The next generation of Kobo tablets has arrived in the UK, going on sale via WH Smith as well as Kobo’s own website. The Kobo Arc HD series is designed to take on Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX devices and the 2013 edition of the Google Nexus 7.
Most notably, Kobo has chosen to undercut its rivals on price quite significantly. A 16 GB Kobo Arc 7HD will set you back £159.99, with the 32 GB edition costing £189.99. The Kobo Arc 10HD costs £299.99 and comes with 16 GB of storage space.
Whilst the Kobo Arc HD range does not quite match up to Google and Amazon’s offerings like-for-like in terms of spec, it comes very close.
Crucially, Kobo has managed to match the screen resolutions offered by its Nexus and Kindle equivalents. The Kobo Arc 7HD has a 1920 x 1200 display whilst the larger Kobo Arc 10HD offers up a resolution of 2560 x 1600.
Screen quality is arguably the most important area of tablet spec, as the display is the interface between the device and user. A super-fast device could be rendered essentially unusable by fuzzy text and washed out colours.
The reaming specs of the devices are not uncompetitive by any means. The Kobo Arc 7HD has a NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.7 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB RAM and a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera.
An NVIDIA Tegra 4 1.8 GHz quad-core processor powers the Kobo Arc 10HD, with the device offering up 2 GB RAM and – like its little brother – a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera.
One of the most intriguing features of the Kobo Arc range is the Reading Mode feature. This will shut off all external connectivity, so there are no email or Twitter notifications interrupting your reading time.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Reading Mode, however, is that it can enable the tablets to be powered for days rather than hours. For example, the Kobo Arc 10HD provides 9.5 hours of battery life as standard, but this is extended to over 10 days when using Reading Mode.
As with previous Kobo tablets, there is unrestricted access to the Google Play store. Although Kobo have customised the launcher to allow users to better organise their ebooks and magazines, the new Kobo Arc HD series still unashamedly maintains Android at its core.