Home > Categories > Computer Hardware > Electronic Book Readers > Kobo eReader review
Stylish, light weight and easy to use. The Kobo eReader makes the perfect book even better with an E-Ink screen, up to two week battery charge, and storage for up to 1000 books.
With a compact size and weighing only 221 grams it is an easy fit for nearly all your pouches, purses, and packs.
Every word is a masterpiece
The Kobo eReader is like reading a traditional book. E-Ink technology makes it look just like print on paper. You can adjust the type to five different sizes and two different styles. The screen is sharp and glare free, making reading easy on the eyes.
Intuitive D-pad navigation control keeps buttons to a minimum.
Quilted back makes holding the Kobo eReader a comfortable, enjoyable experience.
100 free titles preinstalled to get you started.
With iPad's all the new rage, something a lot less functionality becoming a trend in it's own right was something we needed to check out.
At first glance, this looks a lot like a black or white version of the iPad, but with a big blue navigation button in the bottom right corner, and some smaller buttons down the left side.
With these amazingly simple controls, you can navigate and configure the unit to display as you prefer it. The first thing you'll need to do, of course, is set the current time and date, then sync it to your PC or portable communications device, to allow it to log on to the online library, or eBookstores, and download your selected titles. This is accomplished via either a cabled USB connection (best for desktops) or via Bluetooth (ideal for mobile connections).
When you plug the beastie into your desktop, Mac or PC - it works with both, you will find on the device some software. I can't speak for the Mac software, but the PC software set off a multitude of alarms when it came to the automatic virus scan. The PC software registered as a Trojan Downloader! Now, after discussions with some of the Kobo's PR team in Australia, the 'official story' is that the software has some 'trojan-like behaviours that set off virus scanners when it gets activated'... all well and good, and very plausible - until you consider that the software was triggering the alarms BEFORE it was activated! The raw filescan sent up the 'malicious code' alarms, not the 'naughty behaviour' alarms. Because the first action of the antivirus software was to delete the offending file, and any subsequent attempts to get a copy of the file sent to us failed due to the email scanners blocking and stripping it off, we simply can't confirm or deny the alleged 'safe' nature of the PC software.
Our advice: Immediately delete the software on the Kobo unit, and go online to the Whitcoulls website and download their software instead! We found no issues with that software at all.
Enough of the technical guff... what's in it for you? Well, to give you something to whet your literary appetite, you will find there are 100 titles pre-installed. These range from classic to modern, fiction and non-fiction alike. I would have been overjoyed to see a couple of reference titles, or a cookbook or two, but alas, no such luck. ;)
To add a nice twist, this baby even has an SD slot, capable of accepting SD and SDHC cards, so that means card with storage space up to about 16gb. More than enough to store a plentiful library indeed! This also gives you a third option to installing eBooks onto the device... and since there are a number of applications out there that will convert eBooks from one format to another, this may be a good way to ensure you get your favourite titles to read on the go, no matter where they are sourced from, including plain old text files, as this unit will read them too.
The menu and navigation are simplicity itself, with a context-sensitive menu system controlled by the buttons down the left side. 'Home' takes you back to the list of 'books' you are currently reading, 'Menu' brings up a menu system appropriate to your 'location' in the system, 'Display' will bring up a menu that either allows you to configure how you want the lists displayed, or how you want the book font to display - a range of sizes and font styles are available to account for your visual acuity. 'Back' is pretty obvious really.
Charging is accomplished via the USB port - so if you have a way to charge any USB device on the move, you can do so with this too. On a full charge you can expect a week or so of intermittent reading - a few hours a day. The e-Ink technology is amazingly power-efficient. And since it isn't based on phosphors - the way the old-style cathode-ray tube TVs and monitors were - I was surprised to find this unit suffered from some 'ghosting' in places, especially if it has been in 'powered off' mode for more than a day - you can faintly see the Kobo logo 'burned in' for the next few screens... However, the techs have obviously also noticed this, as they force it to perform a full screen-blanking three times in rapid sequence, which indeed 'resets' all the ghosting away.
Overall, this device performs wonderfully - giving you the ability to read whatever you wish, where ever you are - as long as you can keep it charged up. Despite a few technical issues, there's an overwhelming majority of good points. Sure, this technology is already well underway to being replaced by competing systems, including colour versions and hybrid systems that have better refresh rates etc - but that doesn't detract from the fact that this device does everything it says it will, as well as it claims to. And soon there may be firmware upgrades you can install to fix any issues and enhance the device further. If you love to read, and travel, and have trouble combining them both - this is CERTAINLY something you will want to grab soon!
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