Kobo Wireless eReader
The Kobo Wireless eReader offers better performance, but screen refresh and speed remain issues
- Lightweight, easy to hold, improved display contrast and sharpness
- Screen refresh still slow
The Kobo eReader's main appeal is to those who prefer ePub files; for now, this is the least expensive Wi-Fi-connected ePub-compatible model, and it handles the format well.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The Kobo Wireless eReader aspires to compete with the big kids in the e-reader arena. This iteration represents a marked improvement over its predecessor, offering higher contrast, a sharper E Ink display, and better performance. Unfortunately, the Wireless eReader still lacks the polish and finesse of the leaders. And at US$199 (as of December 13, 2010), it's the same price as an Amazon Kindle.
Looking for the best eBook reader? Before you buy an Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad or Sony reader check out our eBook reader comparison guide to find out the best features you should compare.
While the general design of the Kobo Wireless eReader remains the same, the company has made some tweaks to enhance the chassis. Now you can buy it in black, white and lavender, or white and silver; regrettably, though, the matte-black finish is prone to getting scratched in daily use. As on the Amazon Kindle, the black border greatly enhances readability. Kobo joins Amazon and Sony in offering an E Ink Pearl display, which provides better contrast and clarity than earlier E Ink displays (such as the one on the original Kobo).
Inside, Kobo has overhauled the Wireless eReader to provide faster page turns and performance. Indeed, in comparison with the original version, this model feels like a fleet-footed marathoner. The improved performance addresses my biggest complaints about the first-generation Wireless eReader (which suffered from poor usability, sluggish performance, and stiff buttons).
However, while the enhancements go far, they don't go far enough. The Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader Touch Edition still offer better performance. I could perceive significant page flicker and some lag while turning pages and navigating within the Kobo reader. And although the buttons are no longer stiff monstrosities and are more responsive than before, I still had an issue with trying to navigate precisely, in spite of the raised dots that are supposed to help one know precisely where to push; often, I invoked the wrong command, or I failed to select the option I wanted.
Kobo, for those unfamiliar with the company, is an international e-book service and hardware provider backed by Canada's Indigo Books & Music, the U.S.-based Borders Group, REDgroup Retail, and Cheung Kong Holdings. The company differentiates its e-reader by complementing the fairly stock hardware with pleasing touches (textured and rubberized backing, softer-touch buttons) and above-average original software. The Wireless eReader model makes for a compelling, more open (with its support of ePub and Adobe Digital Editions content) e-reader that costs significantly less than the Sony Reader Touch Edition.
Kobo marries its Kobobooks.com online store -- which has more than 2 million e-books as well as periodicals -- with mobile apps for Android, iPad, iPhone, and BlackBerry, as well as its value-priced, connected e-reader. The Wireless eReader makes it easy to sync a book with other devices by updating your library while you're reading a text. (The process isn't as automated on Amazon's Kindle, for example, but it is an option now.) You can access your account via the Web, or through an app that you can install off the e-reader.
Setting up the wireless was tedious on the on-screen keyboard, but manageable. When I connected the first time, the Wireless eReader automatically prompted me to download a firmware update, and warned me that I would need to reboot. The whole process took a matter of minutes, and was friendly and integrated. If you plug the reader into your PC, it pops up the option to charge while you continue to read, or to manage your library--a good usability enhancement. "Manage your library" simply means that the reader, and its 1GB of integrated storage (plus any card you may have in the SDHC Card slot), will appear as standard files and folders in Windows Explorer. (The card slot, located on the top of the unit, accommodates cards up to 32GB, eight times the potential maximum capacity of the non-connected Kobo eReader.)
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is like a giant Note7
- Cisco's Spark Board looks like an iPad -- and acts like one
- Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet modules add features but limit functionality
- Slump continues as tablet markets records worst quarter since 2012
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPSolution Architect - Integration - Bespoke ProjectQLD
- TPAnalyst Programmer (.Net)SA
- FTManager Portfolio PlanningQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTLinux System AdminstratorQLD
- FTSystem EngineersVIC
- TPIT Service Desk AnalystVIC
- FTNetwork Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistQLD
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- CCIT Project Scheduler- Port MacquarieNSW
- FTLead Network Project ManagerNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- FTService Desk AnalystsSA
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- CCSAP FICO Support AnalystWA
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCUnix/Linux Systems AdministratorNSW
- FTTechnical Project Manager ( IT Infrastructure)ACT
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPUnix- Technical Support OfficerVIC
- TPBI Report Developer - SSRS SSIS SSASNSW
- FTSenior Change Analyst/ Change ManagerNSW