Kobo Releases Kobo Vox Android Tablet and eReader for $199

Kobo Vox

Kobo just announced the Kobo Vox, an Android tablet/ereader hybrid very similar to the Nook Color and Kindle Fire. Given the specs and features, it looks like Kobo’s new toy will provide stiff competition against both of those, in fact.

The Kobo Vox has a 7″ color screen that Kobo boasts as being optimized for reading outdoors with an anti-glare screen and wide viewing angles. It is a AFFS+ multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.

The Kobo Vox runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It is an open version too, so you can install whatever Android apps you want, probably even the Amazon Appstore. It doesn’t appear to come with any Google apps, however, so hackers will have to provide a fix for that. The fact that it is open is good news.

As far as memory, the Vox has 512 RAM and comes with 8GB onboard and has a microSD card slot for cards up to 32GB (the memory expansion is a big win over the Kindle Fire).

The big question is what kind of processor does the Kobo Vox have. The tech specs say 800MHz. That’s it. They don’t specify single core or dual core or chip type. The Nook Color runs a single core 800MHz processor that could stand to be a little faster. The Kindle Fire runs on a dual core processor so it should be blazing quick. Update: the listing at Indigo says it has a Freescale iMX51 ARM Cortex A-8 800MHz processor.

Battery life is rated at 7 hours with Wi-Fi turned off, that’s about the same as other 7-inch tablets. It weighs 14.2 ounces (402.6 grams) and measures 192.4 mm X 128.4 mm x 13.4 mm (7.57″ x 5.06″ x 0.53″).

The Kobo Vox has three sensors below the screen for Home, Back, and Menu, as well as power and volume buttons.

Other features include built-in speakers, headphone jack, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, micro USB port, Kobo eReading App with Reading Life and Kobo Pulse, music player, photo gallery, video player, and access to over 15,000 free apps for Android.

The Kobo Vox is available in the United States and Canada from Kobo.com, Indigo Books & Music, Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, and Future Shop.

I ordered a Kobo Vox from Kobo.com to review. It is expected to ship on October 28th. Subscribe to keep updated on the review and comparisons.

Kobo’s Introducing Kobo Vox Video

29 Responses to “Kobo Releases Kobo Vox Android Tablet and eReader for $199”

  1. Here we go again 🙂 I had just decided on the Nook color but I might go for the touch instead and maybe get this to dip my toes into the android universe. This sounds pretty sweet as far as a budget friendly tablet goes. To me the memory issue is a huge plus over the Kindle tablet. Looking forward to your review.

  2. Move over, Nook and Kindle, this is the one, baby, at least in Canada. Unless you want a better Android — Honeycomb 3.2, anyone?

  3. Wow! A screen resolution of 1024 x 800 pixels. That’s significantly better than the 1024 x 600 pixels of the Nook Color or the Kindle Fire.

    (or was the 800 a misprint?)

  4. I really like the sound of this one…being in Canada it makes me twice as happy!!

  5. There really is very little difference between the three ereader tablets (I doubt the Fire’s dual core will do much experience wise). Honestly these three devices are some of the best uses for Android outside of a phone (though I think it is a poor phone OS). These are infotainment consumption devices and that is all these finger tablets will ever be. I think the persistent rumors about a smaller ipad shows that even apple is feeling a little heat from the big boys coming to play in their garden.

    By the way, I have a Nook Color and think it works great. I love the design and it runs smooth enough for everyday use.

  6. Ah. 1024×600 makes much more sense, at that price point, than 1024×800. But it is still an impressive device.

    Compared to the Kindle Fire, this Kobo has the advantage of a memory card. This is huge. Not only does it provide for expansion…but it means you can use a microSD card in a digital camera, take photos, and then pop the card into the Kobo to view, edit, upload, etc. You can’t pop a digicam card into the Fire! …so getting digicam photos into the Fire appears to be a problem.

    And compared to the Nook Color, the Kobo has the advantage of being an OPEN Android system. No need to root it to install other apps. I don’t know how smoothly one can go from Android apps to the Nook ereader on a Nook Color…but I have a rooted Nook Touch, and the process is clumsy. With the Kobo, presumably one can go from the Kobo e-reader to any Android app, and back, as easily one switches from one Android app to another on an Android phone or tablet.

    So I must say, I am warmly disposed towards this Kobo!

    (Of course, with the Fire and the Kobo at 199.95, the inevitable Nook Color 2 will have to be at a 199.95 price point, too…and since the Nook Color 2 will no doubt have improvements over the current Nook Color, the Nook Color 2 might turn out to be even more appealing than this Kobo. I hope to hear an announcement from B&N Soon!)

  7. I think the anti glare screen for outdoor reading will be a big plus for me……………..so many tabs coming out…..I’m waiting for all the reviews. In the meantime, I still love my Pocketbook Iq. Let the price and feature wars begin!

  8. Waiting to read your review.
    I appreciate your work.
    I have a NColor and a Nook Touch both rooted but after a while
    I discovered that actually I only used the standard apps as I bought them to read not to play.

