Category: e-Reader Reviews

Amazon announces new Kindle Fire HDX

kindle fire hdx

A few days ago, Amazon announced the updates to its Kindle Fire line of tablets.  Here is the page with the details.

Naturally, it has an improved screen, and processor.  No surprises there.  What’s more interesting is that they announced a major update to the Kindle Fire OS, to called Mojito.   Some of the new features in Mojito include:

Mayday button.  This is the most innovative of the inventions and allows you to be connected to a video chat with an Amazon tech support person.  Your tech will have the ability to view and control your screen to assist you.  This could be a godsend for the novice user.  Amazon is at pains to stress that the agent can only see your screen, not you to alleviate privacy concerns.  This is a very interesting feature and one I think could really differentiate Amazon tablets from the others in a saturated marketplace.

On the other end of the scale, Amazon is touting better enterprise support.  This includes support for data encryption, Kerberos integration so that users can browse corporate intranets and VPN clients.  This is interesting. So far, Amazon has placed itself securely in the consumer market – I’m really not certain that a Kindle, limited as the OS is, is a big attraction for corporate use.

One of the most asked for features is finally coming to the Kindle Fire – Collections!  The biggest pain in the current Kindle OS is the inability to organise your content in any meaningful way.  Many people resented the recent upgrade to the iOS Kindle apps which added collection support.  The question was asked why this was available on iOS before Amazon’s own native system.  This feature will be coming in November.

Also in November, GoodReads integration will be included as previously announced for the new Kindle Paperwhite.

Other features include a revamped email client – good! – and printing support.

X ray has also been enhanced – it’s now available for music so that song lyrics appear onscreen as you are listening.  This, along with X ray for movies is of limited interest to people outside the US.

As of today, the new Kindle Fires are only available in the US.  I am interested to see how long they take to come to Canada.  What is unclear at this point is whether or not these features will be made available to current Kindle Fires via a software update. 

For me personally, some of these new features, especially Collections and GoodReads integration,  are very attractive and would be a good reason to upgrade if they’re not made available on the other Kindle Fires.  

Will you be upgrading?  Let me know in the comments.

Kobo Aura 6 inch 2013 version First Impressions

Despite my rant yesterday, and despite having received no shipping notification my Kobo Aura 6 inch ereader was delivered to my door this afternoon.  I’ve played with it for a little while and here are my first impressions.

It is a gorgeous device.  I really like the industrial design that the screen is flat without a bevel.  It makes it feel very tablet like – and avoids messy crumbs being caught!  eReaders aren’t normally noted for their look, but I really love what Kobo has done with this.  From other reviews I’d seen I’d been concerned about the reflection of light on the screen, but it didn’t seem to be any more noticeable than on the Glo.

The screen is really lovely, too.  Comparing it to the Kobo Glo, it’s an incredible difference.  You can see some pictures here:

The Kobo Aura is on the left.

 IMG 0903

IMG 0905

and compared to the Kindle Paperwhite (2013 edition)

IMG 0904

The Aura’s Comfort Light is warmer to my eyes than the Glo’s and certainly much more even, and in comparison the Glo’s screen seems somewhat muddy.  Page turns are the same on both devices.  This is hardly surprising, given that they both have the same processor.  However, the Aura only does a full refresh each chapter which makes reading smoother than on the Glo which refreshes every six pages.  I didn’t notice any ghosting on the Aura at all.

With regards to the new functionality coming with the new devices, I checked out the Pocket integration.  It is fantastic.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saving articles to my Pocket account and they were all there for me on my Kobo Aura when I linked my accounts.  Awesome.  That is a functionality I will certainly make use of.  The multitouch brightness control works well, too.  

However, it seems that Kobo’s Beyond the Book still has some ways to go.  I downloaded a sample of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit that I have seen used to demo Beyond the Book and did indeed see that some items were indeed underlined.  Clicking on these took me to an error page.  I think it will be some time before this feature is as fully formed as Amazon’s X-Ray, which was able to import Shelfari data (Shelfari is owned by Amazon)

All in all it’s a lovely little device and looks great.

