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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 Arc 10HD tablet is a strong contender for the best moderately expensive Christmas gift of 2013. It's stylish in true Kobo fashion, has an outstanding screen, and it's cheaper than the iPad Air.

Kobo has come out swinging to challenge Apple's featherweight tablet and it's landed a few blows. That's not to say the Arc 10HD isn't without its problems: it's very heavy, there's no rear camera and there seems to be a technical fault with the Wi-Fi when in sleep mode.

Kobo isn't a household name and this probably isn't the tablet to carry it over the threshold - but it is a large step in the right direction.

We liked

The stunning 2,560 x 1,600 screen is a triumph in resolution technology and a genuine pleasure to look at.

Just like every other device in Kobo's repertoire, the Arc 10HD is very well designed. The smooth, black, hard plastic casing gives the tablet an almost regal quality and the buttons don't protrude so there's little chance of accidental pressing.

The Kobo reading experience is also a success. Although this is executed better on Kobo's smaller tablets and eReaders, it's still nice on the Arc 10HD, and Kobo's attention to detail with the Reading Mode and Beyond the Book apps are genuine enhancements.

We disliked

The glitches. Wi-Fi turns off every time the Arc 10HD goes into sleep mode but it doesn't come back on once the device is woken up. It has to be turned on manually. This is a pretty serious flaw.

There's an ever-so-slight bit of lag when gliding around menus. It's not game changing, but it's noticeable enough to irk over time.

The lack of a rear camera this isn't a major loss of functionality for a tablet this size - but it is an omission, and the quality of the front-facing camera should have been improved.

Final verdict

This is a high-end tablet that is competitively priced. It stylish, powerful and cheaper than the iPad Air.

The addition of a micro-HDMI out port is a welcome bit of extra connectivity that marks the Kobo Arc 10HD out from other high-end tablets.

But the real star of the show is the highly impressive 2,500 x 1,600 screen.

The Wi-Fi and weight issues are drawbacks, but they don't mar the overall experience. The Wi-Fi glitch hopefully can be fixed with a software update. And while a smaller tablet would work better as a standalone reader, the Arc 10HD offers enough as a tablet to justify its size.

All this considered, the Kobo Arc 10HD is definite value for money.