Kobo Vox Hands-on: a cheap tablet in more ways than one (Video)

Daniel Bader

November 4, 2011 11:19am

How does a $200 Android tablet sound? Well, we tend to tread lightly around the topic — there is a lot of junk out there — but when a venerable company like Kobo (owned by Indigo Books), whose products we already love, announce a tablet in the guise of an eBook reader, we jumped all over that. And better yet, since it’s meant to compete with the Kindle Fires and Nook Colors of the world, it has to be at least competitive, right? Right?!

We eagerly purchased the $199 Kobo Vox today, in black trim and attractive box, only to be severely disappointed. Before we get into it, let’s discuss specs: the tablet houses an 800Mhz Cortex A8 processor, either 384MB RAM, 8GB internal storage, along with WiFi connectivity. No camera(s), no Bluetooth. No nonsense. So far, so good. Sure, it’s not a top-of-the-line spec sheet, but it’s meant to be used as an eReader and for the occasional browsing spell. So why was I left with such a bad taste in my mouth? Read on to find out.

The hardware is the first indication that the Vox is a haphazardly thrown-together product (quite literally). The 7″ screen claims to be an AFFS+ panel with excellent brightness, sharpness and viewing angles. While true in some sense, the screen is clearly inferior to that BlackBerry Playbook, with abysmal black levels and colour saturation. Text, while adequately sharp, is aliased and contrast is poor. Viewing angles are quite good, though, as is maximum brightness.

Build quality is, in a word, terrible. The body is plasticky in the worst way: it feels like a child’s toy. The mainstay quilted Kobo back, a welcome addition to their E-Ink eReaders, appears to be glued on here; my device actually came with one corner peeling off, exposing the adhesive underneath. It was also misaligned, making for a jarring transition between back cover and plastic body. The top of the device houses a power button, and to its right a notch for a single tinny speaker. On the bottom are the 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB port which allows charging, thankfully. On the left of the Vox is a volume rocker that I can only describe as willful: it is a sticky, stubborn thing.

Upon first turning on the device I was greeted with a Welcome screen. A nice image was surrounded by a YouTube-esque video bezel, a pleasant “play” button in the middle. It indeed played a short clip of the Vox’s features. Once returned to the beginning, I attempted to press the “Get Started” button beneath it, only to be whisked back into the clip. Again, I tried; once more I watched the damn clip. For the life of me, I thought I had lost my mind. Turns out the screen was not registering my presses at all. Actually, that’s not true. Turns out the alignment was so off that half the screen was just not working, including the part that housed the “Get Started” button. I ignominiously rebooted the machine, and magically touch returned to the screen.

After “Getting Started” and entering my WiFi password, I was told there was an important firmware update for the device. I assented (there was no denying Vox) and waited. And waited. Fifteen minutes later, the download completed, and the device rebooted, only to have me wait another ten minutes for it to install. Half an hour after ripping the plastic off the box I had still not seen a single usable feature.

Eventually I got through the tumult. The device automatically launches the Kobo software (you DO have a Kobo account already, don’t you?) and proceeds to download your previous books. I had around 13 purchased novels, and the Vox automatically downloads three “Full Colour” selections: a Franklin book for kids (I thought someone was playing a prank on me), Lonely Planet’s Europe Essentials, and Sweet Dreams Desserts, a Kobo Cooking Exclusive (yay?). The app is identical to the Android version — it should be, the Vox runs on Android 2.3.3 — and it’s a very capable eBook reader. This is really where the device shines, since it aptly displays your purchases on a 3D shelf, allows for numerous customizations including typeface and font size. But, like the rest of the device, the Kobo app itself is plagued with slowdown. <sarcasm> The processor inside the Vox is clearly not able to keep up with the complex shadows and high-quality textures that are required to display a virtual bookshelf </sarcasm>

The act of reading is pretty good, though there are no animations to show that you have changed pages. You can share your progress on Facebook with the Reading Life service or, with Kobo Pulse, keep in touch with other users reading the same book as you. You can annotate and bookmark, and purchase from within the app. All these things work, just as they do on any other platform.

And what platform is this? Well, it’s Android 2.3.3. See, the Kobo Vox, unlike the upcoming Kindle Fire or Nook Color, wastes no pretence on covering up its Android roots. Once you press the Home button on the bottom of the device, you are whisked to a stock Android launcher (but for the permanent Kobo app shortcuts). You will notice familiar apps such as Browser, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. Except that the browser is the only actual app of the four: the rest are links to the web versions of their respective services. You see, the Vox was not certified by Google to carry its app bundle, so no Gmail and no Android Marketplace. Instead the role of app store is filled by a web link to GetJar, which, to be fair, is pretty well stocked but lacks the speed and variety of the official version. On the plus side, you get the stock Gingerbread music player, email client, gallery, calendar, calculator, clock and, as mentioned, the browser. Curiously Kobo has bundled the Rdio music app, too, along with Scrabble Free, Press Reader, Zinio and Globe2Go ePaper. You even get bloatware to round out your true Android experience.

As for the performance, I saved the best for last. Not only is the screen basically unusable — I had to press down on icons like in the old resistive days — but my device had severe backlight bleeding on portions of the screen. The tablet stutters along, performing its simple tasks with the kind of painful wheezing that is usually reserved for emphysema patients. Forget watching movies — at least nothing more than standard YouTube fare — and though the battery is meant to last six hours, we found it depleted much faster when doing anything other than reading books on low brightness.

Did I mention that the screen turns on at random times? Or that almost every app I opened crashed at some point? Really, it doesn’t matter because at some point you just have to say, how cheap is too cheap? Is it worth putting yourself through some aches and pains for an eReading experience that you can get from an E-ink device for half the price? Or what if you do in fact want the full-colour tablet experience? Either wait for the Kindle Fire to come to Canada — which may be never — or, spend the extra $100 and buy yourself a $299 BlackBerry Playbook. It has a very capable Kobo app that is almost identical in functionality to the Android version, and it performs infinitely more smoothly. Don’t buy this tablet for its “Android” experience. In fact, don’t buy this at all. I love Kobo — I have spent more money on books than I did on the Vox — but it’s clearly a case where the blade is dull and the razor old and rusted.

In Summary: the Kobo Vox is a colour eReader that doubles as a cheap Android tablet. Except it struggles to do both. Stay far away from this product.

  • Alex Perrier

    LOL, there’s an ad for the Vox on the right side of your article. ;)

    “Stay far away”? Oh, that’s pretty harsh. It’s too bad a Canadian product can’t measure up to expectations. Hopefully the Kindle Fire comes, or Android apps on PlayBook. :)

    • Jake

      If you want to support a Canadian product, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a much better tablet and it has a great Kobo app.

    • Dave

      You don’t need to wait for android apps on the too expensive Blackberry playbook. I got the Acer 7″ Iconia A100 when I returned the Kobo Vox and I’m glad I did its awesome, which is more than I can say for the Kobo Vox.

  • JB

    I too eagerly picked up a Vox from Indigo and experienced all the same problems you did.

    I wish I could be bothered to go through all the effort to make this thing work properly, but with web versions of the key apps (Gmail, FB, Twitter), no Android market (I thought this would be less of a problem han it turned out to be), poor battery life, horrible black levels on the screen, lousy build quallity and generally anemic performance, I can’t justify not returning it.

    I know this is supposed to be a “ereader” but if thats what you want, just buy the Kobo Touch, it is better in every way, and does not try to be something it is not. I will be returning this and waiting for the Transformer Prime (I know, different catagory entirely).

  • Dartmouthland

    I completely agree with the review. I bought mine on Tuesday and will be returning it today (Friday). There is light bleeding from two of the corners and it could not be more laggy. Just switching between screens on the homepage is a chore for the Vox. The battery barely lasted 3 hours of straight reading time. I also didn’t find Getjar to be a very good replacement for the Android Market. I’m glad I hung on to my Playbook and I still have my original Kobo ereader which I continue to love. It seems like they were really in a rush to get a colour ereader out before the Fire or the new Nook Tablet. I guess they don’t subscribe to the theory that getting it right is better than getting it right now. Come on, Kobo. You can do better than this.

