What is it?
A fully working 10″ Android Tablet from Kobo, which not only works as a normal Android tablet, it also works quite well as an E-Reader.
Look and Feel
The design seems to borrow some of its curves and lines from the Kobo Aura e-reader we tried a few weeks back. The tablet looks very premium, though the beautiful glass front surrounded by the metal frame does seem to make a touch heavier than the older iPad or the Galaxy Tab of the 10″ size. That aside, it feels lovely in your hand, and if you look at tablets, this is probably one of the best looking ones on the market.
The top gives you the same sliding rocker switch to turn it on/off as the Aura, with an included LED too. The LED does not seem to offer notifications, and only lets you know whether the power is on or off.
The right side features a volume button, and the left features an audio out/headphones socket, a micro USB slot, and a micro HDMI so you can enjoy the content on a bigger screen too, if you wish.
The back supports the Kobo logo, some ‘information’ in the form of standards logos at the bottom, and a couple of speaker vents, letting you know that stereo sound is on offer.
The brushed metal finish is, as I have already mention, lovely to touch, and the angled cuts on the back make this pretty, giving it both a simplistic touch as well as sophisticated feel.
Unlike the competitor (ahem), this actually gives you an unhindered Android experience. Yes, they have added their own e-reader software to the mix, but as far as Android experience goes, you have pretty much the stock experience, letting you download apps, watch and play, just as you would on any other Android tablet. Of course, the powerful processor does help, letting you get the best out of the operating system. So, if you have any concerns about the usability of this as a regular tablet, rest assured, this is one thing you will definitely not miss out on.
The Reading Life Dashboard
Kobo have designed a special ‘dashboard’ for their e-reading experience, which they call the Reading Life Dashboard. By default, this is the screen that pops up, but swipe to the left, and you go to Android’s desktop, and a swipe to the right, and you come across the Reading Life Dashboard.
This is much like most e-reader dashboards, or home screens, where you see your recently read book and their progress, any magazines you may have in your collection, any recommendations, and other items such as discovering authors, new items, and such like.
The books let you know how much time is left, and the beautiful screen makes sure that it all looks extremely inviting.
Click on any book or magazine to start reading, and off you go.
Swipe again to the left, and you find the collections tab on the right. This allows you to look at various collections, as the name suggest, which include magazines, books, things you own, recommendations, and others. You can of course create your own custom collections, such as items about foods, recipes, etc, or sports, or whatever. A handy feature, which can really help catalogue your collection.
The reading experience
But what about reading? Well, this is where this reader does not disappoint. The screen is extremely good, and the text is as clear as you want it. Features such as Beyond the book let you know more, and each book is packed with such related content.
However, as far as reading paperbacks or novels is concerned, this does feel a bit heavy, and you’ll be leaning it on your lap rather than holding it with one hand as you would a traditional book. You can, of course, lean it on something.
Where this really shines in when you read magazines. Most magazines can be read in their original paper format, and you can just double click on the text to be zoomed into it, and just tap on the right to move to the next page. This obviously depends on how well your magazine is laid out, but if you like the kind of magazine that features a lot of pictures, this is a powerful tool.
So if you like the reading of the books, and you like the magazines, prepare to be blown away by the ‘children’s books’ experience. Sounds amusing, but this is where I really loved this. The book not only looked good, it almost felt like you could touch the texture, and the best bit, it actually reads it out too, so you can leave your kids with this, or just sit with them as get entertained while you see the look of wonder on their faces. And, of course, whoever knows kids and their love for repetition, this is a great tool to have when you’ve had a tough day, and still want to have some quality time with your kids.
And what makes it a complete package? The power! Packed with a 10″ 2560 x 1600 HD+ (300ppi) display, it runs on a Quad Core 1.8GHz processor, with 2GB of RAM. Stereo speakers, 16GB of storage space, and Dual Band Wifi all add in, much like the little extras such as micro HDMI make a difference. So, even if you go beyond the reading experience, the Android tablet still keeps ticking, and it still keeps on giving!
This is available now, and retails at £299.99.
A powerful tablet that plays two parts, and it does both of them well. The price is great, the tablet is great and powerful, and the reading experience brings enough features that it leaves you wishing you had gone down this route earlier. What holds this back may be the weight, but it is something everyone has to deal with when they go for a 10″ tablet. However, if magazines/kids books/graphic novels are your thing, this is the one to go for.