An excellent alternative to Amazon’s Kindle
While the Amazon Kindle is the best-known ebook reader, there are plenty of others.
Online bookseller Kobo has got the better of Amazon by releasing a version with a touch-sensitive screen (Amazon's touch-screen Kindle is only available in America for now). In many ways the Kobo Touch is like any other ebook reader, but the addition of the touch-screen makes navigation slick, while keeping the device itself portable and clutter-free.
As with the Kindle, users can buy books directly from the device, through Kobo's own website – it connects to wireless networks, and the connection was easy to set up.
To turn the page you press on the left or right hand side of the screen, while pressing the centre of the screen displays menu options.
Thanks to some well laid-out menus and options screens it was easy to use the device. For browsing through the online bookshop and accessing menu options the touch-screen was good, although it sometimes felt unresponsive. When typing long things such as credit card numbers or our billing address, the touch-screen was clunky and impractical.
Compared to the quite fast Kindle, the Kobo Touch felt sluggish, with slow loading times for books. The quality of the 6in e-ink display was very good, however, and it was easy to read. There were easy-to-find options to change the font and text size.
The device's back had a strange design that from a distance made it appear to be quilted, and the pastel colours combined with the white casing made it look a bit like a toy. We reviewed the blue version, but there are also pink and silver versions and a more stylish black model available.
Books for the Kobo Touch can be downloaded from any shop that supports ePub-formatted files with Adobe DRM. In the UK Kobo has joined with WH Smith to sell both the device and books (WH Smith's own ebook shop has been replaced by Kobo's). Out-of-copyright books can be downloaded free from Kobo or www.manybooks.net.
The device can store around 1,000 titles (the SD memory card slot allows for expansion of this) and its battery will last for a month.
It costs £20 more than the new Kindle but with the addition of the touchscreen and despite some sluggishness, the Kobo touch is a very good ebook reader.
Read more reviews
An easy-to-use touch-screen and simple interface make the Kobo a very good ebook reader
Touch-sensitive screen; can buy books from any store; large fonts
Can be slow at times; strange design
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