Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Techy Tuesday: Kobo Touch eReader

On Sunday, Hubby went off TV shopping to replace our plasma that died suddenly over the weekend.  Little did I ever expect he'd bring me home a little surprise of my own - a brand spanking new Kobo Touch in lilac!   I hadn't even had a chance to play with one in store yet since they had shown up a week earlier than I expected!

I was rendered speechless!  Really! Me = Speechless!

I was immediately met with a conundrum.  If I didn't like the colour - I had to return it before I opened it or it couldn't be returned.  So, instead of tearing open the box - I had to sit and think and ponder and mull over whether I wanted to hold out and get a different colour.  In the end - I decided that I liked the lilac just fine and opened it right up!    Of course - I thought of all of you and took my camera along on the unboxing (one day, I may give a video unboxing a try...but not today).  Pardon my messy house int he background :P

The box:

The reader was right at the top.  At first glance, it seemed so small compared to my sony (though you can see in a later photo that it was not much smaller at all)

Under the reader was the manual

Then some Kobo Read On stickers

and finally the USB cable and the warranty info

I tried it out in my mEdge case and the reader is a bit small for it, but it still holds it securely so I likely won't need to buy a new case for a while. (good thing, too, since mEdge doesn't make them yet)

I turned it on and was greeted by a setup screen so we had to wander down to my office to set up the new desktop software and update the reader with all of my Kobo books. Once I had logged in on the device, I received an email gift certificate for $10 towards books in the Kobo store.  Nice touch!

Then it was time to take 'er for a spin :) My early thoughts on it...

It did come pre-loaded with several previews of different books, but I deleted them all off the device.  

The first thing I noticed was how much brighter the screen is than my Sony.  Guess that's what you get for 3 years of advancements in eInk technology.

The Eink technology in the Kobo Touch is quite different from what I was used to on my old Sony.  On the Sony, when you turned a page - the entire screen would go black for a moment and then the next page would appear.   With the Pearl Eink, this complete refresh doesn't happen.  The page turns are very snappy.  Occassionally, there is some ghosting of the previous page but it typically fades quickly. This quick turn is something to adjust to since I am used to timing my page turns to my reading speed and I find I try to turn the page too early on the Kobo and have to flip back to finish the last sentence, while on the sony - I would have had enough time to finish the page before it refreshed.    

The touchscreen is not as sensitive as I expected it to be.  Sometimes if I swipe my finger across the screen, it doesn't pick it up and a second swipe becomes necessary.  Also, sometimes the swipe motion doesn't turn the page but, instead, activates a little menu along the bottom.   I think it just means I'm swiping too close to the bottom of the screen.   Ultimately, though, as natural as that swipe motion should feel, it doesn't.  I find I tap to turn the pages far more often.  

I can see myself buying some sort of skin for the front bezel of the Kobo.   Having decided to keep the white reader, I find myself wondering if it will eventually yellow.  Perhaps someone with an older white Kobo can weigh in on whether they have noticed any yellowing so I can gauge if this is something I will need to be concerned about very quickly.

Along this same note - I find myself being really happy I decided to keep the white one.  It is a lot more feminine looking than I think the black would be.  When it's in my cover, I don't notice the lilac backing, but it is nice to know something so girly is there.

I read in another review someone weighing in on the actual colour of the lilac as opposed to how it is represented in the marketing images.  It is definitely a more matte lilac.  The images used on the websites show it as being more pearlized.  Just something to keep in mind when ordering online without seeing it in person. 

There is no real way to shut off the wifi...I just keep mine in airplane mode and hope that does it.

I was disappointed that it only came with a USB cable for charging, though I shouldn't be surprised - my Sony was the same way.  I've just been using a PSP wall charger with the sony for so long that I have never charged it on a computer.  A little research showed me that my blackberry charger should work just fine to keep it full of juice.

When it is in sleep mode - the screen is not blank.  This surprised me because it would seem that the image on the screen might draw power away from the battery life.  Then I remembered that the Eink doesn't use power except in page turns so that put my mind to rest.  Regardless - I quickly turned off the image of the book cover that was appearing.

I like that I can change fonts and have more than 3 different sizes to choose from.  Sometimes my tired, old eyes need a bigger font.

I really like the dictionary, though I've read it only works when you buy your books from Kobo.  It's nice to be able to quickly look up a word I may not immediately know.

It does have a built in web browser...but the internet isn't as interesting in Black and White.  I tried to get to my blog, but it won't display at all.  I doubt I'll ever use it.  That being said, though, the touch keyboard is nice.

and, lastly, my biggest concern...FINGERPRINTS.   Not such a big deal after all.  Because the screen is matte and not as reflective as most touch screen devices, any fingerprints aren't really noticable.   A quick wipe of a microfibre cloth takes them right off.  I still find myself being reluctant to use the reader while I eat, though...

Things I haven't done yet (but will soon):
  • Bought a book using the device
  • Loaded my own non-Kobo books onto it
  • Tested out how it handles PDFs
So, there you have it...the Kobo Touch ereader.  I saw today that Indigo is sold out online, but several of the stores here still have many of them in stock.  Just make sure you have thought about the colour thoroughly before you open the box because Indigo won't let you return it if you change your mind on the colour...


  1. Hi Cori, what a great blog! I found you during a search for Kobo Touch cases. I just upgraded to the Touch edition and love it (I tap more than swipe, too). I had a first generation non-wireless Kobo for over a year and it didn't yellow. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo last year. Are you doing it again this year?

  2. Welcome, Chris. Glad you're enjoying the blog :) Thanks for stopping to say hi :)

    I'm glad to hear it didn't yellow...that is my biggest concern besides fingerprints. Of course, with the new case I have - the bezel is protected completely so that makes me happy too. Did you decide on a case yet? I really love the casecrown case...it's very nice! plus it's a perfect fit!

    I am hoping to do nano again this year, though I think I may use the time to edit The Loracian Stone instead of starting a new novel. Who knows - that might change. I have some new ideas kicking around that might make good books :D


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