Review: KOBO e-Reader

I’m not really a tech savy guy. I mean, I know my fair share about current electronics but ask me questions about how a computer works and aside from a few software programs, I can’t help you. That being said, I’m always fascinated by new gadgets that hit the market. About 5 years ago, I bought my first iPod and never looked back. I couldn’t understand how I got by without one before – “you mean I can carry more than 20 songs on me at any time?”

In the last 3 years, I’ve really taken to reading. I read every night for roughly 30-45 minutes before bed but the constant cost of books was starting to mount. Initially, when I heard of the e-reader concept, I scoffed at it. I never thought you would be able to replace that wonderful feeling of cracking open a new book. However, after only 5 days with my KOBO, like the iPod, I probably won’t be looking back.

Is it possible to fall in love with electronic equipment? I doubt I’ll be marrying it but I have that ooey-gooey feeling that is associated with that shiny new relationship. For those not in the know, the KOBO (and all e-readers) is a portable reading device that allows you to upload hundreds of books. Powered by e-ink technology, the KOBO reader displays text on a screen that appears to look a lot like paper. As it’s not back-lit, it reads pretty much like a book. It requires light, there’s no glare and it’s roughly the size of a paperback novel.

This thing is very user-friendly. As I stated earlier, I don’t particularly consider myself very tech savy but upon opening the box, I had no problems whatsoever getting started. I mean, the thing is pre-loaded with 100 public domain classic novels so if you wanted to read immediately, the option was there. After installing it on my computer – which was a breeze – I bought my first book. After a few minutes of getting it installed on the KOBO itself, I was ready to go.

The battery life on this sucker is tremendous. While it’s not as efficient as the Amazon Kindle which boasts a battery life of approximately 1 month, the KOBO holds a charge for about 2 weeks (clearly depending on the amount of reading you do and if you keep the wireless component on at all times). I’ve been reading pretty heavily for about 5 days now and it just dropped a notch below full.

In terms of e-readers overall, it’s pretty bare-bones. Unlike the Kindle, you don’t have access to blogs nor do you have access to other websites. However, the KOBO does have a built-in dictionary and access to an online store for easy purchases and downloading. While I’ve yet to buy a book through the device itself, I’m told it only takes about 1 minute to download it to the device.

One advantage it has over the Kindle is that it does not appear to be a dedicated e-reader. By this I mean you’re given the option to purchase the books from other online outlets aside from strictly KOBO. However, with the availability of piracy programs and conversion software, that problem can be erased from dedicated e-readers (not that I recommend that sort of thing). Also, with the KOBO, it’s linked to a Canadian retailer, Chapters/Indigo/Coles, so all online purchases can be made in Canadian funds. It also accepts gift cards from Chapters/Indigo/Coles – so it has that going for it.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with my KOBO. I’m hoping I can get fellow staff member Matty to offer up a review on the Amazon Kindle. I’d like to see how the two breakdown.

Posted on May 10, 2011, in tech. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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