Review of Kobo Touch eReader
Tablet PCs and eReaders in general are really taking off as of late, and there's certainly no shortage of options for the average consumer looking for a great eReader at a decent price. While the Amazon Kindle eReader, the Kindle Fire, and the Barnes & Noble Nook dominate the E-book market, they're hardly the only solid options. It's easy to ignore a device because it doesn't have brand name recognition, but that would be a mistake in the case of the Kobo Touch eReader. As you'll see, it's easily the equal of more widely-recognized eReaders in a number of areas and is deserving of a second look from the general public.
Hardware and Features
The Kobo Touch comes well-equipped with a 6.0” E-Ink Pearl Touch Screen, 2 GB of built-in storage, a Micro-USB port for networking, a MicroSDHC card slot for up to 32 GB of storage expansion, Wi-Fi, and a textured, rubberized exterior. At just 7.05 ounces, the Kobo Touch is one of the lightest eReaders on the market, bar none. Now in its third generation of production, the Kobo Touch is a full 1.45 ounces lighter than the third-generation Kindle. That's an impressive feat, regardless of who's manufacturing the eReader in question. On top of that, the battery can deliver a solid month of use if we take Wi-Fi out of the equation.
Software and UI
At the center of the Kobo Touch's UI is a simple, central hub around which all other elements revolve. When you fire up a Kobo Touch for the first time, you're greeted by tabs that lead to the Kobo Store, your own personal library of E-books, and the Reading Life area. Thanks to infrared touch technology provided by Neonode zForce, the touch experience on this particular tablet is responsive and crisp. You can use multi-finger dragging and tapping to accomplish a wide array of tasks on its compact but well-defined surface. The Kobo Touch supports PDF, ePub, and a large number of other popular formats by default.
Kobo Touch vs. The Competition
The Amazon Kindle is rightly lauded for its superb user experience and easy-to-read E-ink anti-glare display. No eReader comparison would be complete without a head to head showdown between the Kindle lineup and the Kobo Touch. Fortunately for Kobo, their display features the same high-contrast resolution as the Kindle. Both devices use roughly the same E-ink technology to deliver a comfortable viewing experience without straining the eyes of the user. While nobody would go as far as to say the Kobo Touch bests the Kindle Touch in terms of UI or responsiveness, it comes very close.
Against the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Kobo Touch fares quite admirably. Both the Kobo Touch and the Nook use the same aforementioned Neonode zForce technology for their touch screens, so the experience is actually very similar. While Barnes & Noble has a wide array of offerings in their online E-book store, Kobo is no slouch either when it comes to delivering practically any title imaginable to its users. The Nook is admittedly more polished than the Kobo Touch, but that's more a testament to the Nook's quality than any failing on the part of Kobo.
Kobo 2012 Book Club
Kobo is also offering a special benefit to anyone that registers a Kobo before March 31, 2012. As a Kobo Book Club member, you'll receive 12 free eBook offers, one for each month of 2012. The Kobo Book Club picks will be sent to you monthly, with a promo code for you to redeem one for free.
The Final Verdict
As an excellent eReader that far exceeds expectations and delivers a terrific user experience on a budget, the Kobo Touch deserves high praise for its near-flawless execution. It's proof that you can occasionally find amazing deals in the discount rack even when it comes to eReaders. Hopefully, our highly scientific, unbiased eReader comparison has clearly demonstrated that the Kobo Touch is a viable alternative to the big names in the eReader market. If you want the lightest, cheapest eReader possible but would rather not skimp on quality, the Kobo Touch is the one you should choose.