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Old 11-02-2014, 12:20 PM   #1
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My Voyage v Kobo H2O experience

For well over a year I have been interested in the Kobo Aura HD because of its larger storage capacity. However, when I compared it against my pw2 at the store I felt the pw2 was sharper and had better contrast. For me the clarity of the text trumps all other factors. Recently I was not terribly impressed with the specs for the Voyage. When I read the specs for the Kobo h2o I finally decided to give it a try consigned to the risk that I would keep it as a back up reader if I was not pleased. Then, before I knew that the Kobo had shipped, while at a best buy, I saw the voyage and was impressed with the snappy speed and the sharper contrast. So I picked it up. Naturally, without announcement, the h2o came in the next day. I have not been living with both devices for a week, reading the same books and switching between devices. I have therefore reached certain conclusions. I figured that it might help others to learn experience so here is my review.
Size and build.
The voyage is a beautifully put together device. The Kindle cover fits nicely and has a nice magnetic slap into place. I have big hands and I can hold it in one hand beautifully. The light sensor and my internal light sensor don’t always agree so I end up having to adjust the light. The side pressure buttons are nice but were never that important to me. The fact that the screen is flush is actually a negative for me since I used the edge of the screen to guide finger placement on the screen. The off button on the back is actually better for me since I always hit it on the bottom.
The h2o is larger, this is both good and bad. Good in that the screen allows more space for text and images. Bad in that it is not as compact in the hand. The kobo sleep cover does not sit as nicely as the Voyage sleep cover but works basically the same. Although the kobo does not have a light sensor the software allows you to adjust the light very easily and quickly by sliding your finger up and down on the far left of the screen.
I prefer the Voyage build and size but enjoy the larger h2o reading screen.
Battery life
The Voyage is similar to the PW2. The battery shows drop within a day or two.
The h2o seems to last a lot longer. I don’t seem to see the “indexing” battery hit that I got used to with the PW2. Haven’t tested them both out to confirm duration.
The Screen
So here is the biggie. Compared to the pw2 the Voyage has a beautiful screen with clear lettering and great contrast. These early units (and mine) have shown a slight gradation in brightness or tint towards the top of the screen. The screen is lit with a very cold light that looks more like a screen than a page of paper.
The h2o has a beautiful screen. The light is warm and makes the screen look more like paper than any other reader that I’ve ever seen. Side by side I much prefer it to the cold voyage light. The lighting is even throughout.
I prefer the h2o over the voyage and the voyage over the pw2.
Software-Interface
The Voyage software is snappy and responsive. Screen information can be changed intuitively. Books can be grouped in folders that are synchronized on the cloud. Unfortunately side loaded books do not get synchronized and the reader gives annoying nag message when you add them to a folder. Folders can be shown with books that are not in folders. Unfortunately you can’t limit the reader to only show reader based books.
The h2o software is more flexible in some ways and less in others. As to spacing, fonts, font weight etc… the h2o is far more flexible and versatile. The light adjusting shortcut above is another example. However, shelves for organizing books cannot be mixed with un shelved books. Also, it takes an extra step or two to get to settings. Also, there are repots of bugs none of which I’ve run across yet but I’m sure the voyage software is more solid. Once nice feature is that you can set up Calibre to automatically add books to specific bookshelves easily without need for hacks or third party add ons.
The voyage software is solid and more intuitive than the h2o. The h2o has more options related to fonts and text.
Social Networking and third party apps
Voyage includes integration with goodreads, facebook and twitter. If you want to share your reading life socially this is the device to do it with. For me, I don’t find this useful since I don’t like sharing my reading on social networking sites.
The h2o lacks all of these social networking connections in the reader but adds something that has changed the way I use the e-reader. On the kindles I would subscribe to the New Yorker and regret that the Amazon subscription did not give me access to the website and would not let me see the content that was left out of the kindle edition. Also, if I wanted to read news articles online I would have to add them to Instapaper and, every so many articles send the digest to my kindle. The h2o has Pocket integration built in. Pocket is like instapaper on steroids. I can find an article on a web site, press the pocket button and it gives me a screen asking me to associate tags with the article. Once I do it is saved. I can open my pocket application on a any computer, iphone or pad. On the h2o I select pocket and all of my articles are synchronized, with pictures, each in a separate file that I can archive or delete after reading. The layout is great. I have even sent instapaper articles to pocket so they are instantly available to read on the road on the h2o. As a result of this feature I cancelled my amazon subscription to the New Yorker, got the online all digital subscription (cheaper). I can now read the new Yorker on my computer, ipad and iphone with all the content. When I spy a long article that I want to read I send it to pocket and open up the h2o to enjoy. I hope that amazon adopts this some day for its ereaders.
For me the h2o approach serves my needs far better than the voyage.
Conclusion
So after a week of using the two devices what am I going to do? Well, I’ve decided that the voyage is going back. It is a great reader and easy to use but the h2o fits my needs better. Naturally I am holding on to my beloved pw2 as a backup, for reading now and then and so I can order books from Amazon but the h2o will be my daily reader. Hope this is helpful to others.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:57 PM   #2
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Great summary. Minor tweak: the Kobo firmware has (optional) Facebook integration, for sharing quotes/what you're reading/reviews.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:23 PM   #3
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thanks your opions.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
Great summary. Minor tweak: the Kobo firmware has (optional) Facebook integration, for sharing quotes/what you're reading/reviews.
FW 3.11.0 also has a hidden Twitter option. But, as I don't use Twitter, I have no idea if it works.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:42 AM   #5
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FW 3.11.0 also has a hidden Twitter option. But, as I don't use Twitter, I have no idea if it works.
wow, I want to know more about this! Anyone ?
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by vandafc View Post
wow, I want to know more about this! Anyone ?
You need to add the following into the configuration file on the device:

