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Kobo eReader Touch 4 Star Rating: Cheapism Good Pick
Where to Buy Kobo eReader Touch

Available at Kobo.com.


For the most part, Kobo eReader Touch reviews are upbeat about this third-generation ebook reader from Kobo. It uses the same six-inch E Ink Pearl touchscreen as the Nook and Sony Reader Wi-Fi, and reviews say text looks crisp and dark and the touch interface is nicely stripped-down and intuitive. Although expert reviews on sites such as PC Mag and Tech Crunch give it high marks for its clear focus on the reading experience, they note it falls a bit short on execution when compared with the leading brands. Reviewers like the ability to choose among 17 font sizes and seven font styles -- you can also load your own special font -- and set margins, line spacing, and justification. They note the absence of potential distractions, such as no support for audio files and limited social networking options, and commend the tap- or swipe-initiated actions, limited flashing with page turns (refresh occurs only every five to 10 pages), and all-around ease of use.

And yet, Kobo eReader Touch reviews qualify their enthusiasm for the device with mild critiques of its performance. Engadget, for example, says that swipes to turn the page sometimes responded with flips in the opposite direction or not at all. Experts carp about the lack of a page-turn button, which some users find easier for one-handed reading, and PC Mag, among others, reports occasionally lags in response time. It can zip through pages at times, but loading at the end of a chapter can be slow; ditto when using the virtual keyboard to search for a title.

The Kobo eReader Touch (starting at $100 with ads, $130 without) is smaller and thinner than other ebook readers in its class, but the narrower profile may not be as ergonomically-friendly. One Kobo eReader Touch review notes that the plastic border around the screen isn't wide enough to serve as a thumb rest and another says it isn't quite as comfortable in the hand. The quilted plastic back, though, provides a good-grip surface. Other features include 2GB of onboard memory (although the specs say only 1GB is readily available), a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi connectivity, a USB port, and 15 pre-loaded book previews. The eReader Touch supports EPUB, PDF, and MOBI; TXT, HTML, and RTF; JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and TIFF; and CBZ and CBR for comic books. The Kobo bookstore stocks about two million titles, half of which are in the public domain.

The cheapest Kobo eReader Touch costs $100, but it displays ads and other offers when it's turned off or in sleep mode, as well as in places such as the bottom of the home screen. The ad-free version starts at $130. This ereader is very similar to the Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader Wi-Fi, but it isn't quite as snappy and lacks some of the polish. It's not enough of a miss to cause reviewers to give it a thumbs-down, but enough for them to make note of it. This is a basic ereader with appealing aesthetics -- qualities that deserve respect.

by Michael Sweet (Google+ Profile) – November 5, 2013
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