Summary: Forget the ereader market – the 7-inch Kobo Arc might have a literary bent, but this open Android 4.1 experience is at least the equal of the Google Nexus 7 and iPad Mini in terms of core performance and value. If you accept that Android tablets are more or less the same, it seems almost illogical to buy into a ‘locked’ ecosystem such as the Kindle Fire or Nook when open platform tablets like the Kobo Arc exist.
Pros: A fast processor, a nicely open Android experience and a clever layer of the Tapestries interface make using the Kobo Arc a pleasant experience and, app-wise, incredibly versatile.
Cons: The native Android browser is poor, which is a shame, since jumping ship to Chrome means losing the option to ‘pin’ content to Tapestries, and the touchscreen isn’t always as sensitive as it should be.
Excerpt: Kobo announced today that they’ve released a firmware update for the Kobo Arc tablet that upgrades the operating system and adds some new features. The Kobo Arc is Kobo’s latest 7″ tablet. It has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, a high resolution 1280 x 800 screen, and comes with options for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB […]Read more
Summary: The Arc succeeds where the Vox fell flat: Kobo's newest 7-inch e-reader tablet has a longer lasting battery, full access to the Google Play Store, and processing power comparable to Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. While we wish it ran the latest version of Android, the Arc's Tapestry feature helps set it apart from other 7-inch tablets. If you're seeking a good alternative to the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the Kobo Arc is a compelling option.
Pros: Full access to Google Play store, Durable design, Customizable interface, Social integration, Fast performance, High-quality audio
Cons: Outdated version of Android, Reflective screen, Bookstore lacks magazines and periodicals, No Bluetooth
Conclusion: The Kobo Arc tablet straddles two Android tablet personality types. It’s a basic, $200 tablet with a friendly user interface meant to be easily grasped by less tech-savvy users. But it also offers the openness and full access to the Google Play app store, like a standard Android tablet.
Pros: Tapestries provide a novel way to interact with a tablet, Smooth, speedy performance, Good display with wide viewing angles, Pre-loaded apps are well curated
Cons: No Bluetooth or HD output, Display attracts smudges, Running Android 4.0, not latest version, No microSD slot
Conclusion: Today, we check out the main facets that differentiate both tablets from each other. Both devices are running Google Android, but have developed customized UI elements to make them stand out in a crowded segment. We will show you the ebook, e-reading, magazine, newspaper, and comic book experience. Finally, both do a fair job at video and audio, but we put them head to head to see which one’s better.
Conclusion: The Kobo Arc is the best tablet the company has ever released. It perfectly blends cutting edge hardware with a very unique Android experience. It runs basically any app or game that you can throw at it, and takes it in stride. The entire Kobo ecosystem appeals to people living internationally. I am based in Canada and can’t even buy a Kindle Fire or Kindle Paperwhite or Nook reader. Even if I were to import it, both companies limit the amount of content I can buy.
Pros: Excellent Hardware, Android 4.0, Tapestries, Great Store Experience, Wide Array of Bundled Apps, Solid Price, Firmware Automatically Updates, Front Facing Speakers with SRS technology, Google Certified
Cons: No MicroSD or SD, Graphic Novel and Comic Book Selection Lacks, No Rear Facing Camera, Needs a Certain Kind of DC Charger to Power the Unit.
Conclusion: The one benefit going for the Kobo Arc is how compatible it is with a large number of markets. Sure there is comparable hardware from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but unless you live in the USA, you are missing out on the majority of their content. It is possible to use the Kindle Fire 2 in Canada, but you won’t be able to purchase Amazon Instant Movies and a number of other critical factors.
Summary: All in all this is a nice little device, but it has a ways go before it becomes competitive in the tablet world. We like the Tapestries feature and how responsive the Arc is, but the lack of a rear camera, USB, HDMI, Bluetooth and mobile broadband keep this in its place as a great eReader, but a below-average tablet.
Pros: The Arc’s small size makes it extremely portable, and it has a unique interface that is simple to use.
Cons: It's missing many of the major ports that you see on most tablets, and it doesn't feature expandable storage.