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Kobo Glo - Interface, Book Store and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams
Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Kobo Glo

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price £99.99

Kobo Glo Interface

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.

Kobo Glo Book Store

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.

Kobo Glo 1

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.

Kobo Glo Verdict

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

Scores In Detail

Build Quality
8/10
Design
8/10
Features
8/10
Value
8/10

Our Score

8/10
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Noly D Des

February 26, 2013, 1:45 am

the glow light from the kobo starts at the bottom not at the top an it does not have the problem of the kindle paperwhite that turns pink or blue at parts

Guest

May 3, 2013, 7:13 pm

After looking at reviews Kindle vs Kobo, I am so glad I chose Kobo. I LOVE my "Kobo Glo."

Tracey Cross

May 15, 2013, 10:11 am

I agree with below reviews. Th kobo glo has the lights at the bottom. Plus mine has never looked blue. I think amazon must be paying some of these reviewers to slate the kobo. I owned four paperwhites. All had faulty screens.
The best purchase I ever made was the glo. I love it. I can't believe you even moan about the colours. SERIOUSLY!! Plus the contrast is better. Try altering the weight of the letters with the kindle. My books read in beautiful black ink. Perfect. If reviewers were actually honest about the kobo then perhaps more would be bought. But then I guess that's why amazon pays reviewers to slate any kobo model.

T

October 9, 2013, 7:04 pm

Kobo is great unless something goes wrong, the screens tend to freeze for many people, and good luck to you if it freezes for good -throw it in the garbage as the company has terrible customer service. My husband reads 1-2 books per week, so an e-reader is great, but he was so angry and disappointed with the service when it froze (it's well within the one year warranty, the warranty is not great actually, they do not want to replace a broken one, they'll send you a refurbished model if you are lucky), the person he dealt with at the store tried to say the screen is cracked, honestly, I looked at it in every possible angle, there is nothing at all wrong with the screen, not that that would have anything to do with the fact it's frozen, and not for the first time, it happened a lot, he's been to the store before, they fixed it once, it unfroze eventually, but this time not with any method, it's clear the model is faulty, whatever, I think I will try Kindle next, just because we are so angry at Kobo in general.

Lopitics

October 26, 2013, 10:10 pm

I've had a Kobo Touch for about 18 mths. The back began to crack away from the front. I took it back to WH SMith where I bought it and they sent a new replacement within a few days. It's the seller who is liable not the manufacturer. EU regulations give you 2 years or more rights. I love my Kobo, going to get a Glo now.

Karl

November 7, 2013, 7:52 am

I bought a Kobo Glo a few days ago but it was impossible to set it up as it requires the Internet to do so. It is not a simple switch on and use it reader. I had to download the required software and install in on my PC. That worked fine. But then the Kobo software would not connect to the Internet on my PC and after trying all options I contacted the Kobo helpdesk. No response posting a question on their site or via email. In the end I phoned them. There is no way to make it work and they suggested I buy something else:
'We are really to sorry to hear about your ordeal and do hope that the next device you get works a lot better for you. Happy Reading.'
Nice reader but useless without completely open Internet access. I will never buy another Kobo product again.

Melvyn Adams

July 19, 2014, 5:01 pm

My wife bought the Kobo Glo for me a couple of years ago. I looked at the various options and told her which I preferred. I don't have a fortune and I read at least one book per week so the option of using the library was vital to me.
I am 65 years old and though quite computer savvy always preferred the feel of a book. Not anymore - now I am a total convert to Kobo. Wife says she has never seen me make so much use of a present. Guess what - I bought one for the wife a couple of months ago.
As for needing a computer to set up - that's not true- you can get online direct from your Kobo - all you need is a wifi connection and then you can surf the net and set up your KOBO!!

Andrew Marcus Meldrum

September 17, 2014, 12:15 pm

I HAD a Kobo Glo, At first I enjoyed reading just before
going to sleep while the lights were off. Due to my situation I left it alone
for a couple of months. Now it does not work.

I have asked how to get it repaired. I get the usual factory reset instruction
but this does not work I still have a black screen and a temporary blue light.
It, of course, has been charged. It was charging for a couple of months
attached to the computer just not used. The answer, so far, seems that I now
have an electronic piece of junk.

Long lasting against the rigours of an interrupted life this
product is not. Do NOT BUY!

Larry Risch

January 26, 2015, 4:45 am

Don't buy if you want to put library books on it. If there is a problem with it,your computer, Adobe Digital Editions, the book you are borrowing or your library it won't work. (oh and if your library uses 3M they say they don't support that, like they support ADE, ha ha)

desert28moon

November 20, 2015, 6:21 pm

I think it is possible that what they call "the screen" lies below the surface glass (or is it plastic?). That was the case with my Kindle Paperwhite when it developed what they call a "light leak" when the tip of my charger cable hit the surface of my Kindle. How does this happen? I do not know... Surface glass (or plastic) was fine, unharmed, but beneath a small less than 1/8" glitch where a bright white light shows through, it was the "screen," I was told. Amazon replaces new Kindles with refurbished quite a lot, and there's a whole lot of complaints about them. It seems there's about a 10% failure rate that I would attribute to manufacturing in China... And yet the company is reluctant to back the product with brand new replacements unless you yell a lot. Which is why I'm looking... Strangely enough, there's a whole set of unhappy Nook readers as well....

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