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Old 04-26-2015, 09:12 PM   #1
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Kindle and Kobo

I have a Kindle Voyage and a Kobo Aura, among others, and I've put my current book on both devices. This isn't one I got from either store so it works well on both. My original idea was to alternate chapters, a chapter on the Voyage and a chapter on the Kobo in an attempt to get past the feeling that whichever device I happen to be using at the moment is the right one and give myself a more realistic comparison.

I began on the Voyage using a cheap and very light case that I like and at the second chapter I switched to the Kobo, also with a case. Then I took the cases off both of them and read another chapter on each.

I just can't get away from the fact that the Voyage feels like a quality device. It's screen is considerably better. Even though I have more fine control of the look of the Aura the text never looks as good as the Voyage. The features on the voyage are generally better but that's likely because I know them better, having used a Paperwhite as my primary reader till a few weeks ago.

The Kobo feels right in my hand and somehow that's as important as all the rest. It just fits. The Voyage is light enough that it's not very rounded edges don't really bother me but I know they're there and they always seem on the verge of being too sharp.

All the other features on the Kobo are good enough. On the Voyage they're excellent. I've known for a while that the way the device feels in my hand, or maybe more accurately the fact that I don't notice how it feels in my hand, is important to me. I think now I'm beginning to realize just how important it really is.

Before I began this there was no doubt in my mind that if I could only keep one it would be the Voyage but now I'm beginning to wonder. Well, maybe not because I have so much invested in Kindle books, but this isn't about books or ecosystems; it's about devices. It would really be hard to choose between these two. Of course I'm just 4 chapters in so I guess I can't really be sure yet.

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Old 04-26-2015, 09:40 PM   #2
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That's an interesting way to test. I think the answer to which you would keep will come when you realise you haven't changed reader for a couple of chapters.

Of course, there is another answer: Get a Kobo Glo HD. The same screen as the Voyage with all the font adjustments of the Kobo firmware. And it feels pretty good in my hand.

Your comments are interesting as they
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:19 PM   #3
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Bear in mind that you're not comparing Kindle and Kobo as such; you're comparing two different generations of device with very different screens (and price points). Kindle Voyage and Kobo Glo HD or H2O would be a better comparison if you wanted to get an idea of the differences between the two companies/lines.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:33 PM   #4
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Bear in mind that you're not comparing Kindle and Kobo as such; you're comparing two different generations of device with very different screens (and price points). Kindle Voyage and Kobo Glo HD or H2O would be a better comparison if you wanted to get an idea of the differences between the two companies/lines.
I do realize that they're different classes of device and that this comparison won't be any kind of universal answer to "which one should I buy?". They're pretty different and I have them both and the reason for the comparison is to help myself figure out a little more about my own tastes in an ereading device.

I have some really superb ereaders. A Kobo Mini, which, if it had a light would certainly be my reader of choice, but it doesn't, and a couple of Paperwhites, which I loved till I got the Voyage. Actually the Paperwhites began to seem a bit clunky when I got the Kobo Aura but the screen was so much better I mostly used the Aura for short stories and the Paperwhite for novels. Now that I have the Voyage it still seems a bit heavy in my hand compared to the Aura but it's a lot smaller and a bit lighter than the Paperwhites.

Obviously what keeps happening is these things keep getting better, each in it's own way, and spoiling me a bit more. What I really want is one that's perfect in all ways and I can't figure out why all these manufacturers aren't asking me exactly what I want so they can make it just for me. But they keep right on making devices for everyone, not just me, so I have to figure out which of the available devices I prefer.

I do plan to get a Kobo Glo HD after they've been out long enough that I can get some user reviews and let them work out the bugs in the original version. If I do get one I'll do some more comparing.

By the way I just this morning bought a used Kobo Glo. I'm a retired computer programmer and one quality most programmers have in common is their love of confusion and this should confuse my situation even more.

I suspect that the final result of all this comparing will be that I like something about them all and I'll use them all until that magic perfect device comes along. OMIGOD! Then what will I do?

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Old 04-27-2015, 08:33 PM   #5
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By the way I just this morning bought a used Kobo Glo. I'm a retired computer programmer and one quality most programmers have in common is their love of confusion and this should confuse my situation even more.
I've always been of the opinion: "It was hard to write, it should be hard to use"
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I suspect that the final result of all this comparing will be that I like something about them all and I'll use them all until that magic perfect device comes along. OMIGOD! Then what will I do?
Wear head gear to protect us from swine faeces? Or maybe have a pair of skates included in the coffin?

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Old 04-28-2015, 03:36 PM   #6
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I've begun to realize that by doing this kind of comparison I'm paying a lot more attention to the devices than I normally do. The usual thing is I pick one up and get lost in it's story and forget the device is even there until I put it down. So I'm aware of impressions while picking it up, turning it on (or opening the cover) and while turning it off and putting it down. Now I'm making myself stop and really think about it from time to time as I read. I hope this doesn't become a habit but for the moment it's fine.

