A couple weeks back, Best Buy started carrying the Vox. This was the first US retailer to do so, even though the Vox shipped 4 months ago. It had been carried in stores elsewhere, but BB was my first chance to get it in my hands (Kobo’s PR firm excluded me from the press briefings, so I didn’t see it at launch).
I’ll confess that I didn’t read any reviews before hand (not ever); I like to go into these things with an open mind. Also, there are only a few reviewers that I trust to really understand a gadget and speak the truth, and only one had reviewed the Vox. I didn’t think to read his review until after.
The Vox is nothing more than just another mid-level Android tablet. I couldn’t see any features, performance, or well, anything to recommend the Vox over the numerous tablets I played with last year.
It’s also clearly not worth $200; I have $150 and $100 tablets that offer a better value now. The $99 IdolPad, for example, ships with the Android Market and thus is a better buy. In fact, I would say that there were at least 2 tablets on the same display that were probably better buys (besides the Nook Color); they were from Pandigital.
Now that I’ve laid my hands on the Vox, I finally understand why it wasn’t carried in Walmart, BB, or other US chains at launch. The buyers for all those chains were probably as underwhelmed as I was.
I have to say that this tablet does not speak well of Kobo. When compared to the rest of the tablet market, they released it far too late and at too high of a price. That suggests that they cannot get products out in time to keep up with the market.
This is not a good sign for Kobo. If you add the Vox to the dozens of complaints about the screen on the Kobo Touch, you’ll see a worrisome trend.
What we have here is a company who cannot execute on hardware. That’s a serious defect, and it will probably preclude Kobo from being one of the majors. I know that Kobo has big plans for international expansion, but do you really think they can pull it off?