|Operating System||Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)|
|Dimension (in)||7.4 x .5 x 4.7|
|Resolution (px)||1280 x 800|
Rear cameras; Wi-Fi; Micro-USB cards, USB port; accelerometer
|Battery Life||9 hrs|
The Kobo Arc 8.9 is touted as an alternative to the Google Nexus 7 and is particularly noted for its great gaming capacity. The slightly behind-the-times Android 4.0 OS won’t appeal to the most tech-savvy of tablet users but is hardly a stopping point for the typical user.
A pair of unique software functions help set the Kobo Arc apart at the starting line: “Tapestries” is an extra-convenient way to organize folders, files and apps that other Android-based tablets would do well in incorporating. The “Discover Ribbon” makes recommendations of sites the user may be interested in, based on viewing history.
In terms of look, the Kobo Arc isn’t exactly the most attractive tablet out there with its bulkiness: At 0.8 pounds, it outweighs the Nexus 7 and Barnes & Noble Nook, a bit disappointing when one realizes that the Kobo Arc’s dimensions are smaller than these two tablets and the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Some specs supersede slightly what one might figure for a $200-range tablet: The 32 GB storage capacity is a particularly welcome highlight at this price and a 64 GB version is also available; integrated WiFi, micro USB and USB connectivity are good to see as well. The 1.5 GHz TI OMAP 4470 CPU isn’t necessarily the flashiest processor on the market, but the Power VR GPU that Kobo’s thrown in helps things power along nicely – even in gaming, as previously noted.
The biggest disappointment, though, is the humdrum 1280x800 pixel touchscreen. Amazing to think that anything outside of a straight-up e-book reader would contain such low resolution these days, but at this price, this is apparently still to be expected…