Yesterday afternoon, I received a provocative tweet from my husband. “I have a surprise for you”, stated the first tweet.
“Is it a good surprise?”, I asked.
“Depends”, was the answer.
“Do I get more clues?”, I asked.
“It’s white, and textured and not a cat” was the reply.
Shortly after, I was picked up from work and I got to see my surprise – it was a brand new Kobo eReader from Borders book store! Here’s a brief initial review of the Kobo eReader, based upon my short use of it.
About the Kobo
The Kobo eReader is an ebook reading device based on E Ink technology. The thing to note is that this is an eReader – it’s not an iPad. It does one thing – display books – and it does it well.
Things I like
- The stylish and clean design
- The lovely quilted backing – it stops the eReader from slipping from your hands
- It’s lightweight at 221 grams and fits easily in my hands
- Cheap – at $199 at Borders book stores, it’s one of the most affordable eReaders around
- It comes preloaded with a hundred books and holds up to 1000 books (more if you use an SD card)
- You don’t need any additional devices or chargers to charger this – just plug it into a USB port with a standard mini USB cable
- It supports open formats – ePub! It also takes PDF and Adobe DRM.
- I can drag and drop books straight onto the Kobo once it’s plugged into my computer (so quick and easy)
- It retains the cover of the book when the device is off (just like a real book!)
- The D-pad is located on the right hand side, similar position to where you expect to turn a page
Things I don’t like
- It takes a while to power on
- It takes a while to load each book
- When the Kobo is plugged into my computer, I can’t use the eReader at all
- There are very slight delays when ‘turning’ pages (I don’t think this is the fault of the Kobo, as it’s likely due to electronic paper technology)
- I had some issues with the way I had to navigate the PDFs I transferred to the Kobo but I need to do more experimentation to determine if it’s the source PDF or whether it’s the Kobo’s interpretation of the PDF
Things to note
It doesn’t come with 3G or Wi-Fi but that hasn’t been a problem for me so far.
The battery life is supposed to last up to two weeks (I haven’t had it long enough to test this).
eBooks from Borders Australia look fairly affordable. Take one of my favourite books – Pride And Prejudice And Zombies – the ebook is currently available for $7.95 (Australian dollars).
On the whole, it’s a good affordable device, with a few minor quibbles. It supports open standards and books purchased can be read on other devices that have the Kobo mobile app. Is it the Kindle Killer? Only time can tell, but it looks like a real contender. I’m liking it so far.