Do You Like the New Home Screen on Kobo eReaders?

Kobo Home screen

Kobo started to introduce a new home screen layout a few firmware updates ago, and with the last update they made the new home screen mandatory for everybody that updates.

Some people like the new home screen and some people don’t. Opinions are split, according to a poll at MobileRead, with about 46% in favor of the new home screen and 54% not.

What do you think of the new Kobo home screen?

Some folks point out that it’s just an excuse for Kobo to put ads on it to buy more ebooks from them.

That’s a sore subject for some because Kobo specifically states on the descriptions for their ereaders that there is “no advertising”, subtly taking a shot at Amazon’s Kindles with special offers that have ads on the lockscreen and homescreen, but when Kobo is adverting recommended ebooks on the homescreen there’s not much of a difference.

Last year Amazon updated the home screen on Kindle ereaders and lots of people complained (myself included) about how it made the home screen look like one big advertisement for buying more stuff from Amazon.

But at least Amazon made the new home screen optional. If you don’t like it you can turn it off in settings. Unfortunately Kobo doesn’t give us that option with their new home screen layout.

Personally I like the old home screen better. At least I had a bit more control over it. You could dismiss tiles (sections) you didn’t want to see, and it provided quick links to things that you used regularly.

The new home screen and menu layout seems to make everything require more taps to get stuff done, and I don’t like how things that I’m not interested in can’t be removed, like the Pocket web articles section at the bottom right.

One thing I do like about it is you can choose to view your library of books from the menu so you can pretty much avoid using the new home screen entirely if you don’t like it.

So what do you think of the new Kobo home screen?

30 Responses to “Do You Like the New Home Screen on Kobo eReaders?”

  1. You can make the Pocket section go away by shutting off Pocket integration. I don’t have that turned on on my Kobo Aura One and that section isn’t on my homescreen.

    I vastly prefer the new homescreen as well. It’s much less chaotic, with the old one’s sections that didn’t line up or size normally being a thing of the past. So long as there’s a way to get the book I’m currently reading and books I’ve recently opened, as well as one-tap access to my entire library, I’m happy. Both needs are met quite well by the new homescreen, and they’ve rationalized how the settings all appear as well, which is appreciated.

  2. I prefer the old homescreen. Much more useful. I use Pocket all the time and I haven’t seen it show up yet. I have “Related Reads” in the lower right. I never shop on ereaders so 4 links to the store vs. 2 for my own books is pretty annoying. I like most of the other changes though. Especially that home can be avoided. I do miss being able to turn off the light from the left side swipe.

  3. The new home screen looks nicer to me, but as Nathan said the old home screen gave the user more control. And on my Aura One, there is a lot of (waisted) “white space” on the home screen. So maybe I prefer the old screen.

  4. I have posted my opinion about this some time ago at this blog. But I didn’t realised that the new home screen was limited to a certain models. I had already H2O and recently I’ve bought Aura One which was stocked with old home screen, even survived some update with old screen. So I had a chance to use both with different layouts of home screen practically simultaneously. Long story short GIME ME BACK MY OLD HOME SCREEN! Normally I’m for a changes but this is not the case. With the latest update Aura One also having a new home screen. Do not treat me wrong, but I even do not care about advertising/recommendation of the books to read/purchase. There is no consistency in this layout. For some unknown reason pocket articles are warning me about 7 unread “books” by certain author who I do not know because I didn’t pay attention to a name of the author of article… I have no clue why the pocket articles now referred as books with the new software, it is confusing occasionally. Even both devices set identically, the layout home screens of both devices after all look a bit different in sense of contents. H2O shows at the bottom right corner now Related reads offer and Aura One Reading Stats. Even that counter of unread “books” by the same author of the pocket articles shows 7 on AO and 4 on H2O unread “books” while being synced same time side by side. My biggest frustration is about the sections of the home screen separation. When you open the cover you are just facing a splash of covers and it is not even clear what is that all about. Of course it is a matter of developed habit as with everything but aren’t we are all striving for simplicity and straightforward approach regardless of specific background and experience of particular user… It is not that i’m really desperate to go back to the old home screen but guys at Kobo have to work on the new one to make it usable.

  5. I don’t really care – I go straight to what I am reading and avoid it. Why do you get so caught up in such unimportant issues?

    • Cause that way he can write a blog and have people like you ‘who don’t care’ come and read it.

  6. Basically I use collections, sorted by recent, to navigate on the device so I rarely even pay attention to the homescreen.

    Another advantage of Kobo vs. Kindle is its tight integration with Calibre. Via the Kobo driver, you can use the Tags column in Calibre to automatically set up and manage the Kobo collections on your device. I don’t think you can do that on modern Kindles with Kindle collections and it makes things MUCH easier.

  7. I find the new home screen more pleasing to look at. I have not had any “ads” appear on mine yet. The bottom right of the home screen on my Aura One displays my books from the author of the book I am currently reading. It is interesting how different users seem to have different information displayed in that area of the new home screen. One thing I will point out that MAY affect my home screen is that I only have WiFi on when I want to download a new book, or check for updates. Most of the time my reader is NOT connect to the internet.

