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Tolino Re-Brands the Kobo Clara HD as the New Shine 3

It has been just over a year since Kobo became the technical partner for the Tolino brand, and the two companies are now buying their hardware from the same place.

On Wednesday Tolino announced the Shine 3 ereader. This is a new mid-market ereader, and it uses the same Netronix-designed hardware as the Kobo Clara HD, only with better software.

The Tolino Shine 3 runs an unknown OS (probably Android) on a 1GHz Freescale CPU with 512MB RAM and 8GB internal storage. Like the Clara HD, the Shine 3 has Wifi but no Bluetooth or audio.  The 6″ Carta E-ink display has a screen resolution of 300 ppi as well as a capacitive touchscreen and a color-shifting frontlight.

Weighing in at 166 grams, the Shine 3 measures 8.4mm thin and is powered by a 1.5Ah battery. Retail is 119 euros.

The Shine 3 /Clara HD is a very adequate ereader, but let’s be honest: it is a boring black rectangle. You would be hard pressed to pull it out of a pile of other 6″ ereaders like the Paperwhite or the latest device from Boeye. (It is in fact so boring that I nodded off twice while writing this post.)

But none of that really matters, does it?

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Xaver Basora October 12, 2018 um 7:23 am


Actually it does matter. Esthetics is important and some thought should be put into it. I don’t need a work of art but something elegant won’t hurt.

My biggest beef is the lack of Bluetooth. How do audio book lovers listen to their books on the commute or other public places?

Mike Cane October 12, 2018 um 7:44 am

So far, I’ve seen nothing that beats the Likebook Mars. Check out all the demo videos from Sherry on YouTube. She even did a Google Books PDF for me!

Nate Hoffelder October 12, 2018 um 7:58 am

The software is crap on the Mars.

Name October 12, 2018 um 9:07 am

In other news: PocketBook Touch HD 3 has also shown up at the Frankfurt book fair. It is one and a half steps forward (Bluetooth added for audio) and one backwards (microSD card slot removed). Gained some water protection though and an additional CPU core. Will retail for 159 EUR.

I felt really happy when I spotted the Likebook Mars. Nate, why did you take that happiness of mine away and reiterate, that its software is crap? Please, fix the Mars' software and tell me to buy it! Blackmail Boyue to get us an update!

Kamen October 12, 2018 um 10:01 am


Over at there we have been having some running jokes about the Tolino Clara or the Tobolino. Apt, considering that Kobo just released their own Oasis. 😉

Still, this is good. I’d argue that the major benefit in software is the 25 Gb of Tolino cloud storage you get with the device (Kobos can’t interact with Dropbox, for some reason. This, of course, implies that you’re interested in the Tolino ecosystem.

But some people are testing Kobo FW on this (and Tolino FW on the Clara), so this might just work as the cheapest Clara you can get on the market.

Boring looks? Well, I like it. I like my eresdears to look neutral and dull. The fun should be on the screen, not in the form factor.

Nate Hoffelder October 12, 2018 um 10:06 am

Tobolino, LOL

Cesar October 12, 2018 um 10:08 am

> it uses the same Netronix-designed hardware as the Kobo Clara HD, only with better software.

Could you elaborate on how is the software better than Kobo’s? It’s about the speed of the device? About the menu structure?

I certainly have seen my old kobo being slow and even hang (specially when I use the kobo integration). And PDF reading is a PITA in my kobo.

Nate Hoffelder October 12, 2018 um 10:58 am

Tolino runs Android on their ereaders, while Kobo runs Linux.

Name October 12, 2018 um 12:26 pm

The Tolino isn’t spectacularly fast though. They should really update the CPU to something better (or alternatively rewrite their software; Windows 95 was fast more than 20 years ago on those days' hardware, so there’s no excuse for slow software on nowadays' even slowest hardware other than poor optimization).

I just took a look at the Shine 3 in a nearby shop. The device met my expectations. I really like the hard case better than the soft-grip surface of the Vision, for instance. I see it as a regression though, that there is no home button anymore. This is really annoying, since they’ve made it really cumbersome and unintuitive to get back to the main menu.

This could really be a great reader, if they just kept improving their devices without introducing annoying compromises with newer iterations in order to keep their price stable or whatever. This device would easily be worth a quarter hundred euros more, if it had an SD card slot, Bluetooth, home button and a faster CPU. And their integration would certainly not cost as much.

Ingo Lembcke October 13, 2018 um 7:32 am

Last year I bought a Tolino epos after holding it in the hand and because it was a good Black Friday Deal (20 % off).
That was at a time when the Oasis Version 2 was released, so I considered upgrading from my Kindle Voyage.

Use it daily. Can currently live without Blu-tooth, so I consider the Hardware very good.
Software, not os much, basic reading of Epub is ok, but some produce errors, I even went so far as to edit a few to delete statements, Calibre exposed as wrong.
PDF is my main gripe, this is a bigger display ( 7.8 " ), and I would have liked this as a good PDF reader, but it is not.
After a month I wrote up my gripes so they could change their firmware, there a few Updates but nothing in that department.
turning is not offered, so you can only read in portrait mode, not landscape …
multi-column gets not changed into a "one page mode", you can zoom and navigate,
but if there are fotos it gets unusable
Comics are therefore also not really usable on the Tolino.
PDF is a little better on the Amazon-readers, but nothing gets close what Sony had done for multicolumn on the PRS-T models, and that was the Adobe Reader, as far as I know (that means Sony paid for it).

If Amazon offers a Voyage Version 2 (which they probably do not) or something other, which I like, I will consider it. The Oasis, both Versions are not for me. If is something I consider perfect, I might cough up the price.
Cannot really say something regarding speed, but for me it is fast enough.

Hacking the Tolino is possible, imho, it is supposed to run Android, but without a memory slot (epos also does not have one), not too easy, I looked into the description, and think it is not worth the risk. This should also apply to the other Tolinos, as far as I know, so the Shine 3 should also be hackable when someone bothers to look into it.

The System for Buying with the Tolino or Webbrowser on the computer is more open with the shops working together in one cloud: you can login to two shops, for me Thalia and
And more ebooks are without DRM, there is also a system for lending books and some sort of subscription, which I do not use.
As German books are pricebound, it does not matter, where I buy them, for english ebooks I compare prices, often they are the same between all shops, sometimes I can get an ebook cheaper, most times, sadly on Amazon, or an ebook is not available from the Tolino shops at all, only on Amazon.

After nearly a year of use and some updates I consider contacting Thalia again, to complain about PDF use on the Tolino. Even if nothing happens.
That said, hardware-wise I consider this the best eReader i have used until now, pricy, but I can live with that.

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