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Old 07-13-2019, 04:19 PM   #1
WillW
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Trying to love Kobo, but...

After some years with my Kindle Paper White 2, Iím trying out the Kobo Clara HD. My first impressions arenít all good, and there is much to miss about the Kindle - in particular the ďGO TOĒ button, which takes you any page or chapter of your choice, or to the beginning or end of the book. Also the BACK button, returning you to where you were after referencing some other part of the book, or the menu. I also prefer the page number & percentage taking so little space at the bottom of the page. Also the fact that it just works, the screen is evenly lit, and it's generally quicker.

What I really like about the Clara is the adjustable warm light, except when set to auto, when it goes haywire, altering the shade at random. There is also some unevenness, with brighter edges on both sides on the lower half of the screen. Not too serious, but kind of aggravating. The firmware does seem quite glitchy. Occasionally a page turn will suddenly expand the font to enormous size! The justification just doesnít work at all.
Itís also pretty slow, not the page turns, but most other operations in the settings.

Iíll use it for reading over the weekend, and see if can love it enough to overlook its faults. My current thinking is probably not. But having tried it, Iíd now really like a reader with the same kind of screen lighting (without the brighter edges). I donít really want to go the route of the up-coming new Kindle Oasis, and am wondering abut the Aura H20. I like the idea of the slightly larger screen, but does the Aura have the same firmware as the Clara? Or the same screen light issues? That could be the deal breaker.

I really want to like Kobo, but Kobo needs to up its game just a little bit. Iím a bit picky, true, but is expecting an expensive thing to work properly unreasonable?

How is the latest Aura H20? Better? Or different reader with same behaviour?
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:06 PM   #2
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The light leaking from the bottom is a very well known issue with the Clara. There are ways to fix it, from simply squeezing the edges until the light seals, to opening the device and adding a bit of tape around the edges. But regardless, the H20 has a perfectly evenly lit screen, and no known lighting issue. (The Forma, however, does have a different issue. There is a visibly darker grey and more bluish bar of light along the one edge, about 4mm thick.

The H20, and indeed, all Kobo e-ink readers, use essentially the same firmware.

The Automatic light does not go haywire. It adjust the color tone so the most amber setting corresponds to the time you set as the 'bedtime'

I have never experienced, or seen anyone mention, the problem the font size changing on a page turn. I don't even know how that would be possible to glitch, since the Kobo does not change font size on gestures.

Since you say Justification doesn't work, I'm going to go on the assumption you are sideloading your own epub books. (Justification setting will not overwrite the book formatting for individual paragraphs. If an author or publisher put code in the book that demands all paragraphs be left-justified, that is what they will be.) If you follow the developer thread to customize your firmware, there are user made patches that will let you modify this behaviour.

However, for a simpler change, I would suggest installing the Kobo Touch Extended plugin to calibre, and use that to send a book to your Kobo. That will modify the epub to Kobo's native format, (usually called kepub) and will change the behaviour of the kobo in a number of ways I think you will find more similar to the Kindle. (Alas, still no ability to jump to a specific page.) You should be at least on firmware version 4.14 before attempting this. If you have not been connecting your kobo to interenet to allow updates, consider doing so, or use the thread here to find and download the firmware file yourself.
The Kepub book format adds a large header at the top of the page the same size as the footer with the page number. However, with current firmware, both header and footer are easy to turn off from the reading options.

Last edited by rashkae; 07-13-2019 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:51 PM   #3
WillW
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Thank you for the input. I didn't know about the Calibre plugin, I'll try it tomorrow.
But yes, the auto function on the light does behave strangely. When I set it to auto, in daylight, in a few seconds it will move the Natural Light slider to the left, and then again until it is off and only the bluer main light remains on. In the evening, it slides it almost all the way to the right until it's just yellow. Perhaps this is what it's meant to do, if so, it's not exactly subtle! I'm leaving it off.
The font thing has only happened a couple of times. I'd assumed I was somehow swiping in the wrong place, but I'm not. I can't replicate it and it hasn't happened again. A glitch I suppose.
Good to know the Aura H20 has an evenly lit screen. I'm very tempted to try one if John Lewis will take this Clara back. As I say, I really want to like the Kobo and move away from Amazon. I use Kindle 1.17 on my Mac, which means I can still convert books to epub, but I expect it's only a matter of time before Amazon stop supporting the old version.
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:01 PM   #4
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PS
I was assuming an external light sensor, but of course there isn't one. Evidently changes according to the time of day. That explains why it was changing to full blue light in a dark closed garage at midday!
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:14 PM   #5
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Not all the Claras have the light bleed issue. Mine (recently purchased from Walmart in US) doesn't.

