Michael Fereday has been checking out a new Kobo ereader.
Ebook readers have been with us for many years, but it wasn’t until the Kindle came along that E-Ink products really took off. To this day, Amazon’s device has a huge share of the ereader market in the UK, but in recent years, Canadian company Kobo has managed to find itself a decent foothold, by offering high-quality alternatives at a reasonable price.
Now it’s adding to its range of ereaders, with the Glo HD. This particular model comes with a standard-to-micro USB lead for charging the device or connecting it to a computer, but there’s no three-pin adapter plug for mains charging, which means you’ll have to provide one yourself or stick with using a computer for charging.
With a weight of 180g and a 6″ Carta E Ink HD touchscreen, the Glo HD is an obvious challenger to the Amazon Kindle Voyage for those looking for a new ereader. The Glo HD’s screen has a resolution of 1448 x 1072 pixels, which works out at 300dpi.
The Glo HD is powered by a 1GHz processor. As there’s no memory card option, you’re limited to 4GB of storage space with just over 3GB being available for your personal use. This amount should be enough for building up a library of around 3,000 titles from the 4.5 million available from the Kobo online store or from other sources. Unlike the Kindle’s walled garden approach, you can source your Kobo reading material from various places such as W H Smith’s stores with an appropriate franchise or your local library as long, as the titles are in one of the supported formats of ebooks: EPUB, EPUB3 and PDF. That makes it a far more open device than the Kindle, which is definitely a point in its favour over Amazon’s dominant ereader.
When reading content, you can switch between pages either with a tap on the edge of the screen or a sideways swipe. A tap in the screen centre will open up options to change the font from the 11 supplied with the product. You can also adjust the size and weight of the font characters plus select from alignment settings.
When firing up the Glo HD from Sleep mode, which uses the book cover of your current title as its screen display, you arrive at the screen within a speedy four seconds. This will feature your current title, new books, recommended items, top 50 books and recent selections. There are also options to call up features categorised as Library, Bookstore and Extras.
The Library feature includes a list of your books and any collections you have created. Particularly handy is the Pocket feature, which allows you to capture online articles for later reading. This can be done on any computer or device running pocket, and then synced to the cloud, you could, for instance, save a news story on your PC and then pick it up later on the Kobo.
Selecting Bookstore allows you to connect to the Kobo online store and purchase titles using your account, plus check out recommendations based not just on your previous books but on the reading habits of those who have read the same titles. In the Extras section, you can see stats on your reading habits, awards you’ve received from Kobo, and you can access a dictionary too.
The Kobo Glo HD provides an enjoyable reading experience in various lighting conditions with smooth page turning and a refresh every six pages. Based on 30 minutes reading a day with the ComfortLight and wi-fi features turned off, Kobo claims you should get two months of use out of a single battery charge. All in all, it’s a worthy competitor to any ereader on the market, including those from Amazon. Michael FeredayA well-designed HD ereader, attractively priced.