Amazon and Kobo are the two largest companies in the world that both manufacture their own e-readers and have an extensive e-book ecosystem. This year they have both released new devices that are appealing to people who want a high resolution gadget, but don’t want to break the bank to purchase it. Today, we evaluate the Kindle Paperwhite 3 and Kobo Glo HD side by side.
The purpose of this comparison video is to give you a sense on how they both stack up against each other. On paper, their hardware specs are nearly identical, so its all about real world conditions. How do they handle reading the standard e-book or PDF Files? Are the page turns super fast? What type of fonts are available? Is one better than the other when it comes to reading in the dark? What about response time when opening up menus?
Both devices have the same 1448 x 1072 resolution 6-inch E Ink Carta screens and 300 PPI. The Glo HD has an infrared touchscreen, while the Paperwhite 3 has a capacitive touchscreen. Both work equally well, but the capacitive layer degrades screen clarity slightly.
Underneath the hood you get 4GB of internal storage and the exact same 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi, and similar battery life. The Glo HD is smaller and lighter, measuring 6.2″ x 4.5″ x 0.4″ and 6.4 oz while the Paperwhite is 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ and 7.2 oz (WiFi only–3G model is 7.6 oz).
When it comes to e-reading I think the Kobo might be the better buy for mid level or advanced users. There is far more customization options in regards to changing the font size and font type. Users can even sideload in their own fonts, whereas Amazon only has 7, including the brand new Bookerly Font. Generally speaking, Kobo’s fonts are thicker and bolder, whereas Amazon’s fonts are thinner and sharper.
Both of these guys have a front-lit display and it allows you to read in the dark. I found from comparing these side by side that the Kindle is a bit cool, whereas the Kobo has a more warm lightning system. Their illumination levels are roughly the same.
We never mentioned it in the video, but I find the timing of these two devices to be very interesting. Kobo rushed the Glo HD to the market due to the overwhelming success of the premium Kindle Voyage. This device was released late last year and had the best resolution and highest PPI in the world. It also carried a hefty price, retailing for $199 US vs the $129 of the Glo HD. Amazon simply couldn’t afford to let Kobo dominate the e-reader market at the mid range price point and that forced them to reissue their Paperwhite e-reader at $139.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.