Kobo Aura

Kobo Aura 6 inch 2013 version First Impressions

Kobo-Aura.jpg

Despite my rant yesterday, and despite having received no shipping notification my Kobo Aura 6 inch ereader was delivered to my door this afternoon.  I’ve played with it for a little while and here are my first impressions.

It is a gorgeous device.  I really like the industrial design that the screen is flat without a bevel.  It makes it feel very tablet like – and avoids messy crumbs being caught!  eReaders aren’t normally noted for their look, but I really love what Kobo has done with this.  From other reviews I’d seen I’d been concerned about the reflection of light on the screen, but it didn’t seem to be any more noticeable than on the Glo.

The screen is really lovely, too.  Comparing it to the Kobo Glo, it’s an incredible difference.  You can see some pictures here:

The Kobo Aura is on the left.

 IMG 0903

IMG 0905

and compared to the Kindle Paperwhite (2013 edition)

IMG 0904

The Aura’s Comfort Light is warmer to my eyes than the Glo’s and certainly much more even, and in comparison the Glo’s screen seems somewhat muddy.  Page turns are the same on both devices.  This is hardly surprising, given that they both have the same processor.  However, the Aura only does a full refresh each chapter which makes reading smoother than on the Glo which refreshes every six pages.  I didn’t notice any ghosting on the Aura at all.

With regards to the new functionality coming with the new devices, I checked out the Pocket integration.  It is fantastic.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saving articles to my Pocket account and they were all there for me on my Kobo Aura when I linked my accounts.  Awesome.  That is a functionality I will certainly make use of.  The multitouch brightness control works well, too.  

However, it seems that Kobo’s Beyond the Book still has some ways to go.  I downloaded a sample of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit that I have seen used to demo Beyond the Book and did indeed see that some items were indeed underlined.  Clicking on these took me to an error page.  I think it will be some time before this feature is as fully formed as Amazon’s X-Ray, which was able to import Shelfari data (Shelfari is owned by Amazon)

All in all it’s a lovely little device and looks great.

Kobo Aura

Kobo Aura preorder issues

As some of you may know, I placed a new Kobo Aura on preorder, and I’m wondering if some of you are experiencing the same issues I’m having.  It took me several attempts to place the order, which I simply put down to attempting to preorder just an hour or so after it was made available.

However, that is not the only issue I’ve experienced. I have received no confirmation from Kobo at all regarding my order – I had to contact them several times just to confirm that the order had in fact been received and to find out its status.  Sadly, judging from the forums I follow, I’m not the only one experiencing these issues.

I don’t know about you, but when I place an item on preorder and the site says shipping from September 11th, I expect to receive the item on or around September 11th.  Perhaps that’s just my conditioning from Amazon and Apple.  From my latest contact with Kobo today I can expect to receive it in 10-14 days.

The Kobo website is still showing “preorder” for Kobo Auras, yet when you click on it it says “***Pre-Orders begin shipping on September 11, 2013. Your credit card will be charged upon shipment, accompanied by a confirmation email.”  We’re now September 16th which is very confusing.  I consider myself an average shopper, so I read the average amount of blurb that an average shopper would.  If Kobo explains that items will be received two weeks later, I missed it.

This is so disappointing from Kobo.  It’s a Canadian company and in my opinion, the strongest competitor to Amazon in the Canadian ereader market.  I believe they do make great devices which is why it is so sad to see it shoot itself in the foot.  If I were new to Kobo, this would give me serious reservations about placing an order and dealing with the company.

Perhaps I am the only one experiencing this and everyone else’s preorders are fine. Let me know in the comments please!

Kobo Aura preorder issues

As some of you may know, I placed a new Kobo Aura on preorder, and I’m wondering if some of you are experiencing the same issues I’m having.  It took me several attempts to place the order, which I simply put down to attempting to preorder just an hour or so after it was made available.

