Reviews

Kobo Aura HD Review

The details: A 6.8 inch screen with a super clear 1440 x 1080 display, no glare Pearl E-Ink touchscreen, a front light for reading in the dark, wifi and 4GB of internal memory and a micro SD card slot for even more storage, up to 32GB.

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Kobo Aura HD is the only premium eReader on the market. Designed for the discerning reader, Kobo Aura HD offers a completely immersive reading experience and the most paper-like E Ink display*. Get lost in your favourite eBooks thanks to Kobo Aura HD’s advanced, high-resolution, extra-large screen and elegant, inspired design. For readers who want the best, Kobo Aura HD is your eReader of choice.

The Kobo Aura HD is marketed as a luxury e-reader. This seems obvious in the fact that the Aura HD is larger and more expensive than other e-readers on the market. But the screen seems to be the only luxury. The Kobo Aura HD is made from a smooth plastic which feels nice to hold but it doesn’t provide much grip. That being said, I haven’t had the device slip from my hands during any reading session. The plastic is unfortunately a fingerprint magnet, even the cleanest of hands leave smudges and smears. The back of the Aura HD features a somewhat geometric design which slightly mimics the way a thick paperback will fold and crease down the spine. It provides a comfortable place for your fingertips to rest while reading and it feels quite natural. As mentioned above, it would be a lot nicer if it had some kind of grip to the finish.

ImageOn the top edge of the device is the power button which doubles as a sleep/wake button plus a dedicated button for the front light. The lower edge of the device has a micro USB port for charging and data transfer, a micro SD card slot to expand the memory of the device and a paperclip slot for resetting the device.

Measuring in at 6.8 inches, the screen on the Aura HD is almost an inch larger than the standard 6” reader display. This boosts the size of the Aura HD to something closer to a trade paperback which makes the reading experience feel natural to any book lover. This large screen and it’s impressive resolution – 1440 x 1080, larger than many of the tablets on the market – results in very crisp and clear text. Another advantage of the E-Ink screen that mimics the look of a printed page, the Aura HD is able to look incredible in full sunlight. A LCD screen will become all but unreadable in bright sunlight but the E-Ink screen looks fantastic in full sun. The reading experience is customisable for the preferences of the individual. 10 font faces, 24 font sizes, adjustable line spacing, margins and justification means you can set up each book exactly how you choose. The Kobo software includes a built in dictionary so you can easily check the meaning of a word without disrupting the flow of your reading. You can also highlight text, add notes and share to Facebook. Kobo also boasts a wide selection of readable file formats, including EPUB, PDF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RFT, CBZ and CBR.

ImageThe Kobo Aura HD is quite responsive and the reading experience is quick. The tap of a finger or thumb on the edge of the touchscreen is quicker than turning a page, that is without a doubt. The 1GHz processor is enough to make reading on the Aura HD quite speedy, but there is moments when the device suffers from a second or two of lag, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. The Aura HD is perfectly quick for what it is and what it needs to do. It does it’s job well.

You can set the Aura HD up directly on the device which is great for book lovers who don’t own a computer. I set my Aura HD up on the reader itself then installed the Kobo desktop app onto my computer as browsing the Kobo Store is certainly faster on a computer than on the device itself.

Let’s talk battery. I took my Kobo Aura HD out of the box on Christmas day and started using it straight away. The battery out of the box was at 67%. I read mostly during the evenings so I read with the front light almost always on. I have read for at least 20 minutes every day since Christmas and the battery finally drained completely of any charge on the 5th of January, that’s 11 days. Kobo estimates the battery to last over one month with the light and WiFi both switched off and 70 hours with the light on. Either way, the Aura HD will easily last through a long haul international flight or a week of reading on your morning commute.

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Let their be light! Many may be mistaken for believing the light in the screen of the Aura HD is a backlight, but the correct term is front light. You’re probably wondering what the difference is. To put it simply, the front light reflects light from the surface rather than beaming it through the back of the display directly into your eyes which allows for a much more comfortable reading experience than trying to read on a tablet or smartphone with an LCD screen that uses backlighting. This allows users to read comfortably in lowlight situation while still keeping the paper-like appearance of the display and reduce eye strain. The light is adjustable from 100% all the way down to 1%. If you’re the kind of person who wakes up in the middle of the night with a bout of insomnia, the 1% brightness setting provides enough light to read in pitch black darkness.

The Kobo software is enjoyable. Your home screen displays the book you are currently reading with stats beneath the cover image, displaying the percentage through you are and how many hours of reading there is to go before you complete the book. Kobo shows you recommended books and books related to the books stored in your library, so finding something new to read is a piece of cake. Along the bottom of the home screen has links to your entire library, the Kobo bookstore and an extras section in which you can check out your reading stats (one of my personal favourite things about reading on an e-reader rather than reading a traditional book), the dictionary and Reading Life awards, Kobo’s social aspect of reading.

Having never used a Kindle or a Nook, I can’t make any kind of comparison between the Kobo and the competitors. But as a consumer, I am more than happy with my Kobo. The reading experience is exactly what I expected, I can customise my reading experience to exactly what suits my comfort and the stats are fun to keep track off. I would recommend the Kobo Aura HD to anyone looking for a reading device.

Price – $218 at JB HiFi 

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