Kobo Arc 7, an eBook reader capable of handling HD Android tablet games

Written by B Johnson December 10, 2013
Kobo Arc 7
As an eBook reader, I find Kobo Arc 7 really impressive on paper. And that's mostly because it's running on Tegra 3 processor. But the question is, is it great for playing Android HD games? Well, we're about to find out in a minute.
Yesterday, i’ve already showed you one tablet from a manufacturer that i believe many of you guys here are not familiar with, Kobo.
That tablet was Kobo Arc 10 HD, a 10.1-inch Android tablet running on a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, equipped with some high-end premium specs on it, from a 2.5K display, 2GB of RAM and 72-core GPU.

Kobo Arc 7

Anyway, today, i have another tablet made by the same company, Kobo. This one is called Kobo Arc 7 and by the sound of it, it’s obviously a 7-inch tablet sporting an HD display, right?

Well, that’s true.

Kobo Arc 7 indeed is a 7-inch tablet running on Android platform and it comes with some pretty good specs on it, if not great, like a 7-inch 1920x1200 pixel display, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, 12-core GPU, 1.3MP front-facing camera sans rear-facing camera and some more.

What do you think? This does seem like a pretty impressive tablet, right, especially as an eBook reader?
Is Kobo Arc 7 great for playing Android HD games?

As i’ve already told you over and over again on this website, tablets with Tegra 3 means that these tablets will be great for gaming.

That’s not surprising because this chipset is made by NVIDIA specifically for gaming.

So if you’re a big fan of tablet games, then you’re in luck with this Kobo Arc 7 because this tablet is more than capable to run and play any games across the Google Play Store, even the most graphically demanding ones, in smooth performance and full graphics.

However, this tablet will perform the best when handing games released in 2012, like Asphalt 7: Heat, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Modern Combat 4, ShadowGun, Dead Trigger, GTA Vice City or Horn (which is my favorite RPG on tablet).

These games will all run in buttery smooth and the most importantly, in full graphics, thanks to 12-core GeForce ULP GPU inside this tablet.

On the other hand, for the latest games released in 2013, like Dead Trigger 2, GTA San Andreas or Asphalt 8: Airborne, this tablet will suffer a lot because these games are simply too heavy and more sophisticated, in terms of graphics, details and visual effects.

So if you try to play these games on Kobo Arc 7, yes - they all can run, however, these games will NOT run smoothly even in medium graphics setting.

Frankly though, these 3 games allow users to set the graphic setting to the low. So you might still be able to run these games, although in the lowest graphics setting.

The good news is, Kobo Arc 7 is a Tegra-equipped tablet, meaning that you’ll gain the access to Tegra Zone app.

In this Tegra Zone, you’ll find a plenty of games that are well-optimized specifically for Tegra device, including this Kobo Arc 7.

So games from this Tegra Zone will have more detailed graphics, more particles and more sophisticated visual effects than other regular non-Tegra tablets out there.


Ever since the rumor and news about Kobo Arc 10HD surfaced across the tech world a couple of months ago, which was last year, public and especially tech enthusiasts are starting to notice one company named Kobo and its interesting offer in tablet market, Kobo Arc 10 HD.

Besides Kobo Arc 10HD, apparently Kobo doesn’t want to rest its gear even a bit. This tablet maker also has another impressive tablet called Kobo Arc 7, a 7-inch Android tablet packing a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display and a powerful Tegra 3 processor.

The question is, does this tablet really stack up against other rivals around the market, especially in terms of specs, design, software, experience and performance? Well, that still remains to be seen.

By looking at the spec sheet of this tablet, at the glance, Kobo Arc 7 kind of deserves to be matched with other 7-inch powerful tablets like Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 7 or LG G Pad 8.3, thanks to its full HD display.

However, when we look thoroughly at the internal hardware inside this tablet, then we will be enlightened that this tablet is definitely not on par with those powerful rivals above.

But we all should remember, all tablets have their own pros and cons, as well as Kobo Arc 7 and its rivals.

So the best way to decide which tablet is worth buying, we must always compared them head-to-head on their entire angles, not just their specs.


When it comes to the sector of design, Kobo Arc 7 kind of looks a bit like its bigger brother, Kobo Arc 10HD, given their same bezel size and rounded-shaped corners, which are not fully rounded.

As a matter of fact, Kobo Arc 7 really resembles the design of its 10-inch brother in many ways.