However, that is not the only issue I’ve experienced. I have received no confirmation from Kobo at all regarding my order – I had to contact them several times just to confirm that the order had in fact been received and to find out its status.  Sadly, judging from the forums I follow, I’m not the only one experiencing these issues.

I don’t know about you, but when I place an item on preorder and the site says shipping from September 11th, I expect to receive the item on or around September 11th.  Perhaps that’s just my conditioning from Amazon and Apple.  From my latest contact with Kobo today I can expect to receive it in 10-14 days.

The Kobo website is still showing “preorder” for Kobo Auras, yet when you click on it it says “***Pre-Orders begin shipping on September 11, 2013. Your credit card will be charged upon shipment, accompanied by a confirmation email.”  We’re now September 16th which is very confusing.  I consider myself an average shopper, so I read the average amount of blurb that an average shopper would.  If Kobo explains that items will be received two weeks later, I missed it.

This is so disappointing from Kobo.  It’s a Canadian company and in my opinion, the strongest competitor to Amazon in the Canadian ereader market.  I believe they do make great devices which is why it is so sad to see it shoot itself in the foot.  If I were new to Kobo, this would give me serious reservations about placing an order and dealing with the company.

Perhaps I am the only one experiencing this and everyone else’s preorders are fine. Let me know in the comments please!

Amazon announces new Paperwhite and MatchBook

So this morning Amazon announced its new Kindle Paperwhite.  According to the site, the new features are:

  • new display technology
  • 25% faster processor
  • better touch technology
  • next generation built-in light
  • Kindle Page Flip – easier navigation
  • smart lookup – dictionary is now integrated into X-Ray
  • vocabulary builder
  • GoodReads integration (Amazon recently bought the company)

For me, the most exciting of these is the GoodReads integration. It looks awesome

I love GoodReads and the integration will be very welcome.  One thing I cannot see from the images is whether or not the screen is flush with the bezel as it is in the new Kobo Aura.  That is a design feature I would love – I’m sure I’ve several biscuits worth of crumbs caught in the bezel.

For us Canadians, it’s also exciting to see that the new Paperwhite is available for order from Amazon.ca at the same time as Amazon.com.  Excellent.  It’s good to feel less and less like the country cousin.

One very disappointing thing is that it still does not provide audiobook support.

The other thing announced this morning – thanks to Bufo Calvin of I Love My Kindle for bringing it to my attention – is MatchBook.  Amazon states that for thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases will soon allow you to buy the Kindle edition for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.  That is absolutely incredible news.  I’ve bought few print books since I bought my Kindle, but anything would be welcome.

Once again though, MatchBook seems to be US only <sigh>

So let me know – will you be picking up the new Paperwhite or holding out?

 

Amazon announces new Paperwhite and MatchBook

So this morning Amazon announced its new Kindle Paperwhite.  According to the site, the new features are:

  • new display technology
  • 25% faster processor
  • better touch technology
  • next generation built-in light
  • Kindle Page Flip – easier navigation
  • smart lookup – dictionary is now integrated into X-Ray
  • vocabulary builder
  • GoodReads integration (Amazon recently bought the company)

For me, the most exciting of these is the GoodReads integration. It looks awesome

I love GoodReads and the integration will be very welcome.  One thing I cannot see from the images is whether or not the screen is flush with the bezel as it is in the new Kobo Aura.  That is a design feature I would love – I’m sure I’ve several biscuits worth of crumbs caught in the bezel.

For us Canadians, it’s also exciting to see that the new Paperwhite is available for order from Amazon.ca at the same time as Amazon.com.  Excellent.  It’s good to feel less and less like the country cousin.

One very disappointing thing is that it still does not provide audiobook support.

The other thing announced this morning – thanks to Bufo Calvin of I Love My Kindle for bringing it to my attention – is MatchBook.  Amazon states that for thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases will soon allow you to buy the Kindle edition for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.  That is absolutely incredible news.  I’ve bought few print books since I bought my Kindle, but anything would be welcome.