I didn't like the auto light feature either. I prefer to set the blue/orange level myself.

I have not had the font size issue you describe. However, occasionally when I swipe to turn it goes back instead of forward.

Sometimes if you tap to bring up the various options there is a "previous location" at the bottom left which you can tap to go back.

I can manage without physical page turn buttons but I wish it had a "home" button.
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:54 PM   #6
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However, occasionally when I swipe to turn it goes back instead of forward.
This glitch drives me nuts.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:17 AM   #7
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I've not had the page turning issue, but I tap rather than swipe. I suppose with a swipe action there's more chance of the finger inadvertently straying into the wrong area of the screen.
I have now discovered the rapid page turn areas at the bottom corners of the screen, which I like.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:12 AM   #8
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I use swipe. I use the 2nd layout in "Reading Settings".
Tap is off.
Never had the problem of wrong direction on either Kobo on any firmware.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:43 AM   #9
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Does the Aura H20 2nd edition have a rubberised texture on the back? Or is it just textured plastic like the Clara hd?
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:32 AM   #10
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This glitch drives me nuts.
Glad to know it's not just me! It happened a lot in one book I was reading, maybe every 10th page turn or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillW View Post
I've not had the page turning issue, but I tap rather than swipe. I suppose with a swipe action there's more chance of the finger inadvertently straying into the wrong area of the screen.
I have now discovered the rapid page turn areas at the bottom corners of the screen, which I like.
I turned off Tap because I had user errors with it. I would tap in the wrong area and bring up settings instead, or vice versa.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:41 AM   #11
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I think I'm just conditioned, after years of holding the Kindle in my right hand (resting on little finger, three fingers at the back, thumb on bezel) to just sliding my thumb off the bezel slightly and touching the edge of the screen to turn the page. But I take your point - if I was a swiper then that glitch would really annoy.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:13 AM   #12
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I think the swipe page turn backwards glitch is from swiping at an angle.
I started being careful to make my swipes more horizontal and it hasn't done that for me for a while.
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:52 PM   #13
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Does the Aura H20 2nd edition have a rubberised texture on the back? Or is it just textured plastic like the Clara hd?
There's a raised portion around the back edge that's hard plastic. The sleep cover on mine covers the rest.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:43 PM   #14
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I had a Kindle before and I agree, the software is much better.

That said, for my use, the Kobo works better for me. It is more open. You can patch it all you want, if you desire.

I use Calibre with 4 plugins. KePub Output, Kobo Touch Extended and Amazon Multiple Countries. The other one is for DRM issues. I don't like to be taken hostage in only one bookstore.

I also borrow books from my library and they are in ePub.

I manage my book collections by genre on the Kobo. So I have tags in Calibre.

I like the Clara HD because it's very light. Lighter than the Kindle. No light bleed on my unit.

PS : My wife had a problem with the zoom feature on her Kobo Aura. I disabled the 2 fingers swipe on the left side to adjust lighting. And maybe tap too.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:46 AM   #15
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Thanks for the input. I can live with the glitches and the slightly sub-par performance issues compared to Kindle, but not with the uneven lighting. This is much more noticeable in the dark, which is when I read most. A shame, because I really do like the warm light feature, and now I've found my way around, I'm happy with the general use of the device and (since installing the plugins) the way it integrates with Calibre.

I certainly prefer the feel of the Kindle in the hand. The Clara has a slippy, cheap plasticky feel to me. I was hoping the Aura H20 would have a similar slightly rubberised back like the K. Paperwhite, which would be a real incentive to give it a try. I still might, just to get the warm screen lighting - and the larger screen size is very tempting too.

I also wont be locked into Amazon bookstore, and thanks to Calibre, never have been, so that's not been an issue for me with owning a Kindle. But as I said before, it's probably only a matter of time before Amazon will stop supporting the older desktop Kindle versions. Kobo is my plan B.
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