Kobo Arc and Kobo Glo: Can a Tablet and eReader From an Underdog Upstage Amazon?

Illustration for article titled Kobo Arc and Kobo Glo: Can a Tablet and eReader From an Underdog Upstage Amazon?

Despite its relative success, the Nook eReader and tablet from Barnes and Noble have often been viewed as underdog devices trying to go up against the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire. So imagine the position that Kobo is in with its 6-inch Kobo Glo eReader and 7-inch Kobo Arc Android tablet. Yep.

Once aligned with the now defunct bookseller Borders, the new 6-inch e-Reader and 7-inch longshot competitor faces a battle from not only the aforementioned companies, but also Google with its Tegra 3-powered Nexus 7 tablet.

So how does the Kobo Arc stack up? With its 1.5 GHz, dual-core TI OMAP 4 chipset, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, and 1 gigabyte of RAM, its the things a last-generation device are made of. And that would be fine if the device could enter the market at a price point below the competition, or if it shipped with stock Android that catered towards those who like to tinker. But that's just not the case; expect to pay $200 for an 8 gig unit and $250 16 gigs worth of storage. Ouch. The one upside of the Arc is its 1280x800 pixel display, which is really top notch. And while its possible the company could have worked some magic to make the device snappy, its likely not the case without Android 4.1

Illustration for article titled Kobo Arc and Kobo Glo: Can a Tablet and eReader From an Underdog Upstage Amazon?

As for the Kobo Glo eReader, it has a 6-inch 1024x768 XGA screen that has a higher DPI than any other e-Reader before it (210 DPI vs the 170 DPI on the Pearl displays of other readers. Additionally it has touch controls and a front lit screen, all of which are standard on eReaders now, along with wi-fi, and 2 gigabytes of internal storage (expandable to 32 gigabytes). And that all sounds fine for a $130 device, but if you're looking to align yourself to a bookstore, Kobo may be a risky proposition. It also says it offers more than 3 million titles, but considering that both Amazon and Barnes and Noble say that their selection is more than a million, Kobo may be counting differently.

And if you're really looking for something on the cheap there's the Kobo Mini. The 5-inch device lacks the front-lit screen and next-generation display of the Kobo Glo, but it's smaller and only costs $80. Cheap, yes, but again, not cheaper than the competition. [Kobo]

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I bought a Kobo touch e-reader to my girlfriend last Christmas.

I had never tried any e-reader before, and I thought that these kind of devices sucked. Until I went to the store and fiddled around with a Kobo touch.

I was impressed. It's great to use and has a lot of features.

And my girlfriend loves it.

And apparently Wired loved it enough to name it the best e-ink reader of 2011.


So I'm confident a new e-reader by Kobo can only be a good thing.

You might be worried about the Kobo store. I actually bought most of my e-books from there, and I always found what I'm looking for with prices no higher than anywhere else.

And you can import e-books to the Kobo reader. PDF, epubs, pretty much any formats. So you can buy your books anywhere (except those sites where they lock the books) and add them to the reader.

Also, canadian product affiliated with one of the biggest canadian bookstores.

Nooks unavailable in Canada and Kindle Fire completely crippled by copyrights and all (no content) makes Kobo a very interesting choice for canadians.

So that's cool with me.