Tuesday, February 05, 2013

the e-reader debate, kobo and gobii

hi there

well, wouldn't you know, in the space of a week i seem to be the proud owner of two of these "ebook" or "ereader" (add hyphons as you feel the need) devices. i now have a kobo and a gobii. the kobo was purchased as Pick N Pay, apparently heading towards the end of their exclusive distribution deal, had knocked R200 off the price. the gobii was a most generous gift from my brother-in-law, Grant, and indeed Gillian and Katie and Daniel, in advance of my birthday.

at the time of writing this, i can tell you that the price of each was the same - R799. for an interesting comparison for you, the most famous of these devices, the amazon kindle, costs R1499 at an entry level model. that means you could (like me) get both of these devices for just R100 more than you would spend on the rather more famous one.

 in fairness, i have never handled a kindle. i cannot with any level of knowledge tell you, then, that either or both are better than the amazon product. what i can do, however, is give you my findings on both of these devices on the off chance you have googled me and are considering a buy. if this helps, bonus.

a warning up front, though - i believe the gobii at present is only available in South Africa. if you are not from down here, well, sorry, some info will not be of much use here, but i cannot for the life of me think in the most basic of terms how one colour ereader would be radically different from another.

moving on then, and what do you get for your money would be a good first question. with the kobo, you get the kobo. with the gobii you get a nice pouch (currently housing our kobo until the kobo cover lands from, oddly, amazon) and a R160 voucher for ebooks from kalahari.com, that website presently being the only place you can buy a gobii from. kind of 1-0 gobii at the moment, then, although in fairness when you register with kobo they give you a discount voucher.

my gobii, if you must ask, is housed in a most smart leather case, also a gift from the gang in NZ.

what's reading like on both of them, you may well ask next. mostly enjoyable and rather addictive. i was wary of an ereader to start with, finding reading a book on a PC tiresome, but i was pleasantly surprised. it is an absolute pleasure to read on either of these devices. i managed to finish off a 250+ page book in just over a day, on and off, something i rarely could do with a standard book. 

something i had read on the internet reviews was that the colour ereaders "might" give you a headache. well, perhaps they did for some people, but not for me. it's basically an LCD screen, smaller but otherwise no different from a PC monitor or fancy television. if you don't get headaches from that it is unlikely that you will get one from reading on the gobii, then.

the glare thing with a colour ereader is, alas, true. it was impossible outside unless in the shade. directly under lights in the house was problematic too. no such problem, inside or out, with the kobo. if you are a frequent reader in all sorts of random lighting circumstances, the kobo is the one.

navigating a book differs on the two. the kobo being called a "kobo touch" tells you that it is entirely touch screen, save for a menu button and a power button. i have a natural tendency to have touch screen devices, what with having big hands and thus big fingers and thumbs. for the most part i was fine touching the sides to go to the next page, but every now and then i "double tapped" and skipped a page, or somehow hit the middle and brought up the menu.

gobii offers a no-nonsense button only approach. i wouldn't call my issues with the touch screen on the kobo a major stumbling block, but my preference would be for the buttons. i think the cheap, entry level kindle is all touch, except it seems from the pictures to have page navigation buttons. that would have been very nice, but probably very lawsuit inviting, on the kobo. once you get the hang of it it's pretty straightforward. 

if you are using your ereader as an ereader alone, storage space is almost irrelevant. for the record, though, the kobo has a 2GB capacity, but 1GB is reserved for "operating software". the 1GB left is for books, and that is enough to store hundreds if not thousands. how many can you read at once?

the gobii is a 4GB device, with roughly 3.5GB available for storage. a very neat trick of the gobii is that it plays most video file formats and music too, so you may well end up using that. if for some reason the onboard space is not enough, both feature a "micro SD" slot for a memory card. go wild.

gobii's impressive range of functions comes with a price, and that price is battery life. you can get about 10 hours of reading or 5 hours of music and/or video off a full charge. oh dear. the kobo, however, will give many hours of reading, with an "average use" seeing a full charge last for about a month.

which one would be the one to get, then? to be honest, and as much as i rather like amazon, if you have the funds for a kindle and are considering buying one, rather just buy both of these. i don't travel a great deal and thus at a push the gobii would be the slight favourite for me since it's easy enough to recharge overnight. but i wouldn't want to give up on my kobo at all, although my (considerably) better half seems to have "adopted" it, along with that Fifty Shades business.

i am not sure me saying "get both if you can" is much help, but if it has been, splendid! in summary, though, if you are mostly reading in or around the home then the gobii (or variant in your country) strikes me as the winner; for those who take many travels for whatever reason the kobo seems ace.

my great thanks to Grant, Gillian, Katie and Daniel once again - this device really is splendid in the woo woo what a tomato sense and is one of the most class gifts i have ever been given!

happy reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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