When my brother went to the USA recently, I asked him to help me buy the Kobo Touch. I couldn’t decide on the color so I told him to get me any color except purple. Being a hip young man, he got me the black one. The Kobo Touch cost around US$140 after taxes.
I have tried using it for two days. It was pretty nice to use. In many ways, it was better than my Sony PRS-505. To be fair, the Sony PRS-505 came out in 2007 while the Kobo Touch came out in June 2011. I thought the Sony PRS-505 was quite small already but four years of technological advancements managed to shrink the eReader even more. Both had the same 6-inch screen but Kobo managed to make the body slightly smaller. Of course it helps that the Kobo Touch is a touchscreen device so there was no need for buttons. In fact, the Kobo Touch had only one button on the front to bring me back to the home screen.
The Kobo Touch was not only slightly shorter than the Sony PRS-505, it was also not as wide. The Kobo Touch displayed the cover of the book sort of like a screensaver while it was in sleep mode or when switched off. For some reason, I found it irritating and preferred the blank screen. Then one day later, I found out that I could turn it off under one of the settings.
The Sony PRS-505 did win in one area. It was thinner than the Kobo Touch. The Kobo Touch had a curved back so even though it was thicker, it was still comfortable to hold.
The back of the Kobo Touch had a quilt-like pattern. It looks soft like a cushion but it isn’t a cushion. The Kobo Touch was covered in a silicone rubber type of coating which makes it nice to touch. It was also lighter than the Sony PRS-505 by 70 grams.
Currently the Kobo Touch seemed to have a lot of things going for it and I was pretty satisfied with my new toy so far in terms of physical appearance. Then I noticed that there was a big hole at the bottom left corner for the micro-SD memory card. There was no cover for it so I foresee that the gaping hole is going to collect a lot of dust.
To setup the Kobo Touch, I needed to download to Kobo Desktop Client and install it on my computer. Then I needed to connect the eReader to the computer and let it download and sync all the books I’ve bought on Kobo. It took a while and then I was ready to go. The home page showed the latest five books I have read or added to the eReader. Two of them were books that I had borrowed from the Singapore National Library and I was able to read them fine on the Kobo Touch. From this page, I could access the settings, the Kobo eBookstore and the user guide.
The Kobo Touch used the latest version of E Ink screen which had a higher contrast than the Sony PRS-505. The words were darker so they were easier to read. To turn the pages, I just tap on the right side of the screen to flip to the next page or tap the left side to flip to the previous page. If I tap the middle part, it would display the options. If you are a left hander and preferred to tap on the left side to flip to the next page, you can change the settings so that it works that way. The touchscreen worked pretty well although sometimes I need to tap twice for it to register.
In the options, I could customize the reading experience further by changing the font face, font size, spacing between the lines and margins. There were seven different fonts to play with and I’ve heard that I could add more fonts if I wanted to. There were also other options like viewing the table of contents or looking up the definition of a word. The dictionary used was the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
I think I will enjoy reading my ebooks on this device.