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Kobo Arc 10HD review

Kobo's iPad challenger is definite value for money

The Kobo Arc 10HD
The Kobo Arc 10HD - an excellent and competitively priced tablet


The battery is advertised to last 9.5 hours, and after extensive testing we managed to get just over seven hours out of it. That's not bad, but it doesn't compare to the solid nine hours you'll get from an iPad Air.

The main drain is obviously the screen. You will get more out of the battery if you keep the Arc 10HD in reading mode constantly, but you'll lose out on other functionality.

We did, however, manage to draw out two full days of using it casually and leaving it on standby overnight.

Apps and games

The Arc 10HD isn't challenged by high-performance games. Deer Hunter 2014 looked sharp and didn't stutter. We ran some music in the background as we played the game and there was no random freezes or lag. The screen is very responsive, which is what you would expect from a tablet of this quality.

Kobo Arc 10HD review

Games such as Deer Hunter are responsive on the Kobo Arc 10HD

The Arc 10HD comes with about 3GB worth of bloatware pre-installed; some of which doesn't actually work for UK customers. An app called Cinema Now, for example, doesn't work in the UK. Fortunately, many of the pre-installed apps can be deleted, with the exception of the Kobo apps.


The Arc 10HD only has a front-facing 1.3mp camera that has limited use. There's no Kobo UI overlay on the camera app; it' standard Android. There's also limited functions since there's no flash.

Kobo Arc 10HD review

The front camera is designed for poor-quality selfies and not much more

There are some minor editing options; for example, you can change the warmth of pictures depending on lighting conditions around you. Other than that, not much can be done. The camera is clearly designed primarily for video calls and poor-quality selfies, but not much else.

It seems odd that there's no rear camera attached. Granted, you look a bit silly taking photos with a 10-inch slab of metal, but it is a feature that the iPad Air comes with and if this is a rival, then it ought to be a match.


Kobo Arc 10HD review

There is no 3G functionality on the Arc 10HD: everything is done over dual-band Wi-Fi. Pages load quickly, although Wi-Fi does have a tendency to switch off when in sleep mode and it doesn't come back on when brought out of sleep.

Firefox and Chrome are available and both work perfectly well. Chrome looks particularly good on the Arc 10HD and browsing is as good as any other top-end Android tablet.

Pinching to zoom in and opening tabs is the same smooth operation you have become accustomed to with other expensive tablets. As you would expect, flash is not supported.