This ebook-tablet ends up being a miserable little compromise
The Kobo Vox is another technological example of the old maxim ‘you get what you pay for'. The box says it is an ebook reader, but make no mistake; this is a low-cost, under-powered Android tablet computer.
At £190 it's almost twice the price of an ebook reader and half the price of a decent Android tablet. It sets itself apart from other cheap Android tablets by having a small selection of reading apps developed by Kobo. Reading Life is touted as a ‘social reading experience' in which people can share their thoughts about a book on the page for others to see. It's an odd idea that we can only compare to someone rambling on about a book while you're trying to read it.
The Kobo reading apps do little more than provide a place to read ebooks bought on the Kobo store or other ebook download services. One comic book we downloaded had small text that required zooming in to read and felt poorly designed for reading on a tablet. Some books had warped, oddly resized pictures or suffered from poor layouts.
The interface itself was sub-par, using the outdated Android 2.3, a version not even designed for tablets. As a result, it also didn't have access to the official Android Market, instead offering an unofficial app download service that we couldn't get working. A Facebook application came pre-installed but when we logged in it wasn't what it seemed. Other offerings were similarly poor.
The Vox uses a backlit 7in LED screen which, unlike the e-ink screens found on ‘proper' readers, was not suited for reading ebooks. We found it uncomfortable to read for prolonged periods. The touch-sensitive screen was slow and unresponsive, taking several taps to register, and navigating was clunky due because of the slow processor.
In every aspect the Kobo Vox felt cheap, down to the flatulent noise it made when it asked us to connect the charging cable as it had a low battery level. Kobo's own e-ink reader is much better, and people who want a tablet computer are better off saving up for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
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Is the Kobo Vox a cheap tablet computer or an expensive ebook reader? Unfortunately, it is an unpleasant mix of both
Comes with access to some free books
Slow and unresponsive; not suitable for prolonged reading
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