Kobo have made a number of changes to its eReader, which now has improved functionality and proper WiFi connectivity. While the price may have dropped to match-up with other respected eReaders like the Kindle and Nook – can this Kobo device match-up in terms of performance as well.
Most of the changes made to the new Kobo eReader are internal, with both the build and the connectivity options looking exactly the same as in previous designs. The thin profile is still there, as is the light weight at only 7.8 ounces. However there is now the choice to purchase this eReader in different colour variations; white with silver backing, white with lilac backing, and all black.
Connectivity is the same as before, with an SD card slot on the top which can handle up to 32GB, and a mini USB port on the bottom for charging the device. The pad on the front lower side of the Kobo is the only way to turn pages, a method which is not as ergonomic as the thumb buttons used on both the Kindle 3G and Nook. It is design decisions like these that may keep the Kobo eReader from becoming as well known as these other two devices.
However, it is not all bad as functionality has been improved on the software side. Most functions are only one or two button presses away, and you can hit Menu on any screen for display functions and other additional options. Battery life and WiFi status are also easy to see at the bottom of the Menu, which is very useful indeed.
The 802.11 b/g WiFi connectivity of the Kobo eReader works well, although it is severely crippled and can only be used to access the store. One other negative is that when this device falls asleep and is reawakened you have to turn the wireless back on manually which is annoying.
The reading experience itself is where all is won or lost with eReaders however, although here too the Kobo can’t quite keep up with its competition. The display is simply not as crisp and detailed as either the Nook or the Kindle 3G. Overall, the Kobo eReader is far from a failure, but it is simply not as good as some of the other options on the market that sell for a similar price of $139.