  • Joel

    Sounds like the same problems I had with my 7″ Pandigital Novel. I suspected the kobo to be much of the same, so I kind of expected this review.

    The WPDN took 4 updates before they got it to a usable state. Sounds like you’re just waiting for update #2.

  • Jason

    Got my Vox on Tuesday, and I’m really happy with it. I bought it mainly to use as an eReader which has been great so far. Yes, it sucks the “apps” for Facebook, Twitter etc are only links to the mobile sites.

  • KB

    Problem with on/off button. Tis is my second Kobo Vox eReader in less than a week that I have experienced this issue with. Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

    • Greg

      Just received my second Vox. The first one started out ok, then the wireless stopped working all together. Just picked up a replacement today, and now it will not power up after having performed all the set up. Looks like the battery is DEAD and will not take a charge… That’s it for me. Off to return and get something that works.

  • Varroa

    Strange, I got mine this week. There are some performance issues but not nearly as many as you describe. The main issue I found is that is slows down after you open multiple apps and close them. I used a task killer app to remedy that. Otherwise I find it plenty fast (faster than my Iphone 3G). I can play angry birds no problem and I can watch SD MP4 and DivX/AVI files on it. I discovered that the reason for the slow downs is all the bloat were that load in the background (why does the Globe and Mail app load all the time?). I kill these apps with the task killer and it runs beautifully.

  • Neil

    Ouch, my experience wasn’t great but not nearly as bad as yours. My screen was great, bright, responsive, although it was an extreme finger print magnet, battery seemed like it was going to last as per spec, my buttons also worked well.

    I didn’t have any crashes with the bundled apps, or opera or dolphin, although it would lock up every time I put it to sleep and it would take me five minutes to test and reboot.

    My kobo app wouldn’t let me finish previewed books, it would keep asking to download the remaining book even after the download was completed, even after a reboot. Night mode didn’t work with the titles I tested either.

    No google stack meant I couldn’t use Google Reader which I use more than any other piece of android or reading software.

    I found out wasn’t comfortable in the hand, especially when laying on the couch.

    I’m taking mine back tonight, I just can’t find enough positives, sorry Kobo, I really wanted to love this but it’s not going to happen.

  • MichaelV

    I’m glad I came across this article, I was planning on getting a Vox this weekend and now I have doubts, I’ll just keep reading my ebooks on my iPad.

  • mario83

    really glad i didnt buy one when they came out last week, i did try one out and found it to be a piece of junk, its no better than my pandigital novel 9″. honestly even acers 7″ iconia tablet would be better than this…… and not far off in price (299)

  • lfb

    Thank’s for this review. I was hopefull now i’m sad…

  • janet

    I was planning to buy the KOBO Vox and now reading these reviews, am now rethinking whether I should buy something else.
    I am primarily interested in the tablet functions but don’t want to pay the IPAD prices and having the e-reader functionality is secondary.
    What is a better product to purchase then?
    Any advice would be appreciated!

    • mario83

      might want take a look at the acer iconia 7″ tablet, its got a better processor, has cameras, has full access to the android marketplace,

  • Sensualpoet

    The mixed comments here should underscore that the review is unnecessarily harsh. A $199 colour ereader (Kobo does not call this a tablet and retailers like Best Buy sell it in the ebook, not the tablet, section of the store) should not be expected to perform like a $499 Playbook or iPad.
    I did not encounter a peeling back, sticky hardware buttons or peeling back; I bought mine in a Toronto store last week. Kobo Vox ereader syncs nicely with my Kobo library; whether I choose to keep reading on the Kobo Touch, Blackberry Torch app or Kobo Vox, I can pick up where I left off.
    I am new to an Android device which left me learning some new tricks, but that’s been relatively painless. I was able to install the Overdrive app to access the Toronto Public Library epubs directly; and load up the Kindle Android app as well. Opera Mobile delivers snappy web experience, including embedded video such as Al Jazeera (Adobe Flash does not yet support Android 2.3.3 on this device).
    I disagree on two other points with the reviewer: by pushing out the latest firmware when you unbox it means that every new users gets the best experience possible, regardless of when they bought it or how long the stock sits on a shelf first; the screen is bright and, frankly, gorgeous and responsive to light touches and swipes. I’m happy and at $199 this is very good value colour ereader with strong web capabilities in a compact 7″ format.

    • mario83

      that is true, i have one of those cheap android tablet/ereaders, its obvious these things are not designed as true tablets, they are simply ereaders (though a bit pricey) with some basic media capiblitys (my pandigtal doesnt even play audio right it sounds like when a walkman (the cassete kind, since sony still uses the brandname for it mp3 players) has a dying battery) and a web browser, if you want a true tablet, you have to spend at least 400 and up (though for 299, acers 7″ iconia is not bad for the money)

  • B

    Have run into a trickier problem that makes it impossible to actual try out… it won’t even set up without a WiFi connection (don’t recall that being highlighted anywhere when purchasing it). However, the WiFi software doesn’t appear to understand the notion of a hotspot login through a web page. It insists it is connected to the network, doesn’t trigger a login page, and then fails when it tries (without really giving you an option) to upgrade the software. There is nothing on their website that addresses this issue, and haven’t had free time to deal with the call center.

    In other words, it is currently a paperweight with a light.

  • dude

    I tried one out at Indigo earlier this week. I opened the browser (after tapping the icon 4 or 5 times) and then the browser froze. It is too thick and too heavy. Even for $200 this isn’t worth it.

  • Varroa

    I finally got around to watching the video and noticed why the reviewer was having so many problems, the Vox was still downloading his library the entire time he was trying to use it AND he opened and reduced several apps all at once. I don’t know if it is function of android 2.3.3 or the Vox but when you click the home button (while in an app) it doesn’t actually close the app, it only reduces it which causes it to sit in memory. The reviewer probably had 4-6 apps in memory and he was downloading his entire library while he was reviewing the Vox. And like the above person stated, you can’t compare a $200 ereader (with tablet functionality) to a $500 – $800 ipad and expect them to function the same.

  • Ryan

    I use my PlayBook for Kobo reading. With its price at $300 right now for better hardware and a much more robust operating system, the Vox doesn’t make much sense. I expected to have a full Android experience which would probably make it a better deal, but as is, seems like a wiser move to either get a full tablet (PlayBook) or get just an eReader (Touch) instead of failing at both.

    • Jettie

      I want to read and play a few games and maybe surf the net. I thought of the playbook, but have too many non-kobo epub books it won’t accept and can’t find an easy way around it. How flexible is the Acer Iconia in picking up epubs.

  • Koni

    You get what you pay for. My co-worker has one so I had the chance to experience it for myself. Personally I would add $113 and get the RIM’s recently reduced Playbook or Acer’s Iconia A100, just for the better tablet experience.

  • Laura

    I think the reality is, Kobo pushed out the Vox quite quickly to get ahead of the Fire in the States. It looks like in doing so, there are still some kinks to work out. But, if you’re going to be an early adopter of any new system, you often have to appreciate this and approach it with some patience.

    I bought a Vox on the first day it was available at Future Shop. It did have an issue that it locked me out when the machine went to sleep and required a hard reset. Eventually I returned it for another machine and have encountered absolutely no issues (apart from completely widespread issues, like YouTube not working). Both products seemed to be put together well and the screen is beautiful and bright (with no light bleed).

    Hopefully Kobo will continue to work with customers as they seem to be doing on third-party forums, etc in order to improve the current system for those of us who have Voxs and for those who will come to own (and hopefully love) them.

  • Will

    Was thinking about picking one up because I LOVE Kobo, but I think I’ll just stick to my BlackBerry PlayBook. Anyone unhappy with a Vox should get a PlayBook instead ($299 at a Bell store) and buy books through the Kobo app.

    Kobo: you guys should update the PlayBook app and push it as your response to the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets. I’m sure RIM would like some help selling them!

