Review – Kobo Touch

I have been the proud owner of a Kobo Touch for a bit longer than 3 months. So, what have I found?

  • The device itself is pretty petite. Next to almost every other e-reader out there (maybe excepting the Nook Touch) it really sizes itself down and reduces itself to almost just a screen and a border. This is both a curse and a blessing: it’s not the 10inch screen I wish I had, but it fits comfortably in several larger pockets in my clothes.
  • The touch interface is nice, and the gestures are natural. Finger smudges don’t matter quite as much as I thought they would, with the matte surface taking minimal finger oils. It is unnerving to have your headphones brush against the screen and move the page around, though, since the touch sensing is infrared based.
  • Like I suspected, the touch interface makes reading PDFs bearable. Since lots of long-form web material is tied up in PDFs, this is a deal-maker.
  • There are not a plethora of options in the software. This isn’t a deal breaker, though, partly because I couldn’t return it if I wanted (since Borders is dying and all) and because the defaults are usually good enough that I don’t care.
  • I will say that I am not such a fan of the home screen with only 5 book covers: Kindle’s linear listing of books is much more my style. Ah well, such is life.
  • The battery doesn’t last forever: I can maybe get 150 pages from a charge? I mean, I finished 2 around 200 page PDF textbooks in some 3-4 charges, so it frees up my cellphone from having to blast photons from an LCD. It’s a pretty good battery life, me thinks.
  • It is not quite as convenient as I hoped it would be: social rules sometimes make it awkward to pull out the thing and start reading, or my subway stop is coming up, or other such things.
  • Reading the thing in direct sunlight was wonderful.
  • Not having time to read from the Kobo due to school is annoying.

With the next generation of e-readers quickly approaching (mostly ~$200 faux-tablets), this review may become quickly deprecated. Oh well?

Random thought: this does remind me of a potential e-reader format, which has e-ink on both sides and requires the user to turn the device over: you solve slow redraw rates and add in more physical interaction in one fell swoop. And end random idea.