The Amazon Kindle Voyage and upcoming Kobo Glo HD are very similar. They have the exact same resolution and PPI. The end result are two very distinctive e-readers that provide a tremendous e-book reading experience. The big question on most peoples mind is what one is better?
The brand new Kobo Glo HD and Kindle Voyage both feature a six inch e-ink Carta screen with a resolution of 1448×1072 and 300 PPI. The Glo uses infrared touchscreen technology from Neonode. This is quite different from the Kindle Voyage which uses a capacitive touchscreen display.
One of the big differences on a hardware level is that the Glo HD has a sunken screen. This is important because of the camera sensors on the sides of the bezel which monitor your interactions. Infrared touch will not only monitor your finger but will also allow you to use a stylus or pen to draw. The Voyage has the screen flush with the bezel, very much akin to the way your smartphone or tablet function.
Over the course of the last few years e-readers have gravitated away from booklights and have adopted front-lit screen technology. The H2O and Voyage both have 5 LED lights on the bottom of the screen that project light upwards. This helps with even light distribution but from experience the Voyage a clearer screen when the lightning is activated.
One neat thing about the Kobo Glo HD is that you do not have to necessary tap the light button to activate it. Instead, you can drag your finger down on the left hand side of the screen and it increases or lowers the brightness level. On the flip side the Voyage has an ambient light sensor which automatically adjusts the light, depending on your environment. Of course, both models have options to manually adjust the light based on your preference.
On a hardware level both of these devices have the same processor, RAM and internal storage. It is important to note that the Kobo Glo HD does not have an SD Card. I think they really did it so people will not sideload books anymore and increases peoples dependency on buying books directly from Kobo. As always, the Voyage has no SD support either.
The Amazon and Kobo digital bookstores are quite different. Amazon has a number of exclusive offerings such as their fan-fiction via Kindle Words, short stories with Kindle Singles and they also have the largest self-publishing system with Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon also has GoodReads intergration on the Voyage, which gives people the ability to add their Kindle book purchases to their virtual bookshelves and interact with one of the largest social book communities in the world.
Kobo on the other hand has more books in their system, but they tend to be royalty free editions. Their self-publishing system, Kobo Writing Life, pales in comparison to Amazon. The one advantage Kobo has is a larger international footprint, it is far easier to buy e-books in more markets than Amazon. Finally, Kobo also sells a number of graphic novels, comics, newspapers and magazines.
The Kindle Voyage currently costs $199 US, which is quite pricey. This e-reader has been on the market since late last year, but the international visibility is poor. There are hundreds of countries where Amazon does not offer the Voyage for sale, including Canada. Kobo on the other hand is taking pre-orders on their website and will launch in Canada, US, UK, Australia and New Zealand at the beginning of May for $129 Canadian.
What e-reader is better? If you are new to e-readers and have not bought any e-books from either company, the Kobo Glo would likely make the most sense. It has far greater options for customization, due to the fact you can load in your own fonts. Amazon controls 75% of the digital book market in the US and 95% in the UK, so something has to be said for the money bookstore they operate.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten 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.