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Kobo eReader Touch review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 27 Dec 2011

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £83 (£100 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

What no patent fights?

Its notable that we see no wasted time over patents from Amazon. They just get on with it.
If this was Apple their lawyers would already be rubbing their hands with glee.

By curiousclive on 27 Dec 2011

no uk spec

the magazine daily paper add on is not available in uk, also the cataloge of titles does not include very much uk inhouse reading matter.

By skt159 on 30 Dec 2011

ePUB support = library books

I just bought a Kobo Touch, and I am very impressed. My experience matches your review, it's a great device.

I looked at the Kindle, but it doesn't support the ePUB format, which means I couldn't load e-books which are borrowed from the library.

With the Kobo that isn't a problem, you just have to install the Adobe ADE application on your PC, then you can drag and drop the library book file to the Kobo.

The Kobo doesn't tie you to the Kobo store either, so shopping around WH Smith, Waterstones and the Google e-book store is possible. I don't think you can do that with the Kindle either.

By kevindanks on 5 Jan 2012

Book source for Kindle

@kevindanks - you can get books for the Kindle from any source you like. The limitations are that it needs to be in .mobi format (not strictly true as you can convert from ePub to mobi using software like the free Calibre program) and you have to download it to your PC and transfer using a cable, or use the Kindle browser which I have to admit is rather clunky.

By RogerSpencelayh on 5 Jan 2012

Book sources - Calibre

Calibre can access lots of ebooks (from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and a host of other sellers) and newspapers and transfer the content to Kindles and Kobos.
For the Kindle you can just email the book/newpaper etc to your registered Kindle email and receive it over WiFi if you don't want to use the cable connection. If you leave Calibre (and your PC) running it will email a regular newspaper automatically to your Kindle (I have tested this) I don't know about other devices.
The only problem I have come across is that the Kindle reading software can't read the newspapers aloud that have been loaded from Calibre.

By goldgraham on 5 Jan 2012

Kindle or E-reader

I live in Spain and I´m being told that I can´t buy books for Kindle from Amazon.co.uk. If I buy an e-reader will it be easier to download books. Sorry if I´m vague I don´t really know a lot about this subject

By bern2 on 7 Jan 2012

Don't forget Gutenburg

The Gutenburg Project has a huge number of free books, mostly, if not all, in ePub as well as other formats.
Firefox has an eBook reader plug-in (free), which is useful too.

By KMJones1 on 8 Jan 2012

Web browser?

So is it the norm for ebooks to be able to browse the web?

Even the monochrome ones?

Can they handle Flash?

By dajfiel on 18 Jan 2012

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