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First Look: Kobo's surprisingly good $129 self-illuminated e-book reader

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First Look: Kobo's surprisingly good $129 self-illuminated e-book reader

3:17 /

The Kobo Glo e-reader features a 1,024x768-pixel-resolution 6-inch e-ink touch-screen display that Kobo says makes text and images appear crisper.

I'm David Carnoy, Executive Editor for cnet.com and I'm here with the Kobo Glo. This is a e-Ink Reader with a built-in light just like the Kindle Paperwhite as well as the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. It's slightly more expensive than those models, it's $129.99, comes in multiple colors with different colored backs. Has a nice textured back, a kind of a quilt back and overall it's actually a really nice e-reader. You don't hear a lot about Kobo in the US necessarily but it is doing well abroad and these devices are becoming more and more popular abroad. Like its competitors, this model has 2 GB of built-in memory, it also has an expansion slot for additional memory. The one thing it doesn't have is built-in audio that's missing for most e-readers these days so I wanna call that a big deal. This is light weight at 6.5 ounces. I mean, it does have an XGA screen that's 1024 by 758, it's an E Ink Pearl display. But the key here is obviously the built-in light and if you're wondering how it compares to the Paperweight, it actually stacks up really pretty well against it. The light is uniformed. It's a slightly different color I'd say than the Paperwhite. It's a touch bright in total darkness. This does have a dedicated button for the light, that means you can use that button to turn the light on and off. There's also something called Type Genius. Kobo has done some really nice stuff with the fonts on the device and you can really refine the fonts. And also another little feature, normally these devices after certain number of patrons they flash and really wipe the screen clean, so there's no ghosting, this one you can set to flash however many pages you want. Some people really like the screen totally wiped off and some people don't like the flashing. So if you wanna balance that out, you can. As far as other buttons go, their no dedicated page buttons, people like the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight because it has page buttons and it is a little bit more ergonomically feels a little bit better in your hand, but this does have an IR touchscreen, it is a responsive touchscreen. I mean, overall it works pretty well, just some people like those dedicated page buttons. But the only downside to this device is the Kobo ecosystem. That may be a strength overseas, but in the US it's a little bit of a problem. The Kobo store simply isn't as good as the Kindle store or the Nook store. You certainly have the bestsellers in there but you don't have some of the extra little features like the Kindle Lending Library and also The Breath Books that are both available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. So, not quite the number of books. The interface has been approved. It could be slightly better but Kobo has gotten better with the interface and then you don't have to say this is a really strong effort by Kobo, a solid e-reader here, it's certainly recommendable to people overseas. It really depends whether you want the Kobo ecosystem, come it does have apps available for Android and iOS devices but it may be a little bit shakier propositions for the US. But all in all, a very solid e-reader, that's the Kobo Glo. Thanks for watching.

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