Kobo Touch E-Reader: You'll Want to Love It, But...

The Kobo Touch is a lighter, smaller, even more minimal E-reader than its closest known relative, the Simple Touch Nook. And in some areas of performance, the Kobo outguns it and the Kindle 3.

Like: The stark simplicity. And though it's been reduced to its most basic form, don't mistake that for ugly or bland. The matte finish and bubbly, quilted backing add a nice dash of personality to the Kobo. The touch response on the Kobo is faster, more immediate than any other touch reader—basically instant. That's a good thing, since it doesn't have hardware page up/down buttons like the Nook. And the Xbox-like Readling Life stats/achievements system is a nice little added bonus that lets you track your reading habits in an interesting way.

No Like: Nearly every software-based feature outside of the actual e-reader is flawed (at best) or nightmarish (at worst). Automatically connecting to Wi-Fi, or even remembering networks, is inconsistent. The keyboard (oddly) is fairly unresponsive, not to mention inaccurate. The device locked up and crashed at least a couple of times. And though the narrower face of the Kobo is aesthetically more appealing than the Nook, I found my thumbs spilling onto the screen—a problem on a touchscreen-controlled device.

Kobo's store is tinier than the competition's: It advertises 2.3 million eBooks in its store, and 1.8 million of those are free ebooks in the public domain. Meaning the Kobo store only has about 500,000 eBooks. Compare that to the approximately 1,000,000 ebooks found in the Amazon and Barnes & Noble libraries (each of which also has 1,000,000 free eBooks). The difference is not insignificant. Despite advertising 1.8 million free ebooks on its bookstore earlier this week, Kobo representatives say that the book store actually has 1 million free eBooks and 1.3 premium eBooks, for a total of 2.3 million available eBooks.

View gallery »

Specs
Kobo Touch E-Reader
Price: $130
Screen: 6-inch, 800x600 Pearl E Ink Display
Weight: 7.05 Ounces
Processor: 800 MHz Freescale i.MX508
Storage Capacity: 2GB
Connectivity: Wi-fi, MicroSD, Micro USB
Formats: ePub, PDF, Adobe DRM, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF
Kobo Store Library: Approx. 1,300,000 Premium Books and 1,000,000 Free Books
Battery Life: 1 Month