    • Sensualpoet

      I wouldn’t advise buying the more expensive Playbook as a replacement for the Kobo Vox if you are interested in a colour ereader first, and added tablet features, second. Kobo will continue to evolve its Android reading app — it already does more than the Playbook one. So — save your money, enjoy the Kobo Vox for what it brings to the table at little more than the price of the excellent Kobo Touch.

  • Anjohl

    The only problems I have had with mine are that the processor isn’t top speed, my backing is off a little on one corner (Not a big deal), and the lack of the Android Market.

    But really, if you take the time to learn how Android works, you can do anything on the Vox that an iPad can do and MORE. I would not be surprised to see the Android market on there in the future either.

  • who cares

    This guy is knowingly trying a capacitive screen without peeling off the plastic film cover and complains it is not responsive…

    • Daniel Bader

      @who cares, I assure you I was not using the device with the plastic still on. If you thought I was, it speaks to the low fidelity and high reflectiveness of the screen.

      To everyone who is claiming that I was using the device while books were downloading in the background, yes, I was doing that initially, but those downloads ended, and if you continue to watch the video you can clearly see there is still major slowdown.

      I found the limitations too much to overcome. Sure, it works OK as an eReader, but there isn’t a soul on earth who would claim this is competitive with the Kindle Fire or Nook Color. They are advertising their products as content-rich media consumption devices. The Kobo Vox, for the same money, can only claim it is a poorly-designed Android tablet with mediocre eReading abilities.

      If you’re in the market for a cheap Android-based eReader, buy the original Samsung Galaxy Tab. It’s well-made, updated to Gingerbread, fast as heck (compared to the Vox) and can be had for less than $200.

      Just my two cents.

    • who cares

      Watch the video man… you took it, you posted it. Everyone can see the plastic film is there while you are desperately trying to press buttons with your fingers.
      Timelines: min 2:00 and min 5:00. You can clearly see the wide crease of the plastic film (center screen).

      PS. Capacitive screens do not require finger pressure (they work with static electricity).

  • Pokey

    I love my Vox. I think part of getting your Vox to work well is to ensure you read the user manual and be resourceful to get some workarounds to some issues that may be related to either user ignorance or some firmware issues.

    Sure, there have been a few lemons, and that happens to any company that pushes out a product quickly.

    I was tempted to get a PlayBook, Acer or iPad, but I saved myself $100-$300 because I realized I would be using my tablet mostly to read, watching videos and for some light internet browsing. And it does those jobs mighty fine!

    I’ll take that savings and buy more electronic books and magazines!

  • Georgina

    I have a Kobo ereader which I just love – no problems with it that weren’t quickly fixable. I couldn’t wait for the Vox to arrive and tried to preorder it with the advertised 10% discount and free shipping from the Kobo website BUT for some unknown reason which Kobo cannot address it wouldn’t allow me to. I have called/emailed/facebooked Kobo about this issue but to no avail . . . however, I digress, I went to Chapters today to experience the Kobo Vox in person. The salesguy had taken his home to familairize himself with it and it crashed! He honestly advised me to wait for all the problems to be ironed out and NOT to buy it now so I guess I’ll stick with my Kobo ereader for now. Also, I don’t get why you cannot return your Vox for full credit if it doesn’t work. . . just sayin – if Kobo wants to play with the big boys, they gotta do better with their new product and their rectify their TERRIBLE help line.

  • Dave Ryan

    Wow. How much did Kindle, iPad or Sony pay this guy? Sorry, pal. Got mine yesterday. Don’t have ANY of the issues you have reported. Build quality is good, screen brightness is even etc. I would reccommend it.

    • Mike

      @Dave Ryan, you work for Kobo right?

  • Sam

    It looks like you got a lemon. If you are going to do a proper review you should of at least have played around with the unit first and contacted the companies customer support with the problems you had. If after replacing it with a second unit and trying some quick troubleshooting problems still persist, then it would be appropriate to write such a negative review.

  • Paul Carlson

    I picked up a Kobo on Tuesday, my big concern is battery life. I’m used to using an iPad that lasts several days on a charge but the Vox can’t get through one when left on standby. The Vox idle mode consumes as much power as Wi-fi & the screen, even with all syncing & notifications turned off.

    I’m a bit of a tech junky so I thought it would be fun to own a inexpensive android tablet for secondary use. I really like some parts of android like widgets. The vox does have a nice bright screen. I have experienced intermittent screen freezes where it stops responding for a while also happening at times while typing.

    Am I the only person experiencing short battery life ? What are other people doing, turning it totally off, manually disabling the wi-fi, etc ? The great value of tablets is being able to use standby mode so you can quickly pick it up to check things…

  • Tony Toews

    Wow. I’ve had none of the problems this reviewer has had. I very much like my Kobo Vox.

  • Tom W

    I bought this as a colour e-reader. That’s what I want it for. But I am disappointed.
    1. No Dictionary in the reading pane. On an iPod, using the Kobo app, you press a word and up pops a dictionary, but not on the Vox. (the Kobo Touch also has a dictionary in its reader)
    2. No Search function. The Kobo Touch has this.
    3. You can’t lock the Vox in Portrait mode. I read a fair bit lying down and personally dislike it flipping into Landscape.
    4. No Copy and Paste function in the reader.

    • AMD

      Actually, you can lock the device in portrait mode. Go to Settings>>Display, and deselect “Auto-rotate screen”.

  • Dan

    “…but there isn’t a soul on earth who would claim this is competitive with the Kindle Fire…”

    Did I miss the kindle fire review?

  • ron1959

    I think it’s a great option to drop another $100 & get a better tablet experience than what the kobo vox can give…but the blackberry playbook is in a higher price range than $299….maybe check out the acer iconia a100 which I think is $299 at BB/FS or play the waiting game for a bit and see what else comes into the market….

  • clippy stapleton

    Bought and returned after experiencing most of the above issues. Poor touch response, lots of backlight bleed, poor battery life, file format and compatibility issues, and no access to the Android market (250000 apps versus GetJar’s 15000).

    If you want an e-reader the Vox is fine. However, the Kobo Touch is better if colour isn’t important to you.

    As an “Android Tablet” the Vox is an exercise in frustration. The concept of a budget-oriented Android Tablet is a good one for those of us who don’t need to play 3d-accelerated games or record HD video on the bus or at work. However, the hardware specs and (likely more importantly) the quality of the software will have to be a little higher to make basic tasks (like web browsing or typing an email) operate smoothly.

  • kris

    I”ve got to say that both me & my husband love our kobo voxes. Other than the short battery life when online or running aps, I’ve been thrilled with it’s performance. Sounds like you may have had a dud!!

  • Cecile

    I bought my Kobo Vox the day it was released. It has a lot of positives which have already been discussed in reviews. I do find the short battery life is a bummer. I am also trying to get previously downloaded books (.mobi format) into it and am having no luck. So far, I haven’t read a thing on it.

  • Jonesy1966

    Tablets are as useful as e-readers as e-readers are as tablets. There’s a reason why the screen on an e-reader is as matte as it is, it’s designed to emulate the printed page and reduce eye strain over an extended reading period. Tablets are back-lit, a major no-no when it comes to an optimal reading surface, especially in poor light. I have both a Kobo reader (old school) and a PlayBook and both are great products for their intended purposes.

  • Casey

    So I got the Kobo Vox cause I’m a big reader and was into the price too, but returned it. It is a bad bad product. I didn’t have the response issues like the video but it was really slow and made for a bad reading experience. although i wanna support a canadian company I kinda agree with this review

  • Scott

    If you bought this as a tablet, you will probably be disappointed, but my rationale was this: If I pay $499 or more for a “real” tablet and it doesn’t any one of the things I expect it to, I would be disappointed.

    For $199, if it does ANYTHING well besides being an e-reader, I’d be happy with that, because I just saved $300.

    So, I pre-ordered my Vox and got it a few days ago. I’ve side-loaded some of my favourite droid apps and am working on enabling full support for the Android Market to make installing things smoother.

    I’ve put my entire music collection on it and a few movies. It handles 720p video (barely but passible, and if you have any lower quality DivX files around 480p, it looks great on the colour screen).

