Kobo is an online ebook seller based in Canada, and the Kobo Touch is their second ereader. It has a 6" Pearl E-Ink display that's readable outdoors like the Kindle 3 and Nook Touch, and the display supports 16 shades of gray. It's fairly light at 6.5 ounces and very pocketable. The reader is WiFi only, and there's no 3G option, so you'll download books from Kobobooks.com when in range of a WiFi hotspot, or transfer books to the reader using a USB cable. Kobobooks.com has a large selection of popular titles in standard Adobe Adept DRM ePUB format, which the Kobo Touch supports. That means books from the Sony Reader Store will also work on the Kobo, as do public library books in ePUB format. It is not compatible with Amazon Kindle ebooks (only Kindle ebook readers and the Kindle apps are compatible with Amazon's format). It's also not compatible with B&N Nook books because they use a different form of Adobe DRM (digital rights management, aka copy protection).
Kobo claims that the ebook reader can last up to a month on a charge, but we averaged 2 weeks with WiFi turned off. That's still much longer than LCD-based tablets and ereaders, and it's easy to charge the Kobo Touch using a micro USB cable and computer or a handy smartphone charger. The Kobo has 7 fonts and enough font sizes to satisfy both the myopic and eagle-eyed reader, and you can adjust how often it completely refreshes the display-- some folks hate E-Ink refresh because it flashes to black for a second, while others despise the 5 o'clock shadow text leaves when not completely refreshed, so the Kobo can suit both camps.
Above: the microSD card slot is on the ereader's left side.
Deals and Shopping:
Above: the Kindle 3 (now called Kindle Keyboard) and the Kobo Touch.
Kobo Touch Video Review
The Kobo Touch is light, portable and decently priced for a touch screen ebook reader. However, it lacks audio, so you can't play music or audio books, and there's no 3G version. We're OK with that, but we do find the Kobo Touch slower than the Barnes & Noble Nook Touch and Sony's touch screen E-Ink readers. We also found that formatting settings sometimes didn't work in side-loaded ePUBs. For example, the margins on some ebooks went all the way to the edge and setting wider margins didn't change this. What do we like about the Kobo? It supports standard Adobe Adept DRM, and that means you can use public library ebooks and books from some other ebook sellers (but not Amazon and B&N).