This near-instant download still feels like magic, by the way. Books are in the ePub format which is widely available, though most have DRM to prevent copying. The Kobo store offers a wide choice, with plenty of free titles alongside the new biography of Steve Jobs, for instance.
Same display as the Kindle 4 with one big difference – it's a touchscreen
Like the new Kindle, the Kobo has the latest in page-turning software. So instead of the page flashing violently from white to black and back on each turn, it subdues this until every sixth page. Whether you were bothered about this or not is a personal thing – me, I hated the garish flashes.
This new system is better but leaves artefacts. Mostly this just means rough-edged fonts but if you’ve turned over from a graphics heavy page, the graphics’ ghosts live on. It’s not a major issue but will stick in some users’ eyes.
The visible ghosting is akin to newsprint artefacts
The touchscreen is easy to use, tapping or stroking the right hand side of the screen takes you on a page, left takes you back. Simple, and as effective as the Kindle. The only downside is that whenever I picked it up it was partly by the screen so the page turned or a book loaded. This was annoying but only mildly. The touchscreen keyboard is, as mentioned, not fast, but that applies to the whole machine.
Launching a title for the first time seems to take longer than if you’re mid-book. Similarly, if you’ve been reading the book on your computer or iPad through the Kobo app, it takes a few seconds to update to the latest bookmark. But the crucial thing in an e-book reader is how fast it turns the pages and here the Kobo never keeps you waiting.
A colour scheme to suit a variety of tastes
Much of the technology is the same as on Amazon’s beauty: size and weight are similar, internal memory (2GB) is identical, though the Kindle holds 1,400 books, the Kobo only 1,000. Mind you, the Kobo also has expandable storage. If you put a 32GB microSD card into the device you can carry 30,000 books. Though, honestly, do you want to?
Next page: Alternative viewing
W H Smith is going to pay dearly for this! Steve Jobs invented touchscreens, and gestures! And language!
You can run, Smith, but you can't hide from the US Patent Office!
You need to "install an application on your computer to register the thing"?
That is totally stupid. Congratulations on getting it to work with WINE, but you should have returned the thing out of principle.
What inspired me to buy a Kindle was these words on Amazon's web site:
"System Requirements : None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer."
That is how a tablet or e-book reader ought to work. Why do so many companies fail so utterly to achieve this? Even Apple iPad users are expected to install iTunes on a computer running an approved OS. Idiots, idiots.
The reader everyone has been waiting for?
You betcha. I have a Sony PRS-650 and won't be updating (it offers me nothing, as it uses the same 6in e-ink Perl and touchscreen, just no Wifi).
However for new to e-book consumers, this beats the Amazon hands down. It supports EPUB, which means you aren't locked into any proprietary stores like the Kindle, does everything the Kindle does, and even reads the Kindle format (MOBI), so you can un-DRM your kindle books and read them on here.
What I don't get, is it scored the same as the new Kindle, despite being better in that it's not locked to a single content supplier. Surely that deserves another 5% In my world it does...
RE: Kindle is not locked in
A couple of people have stated the Kindle is not a lock-in, but in both cases have cited how easy it is to get other formats ON to the Kindle.
That's not dealing with lock-IN but lock-OUT and, fair enough, they are right on that basis.
The lock-IN is true though. Buy from Amazon, which you do if you buy from on the Kindle device itself, and the book you get will work on all Amazon devices and in all Amazon reader software. That's it. And that IS lock-in.
There's talk of Calibre and, true enough, it converts formats. Unless you want to crack the DRM though you still won't get your Amazon-bought ebook onto a Sony, Nook or Kobo. That's lock-in.
I'm against proprietary as much as anyone
But I have to dispel the myth that the Kindle is somehow 'locked in'. You can download Calibre and convert pretty much any ebook format to one that the Kindle will read. You don't have to go through proprietary software, such as the dreaded iTunes to transfer files to or from it, plug it into your PC and it shows up as an external drive. It is a bit of a pain that it doesn't natively support epub, but it is by no means an insurmountable obstacle.