Code:
[FeatureSettings]
Twitter=true
The "FeatureSettings" section might already be there, so add the other line in the same section. If you are doing this on Windows, DO NOT use Notepad. Use a Unix line end aware editor such as Notepad++.

With this in place, a Twitter section is added to the Accounts page of the settings. Pressing "Sign in" displays a Twitter page to login to your account. As I don't have a Twitter account, that's as far as I've gone.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
You need to add the following into the configuration file on the device:

Code:
[FeatureSettings]
Twitter=true
The "FeatureSettings" section might already be there, so add the other line in the same section. If you are doing this on Windows, DO NOT use Notepad. Use a Unix line end aware editor such as Notepad++.

With this in place, a Twitter section is added to the Accounts page of the settings. Pressing "Sign in" displays a Twitter page to login to your account. As I don't have a Twitter account, that's as far as I've gone.
I might try this, thank you.
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Old 11-03-2014, 01:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
You need to add the following into the configuration file on the device:

Code:
[FeatureSettings]
Twitter=true
The "FeatureSettings" section might already be there, so add the other line in the same section. If you are doing this on Windows, DO NOT use Notepad. Use a Unix line end aware editor such as Notepad++.

With this in place, a Twitter section is added to the Accounts page of the settings. Pressing "Sign in" displays a Twitter page to login to your account. As I don't have a Twitter account, that's as far as I've gone.
I did try this but I can't get a Twitter log on page to display, it's on the Account page but selecting sign in doesn't do anything
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Old 11-03-2014, 02:59 PM   #9
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Stingo, thank you for sharing your experiences with the Kobo H20 and the Kindle Voyage. It was an interesting read, especially because I was considering buying the Voyager. This was a couple months ago, however, and I simply couldn't wait so I bought myself a Kobo Aura.

I think both both Kindle and Kobo's devices have excellent build quality, at least when I've seen them in store. The only thing I (sort of) wish my Kobo had was the larger bottom bezel that all Kindle's have because it makes it way easier to hold. I don't like the size of the larger H20, but the Voyage would probably be fine for my uses (I like to carry my ereader in my back pocket everywhere I go so I can slip in a few minutes of reading here and there...). But I think you missed the main point of the H20: it's water-proof. That means reading in the pool, the bathtub, the sauna (twice a week; what can I say, I'm Finnish!), or the beach. With my non-water-proof Aura none of those except the beach are even remote options. (Maybe a Ziploc bag would work? Hmm... has anybody tried that?)

Page-turn buttons would be a major plus for me, and it is this one thing over anything else that would really draw me to the to the Voyage. Especially if there was some gesture to stop screen taps from doing anything. You know, when holding a book, it's not held gingerly by the edges; it's held by firmly grasping the page and the cover, especially with my meaty hands. With touch screens this is simply not possible. Unfortunately, I don't think the Voyage has this option...

Battery life is so good on all e-readers that this is a moot point. I've never had the battery on my Aura go less than 50%.

