Kobo Wireless eReader review
Lightweight with a smart interface and store, but has too many flaws to trouble the award-winners
Review Date: 3 Jan 2012
Reviewed By: Barry Collins
Price when reviewed: £58 (£70 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
You shouldn’t judge an ebook reader by its cover, but first impressions of the Kobo Wireless eReader aren’t great. The off-white/grey colour scheme was last in fashion when the Berlin Wall collapsed, and the device itself feels cheap. But after a while it begins to grow on you.
Plasticky it may be, but the device weighs only 221g and is effortless to hold. The screen has poor contrast, but once you’ve got the font right it’s readable.
The interface is smartly designed. The “I’m Reading” section contains all the books you’re currently ploughing through, with an archive of Documents and Books including the 100 classics preloaded on the device. There’s also a News & Magazines section, although the Kobo store doesn’t currently offer periodicals in the UK.
That’s the store’s only real weakness, though. The Kobo store claims to hold more than two million titles, and contained around three-quarters of the bestsellers when we tested it, at prices only a little more expensive than the Kindle store.
As with the Kindle, books can be bought directly from the device. The PC/Mac desktop software also allows you to manage books on the device and read them on your PC.
Performance is lacklustre, though. Page turns feel sluggish, leaving you hanging for a second or so as you wait for the page to redraw. Although it’s only a fifth of a second slower than the Kindle Keyboard, it makes a difference.Panning through PDFs is even more tiresome.
The device's D-pad is the Kobo Wireless’ Achilles heel, however. Pages can only be flipped by pressing right on the pad; accidentally press down or up, and the font size changes. After only ten minutes we were hankering after the Kindle’s large buttons on either side of the display.
That doesn’t make the Kobo Wireless a terrible product, and the price isn’t bad either. But it’s no match for the best on the market.
Author: Barry Collins
- Apple TV adds HBO Go, Sky News and WatchESPN
- Surface RT tablets to feature Qualcomm processors
- BT CEO steps down to join government
- Nvidia to license graphics tech to smartphone makers
- Microsoft frees two million PCs from botnet
- Huawei considers Nokia buyout
- Child abuse showdown "hijacked by ignorant MPs"
- Government wheedles more funding for online child protection from ISPs
- AMD’s "Seattle" ARM chips set for 2014 release
- Microsoft offloads cheap Surface RT tablets to schools
- Adobe Dreamweaver CC review: first look
- Huawei Ascend P6 review: first look
- Adobe Illustrator CC review: first look
- Let MPs tell us what they really want ISPs to block
- Adobe Photoshop CC review: first look
- WWDC 2013 and iOS 7 launch: live blog
- Sony VAIO Pro review: first look
- Want child porn blocked? Meet the IWF
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Manage a mailing list with MailChimp
- Best Linux distros for 2013
- 36 best Android apps
- How to track a stolen phone, laptop or tablet
- The man who teaches the world to Google
- 38 best iPad apps
- Moving PC made easy
- 35 best web apps
- Software subscriptions return us to a life of servitude
- Dropbox: everything you need to know
- Facebook "click on the photo" scams: how they work
- Three alternatives to Word's spelling and grammar checker
- Google two-step verification: a must for business email
- Microsoft Office and the death of upgrades
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW