Kobo Touch and the Kobo experience – week 1


So as I mentioned I bought a Kobo Touch, a device I like but I do feel the overall experience needs adapting a bit for the UK and also the device would benefit from some more UI tuning options. Given the enthusiasm I perceive the company has for the product I hope some of this may come about.

If you want to know more, stay tuned after the break…

The Experience

I have split my initial experiences and views up into thoughts on the device itself, the android app and the Kobo web site for shopping. My thoughts are in no real order and I try to separate out criticism from appreciation and from suggestion.

The Kobo Touch

Appreciated:

Nice screen, light weight, the Reading Life is good, integration with Facebook (where is Twitter?) is a nice idea though may not be for me

Criticisms:

Airplane mode – nice idea to avoid wireless being on all the time but when I pop onto wireless to sync why not default back to wireless off when I finish?

Suggestions:

  • When in Reading Life / Reading Stats mode why not have some overview stats – books in library, number read…
  • Add a clock to the HOME screen
  • Allow me to select Library and go straight to books not have to select it from the drop down (we can’t get the news in the UK for example
  • On reading it annoys me to get widows / orphans (stray lines at the bottom or top of a page). I would think it would be easy to offer an option to trim these and allow either feathering (spread the vertical distance of  a line across all other lines) or just be falling short on the page on screen. My typesetting background will no doubt reveal more thoughts in the future!

The Android App

This looks lovely on my colour screen and the library layout is much better than on the Touch (colour + screen resolution?). Reading Life awards are also different which surprised me at first and makes me wonder how I

I got annoyed that going to the shop gives me all US pricing – it knows who I am and I get £ on the device / website

The Kobo website and shopping experience

Sadly there is a lot I don’t like with this – I think some of it is early days and not wanting to be a clone of Amazon, but:

  • I browsed for a book, found it for 0.49p clicked buy and it went straight to check-out. I wanted to make a shopping cart and buy more stuff!
  • Allow me to set a default language – I don’t want spanish / german / french language versions of every book
  • Keep the taxonomy stable – I have to wander around to find content e.g. Science Fiction
  • Searching – nice that is suggests options, but returns many too many results. For example, I select Jacqueline Rayner from the drop down and get 610 results not the 4 that are actually by Jacqueline
  • I am finding Amazon offer books yet to come out in the UK market (e.g. the new Anthony Horowitz House of Silk) whereas this is not on Kobo. I assume this is as the UK market is only just entered.

My Biggest Gripe

This is not a Kobo thing but why isn’t it easier to get simple (one column) PDF files readable in EPUB? See my moan here!
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About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Audio Drama editor for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

4 Responses to Kobo Touch and the Kobo experience – week 1

  1. mattcawley says:

    Nice review of a nice device!

    • HelmStone says:

      Thanks – nice to ‘meet’ a fellow user!

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