Good competition for Amazon’s Kindle

The time had come at the end of 2020. My Amazon Kindle gave up after almost 8 years of use. An uninterrupted reading flow was only possible if the device was constantly plugged into the socket, so the battery had almost reached the end of its life. A new eBook reader was needed, but because of the market power of Amazon I wanted to try something different. Then I rediscovered the Tolino series, which is sold in this country through booksellers such as Hugendubel, Thalia or Weltbild.

Three models are currently being advertised: the entry-level model “page 2” for 89 euros, the “vision 5” for 179 euros or the “epos 2” for 299 euros. Since I wanted to try out the additional physical buttons of the “vision 5”, I ordered this model. After a little over 3 months I can say that I have not regretted the purchase since then. Below is an overview of why this is so:

Quality and display

Anyone who has unpacked the Tolino “vision 5” will be a bit disappointed for the price. The device consists of a plastic frame that is stable but doesn’t really feel valuable. The buttons available for scrolling forward and back do not give good feedback either; the manufacturer could make significant improvements here.

It is different with the display. This is 7 inches tall and offers great illumination. The Tolino adjusts its brightness under different lighting conditions, and the color temperature of the display changes depending on the time of day. Fonts and sizes can be adjusted depending on the book and are displayed sharp and legible with a pixel density of 300ppi.

The frame doesn’t feel valuable, but the display belongs to the top class

Large selection from different dealers

Another plus for Tolino is the large selection of eBooks. So we don’t have to buy everything from Amazon, but can choose between different booksellers. This includes, for example, Hugendubel, Weltbild, Thalia, bücher.de or eBook.de. Once purchased, all titles are reliably synchronized with the cloud. If your partner or the children also have a Tolino, everyone can access the other’s books.

I also like the approach that books are in ePub format. Compared to Amazon, which prefers its own MOBI format, content can be synchronized with other Reade models or desktop applications, should Tolino one day no longer exist, the library could simply continue to be used.

There is still a lot to learn here

In my opinion, the biggest problem with the Tolino is still the software. Your own operating system has improved a lot in the last few years, but reading doesn’t feel as smooth as it does on a Kindle. Sometimes it takes several seconds between pressing the button and turning the page, and calling up menus and highlighting content also takes a comparatively long time.

The synchronization of reading statuses, markings and notes with the cloud also keeps dropping out. Sometimes it is necessary to log out and log back in completely, but notes made up to that point are then irretrievably lost. A Kindle can do that worlds better.

Selecting and marking content takes a comparatively long time. The synchronization still has its problems

Charge once a month

Let’s look at the battery life. I use the “vision 5” between 30 and 60 minutes a day and can get through a whole month on one charge. The manufacturer specifies 1,200 mAh here. Once the battery charge is exhausted, the Tolino draws attention to itself in good time, the charging time is okay (depending on the charge, the reader is full again after a little more than 1 hour).

Reading in the bathtub? No problem!

In addition to the features mentioned above, the “vision 5” also offers protection against swimming accidents. If the reader falls into the bathtub, you have enough time with 60 minutes to fish it out again. Furthermore, the storage space of 6 gigabytes for books is generously dimensioned, here there is space for up to 6,000 eBooks.

Finally, the HotSpot support should be mentioned. If you have a Tolino and are registered with a bookseller via it, you can access all of Deutsche Telekom’s public HotSpots. Buying a book on the go is therefore no problem.

If the synchronization works, you can simply continue reading on a tablet or smartphone

Tolino or not Tolino? That is the question

So is the Tolino the better Kindle? Yes and no! In many respects the Tolino can catch up with Amazon, some functions I even find a little better than the Kindle (for example the format and the freedom to buy books where I want). On the other hand, the Kindle is way ahead when it comes to software and synchronization. In terms of price, the Kindle Paperwhite is a somewhat cheaper reading experience for just under 120 euros, but you have to do without physical buttons for scrolling.

If you can overlook the Tolino’s software teething problems and want to support local booksellers, a “vision 5” is recommended. For those who are already located in the Amazon universe, the “vision 5” is not an option.

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