I've added a couple of factors to my opinions about the two devices, both of which are pro-Kindle. The first is that I keep running into little, not very important bugs on the Kobo. One example that recurs from time to time is that the border around the definition of a highlighted word will be incomplete. I'll see about half of the border, usually on the left-most portion of the definition and the border on the right will be gone. This doesn't make it difficult to read the definition so I've probably been seeing it for a while and didn't notice. I did check a couple of other books and I was able to see that bug in them, too. As a reader I don't really care much. As a former programmer and project leader I think whichever programmer at Kobo wrote that code needs a pay cut. It seems to happen about one time out of every 8 or 10 times I look at a definition. I haven't looked for it yet on the Kobo Mini. Maybe I won't. I've had enough devices disillusion me.

Another thing I've noticed is that the Aura's kerning is often uneven. Not always and I haven't really looked for patterns to determine when it's off. Again, this doesn't bother me enough to have noticed it in the past so it's a minor thing.

I used to have a home computer, a Radio Shack Color Computer, that didn't have a GUI. In fact this was before there were GUI's. But it did have one word processor that put the computer into graphics mode and drew the letters on the screen. This was before the days of True Type fonts, etc. and it didn't look great but it looked a lot better than the monospaced text I was accustomed to. Anyway, I was fascinated that the letters weren't evenly spaced and I asked around about that and that's when I learned about kerning. I was curious about it so I wrote a little program that would, in graphics mode, draw letters on the screen, spacing them proportionally, to see how that was done. My little test program never produced anything that looked as good as that word processor and I worked pretty hard at improving it, trying to understand how it could be done. So I know this is difficult stuff. The thing is that Kindle does it very well. Kobo does it fairly well most of the time and is sometimes sloppy.

These aren't the only bugs but they're the ones that stick in my mind. The rest were a bit obscure and might have more to do with my not understanding how to prepare a book for the devices using Calibre than anything the programmers of the devices did.

None of this overrides the fact that so far I'm really enjoying the chapters read on the Kobo Aura more than those read on the Kindle Voyage. Not a lot more, but the way it fits my hand is so much better that it makes up for this other stuff.

Kobo, in case you happen to run across this post, if you'll make a Kobo Mini with a front light I'll buy one and you can be as sloppy as you like programming it. I promise!

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Old 05-01-2015, 06:23 PM   #7
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An interesting little twist in my comparision arrived today. I ordered a used Kobo Glo on Ebay at a very low price after reading in these forums how much better it's screen is than the Aura's screen. It arrived today, several days early and, lo and behold, it's a new one in a factory sealed box. I had ordered a pink one because it was cheaper although I much prefer black, and sure enough, they sent me a black one. Nice!

Anyway, this screen really is a lot better than the Aura's screen so I'll be continuing the comparison with it. However, it's still only fair when compared to the Voyage or even to the Paperwhite. The light is much more even now but the text just doesn't have the darkness of the Kindle text. On the Kindle, as the light brightens the background whitens and the text stays black up to about 70% and after that the text begins to grey as well. On the Kobo as the light brightens the text also lightens as the background whitens so you don't really get the contrast.

That's not terrible. The contrast is okay. It's very readable. The Kindles are just better by quite a lot.

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Old 05-02-2015, 03:49 PM   #8
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The contrast is okay. It's very readable. The Kindles are just better by quite a lot.
Not really surprising as the Kobo Glo and Aura have the older Pearl screen and the Kindle Voyage and PW2 have the newer Carta screen.

If you're comparing screen clarity for Kobo vs Kindle Voyage you'd need the Kobo AuraH2O or GloHD which both have Carta.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:46 AM   #9
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Not really surprising as the Kobo Glo and Aura have the older Pearl screen and the Kindle Voyage and PW2 have the newer Carta screen.

If you're comparing screen clarity for Kobo vs Kindle Voyage you'd need the Kobo AuraH2O or GloHD which both have Carta.
Possibly true but I'm trying to compare devices, not technologies.

Then again, my Paperwhite 1 has the Pearl screen and, while it's not as good a screen as the Paperwhite 2 or the Voyage it's still considerably better than the Kobos. I suspect this is more about the way the two companies have used the technology than about the technology itself.

I just finished another chapter on the Voyage. It's screen is significantly better than the Kobo screens and I think in the end that's going to make it the winner. But I find that the simplicity of the way the Kobo lets me move around in the book easily and the way the Kobos feel in my hand makes them a very close second. Really, the Glo is a very close second. The Aura is a not quite so close third place. I'm not really finished yet and I'm trying to leave my mind open till I am but I'm well past half way and I'll be surprised if I change my mind. So I guess my attempt at an open mind isn't going so well.

