Feb 24, 2014
Kobo is probably slightly more known for e-books than hardware. Still, the company has been working on building its Android device rep, and its newest tablet, the Kobo Arc 10 HD tablet gives us an opportunity to see what is on the table.
Specs-wise, the Arc 10 is not shabby in the least. The review unit comes in black, and is a true 10-inch screen. More to that, it rocks a 2560 x 1600 LCD screen, and, frankly, it’s hard not to stare. It is inviting, renders colors well and reflects its 300 ppi quite nicely. It sports two rear facing speakers, a decent 1.3 MP camera that is advertised as being capable of picking up video in 720p. Internally, this device is a relative screamer, packing in 1.8GHz quad-core Tegra 4 processor, which males an admirable mockery of his being used only as a book reader. One has to be satisfied with the 16 GB internal storage, because it doesn’t have expandable memory, but the 2 GB RAM might alleviate that pain. It also has a mini-HDMI port and two physical toggles for sound and on/off. This is all encased in a 9.96 x 6.77 x 0.39 inch frame. Bluetooth 4.0 and Miracast support are included.
Now, in hand, the Arc 10 feels every bit of the 22 ounces it comes in as; it probably won’t be described as dainty. It is a solid device, and feels like a quality device.
It comes with the coveted suite of Google Apps, with the crown jewel Google Play on major display. There are also Kobo apps (with the Kobo Store supplying e-book needs), and the Kobo skin isn’t too invasive, especially on top of Android OS 4.2.2. The software comes together quite well, with little hint of lag, even with graphics-intensive games. With basic reading, it came pretty close to 9 hours of mostly onscreen time; the experience is what one would expect of a premium device overall.
I think the camera could be better, especially during videochat, and, as noted, it might me a tad hard on the wrist. The biggest issue, though, is that at $400, it might get overlooked by folks more interested in a cheap deal than build quality.
Still, it’s hard not to like the overall product; it represents Android well, and has an opportunity to put Kobo on the map.