Customer Reviews: Kobo N647-KBU-B Wireless e-Book Reader
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on September 25, 2011
I got the Kobo e-reader at half price while Border's was going out of business. It doesnt have a lot of frills, but it works. The battery life doesnt last nearly as long as they claim, it last about a week without use before it needs to be charged. The 10,000 page turns is a fabrication, but it still lasts for a long time.

I got the Kobo over the Kindle because it supports the open e-book format, EPUB. However, it seems to struggle with some EPUB books. My feeling is that the EPUBs in question are not properly made.

Simply put, the Kobo is the low end of the e-readers. Functional, no frills, and cheap.

EDIT: turns out I was right. There are some improperly made EPUB books floating around the web. Those books cause the Kobo to slow down significantly as it struggles to understand the incorrect formatting.
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on November 20, 2011
I'm another one who bought a Kobo during Borders Going-Out-of-Business sales. I did some research on several eReaders (including Kindle) & picked Kobo. I was pleased by the number of places I could get ebooks in EPUB- Kobo's format. It is compatible with Linux (my preferred computer OS). It has Wi-Fi & comes loaded with 100 free books. It also takes pdf files.

I can read it in direct sunlight, & it's easy to get books, whether by WiFi or through a computer. The battery lasts a long time (a plus when I too frequently forget to turn it off), It takes up much less room in my already stuffed purse than the two or three paperbacks I usually carried.

My only complaint is having to use ADE. I find it buggy & hard to deal with, whether in Linux or Windows. When I want a new ebook, I first check sources that don't encrypt books. Occasionally, I've borrowed 'hard copies' from the library rather than deal with Adobe's crappy ADE.

I recommend this to anyone who's wants a good, basic eReader.
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on November 11, 2012
First - to address those who are complaining about battery life - are you putting your Kobo to sleep, or powering it off? If you put it to sleep, the battery lasts maybe a couple of days. If you power it off (you hold down power button for 3 seconds, and at the top of the screen, it says "Powered Off"), then the battery seems to last forever.

Also turn off the WiFi when not in use - this will suck your battery. There is no reason whatsoever to have the WiFi on unless you are buying books, syncing with the desktop app, or downloading newspaper / magazine subscriptions.

This is a great e-book reader, with a few quirks when using with third party apps, which I will address below. The device comes with the manual on the device, and as mine was refurbished, it didn't come with a quick start manual or anything. Luckily, the device is pretty user intuitive, and I had no issue getting to the manual on the device. The manual is practically idiot-proof, so I found myself skimming several areas.

When you plug the device into a PC or Mac, it will mount it as an external harddrive. There is a folder on there with the desktop software. This is nice - you can easily shop books here. When you sign in, you do need to create an account, but you can simply connect to your Facebook account.

The first time you launch the app with the Kobo connected, it should upgrade the software. This will take a few minutes.

Once all this is done, you can shop e-books and magazines thorugh either the Desktop App or the Kobo website. You do not need to hook the Kobo up ever again - you can sync your Kobo via WiFi. This is why you have the accounts - it simply logs in, and pulls down anything new.

Now for getting your books from third-party publishers. The device supports the standard epub format. You can simply drop these onto the device or SDCard, in either the root directory or sub directory - don't worry, the device will read it. I suggest, though, if you have a fair collection of ebooks (I have hundreds) to use a program such as Calibre to organize them. Calibre will also let you download and add cover art and metadata information.

Here is where the quirk comes in - it doesn't always detect the new books that you add with Calibre or dumping directly onto the device. This is easily fixed - There is a file in the root directory of the device called metadata.kobo, if memory serves (look for the metadata file, I may have the extension wrong). Simply rename this to metadata.bak, power off the device, and power it back on. The device will then scan and rebuild the library (depending on your library size, this can take several minutes - it took about 10 minutes for me for 400 books).

My only annoyance was that my refurbished device shipped with the wrong sized plug USB cable, but I blame that on the refurb company, not on Kobo.

1) Great size, feels natual in the hand
2) Device is pretty intuitive
3) The Currently Reading section actually works, unlike my Kindle app on my tablet
4) WiFi makes syncing easy
5) Supports epub
6) When you power it off, it shows the cover of the book you are currently reading - which is a pretty darn cool feature
7) Cheap - you can get these refurbished for around $30-$40
8) SD card slot for added storage
9) 100 books preloaded on device - with the option to hide them if you are not interested in them
10)Several text sizes to choose from