Once again though, MatchBook seems to be US only <sigh>

So let me know – will you be picking up the new Paperwhite or holding out?

 

If Kobo is here, can Amazon be far behind?

So now that Kobo has announced its new lineup, I’m pretty confident Amazon won’t be too far behind.  I have some updates I’d love to see in the new lineup.

My absolute dream device would be an eInk/LCD hybrid.  I’d love to be able to switch between a tablet and eReader.  I don’t think that’s going to happen, though.

For eInk readers, I’d love to see audio support reinstated.  I didn’t miss it when it disappeared from the Paperwhite, but at that point I wasn’t as heavily invested in Audible and audiobooks as I am now.  I would also love to see full Audible integration as we have it on the Fire, immersion reading included.  I would snap that baby up in a New York minute.  I ADORE the Audible integration on the Fire, but I do prefer reading on eInk.

In terms of the Fire, of course any improvement in specs and screen would be welcome.  Not that the current Fire isn’t excellent.  I would also welcome a better way of organising content.  The Favourites drawer isn’t nearly flexible enough.  I like Kobo’s idea of a Reading Mode where you can switch off all other distractions and optimise battery usage.  On the other hand, the Fire has something similar already – it’s called Airplane mode…

What would you like tot see in the new Kindle devices?  Let me know in the comments.

If Kobo is here, can Amazon be far behind?

So now that Kobo has announced its new lineup, I’m pretty confident Amazon won’t be too far behind.  I have some updates I’d love to see in the new lineup.

My absolute dream device would be an eInk/LCD hybrid.  I’d love to be able to switch between a tablet and eReader.  I don’t think that’s going to happen, though.

For eInk readers, I’d love to see audio support reinstated.  I didn’t miss it when it disappeared from the Paperwhite, but at that point I wasn’t as heavily invested in Audible and audiobooks as I am now.  I would also love to see full Audible integration as we have it on the Fire, immersion reading included.  I would snap that baby up in a New York minute.  I ADORE the Audible integration on the Fire, but I do prefer reading on eInk.

In terms of the Fire, of course any improvement in specs and screen would be welcome.  Not that the current Fire isn’t excellent.  I would also welcome a better way of organising content.  The Favourites drawer isn’t nearly flexible enough.  I like Kobo’s idea of a Reading Mode where you can switch off all other distractions and optimise battery usage.  On the other hand, the Fire has something similar already – it’s called Airplane mode…

What would you like tot see in the new Kindle devices?  Let me know in the comments.

Kobo announces its new device lineup

Kobo held a press event today entitled “Beyond the Book.”  in which it announced three new variations of its popular Kobo Arc tablet and a new version of its eInk Kobo Aura.  I hadn’t been expecting a refresh at this point as both their eInk readers (the Aura) and their tablet offerings (the Arc) were refreshed earlier this year.

For me, the Kobo Aura seems very interesting.  It retains the HD pixel density of the 6.7 inch Kobo Aura HD released earlier this year but reverts to the traditional 6 inch screen.  It is priced at $150 as opposed to the original’s $169.  I have placed my order – it took a while as the devices are newly up for preorder.  The Aura will be delivered on the 11th of September.

In addition to SD and HD 7 inch Kobo Arcs, the company is now offering a 10 inch tablet.  The specs are higher on the new version.  Check out http://goodereader.com/blog/ for full details.  Personally, I won’t check out the tablet – I adore my Kindle Fire HD and see no need for another.

Additionally, the company is also launching value added content with Beyond the Book, which will include links in the books to further material of interest.  I’m not certain how I feel about that.  When I’m reading, I like to get immersed in the story and I would find such links distracting.  On the other hand, it could be very interesting.

The company announced also that it is adding magazines and a special children’s bookstore to its service.

I will of course keep you updated with reviews.

Kobo Devices

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