Kobo eReader Touch review

27 Dec 2011

A superb ebook reader, with a top-notch screen and excellent store

Price when reviewed: 
100(£99 inc VAT)
5

For a long time in the UK, Sony and Amazon have ruled the ebook reader roost. Now, though, there’s a new player – Kobo – and its eReader Touch is a real eye-opener.

It’s a lovely piece of hardware. Its E Ink screen is framed in bright, matte-white plastic and the rear is coated in a soft-to-the-touch “quilted” finish, which comes in a number of different colours.

It’s a minimalist design, and although not quite as light as the new Kindle or Sony reader, its 185g weight is hardly hefty. Inside, there’s 2GB storage, and a microSD slot provides expansion.

Kobo eReader Touch front

In terms of features it’s far from bare bones. It has a touchscreen and uses the same infrared technology as the Sony Reader Wi-Fi, so page turns are achieved with a light sweep of a digit. And it’s sensitive enough to make typing on the onscreen keyboard a relatively grumble-free experience.

There’s Wi-Fi support, which allows you to buy direct from the Kobo store. The screen is excellent: a 600 x 800 E Ink Pearl panel provides a contrast ratio that’s only a fraction behind the Kindle readers and makes it just as readable.

Text can be displayed in seven different fonts, and in 30 sizes; line spacing, margins and justification are all adjustable. Page-turn speed is also good, at one second per page.

Kobo eReader Touch screen

And it’s good at handling more complex documents. Multitouch isn’t supported, but heavy-duty PDF pages can be zoomed in and out with a slider control, and panning around with one finger works well. Its major weaknesses are its note-taking and highlighting facilities, which are basic.

Other than this gripe, the Kobo Touch is outstanding. The hardware and store integration are excellent, as is the screen, and the price is very reasonable. Sony's new reader offers superior PDF handling and a better web browser, but the Kobo’s strong all-round showing still makes it worthy of a recommendation.

Details

Price ex VAT £83
Price inc VAT £100
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Screen

Screen size 6.0in
Resolution 600 x 800
Colour screen no
Touchscreen yes
eBook screen-refresh time 1.0 seconds

Battery

Integrated memory 2.0GB
Memory-card type microSD

Dimensions

Dimensions 114 x 11 x 165mm (WDH)
Weight 185g

File format support

Plain text yes
HTML yes
RTF yes
PDF yes
EPUB yes
BBeB no
AZW no
Microsoft Word no