Reviewed by grahamnp (Currently owns)
The Kobo is probably your best bet if you live outside the US and want an "open" reader. The Sony PRS T-1 is another option but for the price, the Kobo is better I think.
The design is simple and hard to find fault with, the entire casing is covered in a soft touch matte finished material that is easy to grip, the back is quilted which makes it quite easy to hold. It's but together pretty well, no complaints there but the soft touch finish does seem to rub off in the areas I am most frequently in contact with.
It doesn't have as many bells and whistles as the other ebook readers in this price range, its attempt at differentiating itself is Reading Life which is their social reading service. It works like Xbox Live or Steam achievements but is quite useless and I went through most of them pretty quick. The firmware does have a few bugs but the Kobo team do appear to be quite active and participate on the MobileRead forums, I thought that was pretty nice. The library is easy to navigate and search is extremely fast which is good because there is currently no support for custom shelves or collections. Formatting options for reading are good and possible best in class while the ability to sideload custom fonts is nice.
The display is what you'd expect in this range. All modern 6" ereaders use the same E-Ink pearl screen with the iRiver Story being the exception. The font is easy to read and sharp at typical viewing distances, I'd say it bests the quality of the average paperback. Refresh is noticeable but not intrusive when reading and you have the option of delaying the full refresh in favor of a partial refresh for up 8 pages. I keep mine at 3 to minimise the quality drop-off.
Performance is decent. I don't use it to do much else than read books and it turns pages quickly enough and resumes from sleep instantly. It literally takes less than a second to start reading from sleep. Navigating through the library could be quicker and the initial load time when you first open a book is noticeable but you won't be doing that often so it's really no big deal.
Battery life is decent. Not the 1 month some other ereaders can go for but long enough for me to not worry about charging. I charge when it is convenient for me.
Overall a good reader, quite cheap and the option to load books from any bookstore that uses EPUB or ADE is nice. I would have bought a Kindle but the Amazon selection outside of the US is fairly mediocre so the option to choose from any bookstore was important.
- Design 9
- Software 9
- Display 9
- Performance 8
- Battery life 9