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Old 06-15-2011, 07:46 AM   #1
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Kobo Touch vs Nook Simple Touch

As the two latest electronic book readers on the market how does the new Kobo Touch and the Nook Simple Touch compare to each other? Who has done a better job of engineering a UI?
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:39 AM   #2
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Here's my take on it (from watching lots of walkthrough videos and reading articles).

No doubt it is more convenient for me to get the Kobo Touch. I'm in Canada and I can go to a Chapters store and buy it. If I have problems with the device, repairs and warranty service should be easy enough.

However, I think the Nook Touch is the superior device. I like its UI better and it's the faster device out of the two. Plus, it's got physical page turn buttons which is a big deal for me personally, it would make it much easier to use one-handed. The Nook's font and formatting options seem far superior as well (many more font options, line spacing setting which the kobo doesn't have). The Kobo people have gone on record saying they are unhappy with the font selection and will add more in a future firmware update.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:39 AM   #3
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I have not played with a Kobo yet (only online reviews and videos) but I had the chance to use a Nook Touch in a B&N store here in USA.

Based on what I saw and feel and again, using Kobo online reviews and facts, the Nook Touch looks a better device. Granted, the PDF support is better on the Kobo, but you have physical buttons on the Nook Touch and I like the B&N UI better.

Another important feature that rahulm mentioned and Kobo does not have is font and formatting options, you will get a lot with the Nook Touch.

Last edited by jocampo; 06-16-2011 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Fixing minor typos
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:59 AM   #4
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The Kobo seems to support a few more formats than the Nook, such as .cbz, .cbr (useful for comic and manga fans), html and some others as well if I recall correctly. It has a secret sudoku app installed on in it, too. I have played with it at the store and it looks like a very sweet device. Also, the Nook only has 250 mb of onboard storage for side loaded books. I haven't yet played with the Nook, as it isn't available outside of the U.S.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:43 PM   #5
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I think both companies fumbled with these devices. They could have been serious challengers to the Kindle, but there are weaknesses in both. Well of course that depends on your needs.

The new nook is worlds better than the old one, but I had a lot of ghosting problems inside the store when I was using it. It was unreadable at some points. On the nook board, its thought to be due to the sun. I didn't see the ghosting at night. As Lat said above, the memory is limited for non-B&N books. This is a real killer for me as B&N is not a store I have bought from on my ipod.

The navigation on the nook is great. Its easy to get around and find what you need. Highlighting is a bit iffy. Its not very accurate and I am not sure if its firmware or hardware. No where near as smooth as the Sony. The dictionary is easy to call up while reading. It not obvious like on the Sony or Kindle, but it works well once you get use to it.

I haven't gotten my hands on a Kobo Touch, but I am disappointed in it. I really liked the Kobo I had, but returned it. I found I wanted a dictionary for all my books, yet the Kobo still doesn't off this. This is their third model and they still don't have this basic function? The company released a press release yesterday saying they were going to implement this, but I feel it should already be there by now.

I will probably end up getting a Kindle here soon. I always like the screen, but disliked the keyboard. It was between the Kindle and Sony. I liked Sony a lot, but wanted to wait to see the new Nook. Now I can't find Sony anymore.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:46 PM   #6
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I think both companies fumbled with these devices. They could have been serious challengers to the Kindle, but there are weaknesses in both. Well of course that depends on your needs.

The new nook is worlds better than the old one, but I had a lot of ghosting problems inside the store when I was using it. It was unreadable at some points. On the nook board, its thought to be due to the sun. I didn't see the ghosting at night. As Lat said above, the memory is limited for non-B&N books. This is a real killer for me as B&N is not a store I have bought from on my ipod.

The navigation on the nook is great. Its easy to get around and find what you need. Highlighting is a bit iffy. Its not very accurate and I am not sure if its firmware or hardware. No where near as smooth as the Sony. The dictionary is easy to call up while reading. It not obvious like on the Sony or Kindle, but it works well once you get use to it.

I haven't gotten my hands on a Kobo Touch, but I am disappointed in it. I really liked the Kobo I had, but returned it. I found I wanted a dictionary for all my books, yet the Kobo still doesn't off this. This is their third model and they still don't have this basic function? The company released a press release yesterday saying they were going to implement this, but I feel it should already be there by now.

I will probably end up getting a Kindle here soon. I always like the screen, but disliked the keyboard. It was between the Kindle and Sony. I liked Sony a lot, but wanted to wait to see the new Nook. Now I can't find Sony anymore.

while yes the nook has limited space reserved for sideloading books on your device, this doesn't affect books you put on an SD card, the amount of storage is entirely up to you.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:02 PM   #7
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After playing with both, there are a few areas that favor one device or the other.

Kobo's strengths lie in the simplicity. The home screen is simply a display of the last 5 books you've opened or added to the device. Easy enough. Having a short list that you can use to build a reading list that is easy to get to is another plus. When it comes to larger collections this simplicity starts falling behind the Nook where you have search, customizable shelves, and even the ability to navigate the filesystem to find the book you want. The Nook's homescreen is a joke, unfortunately.

