Kindle
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