Kobo eReader Touch Edition Review

Engadget:

With all of the major players having adopted the technology, it seems safe to call Pearl E Ink the industry standard. On that front, you won’t really see any major differences between the latest devices. E Ink has its pluses and minuses, to be sure. For clarity, it’s hard to beat, particularly with the latest Pearl technology. To the naked eye, it really does offer up the sort of contrast we’ve become accustomed to reading old timey paper books. The relatively low power consumption of these displays is also a large part of the reason we’re talking about a battery life of a month or two. Of course the Pearl E Ink display has a relatively slow refresh rate and lacks color, the latter of which is certainly a strike against reading comics, children’s books, and many magazines on the device.

E Ink displays consume zero power when content is not changing. You could tear out the E Ink display and leave it on your desk for a very long time, virtually forever. That’s the good part and it might be good enough. For instance, I’m currently reading Paul Allen’s Idea Man. Except for the 16-page photo insert in the middle of the book all 358 pages of the book is black and white text. I’m reading from a real book, but if I had a Kobo eReader, the only difference from a visual point of view would be that the photos would be in black and white. For most of us who read regular books, and by regular I mean books that are composed of mostly if not all text, the E Ink display used in almost all e-readers including the Kobo eReader Touch Edition will be good enough of a reading experience.

Touch versus buttons:

After using the Kobo for an extended period, we actually began to miss the Nook and Kindle’s physical page turn buttons, which make it a lot easier to use the device with a single hand. The zForce infrared touchscreen is responsive, certainly, but doesn’t afford the same sort of accuracy of physical buttons, and attempts at page turn swipes sometimes registered in the opposite direction or not at all — reading for any extended length of time will probably require you to hold the tiny reader in both hands.

It really isn’t about touch versus buttons. The touch implementation on the Kobo eReader Touch Edition is far from perfect from what I can see. If touch on the Kobo was as good as the iPhone’s then I’m sure buttons wouldn’t be missed all that much.

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