Kobo glo ebook reader review

I have been looking at getting a ebook reader for a while and finally made the big jump on monday.

But before making the decision to make the purchase, I spent quite a bit of time researching and reading about a dozen or so reviews on the internet on the Amazon Kindle and Kobo ebook reader range.

The fruits of my research is the following list of requirements which I decide on as the bare minimum I needed in an ebook reader before it warranted my purchase:

  1. At least 2GB of storage
  2. Uses E-ink
  3. Long battery life
  4. Touch-enabled
  5. Built-in light

The only ebook readers that fulfilled those criterias were:

  1. Kindle Paperwhite
  2. Kobo Glo
  3. Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight

Out of those three, the only one that was available in Australia was the Kobo Glo. So I went with the Kobo Glo.

After using the device for the past 5 days straight, I have made the following discoveries which I believe will be a big help to anyone thinking/wanting to get themselves a Kobo Glo ebook reader. As these points are not pointed out or highlighted in any of the reviews I have read online before making the purchase.

The things I liked about the Kobo Glo (a.k.a. pros)

  1. Lightest ebook reader I have held thus far.
  2. Battery life is acceptable. 68% charge left after 5 days of average 2hrs of use.
  3. Text still legible in bright sunlight. (provided you don’t use a screen protector)
  4. User interface is very user friendly.
  5. Built-in dictionary is very handy.
  6. General/overall responsiveness of the device is acceptable.
  7. microSD card slot is very handy for technical/cooking/photography type books. (ebooks with a large file size)
  8. Built-in back light works great.

The things I disliked about the Kobo Glo (a.k.a. cons)

  1. The design does not allow/permit single hand reading, you need two hands. One hand to hold the reader, while the other to turn the page.
  2. Due to the screen bezel being rather thin, you cannot hold the reader on one-side; the only comfortable way to hold it, is to “wrap” your hand around the back of it – much like how you hold your mobile phone or phablet.
  3. The inner edge of the Kobo Glo is a square-corner edge, thus when you interact with the rather closely placed to the edge touch controls. It’s a bit uncomfortable as you need to press against the square-corner, even with small fingers like mine. Refer to figure 2. and figure 4.
  4. The experimental web browser is practically unusable.
  5. No bookmarking feature.
  6. Does not retain your position correctly in the book due to the point below.
  7. The font settings does not retain itself. Every time you navigate out of a book or put the Kobo Glo to sleep mode. The display of the screen resets to a default setting which puts the text right up against the edges of the screen and sets the font size to some pre-defined default. Although when you open the font settings, the settings show the settings just as what you have left it as, however the display does not represent it. Refer to figure 1.

Tip: instead of changing one of the settings to something else and then changing it back again. You can just tap the alignment icon you previously selected again and the display will correct itself and respect all the font settings

Final verdict

The biggest annoyance I find with the Kobo Glo is the software bug causing the formatting of the pages to reset every time I pick up the device. Hopefully a software update will be released soon to address this specific issue.

Provided you can tolerate the shortcomings I listed in the list of cons above. And have the patience to wait for a bug fix for the page formatting issue. Then if you’re looking for a ebook reader with a built-in backlight and the ability to expand your storage capacity along with a price-tag that’s similar to the current touch-enabled ebook reader that does not have a built-in backlight. Then the Kobo Glo would not disappoint.

However, if you’re able to live with the limited storage space ~1GB and able to afford to pay a bit more. I would recommend waiting for the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite to arrive.


Kobo Glo with default font settings
Figure 1. Kobo Glo with its font settings reset – text displaying right up against the screen edges.
Close up of inner edge of Kobo Glo
Figure 2. Close up of the inner edge of the Kobo Glo
Close up of outer edge of Kobo Glo
Figure 3. Close up of the outer edge of the Kobo Glo
Kobo Glo touch user interface
Figure 4. The touch user interface of the Kobo Glo

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