E-readers are a unique beast, allowing you to carry hundreds and even thousands of books in a single device and let go of the bulky books by replacing them with a sleek device. Imagine carrying a thousand actual books, we bet that you won’t be able to walk five steps without the need to sit. One of these unique beasts is the Kobo Touch that we are going to review today, let’s see how this one pans out and fares against the competition.

Design

The Kobo Touch has a design which is along the lines of the Nook reader, so much so that you may mistake which is which if you just shed a glance on them. The Kobo’s design is pretty consistent with what you see in readers nowadays. Though having a similar design, the Kobo is thinner than the Nook reader by 0.7 inch. And since the touch screen dominates the front of the screen you won’t any buttons except for the power button. Compared to the Kindle Keyboard, the Kobo is smaller thanks to lack of buttons.

The lack of buttons means there are no physical ones for turning pages and you will instead have to rely on the touch screen to turn pages. This makes it a teeny bit harder to turn pages when using the reader with one hand.

Display

Kobo goes with the industry standard here choosing the Pearl E Ink display. The display is found on all big readers like the Kindle and Nook. The reading experience is consistent with what we can find in other readers because of the similar display and you will find it consistent to reading an actual book. The power consumption is kept low because the display doesn’t draw much power. Fonts are also adjustable so that you mold them according to your preferences.

Performance/Book Reading

The Kobo Touch is packed with a 800 Mhz processor which is the same processor fitted into the Nook Touch and is more powerful than the 532 Mhz processor fitted into the Kindle reader. The performance is very zippy and page flipping is quick too since the screen only blanks out after half a dozen page turns.

The touch performance is decent too and is what you would expect in a touch screen e-reader. The 1 GB memory is more than enough to store books to cover all basis though the lack of 3G maybe a downside for people who like to download books during their travels.

Software

Kobo has taken the KIS rule, Keep it Simple. The Kobo Touch is designed to be a reader and a reader it is, with everything geared towards making your reading experience better. There is no need to add something that the e-reader cannot fully support.

The home page contains your recent purchases, plus a button for your library, the Kobo Store plus icons for settings and cloud synch. Reading is well handled with most of the screen estate dedicated to the page you are reading. The built-in Merriam Dictionary is used for looking up words which you can simply select using the touch screen interface. While downloading a book from the store is pretty simple; the store is divided into various categories like Bestsellers, Free books, Oprah book club picks. You can also search books using the virtual keyboard which though lags a bit.

Battery Life/Browsing

The battery life on Kobo is documented to be around 1 month. Which is less than what Kindle and Nook can do but the 1 month battery life is more than enough for even the most avid of readers.

Since Kobo has WIFI the web browser can be put to some use although it feels as if the browser was tacked along in the last moment.

Verdict

The Kobo Touch is a good alternative to the Kindle and can be found for $99 dollars in the Canadian market. But it is like watching David against Goliath; the Kobo Touch cannot ultimately win the battle against Kindle, for now.