Prices and Spec Comparison >> Kobo Touch VS. New Kindle Wifi
The Reason to compare these two model – Not Kindle Touch VS. Kobo Touch, Because Kindle Touch now not yet official shipping to Canada.
Canada’s Kobo Touch is challenging the Kindle Wi-fi for top spot on the ereader value chain. Amazon’s Kindles have been pace setters since 2007, but this summer, the competitive stars lined up.
Within weeks of each other, the Kobo Touch Edition and a new Nook ereader from Barnes and Noble took aim at the entry-level model Kindle WiFi. Since B&N won’t sell the Nook outside the U.S., Canada became a battle ground for Kobo and Kindle. Kindle has since brought out its own touch-screen line but they are not as yet available in Canada, The New Version that official ship to Canada is New Kindle 4 Wifi International Version.
So here’s a face-to-face look at which is the best ereader in Canada this summer between the Kobo Touch and the New Kindle 4 Wifi which looks the best, which feels the best, which works the best and which is the best value.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
So which is the best looking ereader to be seen with in the park. Both are in the 6” screen category (go here if you want to check out Wikipedia’s list of 42 ereader models)
Both have the new standard eInk Pearl screen which simulates a printed page with great clarity. The big difference is that Kindle has a keyboard under the screen in front and the Kobo has a touch screen.
Despite this, and having the same screen size, the two modles are almost identical in size .—166mm x 114mm. The Kindle is slightly thinner and thus a little lighter – 170g to 185g (half an ounce…)
The Kobo ereader comes in five colours and has a very nice quilted covering on the back. The Kindle has three colours – black, white or graphite. Round 1: draw.
Now, which feels the best. It’s important. The decider here is going to be which is more comfortable to hold for a long time while you are lost in your whodunnit.
Both units are light enough (lighter than most paperbacks) that one-handed reading will feel natural. Page turns are easier to manager on the Kindle. It has buttons on either side that you can reach with the hand that is holding the ereader.
The Kobo Touch screen requires another hand to tap or swipe on the screen. They are both beautiful designs and easy to hold, but I’d have to score Round 2 for Kindle because of the page turns.
Gentlemen, start your page flips
Okay, this is where the rubber hits the road – or the pixels hit the Pearl screen.Assessing ereader performance can get very subjective. Let’s start with what can be considered fact-based.
Readability: Both the Kobo Touch and the Kindle wifi use the same eInk technology screen which is superb to read from. Both have a wide choice of fonts (Kindle 8, Kobo 7) and sizes.
Battery life Claims in the past have been too vague but Kindle has responded by specifying that a single charge lasts up to one month if you turn the wireless off and read for an hour a day (2 months for the older keyboard model). Kobo also claims one hour.
My guess is that both should be good for up to two weeks of “vacation reading”, being a couple of hours a day and 3-4 wireless downloads.
Memory This always seems to me much ado about zip. The Kindle comes with 2G –1.25G accessible to store 1,400 books– but that’s the limit. The Kobo comes with 2G – 1G accessible to store content – but you can add memory cards to keep up to 30,000 books.
30,000 books? C’mon guys.
(It’s worth pointing out that the Kindle Touch – if and when we can get it in Canada – has double the storage and battery life.)
Operation You will simply have to decide whether you want a controller or a touch screen. The controller in many respects is faster, easier and more precise. It also cuts down on the amount of suntan lotion and other goop that winds up on the screen. In both cases, though, you are stuck with a virtual keyboard – pecking away at the screen trying to spell the title you want to download.
That’s enough to make me want to include the keyboard versions in these analyses. Maybe next time.
Sourcing content Both units have wireless for downloading content directly into the ereader via the Internet. But there are deal-breaker differences.
Amazon has over 950,000 books available for the Kindle but it is still not enough. That’s because the Kindle reads a proprietary format and you have to buy your books from Amazon. Since Amazon made that concept commitment, the e-reader world has moved to an open platform, EPUB, that enables book purchases from a wide range of stores and, importantly, downloads from lending libraries.
Kobo embraces this but Kindle does not. As a result, Kobo advertises access to over 2.4 million books, newspapers and magazines from the Kobo Store.
This is more of a tomorrow problem than a today one. On principal, you don’t want to be locked in a proprietary format when the world is going open-source. But, for right now, the Amazon offering is huge and most likely enough
Extras Both units are dedicated ereaders, meaning they don’t play video games. For reading PDF documents, the Kobo has more flexibility and reading features and you can load PDF files by drag-and-drop from your computer.
The Kindle, on the other hand has a handy edge with text-to-speech. If you are reading and have to go somewhere in the car, take the Kindle along and it will narrate your text to you as you drive. Kinda neat.
Which is the best value?
So which one would you buy? Only the Kobo Touch can be bought in Canadian funds which may give Kobo an edge by removing currency uncertainty. The Kobo online $140 Canadian.
The Kindle Wifi online from Amazon is US$109 which at the end of November would set you back about $114 Canadian. With shipping and import duties (which include GST) the total comes to $133, compared to Kobo at $147 including GST.
That’s a modest pricing edge for Kindle but it’s not an easy call. They are both superb ereaders. It may come down to a personal preference of whether you like the touch screen concept or the controller. Everything else is pretty even.
(btw- you may know that Amazon has a reduced pricing on Kindles if you are prepared to put up with ads on the screen when you are not reading. That’s not available for Canada)
So if you know what you want, I’ll make it easy:
- To know more about the Kindle WiFi and/or buy one online, this link is for Kindle lovers.
- To know more about the Kobo Touch and/or buy one online, this link is for Kobo lovers.
And what do I think? I really like the Kobo Touch philosophy. It’s an ereader, pure and simple, and a very good one. But I prefer the Kindle, even though the proprietary technology is a problem. I just don’t think it is a significant problem in my time span which is max two years.
So there you have it. Kindle Wi-Fi wins the “battle of the Ks” – at least in one man’s humble opinion. PS: leave a comment – I’d like to know your preference.