    Also, if you’ve never owned a tablet before, it’s a great way to get familiar with Android at a low price point. It is great for consuming content, so viewing things like facebook and twitter is great.

    It only displays WiFi networks that are broadcasting their SSIDs, so my home network, I had to turn that back on to add the network, but once I did, it remembers it and I turned SSID broadcast back off, no problems.

    Kids love it, and they’re tech-savvy kids with iPads and MacBook Airs at home with mom. So from a kid perspective it still had some cool factor.

    It fits in the pocket of my coat, I actually like the rubberized plastic on the back, feels nice on my fingers while I’m holding it, and I didn’t find the construction overly-cheap feeling. The benefit from this is weight, it’s 14oz or so, about the same as a small paperback, with a bezel wide enough to hold and read without accidentally firing commands from inadvertent screen touches.

    So, once I can get in the droid market, and say half those apps work well? I just got a tablet for $199. If it does anything well at that price point, I’m happy.

    And even this trashing article admits, it’s a good e-Reader. Well, that’s what it’s touted as! Yay Kobo.

    And saying it doesn’t measure up tech spec wise to the fire or the Nook?

    Fire – 8GB of storage you can’t expand, Vox you can add 32 on top of the internal 8, for a total of 40. Has a better brighter screen too (article admits this). Fire has a 1.0 GHz processor, 800MHz on the Vox. Unless you enable the animated wallpaper, you won’t notice any difference for the things you think are lagging on the Vox, they will lag on the Fire too.

    Nook – It’s also and 800MHz Cortex A processor, same screen size (not as bright/colourful) without a mic (no Skype.. yes I have Skype working on the Vox, it’s cool.)

    Also, installed the Boxee Box remote app, and am controlling my tv with it over WiFi. If you don’t like the music app installed, then install Meridian, it’s a full-featured media player. Oh, and the Fire is locked in, locked down and plays a handful of media formats, Vox plays everything from flac/ogg, to 3gp (phone videos) mp4 (quicktime) up to 720p. The Nook and Fire won’t do this.

    I work for one of the largest software companies in the world, and I am surrounded by geek heads that use any device you can think of and put them through their paces. Brought this thing to work, explained what it did and what it didn’t, and they were all nodding “Hmm, cool”. Then I told them the price. Eyes bugged out.

    I even have the VMware View client installed and can control my work Windows Desktop with the Vox.

    So for $499? I’d be REALLY disappointed with the Vox. At $199? VOX ROX.

    This article’s writer seems disappointed it doesn’t double as a gaming platform or cray supercomputer. It’s neither of those. But saying it’s crappy compared to the Fire or Nook? My friend at work has a rooted Nook, and he’s getting a Vox for his dad for Christmas instead. The tech specs for the Vox are actually better than the other two, so that’s an outright lie. Writer obviously hasn’t used all three and done an accurate comparison.

    If you want iPad or GalaxyPad II performance, you won’t get it from any of the three he’s talking about here. But OF THE THREE e-readers, it’s the most open, the brightest and most colourful, easiest to use, and kicks some serious a$$.

    VOX ROX. Get your facts straight. And yes, it’s a Canadian company. And you can install the Amazon app and the Kobo app, or any e-reader app. Fire can do that? No? They’ve locked you into their store? Hmm I don’t like that kind of corporate spoon feeding, maybe the writer of this article does. I’ve heard of Apple Fanboys, but Kindle fanboys?

    The Vox is a cool tablet computer for the price, and the BEST e-reader of the three, hands down.

    • Arap

      I love mine. I purchased it with the thought that it was an e-reader with perks and have been more than pleasantly surprised. If you want the full functionality of an expensive tablet, this isn’t for you, but for $199.00, I am amazed by how much it does do. The touch screen has responded extremely well, the lighting has been good, and it has allowed me to browse over WiFi quickly. I can’t fully speak for other people’s expectations, but I do come from a family of web developpers and programmers and so far all have been impressed with the vox’s capabilities, but we all understood that this was an ereader with bonus features. It is marketed first and foremost as an e-reader and anyone purchasing it should keep that in mind. I know some have expressed firmware or technical issues. However, I have had it since it’s release and have experienced none of the issues, which others have experienced. My only suggetion to Kobo is that when something is loading, that we be given a loading screen. Sometimes, you are left wondering whether something is loading or not, but that’s only temporary because it loads rather quickly anyways. This isn’t meant to be a PSP or gaming unit and so serious gamers may be disappointed, but for average gaming usage, if faired well. I didn’t experience any lag time in any of the games which I used the unit for, but I am by far not a serious gamer. I like the openness of the market, being able to add the Kindle app, as well.

      Obviously, this reviewer does not take anyone outside of the US market to be significant in his reviews, because if he did, he would have mentionned that most of the Kindle Fire “hot” features, won’t function in Canada. There will be no access to the cloud in Canada and Kindle won’t even give a prospective date of functionality, which tells me that it won’t be any time soon in Canada. Let’s not forget that although the numbers of available things are marketed largely everywhere, if you are Canadian, you’ll be lucky to have access to half the numbers because licenses have not been purchased for Canada. However, Kobo, does care about its Canadian market in equal proportion to its US market.

  • Scott

    The people here that seem so disappointed are balanced by just as many praises.

    So if the article were accurate, we’d all be returning them in droves.

    The mix suggests, that the haters were expecting the moon and are overly critical.

    If you want a cheap e-reader that doubles as a mostly good tablet, it SHINES.

  • Dan

    Wow, after re reading this review a few times, all I can say is that this review seems really amateur. Its negative tone is really personal. There are ways of pointing out deficiencies in a product without saying things like “…damn video”. Its a fine line between pointing out areas of improvement vs trashing something.

    The update process sounds like it takes as long as the playbook’s. Its normal for a tablet to make an update out of the box is it not?

    I realize its one person’s opinion, but there are other blogs out there that manage to get their point across (positive or negative) without taking such a personal stance.

    If you look at the comments (here and on other forums), some people like it, some people don’t, but no one hates it as much as this reviewer. There looks like there are some issues that could be fixed, but I think a big reason why some people don’t like it is that they’re expecting the vox to be an ipad competitor, which it is not.

  • Ryan

    Wow. This experience mimics mine to a T… Well except that I’m not as patient as the reviewer, and neither of mine worked very long after set up. The second one crashed while loading my books. It seems that displaying the library is very, very difficult for the vox. Wouldn’t know what the reading experience is like since it couldn’t open books if it can’t display them. Don’t buy it; you aren’t saving money. As to the buy Canadian supporters I say the same thing as I do to the US protectionists; don’t support garbage, no one wins.

  • Cellarboy

    I have a sneaking feeling that the Vox is based on the same reference platform as the Nook Color. The initial release of that had a lot of the same issues you mention here.

    • Sam

      That would mean this thing will be amazing after they actually fix/finish the software or is rooted. I say give it a month or so :).

  • Weeth

    Just an additional followup note to my previous comments – I’m now browsing to this review on the Vox! Although typing a comment on a touch keyboard is much slower than my laptop I’m pleased I can now tool around the web from a balcony without bringing my computer out here while we BBQ! If this device lasts me 12 months I’ll be happy with it until upgrading to the next kono or kindle.

  • Garth

    My Vox screen also turns on at random times from sleep mode, irritating and uses up the battery. Not ready to return it yet, hoping to find a fix.

  • robbied

    It would appear to me that Kobo has and inconsistent quality issue. Some have no problems other have the problems encountered by the reviewer. I bought my Vox on Tuesday looking for a colour reader, not a tablet. That’s what I got. I have had none of the reviewer problems except slow response at first – hadn’t taken the plastic off. I fully charged the ereader on Tuesday and have been using it for a variety of different reasons including some reading. It’s Saturday night and the battery is half carrying a half charge. It’s fast, provides me will my Gmail account and Facebook as well. The brower is a lot better than Blackberry. So far I am happy with my new ereader.

