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Inside the Kobo Glo HD

Device dissections are one of the joys of new product launches, but with ereaders we usually have to wait for the FCC paperwork before we get a peek inside.

Luckily we don’t have to wait on the Kobo Glo HD. Late last night I had a fortunate accident with my review unit. I dropped it, and the back popped off. I am a little disturbed that the rear shell came off that easily, but I wasn’t upset enough to pass up the chance to get a look inside and take a photo.

inside the kobo Glo HD

click to embiggen

We’re going to have to wait for the FCC paperwork before we get to see a complete teardown, but this one photo does reveal a some key details.

It confirms that the Glo HD has an IR touchscreen (we can clearly see the controller chip) and a 1.5Ah battery.

We can also see a microSD card slot, which is good news for anyone who might want to hack the Glo HD and add Android, or simply wants to increase the amount of internal storage. (I think 4GB is enough, but that’s just one blogger’s opinion.)

And if you zoom in on the photo you will also see that the best two places for inserting a pick and prying the rear shell off would be at the center pf the top and bottom edges.

Actually, I don’t think you’ll need to pry the rear shell off; it comes off far too easily. I honestly did drop it by accident last night, and if you’re concerned about having similar accidents you might want to consider dropping it on purpose the first time, and then gluing the rear shell on.

This will void your warranty, so I do not recommend it. But it is an option.


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anothername April 24, 2015 um 1:54 pm

I’m not sure it will be possible to add Android without an external SD-card slot. Also, the hardware may be much-changed from the Glo which resembled the Tolino so closely that its version of Android could be overlaid onto the Glo.

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 10:22 pm

I don’t know.

But I bet the exposed terminal on the bottom edge could prove useful.

Jimo May 10, 2015 um 10:43 am

This video shows how to make you Kobo Glo Hd into up to a 128 gb reader

Paul April 24, 2015 um 2:15 pm

Apart from that, do you like it?

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 2:27 pm

Not really.

I like new toys, but then i put it next to the Paperwhite and the Voyage. I can’t call the Glo HD the equal of the Voyage, I’m still not convinced that the Glo HD is clearly better than the Paperwhite.

The Glo HD is a lot slower to turn the page, and the font rendering is hugely better on the Voyage. And I think the Paperwhite might be the Glo HD’s equal at showing text.

Basically the Glo HD hardware is fine but the software isn’t nearly as good.

fjtorres April 24, 2015 um 5:38 pm

Heh. Heh.

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 5:56 pm


anothername April 25, 2015 um 8:00 am

Yeah, I know what you mean. Maybe it’s the IR screen slowing it down. Still, if it matches the PW2, it’s a real option for users who can’t tolerate Amazon’s BS shutting down all customization. It’s Kobo or Amazon’s BS attitude.

puzzled April 25, 2015 um 5:12 pm

The page turning slowdown is probably due to the same speed processor having to render a lot more pixels for each page.

Anne April 25, 2015 um 9:25 am

Isn’t the software the same as on other Kobo devices? Could it be that you just don’t like Kobo software, in general?

Nate Hoffelder April 25, 2015 um 11:46 am

Actually, I like the Kobo software on the Aura HD (especially with sideloaded ebooks).

The software may be the same but that doesn’t mean it will work the same on all Kobo devices. And it doesn’t mean that the driver software for the screen will work equally well on all devices. And it doesn’t mean that the font used on the devices will look as good on the higher resolution screen.

anothername April 26, 2015 um 7:48 am

Fonts can be changed. Do you think that would fix it?

Nate Hoffelder April 26, 2015 um 8:27 am

I had this same thought yesterday, so I switched to Kobo Nickel. This is Kobo’s custom font, and it was designed for E-ink screens. It should look the best, right?

That’s where things get interesting. The Kobo Nickel font forced me to go to full justification and wider line spacing. Th font looked a little nicer but the rest of the formatting did not.

I then switched to different fonts and noticed that some would let me switch to a ragged right while others would not.

This is curious enough that I decided to hold my review for a week and spend more time with the fonts.

esf April 24, 2015 um 6:54 pm

So does it use the same SoC as the Glo or are we looking at an i.MX 6?

Anyway, regardless of the actual potential of that high-resolution display realized from the software side, Kobo puts pressure on competitors to the customer’s advantage.

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 8:46 pm

I don’t know. The text on the SoC is so tiny and faint that I can’t read it.