1) The buttons on the left-hand side are kind of in an awkward place. I find myself hitting them sometimes when I readjust my grip on the device
2) Turning pages is a bit slow. It's faster than if you had to turn a page in a real book, but can still take about a second or two to turn. Minor annoyance, but not a deal breaker.
3) Setting your text size in one book does not seem to carry over to other books. Once again, that is only a minor annoyance.
4) Using the store on the device is really slow, mainly because of the speed of the device. It's certainly doable, but if you are planning to purchase multiple books at once, I suggest using the desktop app or the website, and syncing the device up either via USB or WiFi
5) Sometimes have to blow out the Metadata file to get it to recognize new books on the device if you add them using a methond other than the Store. Not a deal breaker, but it would have been nice if the instruction manual had of had that listed. Instead, I had to Google the issue. Ironic thing is, I had similar issues with the Kindle app, and friends with Kindles say they have the same issue if they add books using something other than the Kindle store. So this seems to just be something you have to put up with if you are getting books from 3rd party sources.
6) The software / firmware appears to be open source or at least open community (not sure, but sure does look that way). Looks like its Linux-based. This is not necessairaly a bad thing, but it can take a while to get a response from the software team. On the plus side, there are many forums out there so that you can hack your device.

None of the cons were really enough to detract from the score of the device - they were minor annoyances that most people are not going to be concerned with. I find it to be a great device, a great buy, and if you are a geek who knows a little about devices and file formats, this device is the ereader you are looking for. However, if you like everything to be overly simplistic, and think you might need help from technical support, you may want to keep looking.
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on November 2, 2011
This is a basic, no-frills e-reader. So please dont compare apples and oranges.

It has been a little over 2 months since I bought my Kobo Wi-Fi at a Borders closeout sale. What attracted me to this were two points:

1. It was at a 50% discount so I got it for half the price of a kindle [or kindle keyboard as it is called now]
2. I was told that the local libraries have eBooks for Kobo and Nook but not for the Kindle.

Of course that has changed now and my public library has Kindle ebooks too. But I digress.

This e-reader is fantastic in what it does i.e. allowing you to read e-books. The 100 free classics that came with the reader are definitely a plus. In addition, I've managed to find quite a few free eBooks that I've downloaded to my Kobo via Adobe Digital Editions [ADE]. This works for the ebooks that I check out from my public library as well.

I did have a challenge in doing this "ADE to Kobo" sync but one call to the Kobo tech support solved the problem for me. In short, all that I needed to do was to "re-authorize" my ADE installed on my laptop. The Kobo tech support is excellent, so for anyone have problems syncing, I would suggest a call to them.

The only gripe I have with this e-reader is that it doesn't allow me to bookmark a page. Hence I am giving this only 4 stars. But on the other hand, it remembers the last page that I was on and opens to the same page. So this is not really a deal-breaker. I haven't tried switching between two books to see if it can remember the last read page but I am the type who start with one book, finishes it and then move on to the next.

Yes - it doesn't display PDFs all that well but that doesn't matter to me personally. And I haven't tried using Calibre either.
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on October 2, 2011
I disagree with the reviewer who said the Kobo's battery only lasted about a week. Maybe if he has the Kobo Touch. I have the first Kobo eReader, which I bought from Borders before they went out of business. It is the WiFi/Wireless model, though I connect mine to the computer to download ebooks. My battery has lasted over a month without charging. I can read inside or outside in the sun. I just love my Kobo. Now if would just sell ebooks for Kobos and Nooks, everyone would be happy!
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on September 9, 2011
The Kobo is a great eReader if you just want to read books. It does come with Wi Fi capablilities so you can buy books without connecting to your home computer. I also love that it comes with 100 free books preloaded! Simple to use and the battery lasts a very long time.
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on December 30, 2011
My review comes from owning my Kobo wireless reader for 1 year. It really has gotten a bad rep compared to other e-readers such as the Kindle (which I also own). I'm writing this to provide some helpful suggestions & to inform others of what I've learned from using the Kobo.

The Kobo is great for what it's made for which is to read books! I know that the description says that you can use PDF documents on the device. I advice that you don't because you have to zoom in to read your work & you have to side scroll just to see the whole page. It's a killer on the eyes. When purchasing from the Kobo website make sure that the book you are purchasing is in EPUB format & not PDF.

Kobo is not the only option for purchasing books. I also purchase from the Sony store. To purchase & use books from them you have to use Adobe Digital Editions. Once you have that you just need to go to the library, click on add items to the library, & find your books from in your computer files. Sony has more free books than Kobo & most times better prices. I have tried Barnes & Noble but their books tend to be locked & I can't add them to my Kobo.

Books can be organized by title, author, or last read. It doesn't have an option for grouping books together in collections. Kobo has started to provide frequent updates so some of the things that used to annoy me are fixed such as losing my last read page. The dictionary feature only works with books purchased from Kobo (maybe a future update will fix this).

Page turns are fast on my Kobo. It's not as fast as my Kindle but it is in no way leaving a black flash in between page turns. Its decent enough so that by the time you read the last word on the bottom of the page & turn, you won't forget what you just read. Its works seamlessly. I don't suggest trying to search for a book in the Kobo store from your device unless you have a specific book in mind. Its overwhelming trying to navigate the virtual keyboard. The 5 way directional pad is on the right side of the device so you lefties should consider this before purchasing the Kobo.