  • John Jacobs

    Why are you comparing this eReader to the Blackberry Playbook? The Vox is a eReader, not a tablet. It’s primary purpose is book reading, but you didn’t even demo that! A comparison with the Color Nook would have been more appropriate.

    Is there is only one speaker? It looked to me like there were two. If so, you completely overlooked the second when you were showing us the sides of the eReader.

    The build quality is terrible just because it feels like a child’s toy!? Too subjective. I think the misalignment and screen bleed-through are more important quality issue, not how it feels.

    More importantly, your so-called “first bug” you encountered was not a bug at all, but was “user error”. You can clearly see from your video that you failed to remove the plastic protective film over the touch screen. Is it any wonder the touch screen was not very responsive?? Did you remove the film when you rebooted and not tell us, or was it left on during the entire demo? From what I could see, the eReader had good response throughout the video, except when you were impatient while it was still downloading a book or app. Also, I don’t understand why are you whining about the 15 min software upgrade. I just bought a new Kindle and it took 15 mins to upgrade itself as soon as I took it out of the box–pretty typical. BTW, I wouldn’t use a web page to evaluate the responsiveness of an eReader—too many variables like network connection, web server response, content of the web page, etc. You should have used a book or an app. The web page you chose had about a dozen images, and I’m wondering if the page completely loaded before you began complaining about the responsiveness. Also, from what I saw, the keyboard response looked very good, and the video ran smoothly.

    Next time you review an eReader, let it finish setting up itself. Then, get to know the device instead just taking it out of the box and winging it.

    • ron1959

      It wasn’t a real review cause he didn’t know how to use it….more of an unboxing.
      There were many faults of the video/written “review”. He really should take the time to address them or lose credibility.

  • John Jacobs

    Why are you comparing this eReader to the Blackberry Playbook? The Vox is a eReader, not a tablet. It’s primary purpose is book reading, but you didn’t even demo that! A comparison with the Color Nook would have been more appropriate.

    Is there is only one speaker? It looked to me like there were two. If so, you completely overlooked the second when you were showing us the sides of the eReader.

    The build quality is terrible just because it feels like a child’s toy!? Too subjective. I think the misalignment and screen bleed-through are more important quality issue, not how it feels.

    More importantly, your so-called “first bug” you encountered was not a bug, but was “user error”. You can clearly see from your video that you failed to remove the plastic protective film over the touch screen. Is it any wonder the touch screen was not very responsive?? Did you remove the film when you rebooted and not tell us, or was it left on during the entire demo? From what I could see, the eReader had good response throughout the video, except when you were impatient while it was still downloading a book or app. Also, I don’t understand why are you whining about the 15 min software upgrade. I just bought a new Kindle and it took 15 mins to upgrade itself as soon as I took it out of the box–pretty typical. BTW, I wouldn’t use a web page to evaluate the responsiveness of an eReader—too many variables like network connection, web server response, content of the web page, etc. You should have used a book or an app. The web page you chose had about a dozen images, and I’m wondering if the page completely loaded before you began complaining about the responsiveness. Also, from what I saw, the keyboard response looked very good, and the video ran smoothly.

    Next time you review an eReader, let it finish setting up itself. Then, get to know the device instead just taking it out of the box and winging it.

  • Spear

    youd have to be a complete moron to buy this over a playbook.

  • Fresh

    I too wanted to love this device…I can’t even get it to turn on. It’s like its completely bricked. I’ve spent all of two minutes playing with this thing beforehand.. I’ve encountered all the problems as stated above minus the peeling back case( I bought this device at TD tower, downtown Toronto) I am seriously angry this device has been such a failure at launch. I’m going to return it and wait for the Kindle Fire or until the problems clear up. What a waste of anticipation and time. Im so cheesed. :(

  • Krm

    At this point I have mixed feelings about the Vox, the first one I picked up locked up after the initial firmware update, flashing green light and nothing else, but the replacement has been fine.

    I was surprised that I couldn’t adjust the margins in the kobo reader app like I can on the touch, which made a couple of my books more or less unreadable, to be perfectly honest I much prefer the Aldiko eReader app over the built in kobo app.
    If I’d had a large collection of kobo drm’d ebooks I might be more upset, but I want ebooks that I can read with any ereader, so always get a proper epub version.

    I also found that the kobo reader choked importing a large number of books, I had to import them a few at a time (I thought maybe I had a badly formatted book, but they all imported fine when I did them 20 at a time)

    So I can add a microsd card and it works just fine, but why can’t I have my library on the card? (Unfortunately this seem to apply to Aldiko as well as Kobo)

    As to the comment above about the weight, I find it heavy for a reader. I have no other tablets to compare it too, but as just a reader it’s closer to a 400 page hardcover than a paperback, and that’s without a case (Which I will want as I find a ‘book format’ easier to hold onto for long reading sessions.)

    Maybe it’s just me, but a three foot long charging cable seems excessively stingy, come on, spend another 10 cents for a longer cable. I’ll be picking up an microusb extension (ebay here I come…)

    I have run into the odd weirdness with the wireless, it seems to be a bear to get the wireless turned back on sometimes, and I turn it off most of the time as if I’m reading I don’t need the wireless running.

    The lack of the android market was known going in, and the only real kicker I’ve run into I blame on a developer, their main app’s on getjar and installs fine, but when I try to get an addon (more or less required for my use) from within the app it tries going to the android market (I’ve emailed the developer and we’ll see)

    This will probably tick a few souls off, but I really don’t see the point of trying to force a social aspect onto what is at it’s core a solo activity (reading). I really don’t care what others are reading, and I’m not egocentric enough to think what I’m reading is news for anyone else. Do I really need “awards” for reading, I know I read a lot and I know I read at odd times so again what’s the point. I suppose if I fell into that ever growing assemblage of “Sheeple” I might find it important to know what others are reading, but I still have my own ideas and don’t need to be told what I should be reading.
    Get the reading experience right before you start adding (in my opinion pointless) bells and whistles.

    I’m hoping some of this is addressed in future updates.

  • Dale

    Watching the video, you complained about how slow the tablet was and how responsive it was – while downloading a couple dozen books in the background! That will certainly affect the responsiveness of the touch interface too! What tests have you done since everything stabilized and all books were done downloading? I don’t see this as a fair evaluation…

  • Cassidy

    Now I am not saying this is a bad review, but it seems somewhat unfair. Every device right out of opening for the first time takes a while to setup. Secondly, your vox was in the process of downloading all your purchased content when you were trying to use the applications or browse the web, so you can not blame it for choking a bit. Most mobile devices can not handle multi tasking without a bit of a slow down. I DO however agree with you that the screen could be more responsive. But then again this isnt an iPad, your paying $199 so expect to get what you pay for. I have seen other unboxing videos and reviews and it doesnt seem like that bad of an ereader. Thanks, however, for the video it was helpful to watch.

  • Tom W

    AMD is correct in indicating that you can lock the Device in Portrait mode in Settings. However, this does not hold in the Kobo reader app…it switches readily from Portrait to Landscape mode.

  • Kevin

    Love my Playbook. Was thinking of getting this for the kids for Christmas, I think will get another Playbook for $299.

  • John S.

    What kind of slanted review is this? The reviewer says “I’d have a hard time recommending this to anyone looking for a high performance Android tablet” What? What an idiotic statement. It’s an e-reader, I have two and I’m happy with them they do the job. No they don’t run like Ipads but they are not meant to.

  • buckyschwartz

    No Netflix, No Evernote…No Kobo Vox. I’m returning it tonight.

