Kobo's Arc tablet: Reader friendly. But is it the best?

Published: Nov 04, 2013, 08:38 IST | Hassan M Kamal |

A new entrant in the Indian market, Kobo's Arc tablet makes for a smart under-12k buy, but it packs an inferior processor and an outdated OS as compared to the Arc available in the US

Combining the simplicity of an eReader with the multi-functionality of a tablet, the Kobo Arc, in its candy bar avatar stands out right from the beginning. Its solid build, and matte finished back cover adds to the grip. The appeal increases further with its comfortable-on-the-eye screen. But is that enough? Let’s find out.

What we liked:
Screen: The 7-inch IPS screen, with a resolution of 1280x800 and pixel density of 215 PPI is better than what’s available in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Kindle Fire HD and Lenovo A3000. In fact, you’ll tilt towards the Arc more because it’s softer on the eye — making it an ideal tablet-cum-reader. The screen performs well even while playing movies.

User Interface and battery: The Kobo Arc offers editable tapestries where you can pin your favourite widgets (get regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc), apps, films, ebooks and more, without having to browse through the entire collection. The bottom space informs you of the most popular ebooks and new releases, according to your reading habits. The battery is also impressive offering at least 10 hours of browsing and reading.

What we didn’t like:
Processor and OS: The Arc at Kobo.com lists a 1.2GHz quadcore processor from Mediatek. Unfortunately though, the Indian version is available with a 1.5Ghz dual core processor from Texas Instruments; it’s faster than the Kindle Fire HD (1.2 Ghz dual core from TI) as well as the Galaxy Tab2, but lags behind the Lenovo A3000, which features a quad core processor from Mediatek. The RAM is same at 1GB. The OS is still an outdated Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1 when the Arc 7-inch tablet in the US is already available with 4.2.2. One wonders why Kobo, which seems eager to make its presence felt in the Indian market, is offering a new product with an outdated processor and an outdated OS.

More from competition: Both the Kobo Arc and the Kindle Fire HD are priced same, and are WiFi only. They also don’t support any external memory cards. However, the Kobo gets stingier with the Arc, taking off Bluetooth connectivity. All this makes the Lenovo A3000, which comes with cellular connectivity and a faster quadcore processor, more appealing.

Compulsory sign-in to start: Kobo Arc requires you to sign in either with your Facebook or Kobo account, which means, the tab is useless if you don’t have a ready Wifi connection.

Final Verdict:
Overall, the Kobo Arc is a good blend of an eReader and tablet with a slight edge over the Kindle Fire HD. But if you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks(`13,499), we suggest you also check the Lenovo A3000. And, if you aren’t in a hurry, it’s best to wait for newer models from Kobo and Kindle.
Available at All Croma retail stores.
Price Rs 11,999 

Quick specs
Processor: 1.5GHZ dual core
Memory: 16 GB (storage), 1GB RAM
Display: 1280x800 IPS, 215 ppI
Camera: 1.3 Mp (front)
Operating System: Windows 8
Price: `11,999 (MRP)

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