Kobo (and the Inconsistent) Touch (screen)

I was planning to write a review of the Kobo Touch this week but unfortunately I have encountered a hardware problem.

Over this past weekend I set a new goal for myself. I took all my ereaders out of  storage and stacked up all the ones that I had never written a review for. I plan to use each one for a week and then write a review on the weekend.

By popular request on Twitter, I set out to review the Kobo Touch first. Unfortunately, the review is going to have to go on hold until I get my unit downgraded to an older firmware or I get it replaced.

I don't know if I am the only one who has encountered this, but I cannot get the touchscreen to respond consistently (with firmware 1.9.11). My Kobo Touch seems to only recognize very specific screen taps and ignores the rest. I often have to tap the screen 3 and 4 times before it deigns to turn the page. This is a problem, because I'm used to devices that let me touch the screen however I want and have it respond.

Normally I might tough it out, but I posted my problem over on MobileRead. Within a couple hours I got this response:

My experience is that I have the most consistent turns when I tap right down into the bottom right corner of the screen. Not sure why that is, but it's where works best for me to tap ergonomically speaking anyway so it works well for me.

Yeah, that's not good. The device is supposed to support the user, not force the user to adapt to its quirks. No, wait, if his experience is that extreme then I wouldn't call this a quirk; this sounds like a major flaw with the Kobo Touch.

If I had to guess, I would say that this is likely a software issue. That's what the second comment posted over at MobileRead suggests. But I'm not sure, frankly; a sample size of 3 isn't enough to diagnose the problem. All I can say now is that there is a problem, and that it has rendered my Kobo Touch unusable.

I hesitated to post this complaint, given that I posted someone's open letter to Kobo Sunday night.  But eventually I decided that the Kobo Touch is a premium ereader, and the public needs to know what they're getting into when they one.

I hadn't realized when I first read the letter quite what nesler meant when he said he wouldn't recommend the Kobo Touch; given the issues I have had I wouldn't recommend it either.

P.S. If you've had issues with the touchscreen or you know how to fix it, please leave a comment.

P.P.S. I'm going to finish out the week on the iriver Story HD, and post that review this weekend.

111 thoughts on “Kobo (and the Inconsistent) Touch (screen)

    1. I have just spent the most frustrating two hours of my life trying to reset my Kobo Touch to its factory settings so I can again!!! (fifth time since December)reinstall the set up program!!!My reader has decided it doesn’t want to connect to the computer and the screen is non responsive. Thank goodness I transferred all my books to backup!!Looks like i’m going shopping for a new ereader-certainly won’t be another Kobo!!

      1. I used my Kobo successfully for a year and now am having tons of issues. It won’t connect to my computer. I’ve used factory settings on more than one occasion. Now the screen is frozen. I’m going to buy an IPAD and use it instead!

    2. Just wait until the touch screen stops working altogether. Mine was temperamental too, but I thought it was ‘just me’. Now it doesn’t work at all – my local WHSmith refuses to take responsibility, as does Kobo. Less than a year old and I have had great difficultity in getting a repair / replacement / refund!!

  1. At times when I tap to go forward a page, it doesn’t work. I tap it again and it goes forward 2pages. Also it was powering on by itself. I now have it set in airplane mode and to power off after 15 minutes. Otherwise I like the device.

  2. I had been thinking about buying the Kobo Touch but too many problems are being reported. As my 1-year-old Sony 950 (and even my 4-year-old Sony 505) still works perfectly, I think I’ll hold off on the Kobo.

  3. I planned to get a Kobo next year , but I wont. I can accept that a new device is buggy, but what I cannot accept is that if they fix one issue, another one occur.
    No, I’ll hang on to my PRS 505 for another year or so, and then get the new Cybook Odessey or Sony PRS T1. ( Which is also quite buggy at the moment. Hopefully those bugs will sorted out by then)

  4. I must have gotten lucky. While I have occasionally encountered the slow page turn, I have read 16 books so far which I gather must be in excess of 30,000 page turns and have run into this page turn problem only a handful of times. I don’t think this is a case of “forcing the user” to tap in a particular way. I read primarily kepub books from Kobo, with a smattering of epubs sourced from other bookstores or PD material such as found at Mobileread.

  5. I too have had problems with the feedback from the Kobo Touch’s screen. At first I thought that it might have something to do with the sleep function, but now I’m thinking that it has more to do with how long the deviee has been awake and “functional”.