I don't like to hear that the Voyage's display is too "screen-like". With the new Carta display I thought that this was supposed to be improved, but I suppose it has more to do with the front-light than anything else. My mother has a Paperwhite2 and it's display and light is comparable to my Aura. Does the Voyage's screen have higher contrast than previous-gen displays?

Software and Interface is one area where I disagree. Unless the Voyage came with a software upgrade pw devices didn't get, I don't like the Kindle software very much. It seemed too limited. I didn't like how I was limited to a choice of six fonts that all suck. Perhaps this has something to do with my technical background, but I had a lot of issues with it. By and far the largest issue I had with it was the incompatibility with every library system in Canada. I could get around that with the help of my friend Alf, but I'd rather not. My Kobo "just works" with my library e-lending system. And in retrospect, there are a lot of neat little features like easy back-light changing (two-finger swipe on capacitive screens), showing the cover of the current book on the sleep screen, the neat tiled home screen, and the ability to change the tap locations that I would sorely miss if they were to suddenly disappear. The biggest advantage Kindle has over Kobo (IMO) in the software department is more content. But I don't buy books (neither do I steal them), so this is not important to me.

Finally, I don't care in the slightest about social networking. Except for reading reviews of books on goodReads, I think all social networks are useless. Pocket integration, however, I use all the time (that is, whenever Pocket arbitrarily decides that what I Pocket-ed has text in it and can be considered an "Article". Half the time Pocket decides that the text-only html webpage I Pocket-ed is of type "Other" which won't sync to my Kobo).

Here ends my commentary.

Regards, Inkblot



Postscript: ()
This last comment is mostly unrelated to the topic at hand, but has anybody noticed the lack of conflict between, for example, Kindle and Kobo owners? In the smartphone, computer, tablet, or any other tech world, the fanboy-ism displayed is simply disgusting. To my delight, I have seen very little of this irrational, angry behaviour in the eReader-verse.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:24 PM   #10
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I did try this but I can't get a Twitter log on page to display, it's on the Account page but selecting sign in doesn't do anything
From memory, it is accessing a page from Twitter. The WiFi needs to be enabled and connected. Can you use the browser to connect to anywhere?
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Old 11-04-2014, 04:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
From memory, it is accessing a page from Twitter. The WiFi needs to be enabled and connected. Can you use the browser to connect to anywhere?
Yes the browser is working fine and enabled, I even put in on the Twitter log in page but nothing happens when I press sign in and I've also noticed the words 'share activity on Twitter' with the check box are not showed underneath the sign in line like it is with Facebook.

I just tried again, it brings up connecting then crops back to the accounts page. I'd love this to work. I don't want to share with Facebook, but I'd love to with Twitter.

Last edited by Josieb1; 11-04-2014 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:39 AM   #12
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I was actually wondering something regarding the H20. I've just recently moved to a PW2 from a Kobo Touch and part of the reason I did was because of the sluggish and sometimes completely unresponsive screen. I saw an H20 being put on display in my local WH Smith on Sunday and went back in yesterday to see if it was operational. I loved the screen - it's so beautiful. But when I went to have a play about with it it seemed extremely unresponsive - menus took forever to appear, the sliders were jerky, and so on. As this was one of the reasons I went off the Kobo Touch a bit in the first place, can anyone who's got one confirm whether this is usual/unusual?
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:31 AM   #13
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I have a H20 and my kobo is very responsive. Maybe the one you saw is hindered by the demo mode they put the devices on.
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:43 AM   #14
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In my experience the H2O is definitely not as responsively snappy as the Voyage. Highlighting is a little less accurate so it takes a more careful touch. Page turning, however feels the same.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
But when I went to have a play about with it it seemed extremely unresponsive - menus took forever to appear, the sliders were jerky, and so on. As this was one of the reasons I went off the Kobo Touch a bit in the first place, can anyone who's got one confirm whether this is usual/unusual?
No, your observations are correct.
Kobo ereaders are a little sluggish or unresponsive when compared to other manufacturers ereaders. You'll get used to it (or won't notice it anymore) if you start using it on a daily basis. But don't go back… or do a side by side comparison.

This is not something new. The Aura HD, Aura have the same issue(s).
Kobo should have upgraded the main internal components to increase the overall speed and responsiveness of the H2O and/or optimize the firmware further.
I don't know which 1 GHz processor the Kobo uses but it seems to be slower then other 1 GHz processors that other ereader manufacurers may use in their devices. But is probably not just the processor that makes the H2O slower than the competition.
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