- Lackluster performance
- Lack of selection in Kobo store
The Nook and Kindle might be the two behemoths in the e-reader market, but for those in the know, there’s another company making strides—Kobo.
The company has released several models of the Aura. Their latest one–the Aura H2O–may even convert a few Kindle fans. Let's see what reviewers are saying!
Like most e-readers, the Aura H2O won’t win any beauty pageants, but it’s functional. It has a rubber back which provided reviewers with a decent grip and some protection from fall damage. Compared to previous models, this one is lighter and thinner. At 210 grams, it’s heavier than the Kindle Paperwhite, but the difference is negligible.
What sets the Aura H2O apart from other e-readers is its IPX8 rating. This means it is completely waterproof and can withstand up to 60 minutes under two meters of water. As a side benefit, the same sealing also keeps out dust and sand, making it a great choice for the beach or pool.
How does it work in real life? Critics put it to the test and submerged the device in water for 55 minutes. Once removed, it worked without a hitch despite the charging port not having a cover.
Besides being waterproof, the Aura H2O also has a large screen measuring in at 6.8 inches. While it falls short of the 300ppi of the Kindle Paperwhite, at 256ppi experts still consider it incredibly crisp and sharp. And, thanks to the front lighting, they can read in any lighting situation, even direct sunlight. Still, when compared to back-lit e-readers, they noticed the light itself was not as bright or evenly spread.
Speaking of lighting, it also changes as the day progresses from having a cool blue hue in the morning to a warmer orange one later at night so as not to impact sleep cycles. With that said, TechRadar states, “… we didn’t notice any significant improvement to our sleep… we didn’t notice any sleep disturbance either, which is probably the desired effect.”
Kobo bumped up the specs for the Aura H2O. It now comes with a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Despite this, many critics found its performance lackluster as it took several seconds longer to load books than a Kindle with similar specs. They also noticed stuttering in menus—most notably in the search screen.
As far as batteries go, most reviewers averaged around a week of battery life, including heavy use with both WiFi and the ComfortLight Pro on. However, they add readers can get more life by turning the WiFi off and the brightness down.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Aura H2O is its poor selection of books. The Kindle store has hundreds of thousands of books available with many going on sale often, something the Kobo store cannot compete with. To counteract that, the Aura H2O supports multiple ebook file formats.
In general, reviewers recommend purchasing the Aura H2O for those who want a more durable e-reader that can handle water, dust and sand. Digital Trends states, “The Aura H2O is a great ebook reader—it’s waterproof, has a blue-light filter, a large, sharp screen and it supports a number of ebook file formats.” PC Magazine adds, “Whether it’s the beach or your bathtub, if you like to read near water, the new Aura H2O is worth your attention.”
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