The Kobo does take at least 1 minute to get to the books after turning it on so if you put it down for a few moments than the sleep mode becomes very useful. To put the Kobo to sleep just briefly press the power button. The reason that I now use my Kindle daily is because even on the largest print setting, the words are not big enough for me (the words used to be bigger). I'm not sure if an update caused this but for me its a bad thing.

In summary the Kobo is a basic e-reader that is great for what it DOES do correctly. Here is a suggestion for a great cover. Try to get a folio style cover because those seem to work best. This one is good. I reviewed 1 for the Kindle & it does the same for the Kobo Speck Products SPK-A0619 Fitfolio Case for Kobo Wireless e-Reader
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on February 8, 2012
I have owned this ebook reader for about 6 months at this point, and I enjoy it. Before I ever bought it, I researched and found that a lot of ebook readers will only accept one format of ebook. This will limit who and where you are can get books from, so this moved me away from some *cough*(kindle)*cough* and the fact that some ebook readers do not have expandable storage via memory cards, is something that I look for. The average ebook customer would probably never load their ebook with more than a couple hundred books at a time, it that many, but I teach, go to school, and enjoy reading so I carry around a lot of different books for different purposes.

The Kobo has everything that I was/am looking for in an ebook. If I wanted to listen to music, I have an iPod; watch a movie, I have a laptop; if I want to play a game, laptop, cellphone, PC, console. This is an ebook. They are simple devices meant to do one thing, read books on. I find it amazing that some people complain about an ebook reader that does not "insert non-reading activity" when I have yet to find a printed book that does those things. Most printed books just lay there, waiting for one to pick them up and look at them, turn the pages, you know, simple reading activities. Just remember, this is an electronic book, if you want a tablet then buy a tablet.
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on January 3, 2012
First off let me say, I own an IPad and 2 Galaxy Tabs. I purchased 2 of these for Christmas for my Children and I like them. No, it doesn't bookmark the pages, but there is a 'I'm Reading' page, and currently it saving the page on 8 books. It does have wi-fi, but I have found that the Internet can be a distraction for children (lol, and their mommies). The pages do 'blink' when turning, but come on, it would take you that same time to turn the pages in a 'real' book. And u can read it in Direct Sunlight!! And to be honest it is much lighter than a iPad or a Galaxy Tab (or a Sony prs-600,or a original nook, both I have owned).. I was able to pick up a lot of first children's books from various sources, so I needed something that could read ePub and allows lending from libraries.

I use kindle apps on my other devices and IF KINDLE WOULD SUPPORT EPUB, if would have hands down been the official product of my family,lol, but there are so many free resources for children in ePub, the Kobo was a better choice. Not to mention, the are a lot of decals and skins that make them look really cool, protect them and don't add much weight.

I have read a several chapters of a book, just to see and I love it. My iPad is my baby, but this is much easier/lighter to hold. It has sold me on a e-ink reader myself. (My previous attempts: the Sony-was heavy and there was a glare and the nook-I don't use B&N....)
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on December 28, 2011
Firstly, let me address a review that states "books are only available for computer download not really for the eReader" are completely untrue.

The pros of the Kobo:
- No company affiliation
- Wide acceptance of readable files
- 100 pre-loaded classics
- Great price
- Simplicity!
- Great customer service
- Pretty visually
- Charger is a USB, can also get a wall-adapter for the charger to be connected to outlet

- 4-way directional pad (only on one side)
- Store capabilities - easily solved!

The Kobo is a simple e-Reader. My original problems with the Kobo have all been fixed, but let me address those up front: It was hard to find covers for the Kobo WiFi and it was also difficult to get some books for Kobo. Now, there are a bevy of covers that fit this eReader (Verso and Crown Case, to name a few brands). Secondly, more and more books are becoming available for the Kobo.

I like the quilted back. It might not make the eReader amazingly easy to hold because it isn't sloped, but it does give your fingers something to hold on to. It also feels nice, and texture is something that people making the change from books to e-books like so I found this is a very nice touch.

I admit, the d-pad/4-way directional pad is not the most wonderful way to search for books online, and the store doesn't have any advanced-search capabilities (like you can look at "fiction" or search for an author name, but not search for author and title, etc.). However, as someone with a laptop I don't have any problem just connecting it to the WiFi to download books I search for on the online store or hooking the Kobo up to the USB and downloading that way.

Some might find the loading and page-turns slow, but as someone who just has a regular patience level I don't have any real issue with it. It could be faster, but that's a small extra few seconds to wait.

I know there is no touch screen, no social-networking functions, and it does not have a web browser. However, the Kobo is NOT made to be a tablet, social networking device, or touch reader. But I find it great for what I need. The only changes I would make is to make a turn-page button on two sides, as you always have to turn it with your right hand or you have to reach over. Otherwise, I think it's a great little e-Reader.
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