    I’ve had these problems EVER since I bought the thing, wich was early July and whatever fw that was and EVERY one since, so no, downgrading your fw ain’t gonna fix it…

    I’m personally beginning to think that Kobo is yet another shell company whose only interest is foisting off device after device year after year as their primary “business” model, which is sad.

    And to the lady who mentioned specifically double taps -> two page advances, yep I’ve experienced those, although sometimes the double taps equal a single page turn, it’s so irritatitngly erratic that had the Kindle Touch been available I’d’ve bought that last spring and flipped the bird to B&N & Kobo…

    Whomever owns Kobo just doesn’t seem to get it, which would be the crux of a review that I would personally write. (I own their WiFi and Touch, buying the WiFi because it was cheap at the time, but nowhere close to as nice as my Sony PRS505, and the Touch, well nice, when it freaking works…)

  6. I wouldn’t say that Anonymous. I like the search in book function that was added in the last update (as well as the share to facebook feature). Of course, it should have SHIPPED with that function enabled, but oh wells.

  7. I was livid when 1.9.11 came out. Unusable! But just saw that 1.9.12 has come out. Seems to fix all of the issues I had with the unusable 1.9.11, so… Better than before anyway. I wish they didn’t keep breaking basic functions when they try to update!

  8. So frustrate with this touch model now.
    It worked well in the beginning. With each upgrade it gets slower and less responsive. Not impressed.

    and the web browser: junk from the beginning. But I didn’t buy it for that so I’m not too disappointed with the browser. :-)

  9. I loved my Kobo until the .11 update. That “update” deleted most of my Reading Life stats and the latest “update” has not fixed the problem. I dislike being told that “it must be you, we haven’t encountered this is our beta testing” when there are others who have a similar issue. If Kobo is denying there is a problem, then it’s obvious to me they won’t look for a solution. They won’t offer downgraded firmware versions so I can roll back to .10.

    I’ve had the reader since mid August 2011, and for half of that time I reverted back to real books. Save your cash, buy real books.

  10. Had an issue where I was reading an epub of dubious pedigree and was demonstrating the features of the reader (including how to download ebooks) to a relative. I got an automatic firmware update to 1.9.12 and had a problem where every 3-7 page advances would set a bookmark and take me to my home screen. Did a factory reset and took it back to 1.9.9. Is there a less drastic way to revert firmware?

    1. Same problem here. their help desk just says to re-set to factory setting every time or tell me that maybe the battery is too low when it happens, but I do know that it happens even when the battery is at 40%. Very frustrating, as it has happened twice in one day at one point. So I definitely will not recommend this to anyone.

  11. Same issues with touchscreen not being responsive on the odd occasion but just enough of the time to be slightly annoying. Bought it brand new the other day and considering returning it. I’ve found swiping is more reliable but even then it’s as if sometimes it just freezes then flips forward 2 pages or not at all. Other than that no problem with it but after spending the extra money for the touchscreen I really expected it to work properly.

  12. I’ve had the Kobo Touch for a week, and the bugginess of the sensitivity of the screen when simply page turning is irksome. Sometimes it’s fine, and other times it’s insensitive – in my case, it’s particularly in the lower part of the screen. Interesting to find this thread, as I was considering getting my Kobo replaced for another, imagining it was a problem limited to a defective unit. I THINK restarting the Kobo helps; but this, of course, is unacceptable. Do you think that this is something that is fixable via firmware upgrade? Kreaen (UK).

  13. I just got my Kobo touch and although it worked well in the beginning, the top left doesn’t respond to anything. Neither does the middle section of the ereader, which is very frustrating. I thought it was perhaps because I had put a screen protector on it, which might have messed with the sensitivity, but I don’t think I had a problem with it before the screen protector.

  14. The problem I’m having is the touch input just stops working. It seems pretty random but accessing the search function in the store menu stops it almost every time. Home button and power button still work and it takes a power cycle to get touch working again.

    1. This is the EXACT problem we’re having. After awhile it stops responding to page turns. The home button works but after returning to the home page you then cannot tap on anything until you restart (must shut down, going to standby is not sufficient). It is only two weeks old :-(

      1. I had the exact same problem. The problem only started happening when I forgot to eject my Kobo Touch once. So I reset it and it started working again. Again, I accidentally unplugged my Kobo without ejecting it and the problem appeared again. This does not include the page turn issue, just the complete touch screen freeze issue. I do still have the page turn issue. I want a new firmware update to fix it!!!

