Friday, December 23, 2011

Six Months With the Kobo Touch

According to the receipt that I found yesterday, I have now (as of today) owned my Kobo Touch for six months. Coincidentally, a new firmware version has also been released today.

At the time, the Kobo Touch seemed like the right choice. I had considered buying the first Kobo eReader since it was cheaper than a Sony and it didn't lock you in like Kindle, but several things held me back. The biggest thing was that change was promised to be on the horizon. "Price drops by Christmas," they said, "colour e-ink next year. . ."

Of course, those promises were broken. So by the time the Kobo released a new touchscreen I was tired of waiting and ready to buy a device just to 'get me by' until the good stuff came out.

By and large, the Kobo has worked. Most of the time. Right off the bat the reading experience wasn't great. There was little support for sideloaded content (the main reason I bought the thing) but you could read with it. It just wasn't very easy. There wasn't much control over how the text was displayed and the 'page' number would often overlap the text. Through quite a few firmware updates all this has changed, of course.

But the story doesn't end there. It hasn't always been an uphill experience. With each firmware 'update' it seems that new bugs are introduced. Sometimes old bugs come back. There was one bug that cut off the last line of text on every page. There was one bug that broke the functionality of SDHC memory cards for some users. There was even a bug that caused some Kobo databases to become corrupt forcing constant 'factory resets'.

Currently, the only bug that really bothers me is that it will sometimes not turn the page when I tap the screen, a second tap will then turn two pages. This bug has been around for a long time. . .

I hope that the new firmware I just installed will fix this, but I doubt it. It isn't listed as one of the fixes. Also, there is still no way to organize the library into collections or shelves.

Conclusion: while buggy and often frustrating, it works. Still, I can really only recommend the Kobo Touch to users who won't mind mucking through CSS and XHTML to make their books work, or who can hack the Linux based firmware. Furthermore, within the last six months, new ereaders have come on the market that are priced competitively with the Kobo. Sony and Kindle (Amazon) both offer much better customer support and can pump far more resources into their software updates.

No comments:

Post a Comment