One of the best bits of Kobo's higher-end ereaders like the Kobo Glo is the interface, which is thoroughly tasteful, intuitive and lovely to look at. Most importantly, it puts your most-recently read books within a tap of the homescreen, which shows five thumbnails in decreasing size.
This is the primary home screen, calling Reading, but there is another called Discover too. This acts as a quickie way to find new books to buy from the Kobo bookstore. The Kobo Glo does its best not to force you into the full, intimidating store front of the Kobo virtual bookshop - intimidating because like all E-ink devices, browsing the thing is fairly slow. Instead, the ereader offers this Discover part and a universal search that will look for books by title both locally and online.
You can browse the Kobo store's wares online, but buying books doesn’t feel as smooth or easy as on a Kindle. Here, you have to register separately and input all your details on the reader - where just about everyone has an Amazon account by this point - and there's no Whispernet-like functionality.
With a Kindle, you can buy a book on the Amazon website and have it directly sent to your Kindle ereader - not so here. The Kobo ebook store isn't bad, but it's nowhere near as simple or seamless as Amazon's infrastructure allows.
This won't matter too much for those who have their own ebook collections, of course, plug the Kobo Glo into a computer using the microUSB port on the bottom edge and you can easily drag and drop files onto the internal memory. EPUB is the main file format intended for use on the Glo, but PDFs, basic image files, HTML docs and TXT files will also work too.
Kobo's particular emphasis lies elsewhere, though. The Kobo Glo lets you post extracts to Facebook directly from within a book, and offers a Reading Life section that harvests stats on how much you read. You can also unlock achievements for your reading prowess, which might be neat for kids.
The Kobo Glo doesn't gloat about its other extra features, but there are some neat ones. Within a separate Extras menu within Settings, the Glo offers Chess, a rudimentary sketch pad, Sudoku and a web browser. They're hardly selling points by themselves, but may come in handy on long journeys when your phone's out of juice. And keeping them safely out of the way was a great choice on Kobo's part.
The Kobo Glo costs £10 less than the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, it's lighter and offers comparable ereader skills. However, as the screen is that little bit better and the Kindle book-buying experience pretty much unbeatable, the Kindle is still our ereader of choice if the lack of EPUB support doesn't mean much to you.
The Kobo Glo has rocketed to the esteemed position of our second favourite ereader. No, it hasn't unseated the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, but it has had a good try. It's more flexible, has a equally good inbuilt light, offers greater customisation and the vital EPUB support that the top dog ereader lacks. If these things matter to you, the Kobo Glo is a great alternative to the Kindle Paperwhite