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Kobo Touch eReader review

Andrew Williams



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Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader
  • Kobo Touch eReader


Our Score:



  • Slim and light
  • Attractive
  • Decent E-ink Pearl screen


  • Slightly slower than the best
  • Kobo Store just OK

Key Features

  • 2GB internal memory
  • microSD slot
  • 6in E-ink Pearl screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Touchscreen
  • Manufacturer: Kobo
  • Review Price: £109.00

The Amazon Kindle dominates the ereader market more the iPad does in tablet town. Many people couldn't name an ereader apart from the Kindle. The Kobo range is here to change all that. Partnering with high street giant WHSmith, Kobo offers a pair of eink readers, both attractive in price and design. Today we're looking at the more expensive model, which is equipped with a touchscreen.

Few manufacturers of eink readers have demonstrated an understanding of what an ereader should be like as well as Kobo has with this device. The Kobo Touch is petite, simple, light and attractive - and yet for all its daintiness, it feels strong too.Kobo eReader 4

It weighs 183g, which is a little bit heavier than the new £89 Amazon Kindle, but is just as comfortable to hold one-handed. The whole of the device is finished in soft-touch plastic and feels delightful. With no physical page turn buttons and just a single seam on the back of the device, it's cuter and prettier than the Kindle.

The Kobo Touch is much closer to the Kindle Touch than the 2011 Kindle in looks, but that model is yet to come to the UK - and as yet Amazon has not revealed a date for its arrival. This is a major win for the Kobo, with Christmas around the corner.

Kobo eReader 6

A quilted back ensures this is no flat-out Kindle copy too. It sounds a bit naff, a back textured with a pattern seen on jackets worn by rich middle-aged people taking their beagles out for a walk, but it just works. The quilted back further softens the design, making it seem friendlier and less severe than it otherwise would. When put under stress, the Kobo Touch doesn't flex or bend at all, but the impression in-hand is not of something too hard and immovable.

It's 10mm thick and has a 6in screen, giving it similar dimensions to many readers of the past few years, most notably Sony's touch models. This screen size has become the standard for devices of this type, and there are only a few that stray from it, such as the old Kindle DX and the dinky Sony PRS-350.

Kobo eReader 1Kobo eReader

There are just two sockets about its body, one microUSB to transfer files and charge the battery and a microSD slot to let you expand upon the 2GB of internal memory. It's a neat addition but not a must-have - ebooks take up so little storage that we find the internal memory sufficient.

There are also just two physical controls - a Home button on the front and a power slider up top. This minimal design looks great, and means you can hold the Kobo up proudly on the train or bus without feeling like you've bought the Kindle's poor relation.


November 10, 2011, 2:48 am

"If you need a touchscreen reader now, the Kobo Touch, Sony PRS-350 and PRS-650 are the only models to consider."

Hmm? Why the last-generation PRS-350 and PRS-650, rather than the current-generation Sony Reader Wi-Fi (PRS-T1)?

Tony Walker

November 10, 2011, 10:45 am

CAn you read PDFs on it?


November 10, 2011, 11:45 pm

Add my voice to Tony's in wondering about PDF capabilities. TR team: it would be much appreciated if you could make PDF handling a standard part of your reviews of ebook readers, and there're quite a few of us who use ebook readers quite a bit with PDFs.


November 11, 2011, 4:21 pm


It can handle PDFs, but we'll fit some more about how ebook readers formats them in future reviews if that's what you'd like.

As for the T1, it doesn't seem to be widely available in the UK yet. We'll do our best to get a review up sharpish, though!


November 12, 2011, 4:02 pm

That would be useful, thanks.

On the T1, my local Sony Centre has it quite prominently displayed and in stock, but you're right that almost nobody else does. How odd. I wonder if this Sony's new marketing strategy, or if it reflects lack of interest!


November 16, 2011, 12:58 am

If you buy the Kindle from a retailer such as Curry's or John Lewis you get a full 12 month exchange warranty. WH Smiths only have enough confidence in the Kobo to offer 28 day exchange and thereafter it is sent for repair for an indeterminate period of time. I would love to buy the Kobo Touch especially as the Kindle touch is not yet available in the UK. However, if Smith's have such a low level of confidence in it then it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me.


November 18, 2011, 4:16 am

Do not buy this - its rubbish

I bought one last week, it going back as soon as I can get back to Smiths. The on/off/sleep switch does not work reliably. The touch screen does not work properly. You can't change the time/date - because the touch screen does not respond. It only supports ePub and PDF, which is what the on line manual says, although the smiths web site says it supports ePub and MOBI, plus a lot of other things which I did not check.
I have a large collection of free e-books in multi formats so I want a reader that can at least read ePub and MOBI - this one can't.


February 26, 2012, 3:30 am

I have a kindle for a good while and now also a Kobo Touch which I purchased from Asda. As the main review above says the kindle probably has a slight edge, and unlike some reviewers I have had no problems with it. The one BIG advantage with the Kobo is that I can borrow books from my Local Library. Amazon will not allow that in the UK. Why should they, when you are closed in to buying from them. Now I have a choice.


March 7, 2012, 3:40 pm

The kobo touch is rubbish. It fails in its basic job. It is too slow to read actual books with. I've tried to use it for 2 months now and I'm just about to give up on it and buy a kindle. It can sometimes takes minutes to turn a single page. I even went to the trouble of creating a perfect book for it to read. I decompiled a fairly compact book (550kb) with only 10 small images in it. Edited it down to 460kb of perfect xhtml. (using html validator on firefox). Zipped it up to an epub book and validated that against an epub validator. Both validators giving perfect validation scores. Even this book was too slow to read, sometimes taking many seconds to navigate. The kindle is a much better device. The kobo doesn't even rate as 1 star. This kbo is the most depressing gadget I've ever bought.


March 26, 2012, 9:45 am

I have had the kobo touch for 3 months it has frozen numerous times. I have had to turn it of and on to get it to turn a page, I have had to plug it in to unfreeze it and last and most annoying I had to reset after it froze completley would not connect to computer or turn off waited for it to go flat. Looked on computer to find out if any one had the same problem. Paper clip in reset hole in the back and conect to computer and finally it is working again.

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