  • Arap

    After reading these reviews I was worried that the Vox I bought for my son for Xmas was a mistake so I opened the box and tried it. I have to say I really like it. I had a minimal problem but it was explained in the little booklet that came with it–did anyone bother to read the little booklet? I had no problem connecting to my WiFi. After connection, it still said on the screen that you need a WiFi connection, but when I looked at my WiFi, it was connected. Next it asked for the update, I started at 8:33 am, following the calls to action it gave (restart, software update screen, almost complete screen) and then nothing happened. It didn’t restart and so I referred to the booklet and it said to hold the on/off for 6 seconds. I did, turned it on and everything worked—the update had been done, the browser was good, the apps worked fine. (Maybe the speed of connectivity has to do with the quality of your WiFi because mine was fine). I downloaded a book and the screen was super responsive, turning the pages was easy just by tapping. For the cookbook, I found it worked great turned where you could see the pages side by side and the images were clear and bright and it made turning the pages superfast by simpling clicking on the side. I downloaded AK notepad to it without any issues, either. In other applications, I actually found the screen to be a little too quick in responsiveness. If you accidentally hit something, it was on its way. Let’s keep in mind that this is an e-reader with perks. This is not a hefty priced device meant for surfing. Honestly, I was expecting the worse with these posts and was so pleasantly surprised when I used it. I downloaded the Amazon android app and had no issues. Downloaded a few more things I though my son would want and again no issues. I viewed you-tubes videos and they loaded well, the sound was clear, the colors were better than what I expected from a $199.00 dollar device. The only suggestion I’d make to Kobo is that when downloading we get some signal that it is happening because it happens silently in the background. Of course I didn’t leave more than two browser windows open as I used it having the common sense to realize that the processor that comes included (clearly stated and advertised) is not going to be able to handle 15 to 20 processes at the same time. I’m not sure if people are looking at this with realistic expectations. Not even my quad-core laptop can handle multiple applications, multiple windows, multiple apps without slowing down. As for the batter, as with every battery charged device, the first time you charge it, you have to let it charge for at least six hours for full charge and then let it drain down to almost nothing to “train” the battery. After charging, I started at 8:33 in the morning and at 1:12 in the afternoon of continuous usage, it was still almost at full charge. Perhaps, the initial charging is not well explained anywhere with battery-charged devices. I’m going to wait until it is almost completely drained before I recharge it again, but I suspect considering what I have still now, it is going to be awhile before I need to do so.

  • CMac

    I guess I got lucky — mine has worked well. Nothing has ever crashed. I’ve charged it once in the past eight days, and I use it a lot, mainly as a browser. I’m sure iPads and Playbooks do much more, but what I wanted was a small, portable tablet that I can use to browse the web, make hotel reservations, check the news, etc. And that’s what I got for my $199 plus tax.

  • Gera Chandler

    I bought the vox to take on a trip this past weekend. i was expecting to be able to travel light and use it for e-reading as well as some googling and email- Ther primary glitch was that it wouldn’t connect at any hotspots – I tried at the Victoria, Seattle and Chicago airports as well as a hotel in Chicago. I ended up using the Experimental Browser feature in my kindle to get email. Somewhat primitive but more effective than the flashy but unresponsive vox.
    Not good- I’m afraid after the dismal performance it will be returned tomorrow along with a list of things I understood it could do but couldn’t.
    I will consider other options next time I’m taking a trip somewhere. Who knows- maybe the Kindle Fire may make it’s way over the border by then.

  • Gera Chandler

    I was delighted when I read about the Kobo Vox. l travel a lot and appreciate the portabilty of an e-reader. I was attracted to a unit with colour so that I could read magazines. I also wanted to be able to download CBC Podcasts and which are available in itunes . Of course being able to get email and browse the internet are a basic neccesity. I have a 2nd Generation Kindle but the Vox appeared to offer everything I needed as well as being available in Canada. The very positive reviews sealed the deal and I decided to switch brands and purchase a Kobo Vox. I was absolutely delighted with the Kobo as an e-reader. My satisfaction began to erode on the second day when I began to prepare for a trip by attempting to launch apps and magazines. My first Vox had to be returned for an exchange as it kept displaying error annuncements that flashed off and on before I was able to read them.

    Unfortunately things didn’t improve with the second Vox and I’m returning it today because:

    *When I travelled from Victoria to Chicago from Nov. 4-9 the Kobo couldn’t make any wifi connections in any airports or hotels. I had NO internet connections on the Kobo for the entire trip. I was unable to check news or download any books. Ironically I ended up using the experimental browser feature on my kindle to check email. The Kindle connected to wifi consistently.

    *I tried to load itunes to cummulate a collection of CBC programes but after several frustrating hours I gave up.

    * The selection of magazines available is extremely limited and does not include the publications that I usually purchase. (ie- Vanity Fair)

    *Installing apps and having them launch is a frustrating exercise that doesn’t seem to work on a consistent basis.

    I know that the product is new and fixes will gradually become available but I’m busy and need to be able to use my e-reader, not seek out patches and fixes.

  • abuckley

    Seriously harsh article. Maybe calm down first and then write a review? I was going to purchase a nook color but when the Vox came it it seemed like a much better option as I live in Canada. I’ve used mine for over a week. The device is solid, the touch screen responsive and as an E-reader it’s excellent. Yes the web links posing as apps is a little annoying at first but can be got around with other apps available from getjar. I’m hoping we’ll eventually get access to the android market but in reality the device is an e-reader first and a low end tablet second. Expecting ipad-like performance is unrealistic but for someone operating on a budget it’s awesome. The battery and processor have worked fine for me and I’ve only had to force close an app once so far.

    Having said that I literally use it for email, twitter, web browsing, reading, task lists, calendar, and the occasional game. For all these things it’s an excellent device. If you can’t justify shelling out for an ipad or like me can’t afford such lovely toys then get a Vox.

  • Siggy

    Just got my Kobo Vox yesterday. My biggest problem was trying to remember my wireless network password. While it took a bit of time to get the upgrades installed, everything went well. So far it works as I had hoped.

    If you wish to improve the upgrade time, charge the Vox fully before starting.

  • MajorTom46

    Seriously? This was an objective review of the Vox? I smell a hatchet job here.

    I have had my Vox for a week and had some teething problems mainly because I had no idea what apps were about. One week later I now have a lot of apps which are very useful and I’m happy with.

    Regarding the Vox itself I found the build quality solid, it’s fast enough for my needs, the screen colour and clarity are amazing. The one slight drawback is the battery life. It is less then advertised although running several apps, the WiFi always on and several YouTube videos later I got a solid 6 hours continuous run time before recharging was required. I understand Kobo will soon have an update that will address the battery problem.

    In summary, for $199 what were you expecting? The device has a solid quality feel to it, beautiful screen, in one week I’ve found a ton of free apps, and does everything I ask of it in pretty quick fashion. Though primarily an e-reader it’s a pretty good little tablet and it suits my needs which is all I can ask of it. At this price and function ability I would recommend it if it’s your first tablet and your not really sure if you need one or not

  • Spencer

    did you try to download the android market on getjar?

  • LJ

    I disagree with most of what this reviewer says (sorry). I was first introduced to ereading through the Kobo Touch last spring and instantly fell in love. When they promoted the Vox I placed my pre-order almost immediately. I’ve been using it faithfully and with limited problem for almost 10 days – and love it. The tricky part for me was the learning curve for the Android aspects of the device. Android is new to me. But once I got them figured out – its been a blast.
    My small complaint – not great battery life if you’re using the wifi. The Kobo Touch had upwards of a month of use. Without using the wifi I still need to plug in the Vox everyday.
    If I wanted a Tablet I’d buy a tablet, but since I want an ereader – This is the best I’ve seen for $199.

  • Lia

    I bought mine it is awesome. Absolutely no problems, I’m pretty sure the kindle fire can sell itself, it probably doesn’t need your help.

  • Brock

    And it looks like Heather sold off the Kobo side of the business just in time! Gotta give credit to a business decision like that!

  • Vida

    I just bought a Kobo Vox from Indigo Store. It had many problems, as you all mentioned above! Too slow, and even it did not work without plugging it! Also, when I was creating an account, suddenly, it was locked! and now, I can not do ANYTHING! it is completely locked!!!
    I brought it to the Indigo store, and they told me that they are not responsible and I have to call Kobo myself! When I call, I have to wait on the line for more than 30 minutes, and nobody replies! Once someone replied, and after I described the problem, their phone line was disconnected suddenly!
    I don’t know what to do! No way to return it!!!!

  • flashgirl

    No use comparing the Vox to the Kindle Fire which is not even available in Canada. It is what it is, an E reader, NOT a tablet.

