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Old 10-29-2011, 04:19 PM   #1
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Kobo Vox - Good and Bad..

Have been playing with the Vox since last night almost non stop, but it's definitely a disappointment, even for a a relatively budget tablet.

As an E-reader, it does very well. It still has the same limitations in regards to LCD view-ability outside, but it really does try to compensate with with a very high brightness setting. I brought it outside and with the default auto brightness, I couldn't see a thing, even with overcast conditions where the sun was trying to force its way out. If I turn the brightness up all the way, the screen comes in very clear, but I think that if it the sun was full out, it would totally overpower the screen and it would become unusable. That said, now that I've had a good number of hours with it, I think the image quality is actually better than my Asus Transformer, which itself is very comparable to the Samsung Galaxy. The brightness on the Vox really does help the colors become more vibrant.

As a tablet however, there are a number of pretty serious problems:

- Swiping: it does not pick up swipes very well, and I don't know if it's because of the screen, because of the OS, or because of the processor used. You can't do quick swipes with it consistently. One of the games the 10 year old really wanted to play here because she plays it often on her dads Galaxy is Fruit Ninja, which is all about swiping. When trying to do fast swipes, it just doesn't want to register, or registers it as a very short swipe. I had noted the same thing while reading books; when tapping, there were no issues, but when trying to give it a quick swipe, it would fail. I would have to give it a long deliberate. This is also apparent on menu's too, where it will sometimes register swipes as a tap instead, opening apps when you didn't intend to.

- processor speed: I think they really did make a mistake with going with a single 800mhz processor when Kindle went with a dual 1ghz processor like most new tablets. While this doesn't affect e-reading all that much, apps do definitely run much slower. Load times for fruit ninja, and the angry birds apps, not to mention slowdown hickups while in them really do detract from the games. Movie watching, either local or on youtube don't really seem affected though, so this is good.

- Apps: They tout 15000 free apps via their kobo.getjar page. It's great that they included a lot of free apps, but not all of them are free. Some are limited time trials; this doesn't not constitute a free application. I've also hit on a number of applications that did not work on my vox, or ran slow to the point that they were unusable. when trying to get apps that show off your hardware, you would think they would have done a better job at filtering them.

Storage capacity: If you advertise 8GB of space, give us 8GB of space. If you need room for the OS and firmware and whatever, then put in extra to cover for it, but I'm really starting to get tired of this BS. This device also has an issue in that it partitions space into internal and internal SD. When you download apps, it goes to the internal memory, which is about 1GB. You can move said data from the internal memory to the internal SD, which is about 5.34GB, bit you need to figure out how to do that, which leads me to:

- Ease of use: I'm a geek...I readily admit it..I like taking computers apart and putting them back together again; I play with my windows registry and dabble in overclocking my equipment to try to tweak a little extra performance.. but trying to find things in this tablet has been very trying on my patience, so I really can only imagine how it may be for someone who isn't very technically inclined or hasn't played with Android before... the fact that they didn't include a file manager was also interesting..


on the plus side though, apart from the fact that the e-reader works as expected, the fact that it is an open system without having to root it is very nice. I've added the slide me market which is very nice (like the fact they show compatibility info for apps). Once I figured out how to access video's on an SD card, it ran them very well, although I had no sound for one of them (anyone know of a codec pack for android?). It was a huge 1080P video and there wasn't a hiccup at all. Don't know if Sound would change that though. but the picture was great.

battery life seems to be very good on it; after a full nights charge, I've been playing with it pretty heavily for the last 4 and half hours, using books, video and games, all with the wifi on, and battery is still showing 80%...If that's the case, I should be able to get well over 10hrs of battery life, more without the wifi.. Very nice indeed.


So far I think we'll keep it, but I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend evaluating it and trying to use it as the little one would and see how it goes. Will try to write up more on it later on.
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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Your experience seems to mirror mine.
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:43 PM   #3
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Great observations, Steph.

I played with it for about 5 hours last night and about 4 hours this morning. I am sort of obsessed!!! It's charging right now, so time to do some stuff around the house!

It was obvious to me before I even bought it that processor speed was going to be an issue for running certain apps, so I expected that. I am just hoping I can get movies to play on it without issues, as I am hoping to use it for travel.

The swiping thing is irritating for me no matter what tablet/phone I am using. I always seem to press the wrong icon, the wrong letter, the wrong field - whatever. And I have tiny fingers!!! I can't imagine some bigger dudes enjoying tablets of any kind (esp. if they have to type anything). I am soooo frustrated having to do anything without a keyboard and mouse, so this wasn't even on my radar. Having said that, I have noticed that the touch keyboard is 'delayed' or unresponsive on the bottom end (like the spacebar and the period) and I sometimes have to tap something twice or swipe in a slightly different spot - but that's similar to my phone (although, I've never noticed that on my hubby's iPad).

The battery does rock! I am really impressed....at least so far. This could do downhill fast!

Honestly, I found the same learning curve for myself on my Android phone as far as set up was concerned. I think that knowledge has definitely helped me out a bit with the Vox - although I am still pretty clueless about some stuff and there's going to be a lot of trial and error.

One thing I love: the size. It's perfect. My hubby's iPad is hideously huge and heavy. I figure I might as well have my laptop with me rather than use that instead. My phone is too small. This size and weight is perfect.