  8. Utter rubbish waste of time i HATE THIS RIGHT NOW!!
    My old scren had all my authors on screen on shelves as such, i had a section saying unread new books which i just clicked on and it had all my new books ni had purchased but not yet read so i can just click on. And read the next book up. This is great for those of us with 10 or more unread books the new system is a total waste of an update and is becoming as bad a waste of time like apples updates are

  9. I liked the flexibility of the old home screen. That said, the top menu in the new firmware lets you bypass the home screen altogether, so it doesn’t affect me particularly.

  10. I hate it (from a mother who preaches never to use the word hate!). It totally looks like a shop. I can’t use the browser and reach google, only the wretched kobo store. Like Laura, I never use my ereader to buy books. I loved the ability to dismiss tiles and have several books on my home screen which are long, long reads and/or are reference books. I have to say it makes me miserable 🙁

  11. I’m not a big fan of the home screen although I don’t mind it as much as some other people. What I do mind is that on my third kobo aura one exchange there is still an uneven screen and two-tone pinkish yellow hues. I know you mentioned that you didn’t have that issue but on my third exchange I’ve practically given up. I love the device and the size but I can’t get over the cheap quality of the screen. Here is a picture.

    • Now that you mention it, my Aura One does have a brighter area in the lower right. At first I only noticed it in the orange light but with the brightness turned up it’s visible with the blue light too. I usually keep the light below 10% and at that level it’s too subtle to catch my eye. For the record I’ve never seen a “perfect” frontlight. There’s always a bit of shadowing or a brighter spot somewhere. The new H2O that I just got has a noticeably brighter strip along the bottom, quite a bit worse than the Aura One, but at lower light levels it’s barely detectable. It’s one of those things that bothers some folks more than others. The Kindle Voyage I had bugged me because mine had a noticeable gradient and odd color tones, so I didn’t keep it long.

  12. I do not like the new home screen. I will not be updating. I have the modified old screen, that shows only the tiles I want. All book covers.

  13. I love e-ink screens but after the update, I find myself reaching for my phone way more often than the Kobo. If I was buying a new e-reader today, it would not be a Kobo.

    The old screen was quirky, different and personal. The new screen has a “corporate” feel… it somehow feels like it was designed by an IT department for intranet use. Some corporate goon has decided what people need. Yes you can usually find the stuff you actually want, but it’s hidden behind umpteen clicks.

  14. No, I don’t, in any way, shape, form, or otherwise. Why have you done this? How do I make it go back to the way it was?? I can’t see my pocket articles anymore, and the screen is now littered with pictures of books I’m not reading.
    How do I go back? I DO NOT WANT THIS .. I wasn’t asked if I wanted to upgrade, it just went ahead and did it. It’s a truly terrible design that I fail to see ANY good in at all.
    Majorly bloody annoyed here.

  15. Like new home screen but when reading Pocket articles you cannot get back to them easily not on home screen. Or have I missed a setting?
    Also discovered a software bug.
    Set light to 1% no auto. My Aura One will not sleep or depower after 60 minutes drains battery over night.
    What’s optimum cover size now for home screen and full cover on sleep. 1400×1950 in Calibre but not big on home screen?

    • Several people have had that bug. Turning the reader fully off (not just sleep – you need to hold the power button for several seconds until it powers off) and back on again seems to fix it.

  16. Dreadful upgrade. My Glo HD won’t power off – perpetual sleep – and my battery drained overnight. I can’t turn it on without some dumb attempt to re-initialise. Anybody got a link for the downgraded firmware?

  17. Aesthetically, I find it better overall. My attraction to anything e-ink is based largely on the visual appeal of the display in any setting. Sometimes I just turn on my Kobo Aura to relish that beauty. The previous home screen did not yield nearly as much pleasure.

    I can still access books and pocket easily enough, so I can not complain about usability.

    • Thanks Nathan,

      I resent being expected to “log in” all the time. I don’t want to be part of some specious Kobo “family”. I want an e-reader, not a community.

  18. I hate it. Put off my wifi so I won’t get the update. Use my collections a lot. On the old home screen they are shown very nice.
    And I hate the adds too.
    It’s stupid not to be able to choose. Kobo just throws in the update.

  19. No good for me…
    Make it read PDFs faster.
    Give more options for pocket. Develop the browser more.
    Leave everything else alone unless it’s better…

    • PDFs have long been a Kobo shortcoming. I suspect that as they don’t sell any or many PDFs they don’t feel the need to spend time on something which will not bring them revenue. Of course, that didn’t stop B&N or Amazon from having better PDF rendering.

  20. Why oh why?? Okay the actual screen and letters etc., look much better on my Kobo Glo but I love playing all the games within Beta Features.

    Before this update once played they stay on your home screen so easily accessed – now its a 3 click annoyance to get to games!! I also think since the update my Kobo has gone very slow – Sudoku really slow which is a shame as I love that.


  21. I would like to know how I can get muy old home screen back.
    Is there some old software I can get?

  22. At this moment noticed change on e-reader but only thing I don’t want is books shown that I don’t own. If I want additional books I search on line.
    That is were I’m real upset with. Who did the so called upgrade to the web site? Don’t want to know. You can’t find what you need, Wish list is gone. How do you contact customer service? I found one place and it only asks questions. I typed in what I need and it gives me more questions. Before I could click on my account and ask to see purchase history and it would come up. Now that I want a full print out of it I can’t even find it nor any help in getting it. I do NOT like the web site for Kobo anymore it’s totally unfriendly. I need a copy of my full purchase history with dates. Can you email it to me? Please since I can’t find a phone number and my email request was sent back saying it can’t be delivered.