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Kobo Vox e-reader

WHSmith Kobo Vox e-reader

Can’t wait for the Kindle Fire?

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Touch and go?

Battery life is decent enough – not the days and days e-ink screens deliver but a reasonable seven hours or so between charges. You can drag video and audio files on to the Vox, but Kobo isn’t pushing this. Note that unlike some Kindle models, this one is Wi-Fi only, so you can’t download a new book outside a wireless zone, say.

Kobo Vox e-reader

Text view

So what are the downsides? The biggest one is the unresponsive, sluggish system. Touch the screen too fast and it may not register. So you go back to touch an icon again, often twice because when it has spotted you’re there it takes time to react. Turning pages in books is fine, and this is most of what you’ll be doing, but launching aps can be annoyingly slow.

Kobo Vox e-reader

Gaming options

Fancy a game of Angry Birds? Look on the list of apps and you’ll see that Android Market is missing. You have to launch an app called Get Apps and are restricted to the apps available through GetJar – though this is a very wide selection. Even so, access to the regular Android Market would have been preferable.

Charging can only be done through the dedicated Kobo charger, not from USB, though to be fair the same applies to some other tablets like the BlackBerry PlayBook, too.

Kobo Vox e-reader

A sluggish tablet, but as an e-reader it has a lot of storage

Verdict

It’s here now, and it’s largely competent, with great storage and a decent look and feel. But the sluggish processor is the machine’s biggest problem and is a world away from the effortless-to-use touchscreens we’re used to. Page turning is fine but you may find yourself waiting when programs take time to launch. But if your aim is just to read books, and you want to see colour on your screen, the Kobo Vox offers access to a big store of books and you’re not tied in to a closed system as you are with Amazon’s offerings. ®

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70%
Kobo Vox e-reader

WHSmith Kobo Vox e-reader

Android-based colour screen e-book reader with social features.
Price: £170 RRP

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