Review: Kobo Touch eReader
First there was US-based Amazon's Kindle eReader, then Canada-based Kobo turned the eBook race into a two-horse affair with its range of eReaders.
The latest from the Canadian company is the Kobo Vox, which stands out from its competitors for its seven-inch (18cm) colour screen. The Vox, I said in a review in May, was better than fledgling models from just a few years ago with E Ink technology.
E Ink Corporation is the world's largest supplier of eBook displays designed to deliver a paper-like high contrast and appearance, while delivering ultra-low power consumption on the eReader.
The latest version of the E Ink technology used in the Kobo Touch eReader is a far cry from the technology that failed to impress me a couple of years ago. It's soft, easy on the eyes and relatively quick to respond to page turns.
It doesn't glow in the dark, however, so you'll still need a reading light with this.
Out of the box the Kobo Touch feels lightweight compared to its big brother. That has something to do with it having a six-inch (15cm) screen instead of a seven-inch one. It's a lightweight 221 grams and measures 144 millimetres wide, 165mm high and 10mm thick. That's just narrower and higher than a CD case and a similar thickness. The screen is just smaller than a paperback novel. It's nice to hold, too, with a soft, quilted back. Which means it's comfortable to read in bed.
My review model was black but you can get a white bevel with lavender, silver or blue.
The Kobo Touch comes with a USB cable to connect to your personal computer and it is through this that it both charges and transfers eBooks downloaded from the kobobooks.com store.
You turn the eReader on by sliding a spring loaded switch atop the device to the right.
You then download the free Kobo desktop software from kobosetup.com on your PC. Once you have installed it you are prompted to create a Kobo Account. By logging in on your PC, or your Touch, you can buy books for anything from $1.25 up and some old, out of copyright, titles are free.
You then plug the Kobo Touch in and it will synchronise with the PC.
The Kobo Touch starts with a few pre-installed books on the home screen. This is where new purchases appear too. To open a book you tap its cover on the home screen. To read you swipe your finger across the screen. Right to left takes you forward, left to right takes you back.
The processor at the heart of the Touch ensures the transition is about as fast as turning a page in a real book – a PC processor this does not have. But that's OK for its limited use and portability.
It does take a few second to wake up though, but no longer than finding your place in a real book would.
The battery life of the Kobo Touch is amazing, too. Charging from my HP Mini 110 Netbook took about three hours, perhaps less, and I found one charge lasted weeks. Kobo claims you'll get a month's reading out of this little beauty and I wouldn't be surprised to get six weeks.
The Kobo Touch has 2GB of storage capacity will hold up to 1000 eBooks but there's also a MicroSD card slot in the side where you can add storage for another 29,000 eBooks.
Kobo Touch eReader