Kobo Glo Review: Glows Nicely But Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Beats It
Often overlooked in the eReader marketplace, the Kobo is actually one of the major competitors. It doesn’t have the fame of either Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and doesn’t have the brand image of the Sony Reader, but it’s still going strong in the face of such adversity.
The Kobo Glo is one of Kobo’s recent new product range, and has its sights set firmly on the Kindle Paperwhite and Nook Simple Touch GlowLight. With such heavyweight competitors, Kobo really needs to offer something special to make an impact. So is this product up to the task? Or will this Kobo go the way of the dodo? Read on to find out.
Key Specs For The Kobo Glo
Average Price: $129.99
Release Year: 2012
Screen Size: 6 inches
Screen Type: E-Ink with Glowlight
Weight: 6.5 oz
Storage Size: 2GB
Main eBook Format: ePub
Kobo Glo: The Pros
Touch Screen: As is the current trend for eReaders, and in fact all personal devices, the Kobo Glo has a touch screen. It’s very responsive thanks to the powerful processor inside this device, meaning that at the touch of a finger you can zip around menu systems and flick through pages.
Touch screens are a great feature, not least because they appeal to the immense popularity of such technology. They’re also practical and efficient, and create a very enjoyable user experience. The physical interaction offered in this way does go some way to alleviating the loss of holding a physical book in the hand. It certainly has a nice feel to it.
Kobo Touch User Interface: Anyone familiar with existing Kobo products will have experienced the custom Kobo user interface. The Kobo Glo continues with the same user interface which is great for those who own a previous Kobo and don’t want to have to learn a new interface. Plus, the interface is great anyway, and those new to the system will find it pleasing to use.
No Buttons: Making full use of the touch screen, this Kobo does away with buttons entirely (with the exception of the power button on the top of the unit). There are no buttons visible on the face of the device which gives it a really streamlined minimalist feel. This is a really nice touch, making the Kobo Glo feel more modern than older Kobos.
Lit Up Screen: The real selling feature of the Kobo Glo has to be the screen light which has been developed to compete with those offered by Kindle and Nook. Not wanting to be left behind, the Kobo Glo can be read in the dark too now, thanks to its own “ComfortLight” technology. This is a fantastic feature for fans who love to read at night in the comfort of their bed – especially when their partner wants to get to sleep with the lights off.
In use, the Kobo Glo’s ComfortLight screen looks better in total darkness than the Nook’s GlowLight. That’s a major plus point for the Kobo, and a setback for the Nook.
Resolution: The Kobo Glo has one of the highest resolution screens on the market. This creates a high level of detail resulting in very crisp and clean image quality. It’s certainly on a par with the Kindle’s screen, as well as the Nook’s.
Fast: Thanks to the speedy processor inside this device, page turn is very quick. That helps to ensure that the reading experience isn’t interrupted every time you flick the page. As well as this, the menu system is a real breeze to move around, and doesn’t hold you up in any way. This is a marked improvement on the previous Kobo eReaders.
Kobo Book Store: Naturally, the Kobo Glo has access to the online Kobo book store. This store offers over 3 million eBooks, including a huge range of self-published material as well as all the classics, hits and niche choices you’d expect.
Interchangeable Covers: A small but nice touch is the introduction of interchangeable covers for the Glo. These covers go on the back of the device, and come in five different colors. More designs are likely to come from third-party developers adding further to the customization options.
Custom Reading Experience: One of the Kobo’s big selling points has always been the customizable reading experience. The Kobo Glo retains this feature, giving 12 font types, 24 font sizes, font darkening and lightening and much more beside. You can really find a setup that suits you with the Glo.
Expandable Storage: A great feature that’s becoming increasingly common is the inclusion of a memory card slot. This lets you expand the storage space of your Kobo Glo by up to 32GB giving you as much space as you could ever want.
Kobo Reading Life And Pulse: One of the unique things about the Kobo are Reading Life and Pulse, two social aspects of the user experience. Reading Life gives you a range of social media options that allows you to do things like automatically post highlighted sections of your book to Facebook, while Pulse gives you the chance to chat to other readers of the same book – with a special option that lets you avoid spoilers by only chatting with others who have read the same amount of the book as you.
Kobo Glo: The Cons
Battery Life: One of the main shortcomings of the Kobo Glo as against both the Nook and Kindle is battery life. The Glo offers only 55 hours of continuous reading with the ComfortLight switched on. Without the light, the Glo lasts for up to a month of casual use. Both of these fall short of the battery life in the Kindle Paperwhite and Nook Simple Touch GlowLight.
On Board Storage: This device only offers 2GB of storage space. This is fairly standard for the lower priced eReaders including the Kindle and Nook options, but is still something of a disappointment.
No Amazon Content: Although you can access the Kobo book store online, you’re unable to read books from Amazon on the Kobo. Given that Amazon offer more eBooks than any of the competition, this is quite a drawback.
Is The Kobo Glo Worth Buying?
The Kobo Glo is a very nice eReader with plenty going for it, including a nice screen and the new ComfortGlow technology. It’s also fast and pretty sleek. However, it’s not perfect and does suffer from some drawbacks, especially against the Kindle Paperwhite. It does make for a good quality alternative to the big two competitors though, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed with this purchase. A very nice product all-round. Naturally, the best deal you’ll get is at Amazon for this one and you can check out their sales on them here.
For all tablets, we’ve also reviewed the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Kindle Fire HD, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Asus Google Nexus 7, Kobo Arc and the Sony Reader. We also did a side by side comparison of the Kindle Fire HD versus the Apple iPad to give you an idea of the choices you have. It’s a big market out there for buyers now…just choose wisely and figure out exactly what you want your tablet to do for you.