Kobo eBook readers

The Kobo range includes the smallest eBook reader on the market, with a 5 inch screen. It also includes two touch-screen eInk devices and a tablet. They are available from WH Smith shops and online.

The setup procedure for a Kobo device or app requires an internet connection and a Kobo account. If you don't already have an account, you can set one up during the setup process. Setup of a device may include a firmware upgrade which in turn may require a large download, so a fast connection and good data plan are useful!

Kobo Aura HD

Watch our short video showing some features of the Kobo Aura HD that may be useful for a reader with low vision.

Watch the Kobo Aura HD eReader video with subtitles on YouTube 

The Kobo Aura HD has the largest and clearest eInk screen currently available. In many other respects, it is similar to the Kobo Touch and Kobo Glo. It weighs 240g and costs £140.

Benefits:

  • 6.8 inch eInk Pearl display with resolution of 265 dpi.
  • Ten font faces options.
  • 24 font sizes, with the largest being approximately point size 27.
  • Options for line spacing, margins and justification.
  • Visual settings apply to all books.
  • Front-light can be turned on or off. Brightness can be varied.
  • 4GB storage with additional Micro SD card slot.
  • Small (17.6 x 12.8 x 1.2 cm) and light, and thus easy to hold.

Obstacles

  • No text-to-speech feature available.
  • No text colour inversion option.
  • Cannot increase font size of library, menu items, on-screen keyboard or Store.
  • All controls other than power and light require use of the touch screen.

Kobo Touch

The Kobo Touch was released in 2011 and costs £50. It weighs 185g. It has 2GB of internal storage and has a slot for an SD memory cards.

A single battery charge can last up to one month. It can be charged from a computer using the supplied USB cable. It is possible to buy a plug separately if you prefer to charge it from a wall socket.

The only tactile controls on the device are an On/Off slider and a Home button. All other interaction is through the touch screen.

It is possible to add to the fonts that come with the device. There are no font options for menus or other facilities such as the dictionary or the purchase of eBooks from the device. You can use the Kobo Store website to purchase eBooks on your computer, and then transfer them via USB.

Benefits:

  • Ten font options.
  • Font size slider goes up to point size 36 (approximately).
  • Sliders also for line spacing and margins.
  • Justification can be off, left or full.
  • Preserves visual settings: when you open a book and customise your settings, they apply equally to any other book you open.
  • Relatively small and light with quilted rear makes it easy to hold.

Obstacles:

  • No text-to-speech feature available.
  • No text colour inversion option.
  • Cannot increase font size of menu items, on-screen keyboard or Store.

Kobo Mini

The Kobo Mini has a 127mm (5 inch) screen and weighs 135g. It has 1GB of storage, and no SD card slot for external storage. It costs £60.

In other respects, it is very similar to the Kobo Touch.

Kobo Glo

The Kobo Glo is similar to the Kobo Touch in its physical specification but is £40 more at £100.

The Kobo Glo has a built-in front light that can be turned on or off. The brightness of the light can be varied. The light can be switched on at any time, so you can use it while browsing the books on the Glo, or buying a book, or reading.

Kobo Arc range

There are three models in the Kobo Arc range. All have colour touchscreens and are Wi-Fi only. They are based on Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) with access to the Play Store. The Android screen reader, Talkback, does not work with the content of Kobo books on these devices.

As well as reading eBooks, the Kobo Arc can be used for web, email, music and films, and many other apps are available. However, only the larger model has stereo speakers.

The Kobo Arc has a 7" screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600. The 8GB storage can be expanded to 40GB with a Micro SD card (not supplied). It costs £100.

The Kobo Arc 7HD has a resolution of 1920 x 1200. There are two versions, a 16GB model costing £150, and a 32GB model costing £190. It does not have a Micro SD slot.

The Kobo Arc 10HD has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and 16GB storage. It costs £300.

The Large Text option available within Android works with menus and book content, but not the Kobo Store (where you can buy books, or download them free) or the library of books on the device.

Benefits:

  • HD colour screens with size size between 7 inch and 10 inch
  • Choice of font, size and colour themes.
  • TalkBack screen reader for some screens (but not book content).

Obstacles:

  • Largest font size for book content is point size 14 (approximately).
  • No line spacing, margins or justification options.
  • Large text and TalkBack features do not work for book content or the Kobo Store.

Reading choices from RNIB

We make it possible for you to get access to books, newspapers and magazines in the format you prefer, whether that’s braille, audio, large print or digital. You can borrow from our library service – the largest of its kind in the UK – or buy from our online shop.

RNIB reading choices