No eReader maker worth its salt can fail to have a device in its portfolio which lights up for night reading. We’ve already looked at the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight, and the Kindle Paperwhite and now we come to Kobo’s simply named Glo. See eReader reviews.
Most eReaders provide access to an online store and in this case it’s a Wi-Fi only service. It's very similar to the way you buy books on a Kindle, being both easy and fast. The selection of books isn't quite on a par with Amazon's offering, but it's certainly not bad at all.
You can also transfer books via USB if you want, and supported formats include the popular ePUB. If you fill the 1GB of internal storage there’s a microSD slot for adding more, but this should be enough for most people. Take a look at Amazon Kindle 5 (2012) review.
Kobo partners with WH Smith for in-store hardware sales, so you'll have no trouble buying a Glo on the High Street. Kobo provides software for iOS, BlackBerry, Windows and Mac.
You can choose from a selection of colours including black, blue, pink and silver – something Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite and Barnes & Noble's Nook GlowLight don’t offer. And at £99, the Glo is £10 cheaper than both the Kindle and Nook. It's light at 185g, and comfortable to hold. It’s odd and irritating that the sliding power switch delivers a little ‘ping’ every time it’s used, but it's a minor grumble.
There are 24 font sizes and ten fonts including OpenDyslexic said to be better for those with dyslexia. That’s a better choice than on the Kindle or Nook and the 768x1024 pixel screen is sharp. Even small font sizes read easily and graphics render well. Visit Kobo Touch review.
As you'd expect, the Glo has a touchscreen. It's easy to use, with light taps required to turn pages and the full menu accessible by tapping the bottom of the screen. The touchscreen makes it a lot easier to use the store than a non-touchscreen eReader. See also Group test: what's the best eReader?
The screen light is toggled by a button on the top edge of the Kobo Glo, its brightness controlled by a slider that’s easily called up by tapping the bottom of the reading screen. It’s a gentle, even light with no bleed (where it appears much lighter at the edge), that’s comfortable to use for long reading spells.
Kobo offers ‘performance’ and social features on its readers. On the former side, a ‘reading life’ area of the device delivers stats like how much of a book you have read and how many pages you’ve turned, and provides awards. Whoever thought gamification would come to reading? It's not new with the Glo, though - Kobo has always adopted this approach.
When it comes to the social features, you can squirt information about your current reading direct to Facebook. It's not a feature we imagine many people will use, but it's there if you want it.
Kobo says the battery will last for a month if you don't use the light or Wi-Fi. If you do, you can expect to be recharging after a week or so, depending on how much you use those power-sapping features.