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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Kobo Vox review:

Kobo Vox

The Kobo works well enough as an e-reader, but don't expect the smoothness of an iPad--or even a Kindle Fire.

All the feature that you'd expect from an entry-level Android tablet are here: a Web browser, e-mail and calendar apps, links to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and easy access to streaming media apps like YouTube and Rdio. Oh, and because there's an integrated app store, you have the option to add plenty more apps, albeit not that many that are worthwhile.

Of course, part of the allure of getting a Vox is the tight integration with the Kobo app and Store, which features hundreds of thousands of titles, as well as magazine and newspaper subscriptions through the pre-loaded Zinio and PressReader apps.

We like Kobo, and we like its reading app and all statistics and social media features it includes. But what you get here is the Kobo for Android app, which is also available on other generic tablets with similar specs that cost even less (closer to $150). So, as I said, there's nothing terribly special here.

I actually think the Vox will get a bit better over time. Kobo clearly rushed it out to have something to counter the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet and it's taken some hard knocks from reviewers (that's what usually happens when you put out a device with beta software on it).

Just another Android tablet.

It's gradually making the device more stable and smoother operating, though its processor remains a limiting factor. The other issue is that it simply has a pretty generic look and feel to it. And while Amazon's Kindle Fire isn't all that sexy looking either (it has a bit smaller footprint), its snazzy user interface makes it look a lot more inviting. The Nook Tablet is also a clear step up both in terms of performance (I think it runs better than the Fire) and design.

So there you have it. The Vox's biggest fault is that it's not exceptional in any way. In fact, it's rather mundane. And in today's highly competitive market, that's not going to cut it. I'm not saying that in a mean way. I'm just being honest.

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