I'm also finding that the dictionary on the Kindles is considerably better. The Kobo dictionary is pretty good but it's definitions are much shorter and sometimes less clear and also occasionally just not there.

Both platforms are somewhat lacking in different areas on their translation feature. I can use the Kobo's built-in translation when I'm away from my Wifi. I can do that with the Kindle since it's 3G but if it was Wifi I couldn't. However, both platforms lack Latin translation and that's probably the most common other language in English books. My current book has quite a few Latin phrases in it and I have to run to the computer and find it there. I'd certainly be willing to pay a bit extra to have Latin included.

An interesting thing I'm finding is that at the end of each chapter when it's time to switch devices I'm tempted to stay with my current device. That's true regardless of which device that is. I'm really pretty happy with all of them and the one I'm using seems like the right one. It's only when I'm not reading but thinking about them that one seems better than another. I'm comparing excellent ereaders. I guess I knew that going in but I certainly know it now.

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Old 05-06-2015, 08:00 PM   #10
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Well, I finished the book and I guess that means I finished my little test. My idea was that the device I wanted to use for my next book would be the winner but I've surprised myself. I don't really care that much. They each have their strengths and advantages. None has serious flaws but they all have little flaws.

I don't think I have a strong enough preference to matter. I am reading my next book now with the Kobo Glo but that wasn't a matter of preference. It was the device at hand when I decided what to read next.

So no winner but I have learned a few things. First, the book was from Amazon but I did conversions without DRM and used them on all platforms. I didn't want features such as X-ray to be part of this. It's strictly a device comparison. I've gotten used to depending on Amazon's feature set, X-Ray, Whispersync, etc. but in this case I avoided using those features to keep things fair and I found that I like reading more without them. Somehow I feel more free. It's me and the book, not me and the book and Amazon. I'm not sure if or why that makes sense but I'm sure it's real. I'll be doing without those features for a while and then try them again to decide what I want to do in the long term.

Going back and forth from the Kindles to the Kobos like I was I found myself caring less and less about the advantages of each. The screen is better on the Kindles and the Kobos do feel better while holding them but little by little I found I really didn't care that much.

So what should people get? I really don't think the device matters much. Looking just at the platforms I think Amazon is the very clear winner. They have the most books, mostly at the best prices and they have the most and the best sales. Their store is the best by far. Their service is certainly best. I've removed concern from features from consideration because I'm not sure I'll be using their reading features anymore. Time will tell. Even if I do use them in the future I doubt they'll ever matter much to me again.

Of course there are other platforms. I've left Nook and the Boox and Pocketbook, etc completely out of this because I don't have any experience or exposure to them.

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Old 05-07-2015, 11:20 AM   #11
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I know exactly what you mean about the FEEL of an ebook reader, without getting into any other discussion of any other issues or features: Just the FEEL.

One of the best-feeling ebook readers that I ever owned, along with the balance inherent in that reader, was the Nook ST.

I think I made a joking post a few years back about taking out the Nook's guts and just tossing them away, and replacing that empty shell with the guts from another reader.

I have a Kindle Paperwhite (second gen./2 gigs) and it just doesn't feel right unless it has a cover on it. But that brings up a whole series of issues about what cover feels 'correct' for a particular user.

I have two protective covers for my Kobo HD, and both have subtle issues that are bothersome. Without some kind of cover, the thing is too slick to hold comfortably - for my tastes.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:17 PM   #12
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I agree with you about Nook ST, it was gorgeous.

I compared a Glo with Paperwhite 1 quite recently, Glo's light and screen were much better for me.

Anyway, even if Amazon produces an ereader as good as a hardcover, I will never buy it. It has terrible typography compared to RMSDK. There is no hyphenation, this is unacceptable for me. While I might accept limited typefaces if quality is much greater, bad typography has no excuse for a device made for reading. I can't even comprehend how people don't care about it, I am being truthful here, I honestly don't understand why people don't care?

But then I count typography as a hobby, so maybe I am the weird one.

PS. Pressure sensitive button is a weird design choice too, why not put a proper button?

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Old 05-07-2015, 01:56 PM   #13
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I, for one, absolutely detest hyphenation. It takes me out of reading instantly. But I agree, the fonts on later Kindles aren't particularly good. I adore the sans-serif font on my non-touch basic, unfortunately they changed it on the 2014 basic, and not for the better.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:08 PM   #14
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How do you read printed books then?

I don't have any printed novels without hyphenation.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:19 PM   #15
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I have not read printed books for years (except one or two, and I really struggled with them). Perhaps that's the problem. I've gotten too used with Kindle text where there's no hyphenation.
Or perhaps it's because the Kindle screen is small compared to printed books, so many things that don't bother me in paper books really bother me on kindle...
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