Kobo Aura HD 6.8 inch – Review

May 13, 2013

The Kobo Aura is the new premium ereader from Kobo. It is marketed as follows:

The eReader, Re-Imagined. Kobo Aura HD is the only premium eReader, offering an unprecedented immersive reading experience for the book lover. Unlike other eReaders, Kobo Aura HD elevates the reading experience by combining the most advanced, highest resolution, extra-large screen with a book-inspired design that feels natural and comfortable to hold.

The Aura is an eInk reader with a 6.8 HD backlit screen. Comparing its specs with those of the Kobo Glo and the Kindle Paperwhite we see the following:

Kobo Aura 6.8″ Custom WXGA+ Pearl E Ink Screen ClarityScreen+: 265 dpi, 1440 x 1080 resolution 240 g (8.4658 oz) 1 GHz; 20% faster processor than other leading eReaders 4GB internal storage

Kobo Glo 6″ XGA Pearl E Ink touchscreen; 1024×758 resolution; 16-level grey scale 185 g (6.5 oz) 1 GHz 2GB internal storage

Kindle Paperwhite 212 ppi, optimized font technology, 16-level gray scale 7.5 ounces (213 grams) 2GB internal storage

So, the main improvements you get for an extra $40 is the larger screen – 6.8 inches compared to 6 inches and higher resolution. Kobo has also made a change to the standard padded backing of the Kobo line. Here are some photos to show the comparison.

Kobo Aura vs Kobo Glo IMG_0822

Kobo Aura vs Kindle Paperwhite IMG_0823

Shaped back of Kobo Aura IMG_0824

Thickness comparison IMG_0835

Now, it has to be said, the screen on the Kobo Aura is gorgeous. I’d say it is slightly better than the screen on the Paperwhite, and better than the Kobo. The lighting I’d say is considerably superior to both the Paperwhite and the Glo.

The OS has been updated on the Kobo Aura so that more info is displayed on the home screen; rather than the four books you’re currently reading and links to other content, the Aura shows new reading rewards, recently added books, and recommendations. I liked this and hope it will come to the Glo soon.

Now, personally, I’m not so fond of the Aura’s larger screen and waved back. I love that my ereader fits easily in my handbag, and I like the 6 inch form factor. The weight is not a big difference, although I don’t have a cover on my Aura right now. That being said, I tend to read epub format books, primarily novels, and not PDFs. For those of you who read a lot of PDFs or comics on your ereader, the larger screen may be a worthwhile investment.

I should also like to comment on battery life. I found I had to recharge it after just four days. In all fairness, I was off work sick so I was reading for a solid eight hours over those four days, and I had the light on. This matches up with Kobo’s claim of two months at 30 minutes a day. I cannot believe though that a hard core reader (as you’d have to be to invest in the Aura) would only read 30 minutes a day. That’s something to bear in mind.

The processor in the Aura and Glo are both 1Ghz, so I found no discernible difference in page turn speed. It has double the internal storage of the Glo or Paperwhite, which might be useful for those using it for large PDF files.

In summary, the Aura is a nice reader; I’m not certain that it justifies an extra $40 over the Glo, especially for me as the Kobo is my secondary ereader – my primary ereader is my Kindle. I’m still undecided whether to keep the Aura or return it. If this product were from Amazon and therefore the ereader I would use most often, I’d be more likely to keep it.

Clearly it’s targeting a readership who reads PDFs or comic books. If that is you, the Aura is certainly worth looking at. For those who read primarily epub novels, I personally don’t feel it brings much more to the table than the Kobo Glo or the Kindle Paperwhite.

Let me know what you think.

Kobo Aura

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