I like eReaders. I like the idea of them far more then the practice of using one, the idea that you can carry about hundreds or thousands of books in a little device that’s easy to hold, take anywhere, etc. It doesn’t have the zest nor the finality of a physical book, but ultimately it’s the content of the book that impresses itself upon us, not the touch. The difference between the two is, in many ways, moot.

But various eReaders are problematic in their own right. As electronics go, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though readers can take solace that there are devices that are helping to shape the entire category of electronics for the better. The Kobo Touch is one such gadget, a very neat and clever eReader which is compact, convenient, and most of all fun.

What’s fun about a battery powered book? It smiles when in sleep mode, for starters. The  fonts and menus are simple and intuitive, and most importantly easy to maneuver and adjust. There’s a certain courteousness about the Kobo Touch that goes beyond simply reading; it’s the overall feeling that yes, reading is entertainment. And even if you are attracted to dire tales like The Idiot rather than whimsical stories of magic or vampires, everything from the simple welcome screen to the store clearly expresses not the calculating coldness of logical formatting made for machines, but an elegant, human appearance.

This is something that Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the leaders of the eBooks field, can take a lesson from.

Of course, knowing what we know about the two companies, why bother with Kobo? From a device standpoint, the Touch is a very easy handheld to use. It is reminiscent of an iPhone or iPod, with a single button and a full touchscreen. The touch panel reads presses well and is highly accurate, though occasionally misses page turns. It also lacks some of the swipe functions found on competing devices, instead opting for simpler tap controls. Navigation in books and menus is quick, though not notieably faster than the competition.

What I like most about the physical design is the textured rear, a colored surface (up to four colors to choose from) that has large studs that make it easier to grip. Most of today’s eReaders are too difficult to hold comfortably for long periods, but not so with the Kobo Touch. Users will tire of holding a physical book far before this.

The Kobo Touch only works over Wi-Fi, so it does not sync over the air like the Kindle or Nook. Because the software service Kobo offers – Kobo Books – does offer apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, it is a shame that there is no 3G option. Though if you find yourself reading on the phone often, in areas without Wi-Fi, I’d contend that the Kobo Touch isn’t for you.

Unlike Sony’s Reader, the Kobo Touch uses proprietary software that is painless and to the point. It has all of the simple functions required for reading, like adding highlights and performing searches. Books can also be purchased directly through the Kobo Touch, and there are some social media functions through the Kobo Pulse service, though for the Touch it’s very limited.

Overall the Kobo Touch is a fantastic eReader, one I highly recommend for anyone who doesn’t need a 3G connection anywhere and just wants the simplest, easiest way to read books.

Editor’s Rating:

[Rating: 4.5]


Bottom Line: A marvelous Wi-Fi only eReader that keeps you reading comfortably.


  • Excellent design for holding and gripping
  • Simple menu system with a fun demeanor
  • No 3G option for anywhere updates
  • The Kobo stores isn’t as big as competitors, and doesn’t have the same selection

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.

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  1. Why is it that none of the reviewers of this device can be bothered to take a more serious look at them?? Sure, they try them for a couple of weeks and say they’re great – that isn’t a review. If you want an honest review of the Kobo Touch or any Kobo products go to their Facebook page – the reviews are not positive. These devices are extremely delicate and even the most careful of users are having them break down in months rather than the years they should last. Oh, and by the way, after you’ve spent the $90 to $250 on one of these products, it is garbage if it breaks down in any way after the first year – and an extremely large number of them do. Kobo does not stand behind their products, they won’t assist customers with devices that are even just a few days out of warrantee and they will not repair them, even if you’re willing to pay.
    Do yourself a favour, buy a tablet from a reputable company like Nexus, Apple or Samsung. If you feel you need an ereader, go to Amazon or Sony and stay as far away from the junk Kobo is selling as you can. This company has terrible customer service and they do not stand behind their products.
    My experience with this company has not been good at all, but don’t take my word for it, go to their Facebook page and read some of the comments….

  2. “I agree with Lisa. My Kobo touch kept freezing within 4 months and I was continually fobbed off. Eventually I insisted on a repair or replacement and realised it was just over 1 year so they said no and advised I buy a reconditioned one as it was cheaper. Customer service is appalling.”
    This right here!! I feel it’s just landfill. Wish I had read on user comments rather than Editor comments before I bought it..

  3. I agree with Lisa. My Kobo touch kept freezing within 4 months and I was continually fobbed off. Eventually I insisted on a repair or replacement and realised it was just over 1 year so they said no and advised I buy a reconditioned one as it was cheaper. Customer service is appalling.

  4. My kobo touch froze will doing an update recently and customer support gave me one option which didn’t work. Then they told me that I’m SOL and too bad. I would not recommend this device to anyone as they will offer ZERO help if your device is older than a year.

  5. I have a kobo touch for 4 months have read many books and haven’t had to use the wifi once. Also I am long sighted so need glasses to see objects up close and I find the screen has never put any strain on my eyes. My sisters use iPad and kindle and both find the screens uncomfortable after a short period of reading. Hope this helps.

  6. I am a bit confused. Does your review mean that you can’t read a book without being connected to the internet?

    1. Of course you can read a book without an internet connection. You can’t download or sync without internet, but you can read anytime.

  7. how about the screen? the screen isit comfortable to read compare to paper, Kobo Mini, and ipad? As i found reading on my ipad is a bit tiring after a long hour due to the backlight …

    1. The screen isn’t an LCD display like on a computer or iPad. It’s e-ink, which is just like reading on paper. I love it for reading; I really dislike reading books on an LCD like my iPhone or on tablets, but it’s perfectly fine on an ereader like the Kobo.

    2. Stay away from Kobo!! Try one of the others if you want an ereader!

      Have you tried the night viewing option on your iPad?? If you have the Kobo or Kindle app you can use the night options that reverses the type from black on white to white type on a black back ground – while it is not perfect, I found it to be much easier on my eyes than the default setting and found no difficulty reading with that setting in bright light so I leave mine that way all the time now.

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