Besides from its bezel side and rounded corners, their both also have this metal-alike trimming around the side, which is like the same one on Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition).

Well, this is not surprising given that these 2 tablets are actually the latest tablet line that are prepared by Kobo to release around this quarter.

From the overall look, we can see how Kobo Arc 7 doesn’t look like it’s made in the rush by the company.

The whole design of this tablet just look gorgeous and elegant.

Kobo Arc 7HD Review and Gaming Performance

Its bezels are just perfect, not that huge and not that small, although i’m a big fan of small-bezel tablet or smartphone.

I also personally like the rounded shape of the corners on this tablet, which is not fully rounded, unlike the older-gen Samsung GALAXY Tab 1 that has that ugly and chubby design all over the place.

Overall, i really like the design of this tablet.

Actually, i’m really impressed on its design, in fact, i’m amazed by the company who made this tablet, whereas Kobo is still a new player in tablet-making business.

I mean, it’s just amazing to see how a new player like Kobo can debut some amazing looking tablets on the market with some monster specs.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see some other new homemade devices from Kobo that are gonna impress us all even more in the near future.

Back to Top
  • 7 inch 1920x1200 pixel LCD Capacitive display, (-323 ppi)
  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.7 GHz
  • Android
  • 16 GB, 32 GB Internal storage
  • microSD card slot for up to 32 GB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b
  • Bluetooth 8 hr of use time
From the spec sheet, we can instantly be impressed by some of its great goodies found on this tablet, especially its full HD display that matches the one on Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition) and Kindle Fire 7 HDX, not to mention, LG G Pad 8.3, which sport the same 1920x1200 pixel display.

However, Kobo Arc 7 is not only great on its display.

There are some great things that users can enjoy when getting this tablet, like its fast and smooth performance, eReader-related features, fresh new UI compared to other regular Android tablets out there, elegant design, good gaming capability and many more.

On the hardware sector, Kobo Arc 7 comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.7GHz per core, 1GB of RAM and 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU.

These hardware specs are actually the same ones found on the first-gen Google Nexus 7 outed 2 years ago in 2012.

However, that doesn’t mean that this Kobo Arc 7 doesn’t deserve to be positioned in the current tablet market.

This tablet is still on par with other powerful rivals across the market to date.

Yes - Kobo Arc 7 only has the internal hardware of first-gen Google Nexus 7.

However, you must also remember that Kobo Arc 7 is packing a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, compared to the first-gen Google Nexus 7 that only comes with a 1280x800 pixel display.

So with that being said, then Kobo Arc 7 can still be considered as powerful 7-inch tablet for today’s tablet market.

Besides, there are still some current-gen tablets that are still using Tegra 3 processor, like HP Slate 7 Plus, Windows RT (first-gen) and some other more.

So that means, the internal hardware inside the Kobo Arc 7 are still considered as good even for today’s standards, if not great.

Kobo Arc 7 also has some other plus point that can’t be found even on the latest-gen Google Nexus 7, like a microSD card slot, which is really important for many users who demand more storage capacity on their tablets.

But then again, Kobo Arc 7 also has its con, and that is the lack of rear-facing camera, while the latest-gen Google Nexus 7 already has that 5MP camera on its back.

So yeah, Kobo Arc 7 definitely has the same share of pros and cons compared to the rivals.


I think it’s amazing to see that the new player in tablet market like Kobo, is able to make some great quality tablets like Kobo Arc 7 and Kobo Arc 10 HD offering monster specs to users.

This is actually kind of rare to see because not many tablets on the market to date have that staggering 2.5K or 1920x1200 pixel display on their 10-inch and 7-inch tablets respectively.

Even NVIDIA with its 7-inch Tegra Note or Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 only sport 720p display or 1280x800 pixel screen, while Samsung's slate is only packing a 1280x700 pixel display.

So that definitely makes Kobo Arc 7 ahead of its competition despite being a new player.

Anyway, Kobo Arc 7 sports a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display with the pixel density of 323 ppi, which is the same exact quality display of the current-gen Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

So in the real world quality, everything that you throw on the screen, either it’s movie, book, web page, magazine or game, all will look extremely sharp and crisp in normal view, given its full HD resolution on a small 7-inch screen.

The display of this tablet definitely looks much better than other 10-inch tablets with the same 1920x1200 pixel display.

With this kind of display, Kobo Arc 7 is definitely a great media-consumption tablet, either for watching HD movies, reading books or magazines, browsing the web and the most importantly, playing games.