The industrial design is a bit better than the Nook's in my opinion, being a bit thinner, and the more standard shape actually makes it a bit easier to grip in ways the designer didn't intend. The nook's hard buttons are useful for keeping the screen clear though, and the extra width isn't something I'd call a deal-breaker in any way, shape, or form.

Where the Kobo falls way behind is treating side-loaded content like second-class citizens. Can't highlight side-loaded content, and the rendering engine is different between the two. Side-loaded content still displays page number markings in the right margin (Kobo epubs don't), and currently has bugs with displaying italics/bold (Kobo epubs display them fine). The Kobo also uses the header and footer to display the chapter title and book title, but doesn't display this information for side-loaded epubs. This might be just as well, since they actually slow the reading experience switching between chapters, and causing a double black-flash. Also, Kobo epubs only show the page numbers for the chapter, not the whole book, and I don't see a way to switch.

The nook on the other hand has gotten to the point where as long as you put content in the right folders (which Calibre does for you), side-loaded content is the same as purchased content. Highlighting, notes (which the Kobo can't do yet), and dictionary lookup all work the same in every book. And the rendering bugs in the nook have less impact on the formatting of the book (The nook doesn't understand 'sans-serif' as a value for the font-family CSS property). The nook also doesn't delve more than 1 level deep in the TOC which is a problem in some books.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:53 AM   #8
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I have a nook classic and I went with a kobo touch. The nook touch was too wide for me to hold comfortably and I didn't like the set up of the home screen. The kobo is just the right size incredibly comfortable to hold and I like the fact that they seem to be more responsive to listening to their customers. I also like fact that I can change the number of pages between the refresh on the kobo and that I am not locked into a book store- granted you aren't really on the nook- but barnes and noble ties up half the home screen with their bookstore.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:00 AM   #9
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I got the Nook Touch.

I definitely agree about the (nearly) useless homescreen. The homescreen is supposed to be the most usable and feature-packed screen, but here it mostly serves as free advertisement for B&N. The unit is pretty wide but I don't mind it since the page turn buttons make it super easy to use one-handed.

Other than that, I think it's a wonderful device and far superior to my old PRS505. I would have gone with the Kobo Touch if it had physical buttons which is just a preference of mine.

That being said, I think the Kobo team is doing an absolutely fantastic job being active and attentive to the mobileread community. If only B&N had such foresight.

Chapters/Borders has definitely earned a massive amount of brownie points from me and this is something that I will remember the next time they release a product. Unfortunately, and despite the amazing firmware upgrades, I think the lack of buttons and the way the Kobo currently treats sideloaded books makes me favor my Nook.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:49 AM   #10
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I was concerned about the lack of physical buttons on the kobo. However I have found that I adapted easily to just touching the screen instead and can still read one handed. My preference would have been buttons though.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:33 AM   #11
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I got the Nook Touch.

I definitely agree about the (nearly) useless homescreen. The homescreen is supposed to be the most usable and feature-packed screen, but here it mostly serves as free advertisement for B&N. The unit is pretty wide but I don't mind it since the page turn buttons make it super easy to use one-handed.

Other than that, I think it's a wonderful device and far superior to my old PRS505. I would have gone with the Kobo Touch if it had physical buttons which is just a preference of mine.

That being said, I think the Kobo team is doing an absolutely fantastic job being active and attentive to the mobileread community. If only B&N had such foresight.

Chapters/Borders has definitely earned a massive amount of brownie points from me and this is something that I will remember the next time they release a product. Unfortunately, and despite the amazing firmware upgrades, I think the lack of buttons and the way the Kobo currently treats sideloaded books makes me favor my Nook.

actually BN devs and customer service are quite active on the BN official Nook site and many of the same complaints, suggestions etc you see here mirror those over there and also many members here are members there as well.
There is also an on going "next update wishlist" that is always posted.
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:25 PM   #12
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actually BN devs and customer service are quite active on the BN official Nook site and many of the same complaints, suggestions etc you see here mirror those over there and also many members here are members there as well.
There is also an on going "next update wishlist" that is always posted.
That's good news. Hopefully they release an update soon.
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #13
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I have a nook classic and I went with a kobo touch. The nook touch was too wide for me to hold comfortably
But the Touch is exactly as wide as the Classic.
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Old 07-06-2011, 05:48 PM   #14
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But the Touch is exactly as wide as the Classic.
It may be but it felt much larger. I didn't care for the huge bezel around the edges and there was not enough trim around the bottom for me to hold it comfortably. The kobo touch just looks and feels better to me. So that is what I went with having compared both of them.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:56 PM   #15
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It may be but it felt much larger. I didn't care for the huge bezel around the edges and there was not enough trim around the bottom for me to hold it comfortably. The kobo touch just looks and feels better to me. So that is what I went with having compared both of them.
I know what you mean. If there were just a little more meat at the bottom of the NOOK it would make a big difference. I'm unable to hold it comfortably without a cover.
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