Kobo eschews the hardware keyboard like the one on the Kindle. Good riddance, I say — it’s like a vestigial limb. Kobo’s reader is a tad smaller than the Nook, and it also makes use of a similar, on-demand software keyboard.
But Kobo lacks the ambidextrous page turning buttons the Nook and Kindle both have, and this makes reading with one hand difficult at best. The pillowed back makes it easier to comfortably grip with one hand than the Kindle, but both devices taper near the edges. The most comfortable e-reader to grip is still the Nook, which has an indentation in the middle of the back so you can “cup” it.
The other bad news is Kobo’s dependence on a computer, at least for initial setup. This is just so, so 2007. And you can only buy newspapers and magazine via the Kobo web site. Like everything but the Kindle, Kobo is Wi-Fi only, but you can easily tether it to your smartphone to connect to the internet.
And, finally, battery life is about half the two months claimed by Amazon and B&N for their readers. The default settings do not put the device to sleep, and my review copy died in my briefcase after a few days of neglect. I guess reading isn’t the only thing the Kobo should be nagging me about.
Photos by Jon Snyder/get-gadget
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