  • flashgirl

    No use comparing the Vox to the Kindle Fire,which is not even available in Canada and if you go over the border to get one, the apps are American use only. The Vox is what it is, an E Reader, so why all the complaints expecting it to be a tablet?

  • Dave

    I bought the Kobo Vox and was very disappointed , It does not have access to the Android Market and because of this you can’t access many of the Android functions. It’s ok as an e reader but you would be better off buying something else for that function. I exchanged it for an Acer Iconia tablet at only $99 more than the Vox, and it does everything. Books with the Kindle and Kobo apps from Android Market. Videos from Netflix with App from Android Market, Skype etc ,etc, and it has front and rear camera’s.
    Save your money and get a better e book reader or go the whole way and get a Tablet.

  • David Bazeley

    I too have decided to return my Vox. It seems to work fine as “designed” but to me the design as a reader is poor. I wanted first to use it on an upcoming trip, so I bought the Lonely Planet guide to where I am going. Nice ebook, lots of hypertext, both internal and web wwlinks. Trouble is, the reader doesn’t do hypertext. Not even a search function that I can find.

    The second reason for purchase is that our library system is supposed to be based on Kobo. You put Adobe Digital Editions on your computer and Vox, and away you go.

    Hah! ADE doesn’t recognize the Vox, I even read a post that said Kobo states it will not be able to work with ADE! I was finally able to link with my Library using Overdrive, but even getting that was less than straightforward.

    Overall, I think calling it an Android device is “iffy” advertising, since you can’t go to the main Android app market. But for me the killer is the reader’s inability to do hypertext, web links etc. It seems fine for reading a novel – start at page one and continue to the end. But it is completely hopeless for use with any kind of reference content such as travel guides, recipe books or the like.

    Finally, I haven’t been able to get it to do my email yet either, although to be fair, I haven’t put much effort into it yet. But should I have to? Set up an iPhone recently, couple of minutes.

    Guess I save up for an iPad.

  • GERRY

    I bought this for an ereader. I think it is great i can read the morning paper on it. I had a kobo ereader and this is just great dont understand what everyone expedtsw as an ereader it does it job it is not a computer just like an i phone.

  • Crash Calgary

    Agreed I picked my up and returned it after 3 days, under powered and poorly designed. Very sad, I love my Kobo Touch but not the Vox. I purchased an Acer A500 table for $350 at Future Shop instead. WOW.

  • Tom

    No Android Marketplace is a HUGE hole in this product, and equates to shooting themselves in the foot. Many of my favorite android apps are unavailable!

  • Siggy

    For some of you who are complaining I would ask, “Did you read the specs before you bought and the User Manual after?” Kobo advertised it mainly as an ereader which is what I wanted.

    My experience has been excellent. It does a good job as an ereader although battery life could be better. I have used it for email, web browsing and have downloaded and played music. The internet speed, if not lightening, has been adequate. I have found quite a few good Android apps even if I can’t access the full Android Marketplace. The RIM Playbook costs 2.5 times as much and the Acer A500 almost double. If you want an IPad, buy an Ipad.

  • laridae

    Seems to me like Mobilesyrup needs to regain their credibility on this. They should wait a month or so to let Kobo fix the battery issue and any bugs. Then they should re-do the review of the Vox as a $200 ereader that happens to run some Android on the side – hopefully with a different, more objective and professional reviewer.

  • Stacey

    I bought my Vox a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. However, now I am unable to open books and keep getting error messages. I went to the help site and tried everything and still get error messages, so I then called the help line. The person was of no help and she said they would contact me with a fix within 24 hours. That was 3 days ago, and still no fix. Pretty sure I will be returning it to the store.

  • GERRY

    love it

  • Ellie

    I purchased the Vox on Sunday evening Nov 13. I started using it Monday and everything was fine. Then on Thursday it turned off on its own while I was reading and would not turn back on. I returned it to Chapters and they had received an email on directions to fix this issue. Both salesgirls tried to locate the items to fix and decided to give me a new one and they would use my original one for practice. I did not get a chance to take the second one out of the box until last night.(Friday). I had to wait while it upgraded new updates and downloaded my books. I used it for about three hours today and got a warning the battery was low.
    I have nothing on it except books. I turned it off around 6 PM before going out and when I returned at 10:30 it had turned on itself.
    It will not unlock or turn off at all now. This is my second Vox in less than a week and now I have to make another trip to Chapters to return this one.
    This was my first ereader experience and needless to say I am not buying another one.
    I have a tablet and I will continue to read my books on that.

  • Andres

    is it a no-brainer to go for the reduced Playbook at $200 instead of the Kobo VoX?

    • Dmitri

      It’s a no-brainer to go for the Playbook for $199 instead of ANY tablet (available right now in Canada in many major stores).

  • okofoto

    Hmmm. I have been thinking about Kobo, partly because I live half in France, half in Canada. Almost bought the Touch. Did not, and will not buy an ereader that does not have one function I find essential: text search in the books. I often remember something from earlier pages and wish to check if my memory is correct and without search capabilities. looking for text on an ereader is MUCH worse than in a paper book.

    Indeed, I am puzzled that no review ever mentions searching for any ereader (at least none of the many I have read).

    On the tablet/reader front, I second the many comments saying one should not compare a reader to a tablet.

  • Martin

    I think this product is a piece of junk. I had one for 12 days before I returned it. The power button wouldn’t work, it turns on all by it’s self, the batery life was some where about 3 to 4 hours max. And one problem that I haven’t seen any one else mention is that the unit has recharging issues that have been admitted by Kobo. I read about them on another site as I was investigating why my Kobo wouldn’t recharge. I plugged it in with wall charger over night one night and when I woke up the next day the battery had %10 left. I didn’t charge over night. that was the final straw, back she went. Even the lady who accepted the return wasn’t suprised to see me return it.
    I’m now waiting for ipad.

  • Tracy Tyson

    OMG. I have bought my hubby the Kobo Vox as a Christmas present. As I’m based in the UK, we don’t seem to have such a great range of E-Readers here and are limited to Kindle, Kobo or IPads. I went for the Kobo because it seemed to have a bit more to offer than the more expensive Kindle ie colour screen and access to android apps and music. Having read all the comments here though, I don’t know whether I should take it back and get the Kindle or just hope everything is not too bad come Christmas! Help – what do you advise?

  • Jackie earle

    I am on kobo # 4 since nov 2nd …. Just got this one tonight … Battery stopped charging…. And
    Now the new one won’t charge either( yes my electrical is fine) I have had download problems … Charging problems…. You name it …… It has happened…. Indigo in Stoney creek have been awesome is swapping out the product but I think it’s time to lose this … I have another wrapped and under the tree for my daughter… I think both are going back … Sad because when it works … I loved it

  • Cazzy

    I just bought one today for my daughter, shes a Law student and I thought it would be a great wee device for her to download all of her academic books, as the Kindle I have been told doesnt support whatever it is to download them. They checked some books from her reading list and I was delighted to see they have a vast array of the books she will require. Which will ease the back pain of carrying the books to and from uni. Then of course it has the added wee features. She has a computer and this will be just used as an additional gadget for her books. Im disappointed at the reviews and am anxious for its arrival, I do hope its not as bad as what everyone is saying. Shes a gadget person but from whats written above, Im hoping she enjoys the product as an ereader and doesnt expect it to be the same as a tablet because thats not what I bought if for. Fingers crossed, I hope they have a good returns policy as this is for Christmas, so I hope I can return it if required. I hope not though as I was personally delighted with my demonstration of the product today, fingers crossed!

