Kobo eReader

Kobo was one of the newer companies to enter the e-reader marke,t with their first reader being released in July 2010; since then there have been 4 devices released by the company with the newest being the Kobo Vox tablet. The Kobo was originally marketed as a minimalistic alternative to some of the more of the more expensive readers on the market, with the Kobo reader being the cheapest. As of 2012, the ebook reader landscape has changed and pretty much every major player in the ebook reader market has a cheap entry level reader that's around $100 dollars. This is a far cry from the first generation of digital e-ink readers that were priced near (or above) $300 back in 2007.

Originally the Toronto based company Kobo sold hard copies of books and then started to sell eBooks that could be read on other devices and after a short while saw the potential in manufacturing their own reader for input to market.

Interestingly the name Kobo was chosen as it is an anagram of book. The Kobo readers are well known for being very compact and tailored specifically to their main purpose of displaying eBooks to the user.

General Consensus

The Kobo has received a fairly positive feedback with many of the users purchasing the reader being happy with the quality of the device that they receive. The Kobo is now known on the e-reading market and has a good reputation for being a fairly advanced reader for a low price. They are certainly one of the more popular ebook reader brands, counted as the "big 4" with Sony, Amazon, and Barns & Noble the other key players in the ebook reader market.

The Kobo has been widely (originally) accepted due to the lower cost of the device, with the price of readers being fairly high in the past some people have felt it is a luxury that they can go without however the Kobo is affordable but still gives the user a good reading experience.

People praised the Kobo for the support of both EPUB files and mobipocket/kindle files meaning that books could be purchased from the Kobo store and Amazon.  This gave the Kobo a major advantage over rivals such as Barnes and Noble who restrict the buying of their consumers in limiting the amount of storage that can be consumed with purchases from other stores.

The one complaint users had about the Kobo eReader touch was that the reader was so small it was hard to hold, particularly due to the reader only having a small edge for the user to hold on to, meaning that at some times the user was turning pages by accident and disturbing their reading experience.

Kobo Vox (Current)

kobo vox

This is Kobo's entrance into the hybrid ebook reader/tablet market. With the Vox, Kobo joins Amazon and Barns and Noble in the fight for the tablet market space -- a space that was created and still primarly dominated by Apple with the Ipad series.

Kobo Vox Review

 

 

 

 

 

Kobo eReader Touch (Current)

kobo touchThe Kobo Touch reader is the third generation of the Kobo to be released on to the market with its release date being mid May 2011. The reader features a 6” eInk touch screen display. The touch screen uses the most recent technology seen on readers with infrared beams used to create the touch screen interface on the reader, eliminating any touch layers that may obscure the display by causing a glare.

The touch interface also included an on screen keyboard making it easy for the viewers to search the reader for certain titles or authors, a feature that was not included on earlier models of the Kobo.

The eInk screen is the newest and is known as the ‘pearl’ featuring the highest contrast available and a 16 shade grey scale giving the display clear text and detailed images.  The memory on the device is strong with 2GB in-built memory (1GB user accessible and available for content) and an SD card slot which allows the memory to be expanded up to 32GB.

The Kobo Touch Reader also includes wireless connectivity, in this case only via Wi-Fi, meaning that the reader can be connected to the internet wherever there is an available wireless connection or hotspot. This gives the user much more freedom as they can download books straight on to the device without having to connect the device to a computer.

The Kobo Touch reader is very compact being both slim and small making the device easily transportable, not only this but weighing in at only 200g the device is light allowing for easily handling when reading for a long period of time.

The Kobo Touch gives the user a choice of colour in order to give the reader a slight personal touch. The colors included in the range are lilac, blue, silver and black, with all colors featuring a design on the back. This is the same for each reader and gives the effect of an padded diamond look.

Kobo Touch eReader Review

 

The Kobo Wi-Fi Edition

kobo wi-fi readerAlso known as the Kobo second edition this was released after the Kobo eReader but prior to the Kobo Touch. The Kobo Wi-Fi edition featured a 6” Vizplex eInk screen with 16 levels of grey scale, providing the user with a non-glare display allowing the reader to be viewable even in direct sunlight. The 16 shades giving crisp text and detailed images.

As expected from the name the Kobo Wi-Fi edition includes wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi meaning that the user can connect to the Kobo store and download books without having to connect the device to a computer. Not only this but Wi-Fi connections can be found in popular café’s and there are also hotspots up and down the country meaning that the device could possibly be connected to the internet without having to be at home.

The Kobo Wi-Fi edition has 1GB internal memory (the same as its predecessor the Kobo eReader) and also has an SD card which allows memory to be expanded up to a massive 32GB, this allows the reader to store thousands of books on their library.