Enjoying all of these stuff will be so satisfying on this tablet given its high resolution display.

I think reading books or magazines and browsing the web will get the most benefits from its sharp display.

Now you don’t need to zoom in zoom out the screen so often anymore because text and images will look sharp and crisp in normal view.

Playing games will also be a lot of fun on this high quality display.

Graphics will look popping to your eyes and everything in the game just looks sharp on the screen.

This can be the direct comparison to the old-gen Google Nexus 7, a Tegra 3 tablet with 1280x800 pixel display, which is gonna be blown out of the water by Kobo Arc 7, of course, in terms of display.


Talking about features, Kobo Arc 7 comes pre-installed with all bunch of standard features that you can find on any regular Android tablets, like the same notification window on the top, the navigation buttons on the bottom and some other more.

However, what makes Kobo Arc 7 a bit different than any other Android tablets out there is the feature called “Reading mode”.

This mode can be found on the setting window (when you slide the top notification window).

If you activate this “Reading mode”, this tablet will automatically turn off all of the notifications and set the screen brightness to dim.

This will ensure that you will not be interrupted with updates or notifications when reading books or magazines.

I think this feature is really cool. I hope other tablet manufacturers will implement this mode on their tablets because this can be really useful for many users who love reading books or magazines on their tablets.

User Interface

Similar just like its bigger brother, this Kobo Arc 7 also comes pre-installed with the same kind of User Interface on Kobo Arc 10HD, which adds 2 new homescreens on the standard default homescreen of Android UI.

In this User Interface, the default homescreen (the homescreens that firstly shows up when you press the home button/key) is the standard homescreen just like on any other regular Android tablets out there (of course with the exception of Kindle Fire tablets with their simplified Android UI).

On this default homescreen, you’re allowed to deploy all of your favorite widgets, apps or shortcuts.

However, the next homescreen if you slide to the right, you will see all of your books that you have on this tablet. Let’s call this homescreen as “book homescreen”.

Meanwhile, on the second new homescreen, which you can find by sliding the “book homescreen“ to the right, you’ll find some of your latest readings on this tablet, like the last articles or magazines that you subscribe.

So to illustrate the UI of Kobo Arc 7HD, when you press the home button, this tablet will bring you to the default homescreen where you can add widgets, apps or shortcuts.

And then, on the next homescreen on the right, you will see all of your books on this tablet.

And if you slide the homescreen to the right the second time, you will be landed to the homescreen where you’ll find some of your recent readings, like your recent articles or magazines.


When it comes to performance, Kobo Arc 7 can be considered as good, if not great.

This tablet comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.7GHz per core, 1GB of RAM and 12-core of GPU. With all of these goodies, Kobo Arc 7 will be a great performing tablet.

As i mentioned above, these specs are actually the same ones found on the first-gen Google Nexus 7, outed 2 years ago.

So this kind of makes Kobo Arc 7 left behind by other rivals across the market, like the current-gen Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition), Tegra Note or even Kindle Fire 7 HDX, which all of these competitors already equip themselves with the current most powerful hardware around the market.

The good news, Tegra 3 is not that horrible compared to other old-gen processors.

As a matter of fact, from what i’ve seen on many reviews, despite being a 2-years-ago hardware, i think Tegra 3 is still slightly more powerful than even the latest quad-core processors from MediaTek, of course the cheap ones.

Even though these cheap MediaTek processors are quad-core, the whole performance of these chipsets still leave a lot to be desired.

There are still some noticeable lags here and there, especially compared to Tegra 3 on Google Nexus 7 2012.

So with that being said, then Kobo Arc 7 can still be considered as a good tablet for today’s standards, but NOT great.

And that’s thanks to its full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, which makes this tablet acceptable for today’s tablet market.

I mean, the story would be different if Kobo Arc 7 was only using a 720p display (1280x800) just like the first-gen Google Nexus 7.

This tablet would definitely fall to the low-end tablet category, not the mid-end like the second-gen Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

And it’s still not on par with Tegra Note 7, despite using the same 720p display, given that Tegra Note 7 comes with Tegra 4 quad-core SoC, 1GB of RAM and a staggering 72-core of GPU, which are gonna blow Kobo Arc 7 out of the water, in terms of hardware and especially performance.

So it’s great to see Kobo Arc 7 is sporting a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, making it on the same level with other powerful tablets on the market.

Battery Life

Unfortunately, there is no information related to the battery capacity found inside this tablet.

