Feeds
75%
Kobo Glo

Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

Read between the covers - and under them

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Reading in the dark

Under ordinary lighting, the Glo’s screen takes on a pale blue cast rather than the usual grey, hence Amazon’s decision to call its version “Paperwhite”. I’m not convinced it makes for any improvement unless you’re using the light to compensate for too little lighting or too much. Upping the brightness can cut through some bright overhead lighting.

Worse, perhaps, the light makes the E Ink screen’s page turn ‘blackout’ much more intrusive than it usually is. Maybe that’s why the Kobo software limits full screen refreshes every six page turns. The downside: this leads to broken characters and ghosting. I turned it from the default to a refresh with every page turn but, as I say, this makes the refresh more in-your-face when the light is on.

Kobo Glo
Kobo Glo

With 'backlight' illumination (top) and without (bottom)

The Glo is touch-sensitive. There are no physical page turn buttons, and screen itself doesn’t detect taps - they’re spotted by sensors mounting in the thick bezel. So you can use the end of a pencil or any other stylus as well as fingertips.

Touch is said by e-reader makers with touch-enabled e-readers to be more “natural” than buttons, but I’m not convinced. Tap a screen or tap a button - what’s the difference? Touch does let you swipe, but that’s a poor mimic of turning a physical page. But it is unquestionably better than selecting an on-screen keyboard’s keys with a five-way nav button.

Kobo Glo
Kobo Glo

The Glo's illumination runs from just noticeable (top) to very bright (bottom) - but look at the ghosting

I shouldn’t harp on about touchscreen e-readers. They’re all as bad in this respect, and the Glo is no worse than the rest. Its light is as good as theirs too. The only reason I’d select, say, a Kindle Paperwhite or Nook SimpleTouch Glowlight over the Kobo is that their more curvaceous cases are more pleasant to hold.

Of course, the Amazon offering isn’t out yet, and won’t ship until 17 December. The Nook is available, for the same £109 as the Kindle. It would be my choice - it’s worth the extra tenner over the £100 Glo for the better quality casing. And it supports the same ePub and DRM formats as the Glo.

Verdict

The Glo isn’t a bad e-reader, and Kobo has an impressively well-stocked e-book shop ready to fill it. Its UI is up to the job. But though e-readers are now as cheap as chips, they don’t have to feel like they cost almost nothing to make. Unfortunately, the Glo does. So does Kobo’s Mini, but its unique 5in size offers some compensation. Not so the Glo, which delivers the same features as a host of rival e-readers but in a less attractive outfit. ®

More E-reader Reviews

Apple
iPad Mini
Amazon Kindle
Paperwhite
Kobo
Mini
B&N Nook
SimpleTouch Glowlight
Ten...
Apple iPad Mini
alternatives

Boost IT visibility and business value

75%
Kobo Glo

Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

Kobo's take on the new wave of illuminated e-book readers.
Price: £100 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.