Friday, 2 December 2011

Christmas list 1: Kobo in Kolour for Christmas

E-book reader specialist Kobo has released a new model in time for Christmas. The Kobo Vox is not just an e-book reader, although it's being marketed that way. It is actually a full-blown tablet computer, competing in America with the Amazon Kindle Flame (which we haven't seen in the UK yet) but maybe not up to the spec of Apple's iPad or iPad 2.

First the reading. This is what the gadget is mostly about and it's a bit of an improvement on the black and white model when the light is dim. Like the Amazon Kindle, it uses e-ink and there's no backlighting on the mono version so this brighter-lit sample is a joy. I can imagine my eyes getting tired after a while but for short bursts it's excellent. I suspect the processing power required for a full-blown tablet computer will explain why it's a lot heavier than the basic Kobo, though, and if I'm honest then for me the extra light didn't quite compensate for the additional poundage. That said, I do wonder how many people will actually end up weighing them up side by side as I did.

There's a lot that's positive, then. It's just a shame that the company wanted to put a full tablet computer onto the market. One of the things you may want to do with a tablet computer, I should explain, is to go onto the Internet. That's fine, it attached to my wireless network without a problem. You might also want to check your emails.

And it's here, with regret, I have to say "whoops". There's a bookmark on the screen where you can get to a gmail account, but no matter how hard I tried I have to say I couldn't get anything other than a blank screen out of that. Other web pages including this one worked fine. So I'd gone from really quite enthusiastic (albeit not enough to go and buy one instead of my current mono readers) to thinking, what a shame.

It's possible that this was due to a defect in my review unit, but it does seem a shame - browser working and then a dead link from one of its own bookmarks. So if you wanted to get a loved one an e-reader for Christmas then for me it's still the Kindle or the monochrome Kobo which remains a pleasure to use.

I will be exploring further blokey Christmas gift ideas in the coming weeks - public relations types wanting to pitch items into the mix are more than welcome.

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