Digital bookseller Kobo has been making 7 inch Android tablets for a few years, and I was pleasantly surprised to note that last year’s Kobo Arc was actually a respectable all-purpose tablet with a reasonably low price tag of about $200.
Now the company’s following up the Arc with two new models that are priced rather competitively with Amazon’s tablets. The Kobo Arc 7 costs $150 in the US and Canada, while the Kobo Arc 7HD has a $200 price tag. Both models should be available in October.
Kobo Arc 7HD
I’m going to start with the HD model, because if you can afford the extra $50, this is totally the model to get.
The tablet has a 7 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel display, a 1.7 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB to 32GB of storage.
In other words, it’s almost competitive with the 2013 Google Nexus 7, which starts at $229. But the new Nexus 7 has a faster processor than Kobo’s new Arc 7HD.
The tablet measures 7.6″ x 4.8″ x 0.38″ and weighs 11.5 ounces.
The Kobo Arc 7HD has a 1.3MP front-facing camera, micro USB port, micro HDMI port, a mono speaker, a headset jack, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Kobo estimates that the battery’s good for 8 hours of continuous reading or video playback — but that’s with the WiFi turned off.
The tablet runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and comes with Kobo’s bookstore, Reading Life app, and the Google Play Store, among other preloaded apps.
The 16GB model is priced at $199.99, while the 32GB model costs $249.99.
Kobo Arc 7
If you’re on a budget and don’t need a high-resolution display, the Kobo Arc 7 is a $150 model with a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and a 1.2 GHz MediaTek MTK 82125 quad-core processor.
This tablet has 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, micro HDMI, and micro USB ports, a mono speaker, headset jack, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
It measures 7.6″ x 4.8″ x 0.4″ and weighs 12.7 ounces.
Kobo says this model should get up to 9 hours of run time (while reading or playing videos with the WiFi turned off).
There’s no option for a model with more than 8GB of built-in storage, but the cheapest Kobo Arc tablet does have a microSD card for extra space for books, music, movies, or other content.
Like all the other tablets in the Kobo lineup, the Kobo Arc 7 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, features the Google Play Store, and comes with Kobo apps for reading, purchasing books, and synchronizing your data across devices.