PROS / The Kobo has a strong operating system designed for reading with ease.
CONS / The Touch 2.0's 800 x 600 display has limited fidelity.
VERDICT / The Kobo Touch 2.0 is an excellent starting point for new eReader users.
As the entry-level model in Kobo's line of eReaders, the Touch 2.0 is well priced and has features for beginning eBook reader users. In our hands-on testing, we found that the Kobo has a cleanly designed reading interface. Functions like font size adjustment and chapter navigation are housed in a bar at the bottom of the display and are simple to use. Page scrolling is also a strength for the Touch, as flipping pages was reasonably quick.
The Kobo comes with some versatile features not typically found on the best eBook readers. Integrated support for the article reading service Pocket is a nice addition that broadens the Touch's usefulness beyond eBook reading. The process of transferring books and PDF files requires simply dragging and dropping – the eReader doesn't require a program for file transfers, which minimizes the bloat.
At the same time, the Touch 2.0's performance ceiling as a basic eReader is easy to see. With its dimensions of 6.2 x 4.5 x 0.36 inches and weight of 6.5 ounces, the Touch physically falls in line with comparable eReaders. However, it is built with a simple plastic body that has a thin black backing. While there's enough heft to the Touch that it avoids feeling flimsy, it's still a reminder of where the Touch sits on the spectrum compared to the best eReaders.
Likewise, the Touch 2.0 relies on a plain 800 x 600 display with a pixel density of 167 pixels per inch (ppi). Screens with this resolution are usually found on entry-level models, and accordingly, the Touch's display has its limitations. Although content was readable at a variety of font sizes during our hands-on testing, text still suffered from light fuzziness and pixelation. Additionally, while the Kobo book catalog is comparable to eReaders from larger manufacturers, the Touch lacks support for content options like book sharing and subscriptions from major newspapers.
The Kobo Touch 2.0 has a lot to offer eReader users looking for a low-cost entry point device. Its ceiling as an eBook reader remains modest thanks to its entry-level price tag, but it has a respectable combination of software and hardware features that make it a capable alternative to eReaders from higher-profile manufacturers.