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.
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.
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.
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.