I was lucky enough to win a Kobo Aura from Kobo a few months ago– I am a voracious reader, so I couldn’t believe my luck when I read that message! (It pays to enter contests, because you never know when you will win.) I wanted to do a review on it, but I decided to wait until I had used it for a few months before writing it, to get regular use out of it. This review is for the original Kobo Aura, an e-ink e-reader meant for reading on the go!
They are currently on the second edition of the Kobo Aura, but from what I can see, there are minimal differences between the original and the second edition. I personally like to stick with dedicated e-readers, rather than apps on a phone or a tablet because I don’t read a lot that requires colour, and there is a much longer battery life on an e-reader! Kobo does offer water resistant and colour Kobos, but I am happy with my regular e-ink screen.
Screen: 6 inches diagonal, 16-level greyscale, 1024 x 758 (e-ink)
Capacity: 2gb (1500-2000 books, depending on size); removable storage available
Dimensions: 150 x 114 x 8.1mm
All of my favourite features are still here! You can check out your reading activity, where it tells you how many books you have finished on your Kobo (both number and percentage), how many hours of reading you have done with Kobo, and for your current book, it offers: your progress in the book (percentage), the amount of time left to read it at this speed, progress in the current chapter, as well as time left to read the chapter, total time spent reading the book, minutes per reading session, and average number of pages per minute. I know that most people might not care about these things, but to a book nerd who lives her in a quantitative state for the most part, it appeals to me!
You can also make collections of books- I like to put together collections by genre to make it easier to find similar books when it strikes me, as well as groups of books to read in that season. The home screen shows you your current last few reads, your books in general, as well as your latest collection.
The reading screen itself is also quite pleasant to read; you can choose from eleven fonts, 24 font sizes, as well several options for line spacing and margins, and left, centre, and right justification. All of this is pretty much to say that you can customise your Kobo reading experience to be whatever you want it to be, which is one of my major frustrations with books. (If your eyes are sore when you are reading a physical book and the font is too small, you are kind of out of luck…)
To me, there are two major improvements with the Kobo Aura.
1) The backlighting- this is a fantastic feature. It means that you can read in bed at night or on a plane when it is otherwise dark and you don’t want to turn on a light, without having to carry around a book light. (Yes, you can buy book lights that clip onto your e-reader or book, but those batteries can die fairly quickly depending on use, and it’s not also easy to replace it.) You can use the backlighting from 1-100%- I find that 6-8% is perfect for providing enough light to read without being overwhelmingly bright in the dark. It does make a slight difference in battery usage; however, it meant that I only had to charge at three weeks instead of three and a half, nothing dire.
2) The size- You can see from this comparison between my Touch and my Aura that it is quite a bit slimmer. Notably, it is 15mm shorter from top to bottom without any loss in the screen, making it easier to tuck into a purse or a pocket. I think that the further along we go with technology, the smaller the case that we expect for our devices, and Kobo is doing this well; the devices are being reduced in size without any drastic changes to quality and output.
Who Is This For?
Okay, if you are someone who prefers reading a physical book, this is not for you (and I understand that there are many people out there who prefer books to e-readers, that is a debate for another time…). However, I think that this is a great e-reader for people who are on the go a lot, read at different times of the day in different places (with different lighting). As long as you can occasionally find a wi-fi connection for it, you can have all of the books that you want at your finger tips, and you may have to charge it 3 times within 2 months at the most. I also recommend these for anyone who travels!
Do you have an e-reader? If you do, which do you use? What do you like and dislike about it?