Kobo Vox Review
I had my eyes on this new player in the market ever since I heard of Kobo bringing out its first tablet. The Kobo Vox strikes me more as a compromise between a tablet and an e-reader. It offers many benefits and interesting features. I think it is a real bargain.
It has a 7 inch Android tablet that is a tad thicker and heavier than other regular e-readers with its weight of 14.1 ounces. Pretty nice to look at, the Kobo Vox Tablet looks sleek the Kobo signature quilted back panel.
Three touch buttons for Home, Back and Menu along with a power button in the front are prominently displayed along with a small charging light.
The Vox has a microSD card slot and actual physical volume buttons which a lot of tablets surprisingly lack these days. Along the outer edges Kobo has an interesting finish in choices of black, hot pink, lime green, or ice blue. There’s also a small slit of a speaker at the top and right side of the tablet. Don;t expect the speaker output to compete with a Dolby surround sound but it’s decent quality when paired with some with a nice headphones which gave me much better volume and sound quality than with the Vox speakers.
The 7-inch display has a resolution of 1024 x 600, which is pretty average for this type of device. It has reasonable brightness, but doesn’t offer much visibility outdoors or in bright sunlight.
One thing to note is that the Vox doesn’t really allow you to start working with your device the moment you take it out of its box. The first thing when you switch your Vox on is an alert for a software upgrade which can take a bit of time to download. I even ran out of charge somewhere in the middle of the download and had to rush and plug it in to continue with its upgrade.
The Vox has a working model of the Android Gingerbread 2.3 OS. It runs on a 800MHz processor and 512MB RAM. It isn’t a speed demon but isn’t the slowest eReader I’ve used.
The Vox has about 8GB of storage capacity, which is expandable to 32GB with an SD card. I really like that it offers cloud storage to expand its storage if needed. You never know, right? The eReader also has to offer WiFi connectivity but sadly no Bluetooth.
It has a few signature-Kobo features including a spot in the center of the home screen for the most recently read books. Books I’ve started are displayed with a green bookmark, and the ones I’ve read most recently appear largest on the screen. Along the bottom of the screen is a small toolbar with links to the most recently read book, my library, a menu of applications (arranged in the typical Android style), the Kobo online shop and Reading Life app (a social networking feature integral to the company’s devices.)
The library offers a virtual bookshelf, which is devoted to books and magazines. The default shelf lists everything the user is currently reading. Like in its regular e-readers, the Vox too has Facebook integrated with the Reading Life app. The app offers a statistics, including the total amount of time you’ve been reading, pages you’ve turned, books you’ve finished and so-called reading averages, and offers “awards” every time the user finishes a book.
The book-reading experience is uncomplicated in the Vox, with the majority of the pages devoted to text. The screen displays the title of the book at the top and a page number at the bottom, reminding me of the good old experience of reading an actual book. Flipping through pages is accomplished with a swipe. There are even options for adding a comment on a page and liking the book via Facebook –a feature which I really like. Other features like a button for book marking pages and the ability to pinch or zoom the page you are reading- are features that I also enjoy, (and am thankful for) especially when reading magazines.
On the whole, I really enjoy my time spent reading on the Vox! The storage is amazing and I really love the sassy colors available. It is super simple to use and the navigation is user friendly. The WiFi is dependable and the books are plentiful. (In the next version, I am hoping for a bit faster processor and Bluetooth integration.)