Kobo's New 7-Inch Tablet Is A Solid Nexus 7 Challenger

When the Nexus 7 hit the market, we wondered if it would force other manufacturers to lower their prices without lowering the specs on new devices. We're going to find out later if Amazon has taken Google's warning shot on board, but in the meantime, the Kobo Arc tablet has just been announced and it's seriously impressive. Be afraid, Nexus 7: the Kobo is coming to ruin your Christmas.

The Kobo Arc is a 7-inch tablet powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It comes in both 8GB and 16GB flavours with a 1280 x 800 pixel IPS screen coated in scratch- and fingerprint-resistant glass.

It's even the same price as the Nexus 7, with the 8GB Kobo Arc set to cost $249, with the 16GB model priced at $299. Unless stores like JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman put a premium on the device, you're likely to pay a bit less for the Kobo Arc than the Nexus 7 come-launch day.

The Nexus 7 doesn't have much over the Arc: it's boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

One nifty thing the Arc does have over the Nexus is a feature called Tapestries. It's inspired by social networks like Pinterest and it's the weirdest content curation feature I've ever heard of. Here's how I had it explained to me:

Say you're reading the Steve Jobs biography, and it references a particular song a few times. Tapestries goes and recommends that song to you based on you reading it in your book. Then if you listen to the song it could recommend an article that connects both the book and the song together.

It's less of a content recommendation engine and more of a feature than can broaden your horizons the more you use it. Eat that, Google Now.


The Arc is at the top of Kobo's new range of e-readers which includes the 5-inch, $99 Kobo Mini (pictured left) designed for gift-givers and the 6-inch, $149 Kobo Glo (pictured right) which includes a backlit screen, customisable fonts and cases.

As far as release dates are concerned, the Kobo Mini and Kobo Glo will hit shelves in October, while the Arc will arrive in November, perhaps just in time to make Nexus 7 users reconsider their tablet purchases.

We'll find out if it's a Nexus-killer when we go hands-on soon.

Which would you choose: Nexus 7 or Kobo Arc?


Comments

    Any info on whether there is a 3G model available? Also does it have a microSD slot. Those would give it a major advantage over the Nexus 7

    Based on these specs? Nexus 7, no question.

    The N7 is faster, smaller, lighter, has Bluetooth & GPS, and of course unskinned Jellybean - with the promise of faster releases in the future. If the Kobo had a microSD slot, it might be a little more interesting, but as it is, I don't see anything at all to recommend it over the N7.

    No microSD slot and it doesn't have 3G because Kobo want to sell it everywhere at once without having to wrestle with various carriers and governments.

      I don't think I ever considered anything over the Nexus 7. I would buy ASUS any day of the week over Kobo.
      Battery life for the Kobo is rubbish, 10hours reading constantly with wifi off. Since the OMAP 4470 doesn't have the whole Tegra 3 Companion core. I also enjoy having more features on the Tegra 3 chip, makes for some pretty interesting visuals. One other thing is I love Jelly Bean, it's fantastic on the Nexus 7.

      As for that, both devices are sort of on part in some ways. Memory, screen PPI, storage. There's no real "Killer" factor in your article. That feature you call "nifty", sounds rather dull and uninteresting. You haven't given us ANYTHING to base your idea that the Kobo will make us regret buying the Nexus 7...

      Your article is dripping with, 'Troll'.

    "The Nexus 7 doesn’t have much over the Arc: it’s boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean."

    Those are the two main things I would look at when comparing the two!!

      +1
      I definitely don't regret my Nexus 7 purchase after seeing this. What exactly about this is Better?

    "It’s even the same price as the Nexus 7, with the 8GB Kobo Arc set to cost $249, with the 16GB model priced at $299."

    Nexus 7 8GB : $199
    Nexus 7 16GB: $249

    Do you research properly..

      This is an Australian (gizmodo.com.au) article. Prices are correct. You do some research, mate.

    Is the editor drunk??? Nexus 7 is Quad-Core...

      "The Nexus 7 doesn’t have much over the Arc: it’s boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean."
      Yup, clearly intoxicated, didn't mention Quad core on the N7 once...

    In Australia, I'm finding my Nexus 7 with USA Amazon account running on the kindle app is good. I also got some books from the Play store to get Australian titles.

    How exactly is this a solid challenger? Its demonstrably worse for the same price. The poorer specs and lack of ICS - which is a HUGE factor - make this tablet a really bad purchase at the same price at the Nexus 7.

    Did Kobo pay you to write this?

    "8GB Kobo Arc set to cost $249, with the 16GB model priced at $299"

    Except... That the Nexus 7 is $199 and $250 in the US, which wound up being between $250-$320 AUD. There will almost certainly be a premium thrust on this so it'll be more expensive than the N7 (which basically trumps this in every way that matters).

    Good luck at that price. Why would I buy this over an N7 without getting better hardware specs AND more importantly no guarantees of timely OS updates. I predict prices will end up falling drastically over time (at which point it may well be worth getting).

    "The Nexus 7 doesn’t have much over the Arc: it’s boasting a quad-core rather than a dual-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean." How is this not very much? It seems like a hell-of-a-lot to me!

    Will it have Amazon Android? or decent android

    I agree with most bloggers here. Forget about quad or dual core, the fact Nexus has jelly bean will make it the winner. Strange that you think ics is comparable.

    Look on the web at tapestries in a video demo. While reading an article on the internet you can click on it and save to your reading collection so it becomes much easier to switch between articles or go back to them. Kobo offers full android with access to all the apps plus it's going to have a jelly bean update. The speakers on the kobo and fire hd are much better than on the nexus. This is not an argument I'm informing you of some of the benefits of the arc add it's a question of whether some of those might appeal. It also has a 2mp cam.

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