By Hannah Johnson
I was pleasantly surprised when I first took the Kobo eReader Touch out of its box. The device is small and easy to handle, the touch screen is a huge improvement over the big buttons and physical QWERTY keyboard of the Amazon Kindle — and it even comes in fun colors.
At a mere 6.5 ounces, the Kobo eReader Touch is lighter than its near twin from Barnes & Noble — the Nook Touch — and also smaller. The Kobo Touch features 2GB of storage, which can be expanded with a MicroSD card (for those of you who need up to 30,000 e-books on your reading device).
The touch screen is responsive, which makes the navigation and virtual keyboard easy to use. Users also have a nice variety of font settings, including typeface, font size and line spacing.
The Kobo Touch supports a wide range of file formats (which includes Amazon’s proprietary MOBI format), making it a more universal device for readers who like to buy from several e-book stores:
- Books: EPUB, PDF and MOBI
- Documents: PDF
- Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF
- Text: TXT, HTML and RTF
- Comic Books: CBZ and CBR
Readers can buy books either through the e-reader, online store or the desktop application, then sync their purchases via Wi-Fi or USB connection. Inside the Kobo store, book covers are prominent, and the store offers bestseller lists, top picks and subcategories for browsing.
I am disappointed by the lack of information available about each title in the store both on the e-reader and through the desktop app. Reader reviews are reduced to star ratings (no text reviews), and it appears that book descriptions are limited to the jacket copy from the publishers. If you’ve ever bought a book based on misleading jacket copy, you know why this is a problem. Kobo also doesn’t provide any review excerpts, author information or additional books by the author.
Kobo has also included a nifty “reading stats” feature that shows your reading progress and awards badges for reaching certain achievements — something new to brag about on Facebook.
Overall the Kobo Touch is a great device with its lightweight design, virtual keyboard and responsive touch screen. While I do wish the store was better optimized for browsing and selecting books, the Kobo Touch takes the right approach in terms of its design and reading experience.