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Kobo Touch eReader - Book Store and Extras

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


The Kobo Touch gives you full access to its internal memory, so if you have an existing library of ePub files you want to read, it's happy to oblige. However, it also offers the Kobo Store, Kobo's answer to the Amazon Kindle Store.

To get started you need to create and account on your PC or Mac and link it to the ereader by plugging it into your computer while the free Kobo app is running. While the two million-strong library sounds good, navigation of it on a computer isn't so hot. This is especially apparent when browsing using a computer, where the passage through subcategories feels clumsy and the software a bit under-optimised at this point.

It looks reasonably good, but is nowhere near as convenient as being able to buy a book on the Amazon website and have it beamed to your reader automaticallyonly, as you can with a Kindle. Loading the store on the Touch itself, using the built-in Wi-Fi, was also a little slow.

Kobo eReader 5

Prices aren't hugely attractive either, and it's not a great discovery tool. There are plenty of categories and a cheap reads section, but you can't tap on an authors name to see their other books and it doesn't assess your collection to suggest titles you might like. However, there's plenty of scope for Kobo to tweak the Store experience over the coming months.

The Kobo Store does offer multi-page previews of titles and has plenty of free books, but it's only the Project Guttenburg fare you could snap up independently of the Store. At the time of writing, no newspapers or magazines were available to us UK folk - even though there is a section specifically for this content. To the Store's credit, the Kobo Touch allows Wi-Fi sync, removing the need to connect to your computer directly after the initial setup.

Competing with an infrastructure as developed as Amazon's is always going to be tough, and the Kobo option looks a lot rosier when squared up against other manufacturers' models instead. It does offer ePub support, though, still missing from the Kindle line-up. Kobo also supports the formats demanded by the UK's main ebook lending services.

According to Kobo's documentation on the Touch, it can read CBR and CBZ comic book files too, but it refused to recognise the CBR books we uploaded to the device. Further investigation revealed it's a problem with the current firmware, and should hopefully be fixed soon.

These are neat extras, but probably aren’t going to convince comic book nuts – thanks to the lack of colour. The Kobo Touch is keen on extras like this support and the reading achievements, so much so that – like the Kindle – it has its own “superfluous features” section. Within it, there’s Sudoku, a basic web browser and a sketchbook. Kobo says these features are “not officially supported”, but Sudoku in particular is a neat addition. Like other ereader web browsers, this one is slow and rudimentary – really just there to make further use of the built-in Wi-Fi.

Kobo has clearly been careful not to miss out on any important features of its key rivals – it’s an aggressive and carefully-specced product. Even if the Kindle Touch were available in the UK, we can’t imagine it would be any cheaper than the Kobo Touch.

For all its efforts, it doesn’t do quite enough to make us stop wanting the touch-enabled Amazon offering, or wipe out the memory of the Sony PRS-350. It’s a tiny bit slow considering the generation of ereaders it’s a part of, and the Kobo Store has some way to go before it can be considered in the same league as the Amazon Kindle Store. However, it's imbued with a sense of style and fun that makes it very likeable – in a way that most previous smaller-name ereaders aren’t. If you need a touchscreen reader now, the Kobo Touch, Sony PRS-350 and PRS-650 are the only models to consider. And this is the cheapest of the lot.


The Kobo Touch is the latest ereader to take on the high street buyer. And for the most part, it’s a great success. It’s thin, light, attractive and has an E-ink screen on-par with the best out there. On pure speed it can’t match the latest Kindle, and the Kobo Store could do with some optimisation, but if you need a touchscreen ereader, this is the best-connected option available in the UK.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Value 8


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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