  • wendy

    I bought my KOBO VOX 3 weeks ago and have not had one problem I love it s sharp colours and the many free apps. I can check my e-mail and face book at work Thank you Kobo for making such an affordable and extreemely well made device

  • t6h1y1

    hmmmm I wonder why it is called an e-reader and not a tablet clearly it is an e-reader with some features. My wife loves her vox. also works great with Canadian public library’s

  • Murray

    I made the mistake of buying a Vox while in Vancouver (I’m currently living in Mexico). Had to return the first one because it was defective. Got the second one working the day before returning to Mexico, but found on arrival it wouldn’t work. Seventeen days ago, I contacted Kobo support and was told their Tiere 2 Team would be contacting me. Some chance!! I’ve made five attempts to get some help from the support team without success. Finally, in frustration, I sent an e-mail to Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, complaining about the lousy service. That was a week ago and I’ve not received a response from him. A friend is visiting from Vancouver and she is going to take the Vox back with her and mail it to Kobo in Toronto (at my expense) because the Chapters store I bought it from won’t give me a refund unless I return it to the store with my credit card. As I’m here in Mexico for at least a year, that obviously isn’t possible. To anyone considering buying this piece of junk, don’t bother because if anything goes wrong with it, you’re on your own.

  • Robert

    I have the same start up problem that it’s not recognizing the my touch and it’ll do stuff on it’s own. I’ve tried rebooting but its still the same! please help!

  • Jackie

    I received one as a gift. I really wanted it and was very happy to open it. BUT, the back was coming off and there is no sound from the speaker. I can get sound from headphones but want to use the speaker. Was led to believe I could get a kindle app for this and read my Kindle books. Doesn’t appear I can. Very slow too.

  • Ashley

    The Kobo Vox is actually pretty good! Yes there is some lagging at times but it is an actually not a bad device.

  • tara

    hi just got a kobo vox for a Christmas presents i just want to check about the volume i have it on max and and have check the settings but can hardly hear the person talk when i put the books on to read is this the standard volume sound or is mine broken cheers

  • jj

    Unfortunately, the Blackberry Playbook is incompatible with some of the Library software……..this sucks. Why is Canada in the dark ages? Why can’t we just get the AmazonKindle???????????

  • melclarke

    i bought my vox on wedensday and its saturday.i am not computer savvy but its a good ereader . no problems like some mentioned abouve. cept for battery life, when on wi fi. does drain it quickly. but ereader is good i like it. for all the other stuff maybe i will buy a playbook buts its a good ereader. thought about a kindle fire which you can buyon amazon now. but you cant get any of the cloud in canada. it would be useless. so yeah good ereader. if you have the dough, go for a playbook. if you like the web and apps. but really for facebook and youtube and twitter and books its just fine and i bought mine for 179 dollors. so its fine for me. dunno bout all the experts though they seem to expect a lot.

  • mhm

    I was given a Vox for Christmas. I had a lot of trouble with setup but eventually it was done. I now need to recharge and, guess what, I cannot find my charger. I have searched for a few days. So, I thought, I’ll just have to buy another charger. No such thing exists. Kobo says they don’t supply them. I am in the process of trying out a couple of universal chargers but know that IF they work, the charging process will take a lot longer. Does anyone have experience with this? Has anyone any suggestions? I may now have a $200 piece of equipment that I can’t use.

  • mhm

    Does anyone know where to get a replacement charger for the Kobo Vox? I seem to have lost mine; Kobo says they do not have replacements(!). I now have a $200 machine I cannot use!

  • Matt

    I was thinking about buying a Vox, but then when I saw the Blackberry Playbook for $199 I went with that instead. I glad I did. For the Same price the Playbook is a way better device.

  • vic

    I bought Vox for my kids to encourage them to read more. They are quite fussy about what they want to read so want to see previews first. The previews for the vast majority of books are a complete waste of time to even download as they tell you nothing of the book – most of them only show you the first few pages of copyright info. Why make a preview available if it doesn’t preview the first chapter? I really am disappointed by the kobo vox selection of kids books they are just as expensive as buying the paper version and the selection is very poor. I have already had one device replaced since Christmas as it wouldn’t open at all and the second one we bought had to have factory reset the other day as it was frozen. Also books on the kobo site that say just for kobo don’t actually seem to be available when you download them, it says – not available yet, check back or read it on your desktop addition (which you can’t do either!) Why advertise it in the first place. Hoping Kobo gets it act together on this soon.

  • bailey greening

    I have bought a few books already and im half way through one but it randomly started going to the home screen every time i try to read it. Any suggestions? Also it wont let me see any pictures.

  • Di

    Okay I am getting a Kobo VOX and for all of you suggesting you go with the play book put out by the Canadian company Research In Motion I heed heavy warnings upon you. RIM is doing terrible lately as a company and needs some serious revamping to the company in general. as a consumer that was once all about the RIM and supported them through my purchase of a black berry product and my husbands, I have been severly disapointed with their downward slide over the last two years. We have both jumped ship and now own Android based smart phones. The Kobo Vox is an ereader first so it should not be compared against the Play book, but in regards to the play book if we were comparing it to other tablets would say avoid it right now. This is sad since I love supporting Canadian compaies when I can and it pains me to say I can no longer back the Black Berry name.
    Black Berry is going down! jump ship! women and children first!

  • Unhappy Kobo Vox owner

    I had Kobo for about 2 months but during the time, it kept crashing on me,and battery surely does not last long time.
    Finally, it completed died on me few days ago..I returned to Chapters and they said I’m out of return policty(which is 2 weeks. Therefore, I’m on my own. They refered me to Kobo technical support, the guy said they will repair it for me but if incase it’s not fixable; I will receive a refurbished(used) on for replacement. I was very disappointed with the whole entire customer service that I received from both Chapters and Kobo. I would never buy anything from them again. I just want to let everyone know that make sure you ask them for a new Kobo as replacement because as per Kobo customer service guy, they usually ship out REFURBISHED Kobo to customer. kThat’s all I have to say about Kobo

  • Lindsay

    Wow, I got one for Christmas and love it, haven’t had any problems, battery has always last alittle over 6 hrs, nothing wrong with the screen, aps work fine, haven’t had any problem with speed. I don’t watch movies on it i so i don’t know about that. I was very very suprise to read all these bad reviews. The only problem I have is how short the cord is on the charger.

  • anonymous

    Look buddy, just cause you bought a second hand Kobo vox that was underground for 5 years does not mean all of them are like that. My freind has a kindle ad says the Kobo is far superior. And can you read comicson the kindle?

  • Darcy

    Got mine as a Christmas gift 2011. Still using it, and it still works. Kids play Angry Birds, I download books all the time from Kobo and the Public Library. Downloaded a few Apps I enjoy and I am happy with it. But then I don’t have an iPad (etc) to compair it too. I like that it is portable and I can surf the web in any wifi area.

  • M Murphy

    I am now using my second Kobo Vox in the last 24 hrs. The forst one purchased lack sensitivity in a few keyboard keys. I returned it and came home with another. Now the screen is frozen – a result of my daughter trying to access a club penguin game. It will not accept “force close” and it won’t turn off. Total cost (including cover) – approx $230. This one will be returned today. A third will not be purchased. My 8-yr. old daughter absolutely loved the idea of the Kobo in color. I don’t know what to replace it with for the same price.

  • Kaitlynn

    Yes its now 2012, and the problems probably have been ironed out but I love my kobo vox. No problems, it’s an e-reader not a tablet hence why it is sold in the e-reader section of the store. Love my kobo vox!

  • S Arndt

    I am also disappointed. Some of the newer books you cannot put on night mode or they go blank.
    Two books didn’t download properly-they were blank-1 hour on the phone did a fix-but also got rid of all my other books not purchased thru Kobo and they can’t be retrieved.
    Battery life is not good and I don’t go online at all as you can literally watch the battery deplete-maybe 45 min. if lucky.
    I would never buy another.
    Re not being able to share books with friends-as you only read a novel once. If it is illegal how are there used book stores up and running??? Buying thru Kobo is very expensive as I can’t share or trade books. Very unhappy.

  • Danielle
  • peter franks

    kobo vox is garbage,they should be made to refund all our money.garbage is garbage ,no matter how it is dressed

  • erronious

    I agree, I would never buy this product (again) and I should have listened to that little voice that was screaming: “the first Kobo you bought was sh.. crap! Why waste money on another?”. Also, mine factory resets all by itself! For no reason!

    It’s clearly ‘posessed’