With tablets being so numerous, the eReader’s role has become more clearly defined as a platform to indulge in not just one book, but as many as you can possibly consume for months at a time. The new Kobo Glo HD is a model made for the bookworm in all of us, offering the opportunity to read under the sun or in the dark without missing a page.
I would be lying if I called this a sexy device. But that’s fine, because it’s not meant to be. I’ve always felt an eReader should have a nice, crisp display and feel good to hold first beyond anything else. The Glo HD has that, along with a form factor that is small enough to make it very portable and mobile.
Short and simple
The Glo HD has a 6-inch Carta E Ink touchscreen with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch—the highest Kobo has ever produced in an eReader. It weighs 180 grams and has 4GB of internal storage, which is enough to squeeze in around 1,000 books.
Its diminutive frame belies its size. That is to say that despite having a 6-inch screen, the Glo HD never really feels like its too big for anything. It can fit in a jacket pocket that’s wide enough, or even a back pocket in your jeans when walking around. A handbag, backpack, briefcase—it’s unlikely to crowd its way into any of those.
It’s also as simple as it gets. There’s only one button (power) and a microUSB port at the bottom to charge it. Unlike other models, particularly Kobo’s Aura H2O, there is no microSD card slot to expand storage. The Glo HD also isn’t waterproof like the H2O, so beware of using this around a bathtub.
Like the Aura H2O, the Glo HD has the same ComfortLight LEDs lining the bottom of the display to illuminate it as much, or as little, as you need. At full brightness, it lights up a fair bit, making it easy to read in a dark room, and it’s easy to adjust by either sliding a finger up or down along the left edge of the display, or tapping the top left and the brightness icon to slide across to your preference.
Unlike tablets, eReaders don’t tire users’ eyes as easily. I count myself among them, finding that this display, even at a higher brightness setting, didn’t force me to rub my eyes or take a break as quickly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that text looks as sharp as it does here, including the customization options for font type, font size, line spacing, margins and justification. These aren’t new features to eReaders, of course, but when you have text that looks this tight, I feel like it becomes easier to appreciate some of those features.
For example, by default, I found the text to be too small for one of the books I was reading, so I increased it. In another book, I slightly decreased it. The respective settings stayed as they were, rather than encompass every book or document I had.
Another slick addition that is worth diving into is the Pocket integration. If you’re not familiar with it, Pocket allows you to save articles from the Web and read them later when you get the chance. Being able to view them on the Glo HD with minimal fuss adds a layer of content access and convenience that should be explored. Running off to a meeting, knowing that a long subway ride was afoot, I downloaded a few articles to the Glo and went on my way.
Like other Kobo eReaders, the Glo HD does recognize a range of file formats. EPUB is the standard for the books it sells in its store, and PDF, TXT, RTF, CBZ, CBR and XHTML are also viewable. There’s also the usual support for highlighting and annotating text, bookmarking pages and looking up words in the onboard dictionary, as well as checking Google and Wikipedia for more information on a place, person or thing.
With four million titles to browse through, the Kobo Store is always there to add new books when connected to Wi-Fi. You can also buy books from the website or the Kobo app on your smartphone and then sync them over to the Glo HD afterward. Transitioning from a previous Kobo eReader to this one requires the same process, more or less. Once you sign in with your Kobo account, your library will sync over automatically, including bookmarks and where you left off with each title.
The Glo HD should be able to last about a month on one charge. That’s actually the lowest I’ve seen on a Kobo eReader in a long time, but I’m not sure it’s a drawback to the device. The 30-day battery life is predicated on up to 30 minutes of usage every day. Screen brightness is a factor as well, though it’s hard to gauge exactly what impact it has over that span. Naturally, the brighter the display, the more it saps the battery over time.
I noticed little in the way of battery loss over a three-week span, although I wasn’t using it every day.
The Kobo Glo HD is the entry-level eReader that transcends the environment you find yourself in. Small and portable enough to go where you go, and bright enough to read in any lighting conditions, it’s the kind of device that is easy to appreciate. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the Aura H2O, but this isn’t meant for the user who wants it all. The person who only wants a good eReader with a nice screen will manage perfectly fine with the Glo HD.
Check out the Kobo Glo HD available now at Best Buy.