However, according the specs released by Kobo, this tablet stated to have an 8 hour battery life for use time, meaning that you can expect this tablet to last around 8 hours for doing some heavy tasks in normal mode.

However, if you’re gonna use this tablet for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen, like for playing games in the row or watching HD movies in marathon, then the battery life will likely survive in less than 8 hours, probably 4 to 6 hours in heavy usage.

But this is considered as pretty good, but not that great compared to other 7-inch tablets like Google Nexus 7, Tegra Note or Kindle Fire 7HDX, which have great battery life.

My Personal Opinions

So to sum this up, in my personal view, i think Kobo Arc 7 is still a good tablet, but not great.

It has a solid build quality and design, it has a great and insanely sharp 7-inch 1920x1200 pixel display, a fast and smooth performance and it has pretty good hardware specs.

I think the highlight on this tablet is definitely its full HD display.

I mean, if this tablet doesn’t come with this high resolution display, then Kobo Arc 7 will not be on the same level with other rivals like Google Nexus 7 (2013), Tegra Note or Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

With a quad-core Tegra 3, 1GB of RAM, 12-core GPU and a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, Kobo Arc 7 is definitely a worth buying tablet.

One of the pros of this tablet compared to its rivals is definitely its microSD card slot, which Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire 7 HDX don’t have.

However, when it comes to performance, Kobo Arc 7 will fall short against Tegra Note 7, HP Slate 7 Extreme, Google Nexus 7 and especially Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

The other minus point of Kobo Arc 7 is its gaming performance.

Compared to rivals, the gaming performance of this tablet will not be so great.

Yes – this tablet is capable to handle many older games released in 2012, even the most graphics intense ones, like Modern Combat 4, Asphalt 7: Heat, GTA Vice City, Dead Trigger 1, ShadowGun, Horn and Need for Speed Most Wanted, which all are in full graphics.

However, when faced with the latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas or Dead Trigger 2, then this tablet will suffer a lot, especially in performance and graphics.

Yes - Kobo Arc 7 can play Asphalt 8 and GTA San Andreas, however, these games will not run so smoothly in the medium or even low graphics setting (i mean, even the second-gen Google Nexus 7 cannot run GTA San Andreas smoothly in full graphics).

Frankly though, these 2 games allow users to set the graphics to the lowest level. So yeah, you might be in luck when running these games on Kobo Arc 7 when they’re set in low graphics setting.

So in conclusion, Kobo Arc 7 is a good tablet, especially as an eReader tablet, thanks to its full HD display and great performance.

However, if you ask me, i would definitely pick Tegra Note instead as the better alternative.

Tegra Note may only have a 720p display (1280x800 pixels), compared to the higher 1920x1200 pixel display on Kobo Arc 7, however, Tegra Note is packing some specs that are FAR more powerful than Kobo Arc 7, like a quad-core Tegra 4, 1GB of RAM and 72-core GeForce ULP GPU, plus 5MP rear-facing camera that according to reviews, capable to take great shots.

So in terms of performance, Tegra Note will absolutely blow Kobo Arc 7 out of the water mercilessly.

Not to mention, what makes Tegra Note a much much better alternative than Kobo Arc 7 are its dedicated stylus (that is so AWESOME!!), its 5MP rear-facing camera (that is able to take great shots than Google Nexus 7’s camera) and it has way more powerful gaming performance than Kobo Arc 7.

Tegra Note is also capable to handle even the most graphically demanding games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas or Dead Trigger 2, all in smooth performance and in full graphics.

Besides, Tegra Note also has microSD card slot, just like Kobo Arc 7. So with all of these goodies, it’s just not that hard for me to recommend you Tegra Note instead of Kobo Arc 7.

Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition) can also be a great alternative than Kobo Arc 7.

This Google’s tablet may not have that microSD card slot just like Kobo Arc 7.

However, Google Nexus 7 comes with FAR more powerful hardware, 5MP rear-facing camera, full HD 1920x1200 display, faster performance, greater gaming performance and the latest Android software from Google.

And don’t you forget about Kindle Fire 7 HDX.

This Amazon’s tablet may not have microSD card slot.

However, this tablet comes with the same full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, FAR more powerful hardware (Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU) and FAR better gaming performance than Kobo Arc 7, even Google Nexus 7.

So these 2 powerful tablets can also be 2 great alternatives for Kobo Arc 7.

Well, the decision is now yours to choose. Which one that is suitable for you, it’s all up to you now.
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