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Which is Better, Kobo or Nook?

written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 5/23/2011

Choosing the correct ebook reader can be very difficult because it is a very personal decision. Comparing the various specs between the Kobo and the Nook will help to understand which of these devices might best fit your personal needs.

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    Kobo or Nook?

    The decision of the best ebook reader for you is one that is becoming increasingly difficult as the number of excellent ereading devices begins to grow. And the Kobo vs Nook is one of the comparisons well worth making in the attempt to decide which of these devices is best for you by looking at what each of these devices brings to the table so you can get the device that does exactly what you want.

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    Price

    kobo-ereader-image 

    The Kobo has only one real device which costs at full price $129.99, but can be found for about $99.99 most of the time. Meanwhile the Nook has a number of different devices, the most basic about $149.99, with the color device about $249.99. These prices are for very different devices, but if you are looking simply for the less expensive of the two devices the Kobo is the better choice, but not by a lot.

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    Hardware

    Both the Nook and the Kobo have e-ink displays which are 6 inches and are 16 level grayscale with all the basic functions of e-ink such as the ability to adjust text size. In addition the Nook has a small touch screen at the bottom, allowing for both more options and easier navigation, while the Kobo has a five way button and a few keys. The Nook also has twice as much internal memory with 2 GB, but as both devices have the ability use memory cards the difference is minor. The most important difference in the hardware of these two devices is the physical interface and the Nook is clearly superior in this way.

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    E-book Library

    Both the Kobo and the Nook are associated with large ebook libraries. In the case of the Nook it is Barnes and Noble with all of the connections that they have which is about 2.2 million ebooks while Kobo has access to only about 1.8 million books, but for any major book or publisher the advantage is to have books available on all platforms so unless you are looking for specific books you should be fine with either. In addition both devices use the ePub format so it is easy to move books between them so while the Nook has the advantage is this area, but it only really matters because it is easier to buy books from their library.

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    Software

    NOOKClassic 

    The Nook uses the open Android software. This makes it easy for developers to make apps for the Nook and while the average Android app is not going to work on the nook this is still a large advantage because it lets things like twitter, chess and Pandora run easily on the Nook. The Kobo uses a more basic software and has been updating regularly but it is clear that the Nook has the better software and almost certainly will remain that way.

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    Conclusion

    For most people the Nook is going to be the better choice with the only real pull towards the Kobo being the price. That said, if all you want to do is read ebooks, both devices can do this and saving $30 to $50 can let you buy a number of excellent books and the hundred classic books that come on the Kobe will save you quite a lot of money and be the better choice. If you want to do anything besides simply reading books or simply want to ensure a quality experience the Nook is the better choice.

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    Resources

    • Source, author's own experience
    • Source, http://www.kobobooks.com/
    • Source, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/index.asp
    • Images, courtesy of http://blog.kobobooks.com/
    • Images, courtesy of http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/index.asp