    I am considering buying a Kobo Vox (in lieu of an ipod touch for my kid) I believe that putting video will be a pain. Is there any digital store (other than itune or Amazon) to buy contents?

  9. I read your preliminary review of the Vox with interest as I’m planning to get a tablet soon to use as a magazine and newspaper reader, since neither my Sony Touch nor the current Kobo ereader have colour and I like gardening books and magazines.

    I’ll be very interested in your next review of it once you’ve had time to play with your physical version of it. I wonder whether the Android version installed will be upgradable or not, and also whether it’ll have a “real” web browser. If not, how can one buy books from sites other than Kobo’s?

    • You’ll be able to get books from other sources using Android apps. The browser will work too. It’s open so it’s like any other Android tablet, just with Kobo’s name on it.

  10. What is the battery life.


  12. The Kobo Vox could face tougher competition in the United States from the Kindle Fire, which is not available in Canada. Amazon’s tablet enjoys huge brand recognition in the U.S. and offers a number of digital content services that Kobo’s tablet lacks.

  13. Right now I have a Pandigital Nova. This the second Nova for me and I an thinking about the Kobo Vox. This Nova is doing the same things as the first one I had. It freezes up, gives me a low disc space message, and I have had to reset it 3 times since the 6th of October. I am fed up with this tablet.

    • I feel your pain. I gave my Nova to my mom and there’s something wrong with it all the time. The Pandigitals are some of the cheapest tablets around so I’m not surprised.

  14. great review! but can this device be used outside Canada and the US?

    • They will likely release the Kobo Vox in the US and Canada first, then roll out the international release over the next few months like they’ve been doing with the Kobo Touch.

  15. I have a Kobo Vox in my hands and I’m not impressed.
    It’s THICK and CLUNKY. The back cover feels loose despite the rubberized texture. The processor is slow, some swipes are without results, over all feels like “budget” experience.
    There is also some weird stuff… The Gmail “App” is in fact a browser shortcut for the webmail, not a real app. Their GetJar “app store” is also some sort of a website with downloadable apks. I sideloaded Aldiko and it’s slow, some error messages between chapter loads (null something…)
    The screen looks nice, bright, good colors, but there is A LOT of light bleeding.

    • That doesn’t sound very promising, but then again it is a budget tablet. I still haven’t even gotten a shipping notice and I was one of the first dozen or so to order. It drives me nuts when companies take pre-orders and then start selling them in retail stores first. Kind of defeats the purpose of pre-orders.

  16. Am attempting to set up my new Vox. It wants to apply an update (and has now downloaded it twice) but fails to apply it with the message “Low Battery. Your battery is too low to install updates. Pleaswe connect yoyr Kobo eReader to the charger abd press the On/Off button to restart.”

    The unit has been plugged into power the whole time, but I’ll give it half an hour to charge, then try it again and report back.

  17. Still no go. I called the support line 1-855-732-3662 and they advised it can take 3 to 5 hours to charge the unit, so I’ll give it some more time.

    IF this is the case, there should be documentation indicating this is so prpvided with the unit or there will be a lot going back reported as failures.

    I’ll report back in a couple of hours.

  18. The software is now being updated, so it seems as though an hour or so of charging may well be required on a new unit even though it is plugged into the wall. They really should note this on their setup instructions!

  19. I must say it is a better experience than any Pandigital, Coby or other budget wannabe reader/tablet hybrid.
    However, I cannot recommend it – as a reader is worse than any of the leaders’ dedicated e-ink device; as a tablet… to get any value out of it you must hack it or waste your time side-loading. Iconia A100 offers much more for a $100 on top of Vox price.

  20. A few more imnpressions.

    I really WANT this to do well. A Canadian player in the tablet market. Super! But….

    The unit CAN NOT be re-charged with a USB connection to your laptop, and possibly (?)neither by a USB connction to other charging systems you might be using for your Kindle or GPS (for example).

    This means you MUST bring the unit’s power supply and the unit’s separate USB cable with you if you want to synch external content, and switch connections between power and USB whenever you want/need external content.

    This is a show stopper for me ’cause if you lose the power supply, or if it fails, you now own a brick.

    What were they thinking?

    • That’s not unusual at all. Most tablets don’t charge when connected to a computer. I can’t think of any that do, at least not reliably.

      You can use cloud storage like Dropbox for easily transferring files, and Kobo’s app and other apps sync automatically when connected to Wi-Fi.

      I never use USB cables with tablets unless they are part of the charger.

  21. I have a Kindle now which just uses the USB cable. When I travel, all I need is my laptop and the cable.

    • Some tablets have those USB connectors like the Kindle for connecting to an AC outlet, which is nicer. Better than having to lug around a separate charger.

  22. I’m traveling to Australia and NZ. Do tablets work wiith current converters?? Any thoughts on how to keep charged otherwise?? I have a Nextbook tablet