My Thoughts on the New Kobo Vox

Posted February 19, 2012 by Carmel in / 16 Comments

Buy the Kobo Vox

I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m a gadget lover. Our big screen, LCD TV? Mine. Our gaming systems? (yes we have several) All mine. Who configured our wireless network? Yup, you guessed it. I did. You know how sometimes in movies they make fun of the woman for calling her husband because she needs him to walk her through how to watch a Blu-Ray? Well in our case it’s my guy who calls me when his computer crashes.

All this to say that I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy and the Kobo Vox is not for the technologically challenged. I just wanted to put things into context so that when I start listing all of this eReader’s negative aspects you don’t chalk it up to me being a girl and not knowing how to use it properly. We’re clear? Okay, good. Moving on…

The Good:

  • The Screen: It has a 7″, full-color touch screen that’s pretty to look at. You can also buy glossy colored books, magazines and newspapers. I haven’t really taken advantage of them yet because there’s a limited amount of titles available and I’m not big on reading children’s books. You can also adjust the screen brightness, font size, orientation and even select different reading modes.
  • Read your books on any device: Your original purchase has to come from somewhere but whether it’s from the Vox itself, the desktop software, your old eReader or an Android app; you can re-download the book as many times as you want. Often times I’ll start reading an eBook on one device but finish it on another so I’m a fan of the easy access.
  • The Store: It hasn’t changed. It’s still easy to navigate and finding what you’re looking for is a breeze. I do find that their eBooks are overpriced compared to other vendors but as a Canadian, I’m used to getting over-charged in the book department. Sad but true. Our dollar has been close to on par with the US for several years now and yet on all books you still find a Canadian price and an American one. Why is that? Price gouging. But it’s not specific to Kobo, all Canadian merchants do it.
  • Apps: I don’t really NEED another gadget with apps and web access but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want one. I like being able to tweet, prowl Facebook and reply to e-mails during my reading breaks without having to switch devices. Kobo isn’t breaking the mold with their app store but it is comparable to many others out there which is really all I’m asking for.
  • Reading Life and Kobo Pulse: Both of these features are wicked cool, although, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they work as well as they should.
    Reading Life Screen Shot

    With Reading Life you can tract stats such as: your total read time, number of books read, total pages turned, hours per book, pages per hour, minutes per session, etc. Very cool! You can also earn various awards with this app and share them on Facebook. Pulse makes reading a more social experience. You can “like” a page in a book, share quotes, and discuss your thoughts with others who are reading the same book. The only limitation is that the novel you’re reading has to have been bought in the Kobo store in order for this feature to work.

  • Etc: It has similar goodies to its predecessors such as Wi Fi, a quilted back, auto bookmarking and tons of memory. Most of these features should be standard issue for eReaders though so they’re not really special, just expected.

The Bad:

  • Lengthy / Night Reading: Previous versions of the Kobo have a display that is “paper-like”. The Vox has given-up all attempts at pretending to be a book. It’s a tablet. In theory, a backlight isn’t a bad idea for night reading instead of a lamp or a booklight. The reality is a whole other story. I don’t like reading on my laptop. It’s bright and eventually my eyeballs begin to shrivel. Also, it’s been proven that staring at a monitor-type device before bed might make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. I usually read for an hour before bed so again, not good. I can sometimes read a whole book in one sitting but on the Vox I find it to be an uncomfortable experience.
  • File Types: As a book blogger I get my reads from a variety of sources in a multitude of formats. On my Kobo Wi Fi I was able to read every single one of them. On the Vox? Not so much. As I said, I’m pretty tech savvy. I can convert, transfer, work-around almost anything. I’m resourceful but I can not, for the life of me, figure out how to get a few file types to work. Take Galleys for instance, they’re often only available via Adobe Digital Editions. Well I hate to tell ya but their software is not compatible with the Vox. It says so right on their website.
  • Transfering and Charging: With the Vox you get two attachments which in itself is a pain. I can wirelessly transfer files between my iPod Touch & my laptop where as with the Kobo I have to hardline it every time I want to read a book that wasn’t purchased in their store. Usually not a big deal when you can also charge the device but in this case you need to carry around two cables in order to be able to have a fully-charged and loaded Vox. Oh did I mention that the cable for the Kobo Wi Fi doesn’t fit? Kinda annoying.
  • Social Media: As a book blogger, I was especially attracted by this addition. Finding stuff to tweet about isn’t always easy so being able to share book quotes, awards, “like” a page, etc while reading sounded like an awesome idea to me. Unfortunately, it’s not all that I’d hoped it would be.
    Kobo Error Message

    For one, you can only share to Facebook. Yes you can download the Twitter app but it doesn’t directly link-up so if you want to tweet something you have to manually copy-paste from the book, sign-in to the app, paste then tweet. That’s way too much work for me. You can only share to your personal profile on FB. I don’t have a profile page for my blog, just a fan page and I can’t connect to it so this doesn’t work for me at all. Oh, and this should have probably been my first point but often times I doesn’t even work at all. I get error messages all the time!

