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Kobo Wireless Review

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After a successful entry into the e-reader market with its Touch Edition, Kobo has brought out a new version of the classic electronic reader in the form of the Kobo Wireless E-reader making the Kobo a major player in the market with its frequent releases and ability to improve significantly with every new product.

Much like the previous version, this Kobo looks great. Available in pretty colors like white, a pearly lilac, and black, it has a nice, matte plastic finish with a 6 inch E-ink display touchscreen. The back is the same quilted one Kobo is known for, which makes it easy to hold. The comfortable and compact device measuring just about 7.2 X 4.7 inches and weighing just 7.8 ounces, is the ideal e-reader for anyone looking for portability.

On the left side there are four buttons—Home, Menu, Shop and Back—and the rest of the navigation is done with the five-way directional pad.

The Kobo wireless displays 16 levels of greyscale. The display is excellent, with a (600 x 800 pixels) resolution and E-ink technology which delivers greater contrast and sharper and crisper text and images. Stuff like cover art on the Kobo looks awesome.

The Kobo Wireless comes preloaded with 100 classic books. And with this edition, has very successfully managed to integrate its online e-book store allowing readers to purchase books right from the e-reader with 2 million books on offer along with periodicals which can be easily accessed and downloaded to the e-reader straight away. Alternatively, it is a snap to sync the Kobo with other devices to read or even access these books with a Kobo e-reading app on other devices. Integrating WiFi technology into its e-reader, in my opinion is a major step forward for reader ease and convenience.

The Kobo has revamped its Wireless e-Reader’s internal processor to provide faster page turns and performance. Definitely, in comparison with the original version, this one feels much breezier. I didn’t experience any issues with sluggish performance.

The Kobo has so many features that make it an absolute pleasure to read on. It is elegantly dedicated to its primary function as an e-reader which I absolutely love. There are two different font styles and 5 font sizes to meet any reader’s comfort level and books can be download in EPUB, PDF and text book formats.

As far as storage capacity is concerned, the Kobo offers about 1GB of memory, but is expandable to 32GB with a microSD card, allowing it to store about 30,000 books at one time. Using the WiFi connectivity, books and magazines can be transferred with a USB port—and the USB enables charging while reading, which I really love.

The Kobo’s battery life is amazing! It lasts a whole 10 days with the WiFi switched on. The WiFi is a slight drain on the battery, so if it is kept off, the Kobo may last weeks on a single charge.

The user interface on the Wireless Edition is visually pleasing and really simple to use. The Home Page caters to what the user is currently reading and the book last read. It allows organizing books in neat categories of choice and automatically bookmarks the page. Here’s a nice touch: it counts the number of pages left in a chapter and displays it at the bottom of the screen. Another feature I like is that when the Kobo eReader is turned off, the cover of the book gets displayed on the screen.

On the whole, this version of the Kobo is definitely one of the better devices in the market today, especially in terms of visual appeal, portability, battery life and integrated WiFi. It is a convenient and a super affordable eReader!

A Kobo Touch Review

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The new Kobo e-Reader Touch Edition promised to be a better and lighter device for a faster, and smoother e-reading experience and it doesn’t disappoint. Here’s some insight into this new device:

The Kobo e-reader has a 6 inch Pearl E-Ink display. Measuring just about 4.5 X 6.5 inches, it can easily be carried around in the pocket, making it a very handy device, especially for people like me who like to take their books wherever they go. By virtue of a total absence of physical buttons, this e-reader has a full touchscreen which is responsible for its compactness. The quilted back panel of the Kobo makes it easier to grip, and it is super easy to can hold it in just one hand due to its sheer lightness (just 6.5 ounces).

Turning the pages by touch is remarkably convenient. There are actually two buttons on the device: a home button on the front and a power button at the top.

There is a micro USB slot on the bottom and a microSD card slot on the side. The WiFi is very reliable and it is such a convenient way to sync a e-reader to other devices or access the Kobo store to purchase books and magazines.

The Kobo can sync to a whole lot of other devices with a compatible app. There are Kobo apps to link it with PCs, Macs, BlackBerrys and even Android, making it east to use with many different devices.

Reading on the Kobo Touch Edition is a breeze. The Touch knows its job; it is pleasantly devoted to its primary aim as an e-reader and doesn’t try to be anything else. All its features are focused on making reading easier and more satisfying, including its Pearl E-ink display which inherently delivers sharp contrasts even in bright sunlight and crisp text and clarity almost exactly like that of a real-life newspaper. Another advantage of this technology is that it consumes very little battery. Per the specs the battery lasts a month and I don’t disagree.

The Touch Edition has 2 GB storage capacity and is expandable up to 32GB by a microSD card. This translates in to about 30,000 books which is more than I can even imagine having in my collection.

The 800MHz Freescale i.MX508 processor and Neonode zForce infrared technology that powers the Nook is also present in the Kobo, making for a super fast and incredibly smooth reading experience.

This new edition of Kobo does offer a pretty sleek and simple user interface that is easy to navigate. The homepage is the core of the device, and it’s stripped down to only the most necessary functionality. At the center of the page are images of the most recent purchases, and along the top are buttons for the book library, the Kobo store, and the device’s Reading Life competitive reading app. The bottom pane has icons for settings, help, and an icon to sync the reader over WiFi.

The reader also offers two styles and about 17 formats and font sizes. There’s an icon for an array of options, including returning to the table of contents, adding bookmarks (although you cannot create multiple bookmarks within a book; only the last page read is bookmarked.), marking the text and highlighting a selection. It’s easy to use the menu to look up word meanings or translate them.

All these features really simplified and improved my reading experience. As promised, the Kobo has great ergonomics that makes reading comfortable.

The Kobo bookstore offers about 2 million titles, along with 15 preloaded book previews and a number of categories, including New York Times Bestsellers, Oprah Book Club picks, etc.

I have really enjoyed getting to know my new Kobo Touch. It is a great e-reader, with its portability, excellent battery life, a speedy processor and super clear display.

Kobo Vox Review

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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.)