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Hands-on with the Kobo eReader Touch Edition

The ebook market continues to heat up and the new Kobo eReader Touch Edition is one of the best dedicated ebook readers available today. The touchscreen has been optimized without any compromise in the eInk display. The Kobo eReader Touch Edition has an excellent form factor and functionality to make your ebook reading experience one of the best.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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The ebook market continues to heat up and the new Kobo eReader Touch Edition is one of the best dedicated ebook readers available today. The touchscreen has been optimized without any compromise in the eInk display. The Kobo eReader Touch Edition has an excellent form factor and functionality to make your ebook reading experience one of the best.

Check out the ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer blog for more of my hands-on video and more detailed thoughts on the Kobo eReader Touch Edition.

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The back of the retail box shows the available colors and lists some other information on the Kobo eReader.

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The black Kobo eReader Touch Edition was present in the box after lifting up the top cover.

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There is a USB cable, some information, and promotional materials for the Read On campaign.

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The welcome screen prompts you to connect your new Kobo eReader to your PC and use the desktop software. You can install the desktop software on either a Windows PC or Apple computer.

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There are a couple of documents installed on the Kobo out of the box. The home screen shows these documents.

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The tutorial walks you through the device, including describing the home screen.

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The new Nook is wider than the Kobo eReader Touch Edition, but also has physical buttons to turn pages.

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Here you can see the difference in width between the Nook and Kobo.

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The Kobo eReader Touch Edition sits on top of the new Nook and shows it as being narrower by about 1/2 inch.

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The back of the Kobo eReader Touch Edition has a comfortable back. Both devices have soft touch material on the back so they feel good in your hand.

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The Touch Edition fits very well in my hand.

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A microSD card slot is present on the Kobo eReader Touch Edition so you can carry a huge number of ebooks and documents.

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There is a slider power/lock switch on top and as you can see there is a nice design on the back of the device.

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As you can see on the Home screen the last five books you read show up and are easy to access.

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There are seven available font types on the Kobo eReader Touch Edition in the current firmware. Kobo may provide more with updates too.

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There are 12 font sizes, line spacing controls, margin controls, and justification available in the far right lower menu.

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You can navigate to various parts of the book you are reading.

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You can access various areas of the ebook and device through this menu.

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There are a couple of advanced settings available while you read ebooks. One setting is the ability to control how often page refreshes take place.

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Selecting the number of pages between refreshes.

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Tap and hold to select words and parts of your ebook for highlighting or looking up in a dictionary.

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After you selected some text you can add a highlight, look it up in a dictionary, or share it on Facebook using the menu options in the far left corner.

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Here is what a typical dictionary entry looks like.

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You will need to have a wireless connection and need to login to your Facebook account in order to share your reading experience.

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A pop-up QWERTY keyboard appears on the touchscreen so you can enter text.

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Share your reading experience on Facebook by entering something to post on your Wall.

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There is one hardware button on the front of the device, centered below the display.

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If you have any questions on using the device there is a full help file on it to review and understand.

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There are several settings available to you from the Home screen by tapping the gear icon in the bottom left.

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Sleep and power settings let you control when the display goes to sleep and powers off.

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The Reading Life settings control reading activity and award program settings. This is a rather unique aspect of the Kobo eReader.

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Various device information is present in the settings.

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You can control your wireless connection and even launch the web browser from this area of settings. The web browser is a basic browser, but is there for occasional use.

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As you can see the ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer page appears on the Kobo eReader Touch Edition.

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The Kobo store is accessible on the Touch Edition and lets you find the books you wish to enjoy.

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There are various categories and list to browse within the store.

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You can browse by category to find ebooks.

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You can also search through the store.

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My Windows Phone 7 book is in the Kobo store.

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As you perform tasks on the Kobo you earn awards.

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You can preview ebooks on the Kobo.

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The preview includes the first part of books, as you can see here.

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The controls are a bit different for PDF documents. As you can see you can rotate them into landscape orientation.

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Kobo eReader Touch Edition gallery 1

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Kobo eReader Touch Edition gallery 2

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