Kobo Glo review
A great hi-resolution screen, excellent store and built-in light make this an excellent eReader, but the Kindle Paperwhite is better if you don’t mind being locked into Amazon’s store
Review Date: 26 Oct 2012
Price when reviewed: £100
Reviewed By: David Ludlow
Kobo has done staggeringly well since it launched in 2010, providing the main competition to Amazon with its excellent hardware, store and smartphone apps. The great Kobo eReader Touch kept pace with the Amazon Kindle Touch last year, and Kobo has done the same this year with its Kobo Glo.
As the name suggests, this model has integrated LEDs (called the ComfortLight) to light up the screen in a similar way to the light used on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Not only that, but Kobo has also opted for the same touchscreen E Ink Pearl screen as Amazon with a 1,024x768 resolution, up from the 800x600 screen of last year's models.
Spec-for-spec, then, the two devices seem pretty well matched. In isolation, the Kobo's screen looks fantastic. The higher resolution makes text that little bit sharper than before, letting you use the smaller font sizes without straining your eyes. We really like the built-in light, too, which means that you can read under any lighting condition.
Compared side-by-side with the Kindle Paperwhite and we have to say that Amazon's device is slightly better. We found the contrast better and the text that little bit darker. The lights may use similar technology but they don't work the same way. While the Paperwhite's light is always on (you can adjust the intensity but not turn it off) and helps boost contrast, by making the background look brighter; the Kobo Glo's version is more of a traditional reading light, designed for when it's too dark to read normally.
Next to the Paperwhite, the Glo's light is definitely brighter, but it's not as well distributed and there's a clear strip of light at the top where the LEDs are. With the light turned on the Glo's screen is easy to read, but the text looks a little more washed out.
Kobo has fitted a dedicated button to turn the ComfortLight on and off, and there's an on-screen slider to change the brightness. There's no information on-screen to show you the level that you've set it at, as with the Paperwhite, so you have to judge the setting by eye.
Shame there is no audio. The other half is a creature of habit - reads a book in bed, then drifts off to sleep listening to a BBC podcast. This would be the ideal device if only it could play audio files as well.
Thanks for the in-depth review, very good.
Oh, how about using libraries in the UK - can the Kobo do that?
By dalerm on 27 Oct 2012
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