Do you see the two black squares next to the microSD card?The one on the bottom is the Freescale SoC. That’s how small it is.

trekk April 25, 2015 um 5:21 am

CPU is Freescale IMX6 1 Ghz. There is a nice video at The blogger also shows some fotos from the inside of the device.

Nate Hoffelder April 25, 2015 um 6:52 am


Rick April 25, 2015 um 12:05 pm

So how much of a drop did it take to do this?

Nate Hoffelder April 25, 2015 um 12:07 pm

Just above waist high, on to a tile floor.

Destripan el Kobo Glo HD y encuentran una sorpresa April 25, 2015 um 3:18 pm

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qwoif April 25, 2015 um 7:26 pm

It’s curious that the device works that much slower, when Kobo apparently didn’t cut costs on the SoC. The Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Voyage also use the i.MX 6, no?

Kobo Glo HD Speicher (vermutlich) erweiterbar – für Bastler April 26, 2015 um 4:39 pm

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anothername April 27, 2015 um 11:18 am

Please post your review, no matter that you are still testing. Readers will be able to offer suggestions and make the review interactive (as you did with the Onyx). There’s a lot of interest surrounding this reader. An incomplete / non-final review is better than none. You can always do a part 2 after. At this rate, it will be released before we get to see your review.

anothername April 27, 2015 um 11:20 am

The font stuff sounds like firmware issues. Post your findings and people with much knowledge on the subject will be able to comment. We don’t have this beastie to test it.

Name (required) May 9, 2015 um 10:46 am


I do not want to rush your promised review, or something, but …

You were one of first bloggers to have the new Kobo Glo HD in your hands. And you said that the review would be ready about a week. That was two weeks ago.
Then there were some problems with presenting fonts and you said you needed more time for experimentation.

Are you waiting until the thread on the Mobileread, the one where the new owners post about their experiences reaches 1000 posts? – only less than 50 to reach that goal at the moment of this writing 😉

Nate Hoffelder May 9, 2015 um 11:19 am

Yes, I’ve been stalling. I’m so underwhelmed by the Glo HD that after I made the mistake of putting it down, I just can’t summon the interest to pick it up again and spend a whole weekend writing a review.

I should, though.

Name (required) May 9, 2015 um 2:18 pm

See, *THIS* is why I am waiting for your review.
I know you will make a thorough, merciless review, unlike owners at Mobileread that are gushing about how great the reader is, and then, almost between the lines, they mention that the have to convert their epubs to kebubs (or was it opposite direction) to get decent results. No, thank you. I am spoiled by [older generations of] PocketBook readers that can open and present in a decent way huge number of formats (with lots of options).

Nate Hoffelder May 10, 2015 um 10:50 am

Thanks for calling out that detail about the kepub. That helped me identify the proximate cause of some of the problems (one of the rendering engines isn’t as good as the other).

Name (required) May 16, 2015 um 7:42 am

So, how is it going?

Nate Hoffelder May 16, 2015 um 11:24 am

I’m having to revise the review after the software update.

Name (required) May 17, 2015 um 10:55 am

It looks like there is koreader available.
Perhaps you can compare it to the original Kobo software, now that you have to rewrite the review yet another time.

anothername May 9, 2015 um 2:43 pm

If it’s shit, just say so, and why. I have one. It’s sooooo slow to turn pages in epubs. Maybe that’s because of the processor trying to drive a higher-def screen. Personally I think it’s more likely the latest FW is the cause. Apparently it will handle kepub much quicker, so I reccommend you try one before judging finally. Also, yes, its weird that for example the nickel font only renders with huge line-spaces, but again, that might only be an epub issue. Try kepub. But I’m almost certainly returning mine. I also don’t like the light can’t go a bit a lower. Really, practically, I don’t think that matters, but it would have been nice. Oh, look! This should have a been a comment in a review. Write the review and let people comment and then do a part 2 if you change your mind or want to add comments. But try the kepub if you haven’t already. If the kepub works better than epub, it think its a good reader for the $$$. But I just don’t need it.E-readers haven’t improved much since the pearl screen and I’ll never be ever to read in the dark with a front-light, so the value is marginal for me.

Nate Hoffelder May 10, 2015 um 10:49 am

Actually, it’s the sideloaded ebooks which are slow. As I pointed out in my post last night, the kepub aren’t as bad (but they too could use some improvement).

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