The ebook readers market has mostly been dominated by a few companies. Sony Readers and Kindle from Amazon are the most popular ebook readers in the world.
Content is the only real difference between these devices. Amazon is known to distribute content directly from its store. Though a closed system, it is accessible widely through apps on smart phones and PCs. Many other companies including Sony do not have across platforms provision or an integrated bookstore experience, but they offer open format support.
The Kobo eReader has been in the ebook market for quite a while and Smartphone users may be familiar with the preinstalled app. The manufacturers of the Kobo eReader are moving from pure content to both content and hardware with the aim to provide a complete solution like Amazon. The Kobo touch eReader is a good and genuine alternative to the Kindle.
The Kobo touch eReader is well designed and has an interesting “quilted” back finish. It is of course not a real quilt, but the plastic material is sturdy enough. The device has a diamond pattern that is nice to hold and provides a user with something extra to hold on to. At 185g, it is lighter than the kindle touch, but slightly heavier than the new Kindle from Amazon.
The Kobo touch ebook reader is built with an E-ink display of 6 inches and just like many other models, it will easily fit into a small bag or jacket pocket. The device also has USB connections and also a microSD card slot on the side in case you need to expand the memory. This device only has a home button below the screen and a power slider at the top. All other operations are by touch, thus no need for more buttons.
In order to sync the Kobo eReader, the user will require a Kobo account. Unlike the Kindle which offers users PC free operation, the Kobo touch requires a user to download software from a Mac or PC before connecting to your device.
If you as have an account all you need to do is key your details in the application and all content you have purchased will be available and ready to sync to the Kobo touch eReader. If there is no existing content, you can navigate and purchase them via the desktop application. PayPal is included in the payment options on the Kobo store which makes things very easy for most users.
The advantage of having a Wi-Fi enabled device is that you can easily browse and search free ebooks or even download a preview of a book without necessarily having to use a computer. The Kobo store is easy to navigate and is accessible from the device’s home page.
Any book purchased on the Kobo store is made available on your eReader, mobile device and desktop computer on one same account. It is not a must you connect to your computer as long as you do the initial setup well and if you will only stick to the Kobo bookstore.
This device has the ability to perform cross device bookmark syncing, which means that you can continue to read a book on your eReader from the point you left off on the phone and vice versa.
The Kobo touch is an EPUB ebook reader and so it does not restrict you to Kobo’s bookstore. Of course the reading experience is better if you stick to the Kobo store but if you buy EPUB titles and authorize your device with Adobe Digital Editions, you will have the ability to read from these collections as well.
This ability of the Kobo touch lets you have more freedom than the Kindle. This is because you can shop around to find the best prices and you get to choose where you source your books from. The only downside to this is that you will lose the syncing function, meaning that your EPUB ebooks will not be automatically mirrored to other devices.
In actual reading, the Kobo touch offers readers a great experience. The E-Ink screen has good contrast and the letters are well formed and crisp. For your preference, you can select a different font and even change the font size. The device has highlight and dictionary functions and offers the share on facebook function. Page turning on this device is fast and very easy as you only need to tap at the edge or swipe across the page. It is however possible to sometimes turn pages by accident with a stray finger.
The e-ink display of the Kobo touch has 2 distinct advantages that you get over LCD displays. One is that they are not glossy which makes it easy to read in bright conditions or outdoors. They are great for poolside reading. The second advantage is that the battery life for this device is very efficient because there is no backlighting.
The battery life is one month but this very much depends on the reading you do. The Wi-Fi also shortens the battery life considerably, so it is advisable to use flight-safe mode if you do not need a connection.
There are some few extras in the Kobo touch. These include a browser in case you want to browse the internet although it is still an experimental browser and may be a bit slow with tricky navigation. A Sudoku game and a sketchbook are also some of the extras hidden in this device.
Another feature is the Reading Life section which is available on the home page and offers a social side of the eReader. This section is basically a kind of an achievements system where upon taking various actions readers earn awards. From this section you can also see the stats of activities like number of books read, page turns and even hours spent on reading.
There are many eReaders that are technically proficient but not all of them impress. The service offered by the Kobo touch rivals that of the Amazon Kindle and it’s impressive because there is a full system to explore. It is a good and interesting alternative to the Kindle and it is competitively priced.
The cost and availability of content should also be considered. A quick glance at some recent titles in the kindle reveals that the prices are the same with occasional higher priced titles in the Kindle store and vice versa.
Overall the Kobo touch is a great option that should be considered by anyone planning to buy an ereader.