Unlike the earlier version of the Kobo, the Wi-Fi had a slightly larger range of supported formats including ePub and PDF (Adobe DRM, plus non-DRM) and TXT meaning that books bought from some other stores could also be supported on the reader.
The Kobo Wi-Fi edition is still sold by Kobo and offers the reader a colour option with porcelain and lilac, porcelain and silver and also onyx.

The Wi-Fi edition features up to 10,000 page turns in terms of battery life however if the Wi-Fi connections are enabled then this will be less and on average the reader should last around 10 days.

The Kobo Touch is also known as the third generation as there were two models prior to this one of which is now discontinued. Although the first generation of the Kobo cannot be purchased from Kobo anymore they can still be found in places such as eBay which is an online market place.

Kobo Wi-Fi Reader Review

 

The Kobo eReader

kobo readerThis was the first reading device ever released by Kobo and was brought to market in May 2010. Released at the retail price of $149 the Kobo eReader was the lowest priced reader on the market. The interface on the Kobo eReader was completely based around a navigational pad at the bottom right of the device and page turning buttons down the left hand side.

The Kobo eReader featured a standard 6” eInk display, allowing the user to read in direct sunlight without a glare which would obstruct reading. The main format support on the reader was for  EPUB and PDF documents with the ability to choose from 5 different font sizes and two different typefaces (sans and sans serif) in order to give the greatest ease of read.

The internal memory on the Kobo eReader was 1GB, with SD card slots so that the user could expand the memory on the device up to 4GB (an average of around 300 books). This was considered enough room due to the fact that the Kobo eReader did not support audio playback and therefore would not be storing large files.

The one unique feature seen on the Kobo eReader was Bluetooth, this hadn’t been seen in users before and was to be used for connecting to blackberry services however this feature never seemed to take off and was fairly redundant within the reader.

The battery life on the Kobo eReader was 8000 pages, averaging out to about two weeks usage, this was a strong point for the device as the battery life is long making the reader reliable, mostly down to the fact that the reader uses eInk technology which only consumes battery every time a page is refreshed.

Books for the Device

Due to the Kobo being a book retailer who have started to produce eReaders they already have an established online library where users can go to download the titles they wish. There are thousands of books on the Kobo store which is constantly growing with new releases.  The count is currently at 2.4 million titles.

Not only do Kobo sell books but they also give writers the opportunity to publish their own eBooks meaning there is also a range of books which cannot be found in any other store.

There is also a vast range of free books on the Kobo store, alongside the opportunity to preview all of the books in their library before purchasing them.

There are many sites on the internet where eBooks can be bought for the Kobo as the device supports general ePUB files rather than having their own unique format such as Kindle. Not only this but the Kobo Touch reader supports MobiPocket meaning that Amazons online store is also open to the Kobo, with a massive 375,000 titles to choose from, between this and the Kobo online store you shouldn’t have any trouble in finding the books you are looking for.

The Kobo online store also offers the feature of being able to borrow books from your local library (this is if they support eBooks) enhancing the experience of an eReader and making it even more like a real book. The option of lending books allows users to read books that they may not normally have bought.

Accessories

Like many other readers there are a wide range of accessories to be used in conjunction with the Kobo eReader. A range of cases can be bought for the Kobo reader varying in style and colours. One of the most popular stores stocking Kobo cases in Amazon providing a wide range with the option of buying new or already used giving the Kobo a touch of personality and also protection, particularly in transportation.

One of the most popular type of cases are the leather cases that cover both the back and the front of the device, this prevents the screen from being cracked or damaged and also stops cosmetic damage on the back.

Another popular accessory for the Kobo are lights. These clip on to the device and illuminate the screen of the reader as the eInk screen is not backlit and therefore cannot be seen in the dark. Not only this but the displays are hard to see in poor light, therefore the light allows the reader to read at any time, perfect if you plan on using the reader in the dark.

Lights can be found from a variety of retailers including places such as eBay, Amazon and Argos as there are no particular range made by Kobo to be used with their readers, and therefore it is simply a case of finding a light which will fit on to the device comfortably.

Skins can also be bought for the Kobo, these are a type of sticker that covers the reader and stops the device from being scratched. They can be bought in a range of styles whether it just be different colours or featuring an image, these are particularly nice as it really does personalise the reader and is also inexpensive. Skins are available from sites such as Amazon and eBay.

A more practical accessory for the Kobo readers are chargers so that the reader can be charged in most situations. For example chargers can be bought for the mains outlet and also for cars (charges from a cigarette lighter) these can be purchased from sites such as Amazon and eBay and are usually around $ 30.

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Kobo Reader

  • Kobo Touch Reader
  • Kobo Wi-Fi
  • Kobo Reader (original)

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