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Kobo Vox review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £170
inc VAT

It's not really an eReader, but a cheap Android tablet that suffers from a slow processor and unresponsive touchscreen


7 in 1024×600 display, 403g, 0.8GHz Cortex A8, 512MB RAM, 8GB disk, Android 2.3

Kobo has set itself up as the biggest rival to Amazon for eBooks, with its own range of rather good eReaders (such as the Kobo eReader Touch), its own store and even a range of apps so that you can continue reading your books on any device. It’s no surprise, then, that in the wake of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Kobo has its own competitor, the Vox tablet.

Nominally sold as an eReader, the description is a bit misleading, as what you’re really getting is an Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) tablet. This is the same tack as used by Amazon for the Kindle Fire and makes some sense. After all, why write your own operating system if there’s already a perfectly good one available?

Kobo Vox
It’s sold as an eReader, but the Vox is really just a cheap Android tablet.

Where Amazon has largely rewritten the Android interface, Kobo has decided to leave it pretty much alone for the Vox. The lock screen with its slide-to-unlock bar is a minor update, but once you get to the home screen it’s familiar Android.

The one main difference to regular Android is a large Kobo widget that dominates the first Home Screen, showing you your recently read books. This widget has been written to take advantage of the Kobo’s 1,024×600 resolution and fits in the middle of the screen; other standard Android widgets were designed for lower resolution phone screens and are often awkward to position.

Tapping a book in the widget opens it in the Kobo App, which is same standard Android version you can get for any tablet or phone running Google’s operating system. It automatically downloads books to your tablet (there’s 8GB of internal memory and you can insert a Micro SDHC card of up to 32GB) and lets you continue reading from where you left off on any other Kobo-supported device, including the eReaders.

Kobo Vox front
The Kobo App is pre-installed, but it’s available for all Android and iOS devices.

Kobo has opted for a Fringe Field Switching (FFS+) screen, which it claims is better under bright light. It’s certainly well-viewable under most conditions, although you still wouldn’t want to use in bright sunlight.

The screen is just as viewable in portrait and landscape modes, which is good as a lot of cheap tablets tend to suffer in one orientation. That said, viewing angles were fairly tight and you’ll need to be face on to the screen to get the best image. Give that this is a small tablet, this isn’t too much of a restriction. Contrast is excellent, with black text on a white background really standing out. Colours tended to veer towards the realistic rather than being bright and vibrant.

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Basic Specifications

Rating **
Processor Cortex A8
Processor clock speed 0.8GHz
Memory 512MB
Maximum memory 0.50GB
Size 192x128x13mm
Weight 403g
Pointing device touchscreen


Viewable size 7 in
Native resolution 1024×600
Graphics/video ports none
Graphics Memory N/A


Total storage capacity 8GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

Bluetooth no
Wired network ports 0
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots 0
Supported memory cards SDHC
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Android 2.3
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Kobo
Optional extras N/A

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £170