Kobo Arc 10 HD, a high end eBook Reader and tablet that is also decent for playing Android HD games

Written by B Johnson January 04, 2014
Kobo Arc 10 HD
As a new player, I'm personally quite impressed with this company. One of its Android tablet, Kobo Arc 10 HD, really stole my attention mostly for its high end specs like Tegra 4, 2.5K display and more. But is it great for playing Android HD games?
Hi guys, welcome back to this website! It's me again, John!

I’m glad to see you again here. Anyway, in the high spirit of new year, today, i’m really excited to share to you one tablet that has been one of my favorite tablets besides Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX and Tegra Note 7.

This one is made by one manufacturer that probably is not familiar to hear about especially for some of you guys here.

Well, it’s no surprise given that this company is indeed a new player in tablet market.

The company is Kobo and the tablet that i want to showcase this time on this website is called Kobo Arc 10 HD.

Kobo Arc 10 HD

Actually, the reason that brings my interest to personal-review this tablet on my website is actually its internal hardware, which i think are so powerful in high-end tablet market, especially for a new player in this industry.

This type of specs is actually one of my favorite specs on any tablets, especially 10-inch tablets.

Specs wise, Kobo Arc 10 HD comes with some powerful package of hardware, from Tegra 4, 2GB of RAM, 72-core of GeForce ULP GPU and 2560x1600 pixel display, meaning that this tablet will be a 'beast' in performance and especially gaming capability, but we’ll get more on that later.

Okay then, if you’re interested to know more about Kobo Arc 10 HD, then here you go, my personal review of this tablet.

How does Kobo Arc 10 HD perform for playing games?

Gaming on Kobo Arc 10 HD will definitely bring a pleasing experience to its users. As i mentioned above, with the internals from Tegra 4, 2GB of RAM and 72-core GeForce GPU, then Kobo Arc 10HD can be a perfect machine for gaming.

If you are a big fan of tablet games and always want to play the latest games around Google Play Store in full graphics, then Kobo Arc 10 HD can accommodate your hobby very well.

Some latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, GT Racing 2, Dead Trigger 2 and other latest graphically demanding games across the Google Play Store, all can be played in buttery smooth performance and in full graphics, thanks to the powerful internal hardware on this device.

One of the best things of having a Tegra device like Kobo Arc 10 HD is Tegra Zone.

On Kobo Arc 10 HD, you’ll gain the exclusive access to the Tegra Zone (similar like Google Play Store), where you’ll be able to find a plenty of games that are specifically built by developers for Tegra devices.

So on this Tegra Zone, your favorite games will have more detailed graphics, more particles and more visual effects than other games on regular non-Tegra devices.

To tell you the truth, Tegra Zone is actually one of my favorite things on tablet or smartphone, and it also becomes the reason why i always want to get Tegra-equipped device.

To be honest with you, i’ve never seen this tablet perform when playing games (but once i’ve seen it, i’ll let you know for sure), so i can't explain to you how powerful this tablet when gaming.

However, based on what i’ve seen on other Tegra 4 tablet with the same exact 2.5K display called Asus Transformer Prime TF701T, the gaming experience of this tablet is really amazing and i believe it’s on par with any Snapdragon 800 tablets out there.

So with that being said, then it’s not that hard to recommend Kobo Arc 10 HD as a great gaming tablet to you.


Kobo Arc 10 HD

What makes this tablet so impressive is that, even the display of iPad Air doesn’t match the high resolution 2560x1600 pixels display on Kobo Arc 10 HD.

Similar just like Kindle Fire HDX, Kobo Arc 10 HD is designed by the company specifically as an eReader tablet, meaning that this tablet will be a perfect device either for reading books or magazines.

Well, i have to agree that this tablet indeed is an eReader tablet because i’ve already seen how the User Interface of this tablet looks kind of bit different compared to other normal regular Android tablets out there, but not that extremely different like the Fire OS on Kindle Fire.

Actually, it’s not that far different from the UI of stock Android OS.

However, the UI of Kobo Arc 10 HD has one specific homescreen (which is the default homescreen when you press the home key) and on this homescreen, you’ll be able to see the shortcuts of your books that you keep on this tablet.

Meanwhile, on the next right homescreen, you can see the other homescreen of recent books or articles that you just read earlier, and last but not least, if you slide the homescreen to the left, you’ll finally see the standard normal homescreen that you can fill with widgets, apps and other shortcuts, just like any other normal Android tablets out there.

This definitely contradicts with other regular Android tablets that use normal blank homescreen all over the place, which allows you to put all of your favorite widgets, apps or even your books on the entire homescreen.

So with that being said, then it’s really clear for us to see that Kobo wants to make this Kobo Arc 10 HD a challenger for Kindle Fire tablets.

The good news is, even though this tablet is designed specifically as an eReader tablet, Kobo Arc 10 HD is still packing some sweet goodies under the hood, like Tegra 4, 2GB of RAM, 72-core of GeForce ULP GPU and 2560x1600 pixel display, making it a true high end tablet on the market to date.


When it comes to design, i’m glad that Kobo Arc 10 HD doesn’t look like it’s made in the rush by the company because it looks great and elegant, especially for a new player on the tablet market.

The bezels on every side of the screen seem to have the same exact size, while the rounded shape on every corner of this tablet just looks great because it’s not fully rounded like, say, Samsung GALAXY Tab 2.

I also like how this tablet has a metallic trimming on every side of bezels, making it look so professional and elegant as an eReader tablet.

Kobo Arc 10 HD

That’s on the front side, on the back side of this device, there are some sharp angles around the edges, which kind of remind me with the same kind of back cover design of Kindle Fire HDX, which also has that weird design on the back.

To be honest, i’m not such a big fan of this type of design.

I still prefer the back cover design of other tablets like iPad Air, LG G Pad 8.3 or even Google Nexus 7, where there is no other sharp angles around the back cover, just a smooth finish all over the place.

But in my opinion, i think the front side of this tablet really helps a lot in making this tablet look so great, professional and elegant compared to other tablets.

Anyway, on the back side of Kobo Arc 10 HD, you’ll also find things like speaker holes on the top area.

Sadly, Kobo Arc 10 HD is not packing a rear-facing camera, only a front-facing snapper, which is a bummer given that most of today’s tablets have rear-facing camera, except Kindle Fire 7 HDX of course.

I believe this could be one of the reasons that would make consumers hesitant to get this tablet and would probably pick up Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 instead because it already has a rear-facing camera.

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  • 10.1" 2560 x 1600 HD+ Display (300 ppi). Up to 1080p video playback.
  • Nvidia Tegra 4 Quad-Core, 1.8 GHz.
  • 2 GB of DDR3L RAM.
  • 1.3 MP Front-facing camera with 720p HD video recording
  • 16 GB. (12.9 GB of free storage)
  • Dual Band Wi Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n with 2x2 MIMO,
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Miracast support for Wifi media streaming.
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
  • Productivity Apps: OfficeSuite, McAfee.
  • 7-Digital, Rdio.
  • Free Kobo apps for Mac and PC, Apple®, Android™, Blackberry 10 smartphones, and tablets.
  • Battery life
  • 6550 mAh power battery
  • Up to 9.5 hours battery life
  • Up to 25 days of standby time
One of the strongest points of Kobo Arc 10 HD is absolutely its specs.

It could probably be one of the reasons why people should buy this tablet in the first place.

With the goodies like a 10.1-inch display sporting the resolution of 2560x1600 pixels with the pixel density of 300 ppi, a quad-core Tegra 4 processor clocked at 1.8GHz per core, 2GB of RAM and 72-core of GeForce ULP GPU, then it’s not that hard to recommend this tablet to you.

With this type of specs, besides as an eReader, Kobo Arc 10 HD will also be a perfect device for watching movies, browsing the web, reading magazines and the most importantly, playing games.

In fact, i believe that Kobo Arc 10 HD is more than capable to run any latest games even the most graphics intense ones, like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas, GTA Vice City, Dead Trigger 2, GT Racing 2, Need for Speed Most Wanted and other heavy games.

However, as for GTA San Andreas, i’m not really sure if this game can be played perfectly and smoothly in full graphics setting on Kobo Arc 10 HD given that this tablet is sporting a full HD display, unlike other Tegra 4 tablets like Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme that both only use a 1280x720 pixel display or 720p display.

But we’ll talk more on this later.


Kobo Arc 10 HD is definitely a perfect device for reading stuff, like books or magazines. It’s screen is just gorgeous and extremely sharp for today’s standards.

As a matter of fact, tablets with a 2560x1600 pixel display or 2.5K display are really rare to see on the market to date.

Actually, this type of display is still the highest resolution display on 10-inch tablets.

I know – this year, Panasonic will release its own tablet device sporting a whopping 3840x2560 pixel display.

But this gigantic tablet will adopt a staggering 20-inch screen and will not aim at tablet consumers in general.

Instead, this so called Panasonic ToughPad will be sold for companies or institutions like hospitals, offices, etc.

So with that being said, then Kobo Arc 10 HD is definitely a tablet that is worth bragging because it is one of few tablets that have that highest resolution 2.5K display on the market to date.

Reading books, magazines or browsing web will definitely get the most advantages from this highest resolution display because text, images or objects will look insanely clear and sharp, thanks to its huge 10.1-inch display and sharp resolution.

So now you don’t ever need to do zoom in/out gesture so often anymore because everything on the screen already looks sharp and clear in normal view.

Playing games and watching full HD movies will also gain the benefits from its screen because now games and movies will look insanely sharp and crisp, plus they will run perfectly and smoothly thanks to the powerful hardware inside this tablet.

However, given that Kobo Arc 10 HD is packing a full HD 2.5K display, i think some graphically demanding games like GTA San Andreas or Asphalt 8: Airborne will likely suffer the lags and little bit of framedrops when they’re run in full graphics setting because that highest resolution display will force this tablet to push more pixels to the screen.

But that still remains to be seen because i haven't seen yet any Tegra 4 tablets with 2.5K display play GTA San Andreas in full graphics. So i will let you know once i found about that.

User Interface

If there is one interesting stuff found on this tablet, then it’s definitely its User Interface.

As mentioned above, Kobo Arc 10 HD comes with a different version of Android UI, but not very different like, say, Fire OS on Kindle Fire.

The main default homescreen (when you press the home button) has been altered by the company (Kobo) as the place where you can put all of your favorite books on this area.

But that doesn’t mean that the homescreen of this tablet will be all about books.

Yes, when you slide the homescreen to the right, there is still one homescreen that is specifically made to store and save your recent readings like articles or magazines that you subscribe.

However, when you slide the default homescreen (you know, the first homescreen filled with books) to the left, you’ll see the default standard homescreen of Android OS, where you’re allowed to put your favorite widgets, apps and shortcuts just like any other standard Android tablets out there, with the exception of Kindle Fire of course.

So long story short, the middle homescreen will be used as shortcuts of your favorite books, the right homescreen is for your last or recent readings like web articles or magazines, and the left homescreen is for the standard Android homescreen.

Anyway, on this left homescreen, your profile photo will be placed on the top right screen, over the shortcut of apps in the vertical navigation.

And if you want to go to the menu bar or app drawer, there is one specific button on the bottom screen, the similar navigation menus just like on any Android tablets out there where there are home button, back button, task manager button, and especially for this Kobo Arc 10 HD tablet, there are also 2 button additions, “Search” and one other button that i’m not really sure its function (i think it is a voice search button).

The other interesting feature found on this tablet is called “Reading Mode” that can be found on the top notification setting center window (alongside WiFi, Bluetooth, Screen brightness, etc).

If you turn on this “reading mode”, it will automatically kill all the connectivity of the device and will focus on the reading experience on this tablet.

So when you turn on this mode, you will not be interrupted with any notifications like emails, updates or anything.

Not to mention, the brightness of the tablet will be set on dim level as you activate that reading mode.

I think other tablet manufacturers should implement this feature on their tablets because this could be a useful feature for users.


When talking about the performance of this tablet, then it’s gonna be mouth watering for me because this tablet is packing some awesome powerful hardware on it.

With Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM and 72-core GPU, not only Kobo Arc 10HD, any kind of tablet will definitely have a fast and smooth performance.

From all the activities that can be done on this tablet, i think playing games will get the most benefits from this type of specs, but we’ll get more on that later after this.

However, given that Kobo Arc 10 HD comes with a full HD 2560x1600 pixel display, then the performance of this tablet will not be as fast as the other Tegra 4 tablets like Tegra Note 7 or HP Slate 8 Extreme.

And that's because these 2 tablets are sporting a lower 1280x720 pixel display and a 1920x1200 pixel display respectively, which means these 2 tablets will not be forced to deliver lots of pixels as much as Kobo Arc 10HD with its 2560x1600 pixel display.

As a matter of fact, i’ve already seen this tablet perform when reading magazines and the experience is not really smooth with some noticeable lags here and there when navigating to the next page of magazine.

I believe its full HD display is the one to blame, or maybe the UI version of Kobo Arc 10HD is much heavier than other standard UI of stock Android OS out there.

But overall, i believe the whole performance of this tablet is still fast and smooth, despite having the highest resolution screen.


In the sector of camera, you’re out of luck because this tablet is not packing a rear-facing camera, which is kind of a bummer given that most of today’s tablets already have that rear-facing camera.

The good news, there is still a front-facing camera on this tablet, enabling you the chance to do selfies or video calling.

So it’s still good to see that.

Battery Life

Kobo Arc 10 HD comes with a 6550mAh power battery inside.

This is definitely not the biggest battery capacity on 10-inch tablets because iPad Air, Lenovo Yoga 10 tablet and Samsung Google Nexus 10 are using around 8000 – 9000mAh power battery.

However, 6550mAh battery is still considered as good though for a 10.1-inch tablet.

If you intend to use this tablet with some mixed use, like for watching movies, listening to music, reading books or magazines, browsing the web and playing games, all combined, you can expect to see this tablet last in 1 solid day.

However, if you’re planning to use this tablet for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen, like for playing games in the row or watching movies in marathon, then the battery life of this tablet will likely last around 4 to 7 hours, given its highest resolution screen.

But this is still pretty good though because this tablet is using a 2.5K display, which is really high for 10.1-inch tablet.


Kobo Arc 10 HD is also a perfect tablet for reading books and magazines. And it’s proved by the UI and features that this tablet comes pre-installed.

One of my favorite features on this tablet is “Reading mode”.

If you turn on this mode, it will automatically turn off all of the notifications on this tablet and will set the brightness to low.

So you won’t be interrupted with any kind of notifications when you are reading books or magazines.

Overall, i really like this tablet in many ways.
  • From its hardware (especially its hardware),
  • its display (especially its highest resolution display :D),
  • its design,
  • its battery capacity
  • and its whole performance.
However, something that keeps bugging me with this tablet is how Kobo Arc 10 HD can be a bit laggy when used for reading magazines, especially when you navigate to the next page.

I think its heavy UI and its highest resolution screen are the ones to blame on the laggy performance of this tablet.

I’m also not a big fan of its UI because it kind of ruins the experience of this tablet.

To be honest, if i can choose between Kobo Arc 10 HD and Asus Transformer Pad TF701T with Tegra 4, then i would absolutely pick Asus tablet instead.

The reason why i would do that is because Asus Transformer Pad is packing the same exact specs just like Kobo Arc 10 HD, like from Tegra 4, 2GB of RAM, 72-core GPU and a 2560x1600 pixel display.

Not to mention, Asus Transformer tablet comes with its official keyboard dock, which can be so useful for writing or doing some other computation homework or Office docs editing.

And last but not least, Asus Transformer Pad comes pre-installed with its standard UI just like any other Android tablets out there, so the performance will be much faster than Kobo Arc 10 HD.

Kobo Arc 10 HD is a really good tablet, thanks to its powerful high-end specs.

However, if you’re not a big fan of reading books or magazines, all the features and UI on this tablet will be redundant for you.

Asus Transformer Pad TF701T with Tegra 4 can be the best alternative for Kobo Arc 10 HD. It has the same exact specs just like Kobo Arc 10 HD, plus it has its keyboard dock and standard UI of Android OS.

But then again, if you’re looking for a powerful tablet for reading books or magazines, then Kobo Arc 10 HD can be a good choice for you, but not great.
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