I knew I was going to keep it when I was reading my kids the Franklin book that was included with the Vox, and after I read them that, I quickly purchased and downloaded one of their favorite books and read them that. There we were cuddled up on the couch and looking at some pretty vibrant pictures and enjoying some time together -- just like the tablet commercials show you!!!
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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Have been playing with the Vox since last night almost non stop, but it's definitely a disappointment, even for a a relatively budget tablet.
Psyke, thanks for sharing your impressions. Have you considered an iPod Touch for your little one? My two eldest grandsons, 10 and 13, love theirs. You can read books on them with Kobo and Kindle apps. They have both front and back cameras and can be used as wireless phones too.
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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One thing I love: the size. It's perfect. My hubby's iPad is hideously huge and heavy. I figure I might as well have my laptop with me rather than use that instead. My phone is too small. This size and weight is perfect.
This is exactly why I bought it.
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:13 PM   #6
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This is interesting.
If the vox turns out to be too slow for apps I might wait for the samsung galaxy tab 7 plus.
The only thing is the price at $399 is not very competitive.
But if dropped to $299 I think the extra $100 would be worth it for all the extra features....
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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Psyke, thanks for sharing your impressions. Have you considered an iPod Touch for your little one? My two eldest grandsons, 10 and 13, love theirs. You can read books on them with Kobo and Kindle apps. They have both front and back cameras and can be used as wireless phones too.
She had been hinting that she wanted the ipod touch, but after getting the asus transformer for the wife, and the fact that the little one's own father has been switching over to android devices in his household, the vox presented an attractive option to try and keep things uniform across both houses. I had originally looked at maybe getting the samsung 5" android media device once it came out (more or less the equivalent to ipod), but it was also about $260 US, and I'm not sure when it will be out.

quite honestly, I like the fact that there is no camera on the vox; Sexting and kids is a huge fear of mine...
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:25 PM   #8
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The swiping thing is irritating for me no matter what tablet/phone I am using. I always seem to press the wrong icon, the wrong letter, the wrong field - whatever. And I have tiny fingers!!! I can't imagine some bigger dudes enjoying tablets of any kind (esp. if they have to type anything). I am soooo frustrated having to do anything without a keyboard and mouse, so this wasn't even on my radar. Having said that, I have noticed that the touch keyboard is 'delayed' or unresponsive on the bottom end (like the spacebar and the period) and I sometimes have to tap something twice or swipe in a slightly different spot - but that's similar to my phone (although, I've never noticed that on my hubby's iPad).
Surprisingly enough, I love typing on it.. it's pretty responsive to me, and the size of the device makes it pretty easy to use. For our full sized tablet, I picked up a keyboard app that splits the keyboard so that you can hold it comfortably on either side and still reach all the keys with your thumbs...
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:02 PM   #9
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This is my first Android device (I have a touch that I use extensively) and I haven't quite got everything figured out... Exactly how do I add "slide me market"?
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:08 PM   #10
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This is my first Android device (I have a touch that I use extensively) and I haven't quite got everything figured out... Exactly how do I add "slide me market"?
in your android web browser, go to slideme.org/sam2.apk and it will download their market place; you can then sign up with them and browse their apps.
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:12 PM   #11
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Never mind...figured it out. Lots of learning and exploring to do!
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:35 PM   #12
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She had been hinting that she wanted the ipod touch, but after getting the asus transformer for the wife, and the fact that the little one's own father has been switching over to android devices in his household, the vox presented an attractive option to try and keep things uniform across both houses.
It's the whole Beta vs HDS debate all over again, isn't it? Obviously you are considering all options, including waiting for the right device.

Anyway, I've been noticing that those who want a tablet that reads are less enthusiastic about the Vox than those who want an ereader with benefits.
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:46 PM   #13
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It's the whole Beta vs HDS debate all over again, isn't it? Obviously you are considering all options, including waiting for the right device.

Anyway, I've been noticing that those who want a tablet that reads are less enthusiastic about the Vox than those who want an ereader with benefits.

or some semblance of the right device. As demonstrated by most people, price is a big thing. For the full sized tablet, the only reason I bought it was because I was able to get if for about $200 less than in stores off ebay.

But as you say, those who were buying the Vox primarily as a tablet, then yes, they most likely will be disappointed. As an e-reader with a some extra's, it's actually not that bad, which is how I was looking at; because of how much She uses her kobo, I wanted her to have a good e-reader that she could have for the other things she wanted to do with it.

As another "But" I'll also say that Kobo could have done so much better. I think, and this is only an assumption, is that with the release of the Nook tablet, both Kobo and Amazon decided to do their own tablets, and Kobo decided to match more or less nooks offerings, figuring Amazon would do the same. They then got caught off guard by the specs announced for the kindle fire and decided to launch early to try and take some of their sales, which is why we never heard any announcement about the device until shortly before the launch.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:10 PM   #14
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Steph, I think you are right, that Kobo was in such a rush that they didn't take time to solve all the problems. Also, the whole social reading concept would obviously have taken time and effort away from the basics. Perhaps I should go back to my plan before the Vox was announced - order a Kindle Touch and pick it up in the US.

The Kobo person at Chapters this morning assured me that I could return my Vox if I wasn't satisfied. It's supposed to arrive on November 1st or 2nd. I'm willing to allow time for Kobo to work out the kinks through updates if I'm happy with how it performs as an ereader right away because I prefer the open Kobo attitude.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:41 PM   #15
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I'm willing to allow time for Kobo to work out the kinks through updates if I'm happy with how it performs as an ereader right away because I prefer the open Kobo attitude.
I'm taking about the same position. My goal was to be able to read kindle books and ePUBs on the same device. I may use the Vox to read a little email and do some light surfing, but I do not need or expect it to replace my smartphone or computer. I'm also willing to wait out the development process for the Kobo App itself--I've learned over time that Kobo releases early and updates frequently. I'm OK with that.
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