The new Barnes & Noble Simple Touch Reader isn’t the only 6 inch E Ink eBook reader with a built-in web browser. It turns out the recently released $129 Kobo Touch also has an unadvertised web browser.
The web browsing experience on an E Ink display is never very good since you’re stuck looking at black and white pages with slow refresh rates. Generally eReader makers throw these browsers in so you can connect to WiFi hotspots that require you to check a button or login to a web site before using public wireless networks. But you should also be able to read text-based web sites including most newspaper web sites, or say, your favorite blog about mobile technology.
Members of the MobileRead forum spotted the Kobo Touch browser option in the device’s wireless settings panel. You can’t download files using the browser and there’s no enter key on the on-screen keyboard. That makes it difficult to fill out some web forms in the browser, and you’re not going to be able to download EPUB files or other digital books to read on the device. But the browser does make it possible to use the KOBO Touch for more than just reading books.
The NOOK Touch is still a more versatile device since it runs Google Android 2.1 and can be rooted and made to run other third party apps. But KOBO’s latest eReader is $10 cheaper than Barnes & Noble’s.