    2. The exact same thing is happening to me over the past 3 days and it seems to be getting worse. I have had no problems except for 1 frozen screen before. My Kobo is just over 1 year which is bad becuase the warranty expired like 15 days or so ago. did you ever fix this problem?

  15. Same issue Here! Just got one for Christmas as a present from my lil brother. Brought it with me back to China but regretting my choice a bit. I did find that the problem gets worse when teh unit has been on for a long time.

  16. I have the same problem: Maybe 15-20% of page turn taps are unresponsive. The problem comes and goes: Several page turns work fine, but then it takes three or four taps to get a response. On my Kobo Touch, the location doesn’t seem to matter: I’ve had it be unresponsive high and low, left and right.

    I’m thinking of returning it for exchange, to see if my luck improves with a different unit.

  17. The touch screen is extremely frustrating! I found it was worse when I was in an airplane/dry areas. For awhile, wetting my thumb with water helped but what a mess, the only reason I wanted it was to make traveling with books easier. This is not easier.

  18. Actually, I found the touchscreen improved markedly after I powered down the Kobo for the first time and rebooted. I haven’t really had any touchscreen issues since then–the odd missed tap, but nothing like my initial experiences.

  19. I got a Kobo Touch for Christmas, but gave up on it today because of the constant freezing and returned it to the Staples where my wife bought it.

    The tech guy who has one himself gave us no hope that another unit would perform any better.

    Later this week, we’ll be returning the unit we bought my mother.

  20. Yes, I got a Kobo Touch for Xmas and have re-named it Kobo Thump as it turns pages only when I commit Kobo Abuse on it, doesn’t swipe at all. Tries all the resets. I don’t use it now as reading is such an unpleasant experience with it.

  21. First time, I brought the Kobo Touch home, connected to the web and installed the software etc. Screen touch response was very inconsistent. I tried to contact the tech at Coles to confirm that it might be a firmware problem and that I’d like to try rolling back. No reply. So I brought the thing back within two weeks and said it’s defective. I brought the new one home, loaded some epubs and it works much better.
    The firmware version is 1.9.9 (r307773, July 28, 2011)

    Also, now there is no nag ‘suggestion’ books and no shortlist which is fine for me. There are four book covers shown on the home page. What more do you need? I don’t like proprietary anything, I don’t like turning on an electronic device and seeing products there that I have nothing to do with. It’s weird, so I’m much happier now. I can find my own ‘suggestions’. Good luck to everyone. This is a good unit, just find the right version of firmware and downgrade. I’m looking for a standalone copy of 1.9.9 on the web. If I find it, I’ll post a link. Cheers.

  22. I’m having the same problem as many people here- inconsistent page turns. I’ve read at least 10 books and it’s happened throughout. I’m getting to the point where I just want to get rid of this piece of junk and get a Kindle.

  23. I cannot get the kobo to operate anywhere near usable it,s like they don,t want me to read , it,s difficult to get into library as you keep trying to get the screen to respond the menu goes away and you get one if the books on the splash screen you don’t want why can’t it show the books you are reading , or at least last open before going to sleep

    The touch sucks either you are using too many CPU cycles doing things it can’t respond to the touch screen or the touch screen is a bad design

    1. I am new to Kobo Touch. I rarely have the problems others are describing. Some of the time I do get or don’t get the responses I want from the touchscreen but that may me due to my inconsistent touches. I love the larger font sizes because of my limited eyesight and like the way it feels in one hand (arthritis, too) better than the nook and Kindle e-inks I tried. Because of the pluses, I can live with a little imperfection. Perhaps I got lucky with a better unit than some of the earlier posters. I appreciate reading others’ perspectives and this blog. So far I love mine…sort of like loving your friend even if there are a few quirks you know about. Good luck to all.

  24. I am the happy owner of Kobo touch, no issues whatsoever, since beginning of last year.

    Bought a second one for my kid few weeks ago, again no issues and the kid loves it.

    Mike

  25. Bought a Kobo Touch for my wife for Christmas. At first it seemed ok but then it started becoming non-responsive for page turns. Sometimes it seemed to work ok but other times it didn’t. The last straw was that over the last two days it wouldn’t hold a charge – the last charge only lasted for 5 pages of reading. Took it back to Staples this morning and got another one. We’ll see how that one works.

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