  • Accessories: Okay, so this is definitely a girlie con but who cares! It still counts! The Kobo Vox has only been out since November so it’s still pretty new to the market but even so, there’s only 1 carrying case for sale in a handful of colors. This might not seem like a big deal but I read everywhere except not with the Vox because I’ve been holding out on buying a case hoping that less fugly ones will be available soon. Granted, that’s not the only reason why the Vox sits at home but it is one of them.
  • Reading Life and Kobo Pulse: The two coolest things about the Vox have some major downfalls that make them out to be cons as much as pros. These two apps, for some reason, work way better on the Kobo app that I downloaded on my iPod Touch than on the eReader.
    Reading Life Screen Shot

    Unfortuantely, I don’t especially enjoy reading on my tiny Apple screen so the Vox seemed like a viable option. I can only share directly to my Facebook personal profile. Not my blog fan page or Twitter which is a fail for me on Kobo’s part. The Pulse only works on books purchased from the store. I’m not as upset by this because maybe you should have to pay for the privilege of using this app but it still would have been cool if I could have shared anything from any book I’m reading.

  • The Touch Screen: A fun feature but it doesn’t work as well as those of its competitors. The buttons are sometimes unresponsive and I often end up on the wrong page while reading a book. This isn’t a huge deal but it is kinda annoying having to battle with the Vox to get it to do what you ask.

The Verdict:

The Kobo Vox is an okay eReader for the average user who purchases every book that they read or for those looking for a cheaper version of a tablet.

For heavy-duty users such as book bloggers like myself the Kobo Vox is a don’t buy just yet. With a few software upgrades and features similar to the existing Kobo app it could be something really great. Your guess is as good as mine whether either of these things are even in the pipelines yet.

For the time being, my Kobo Vox will continue to sit in my living room collecting dust. Although, I do take it out on weekends to appease my boyfriend because he bought it for me for Christmas.

Carmel Signature

About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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16 responses to “My Thoughts on the New Kobo Vox

  1. Oooh thanks for that helpful review. I was so tempted to buy one since Kobo is the only online ebook store that is available for my country (other than Smashwords).

  2. Most excellent review, thanks! I feel as though you are my sister in gadget love, lol. Because I do love them all, have an iPod touch, an iPad, read on my computer, have a kindle and so on and so on-I was most interested in the Vox. Maybe I will wait for the next gen. I too was particularly interested in the social media and how it would work.

  3. As far as using Adobe Digital Editions with the Vox goes, I found some helpful work-arounds via Rants-N-Scribbles. I read all my review titles via the Aldiko app instead of the Kobo library, and it works pretty well, though I do wish it hooked into Reading Life and the other social media stuff.

  4. I bought the old Kobo 1st gen when it came out. It was buggy. When the Vox was introduced, I decided to wait and see what bugs to expect. Not working with ADE? Does it work with Calibre?

  5. LOL! another thing we have in common! I wish you were my neighbor, it would be nice to have someone to talk about the difference between a 60hz TV 120 or 240.. or LED, LCD and and specially about the compulsion to get the latest gadgets.

  6. LOL!!! I’m unusually the one banging the mouse pad on the desk trying to get it to work….or forcing myself NOT to throw my iPad when something goes wrong….I’m a computer/tech dummy btw! LOL…I think I was still using a type writer in my first 2 years of collge 1998-2001) but I was FOR SURE this “computer thingy” was just a…So here I am….still learning…;) LOL.
    Thanks for sharing the informative info above!;)

  7. @Memory I think I had problems d/l-ing Akdiko so I had to find an alternative that doesn’t read all file types… I’ll check out that site though, thanks for the link!

  8. @ahz1 Calibre is fine for the most part. Every so often it won’t transfer a file properly so I just drag-and-drop instead. It’s foolproof.