Channel 5

Kobo Aura HD

Monday 22 April 2013


Rating of 3

The basics

The Kobo Aura HD, the Canadian company’s latest reading device, is being touted as the "Porsche of e-readers" by erm, Kobo itself, but with its tricked out specs and high £139.99 pricetag there’s some merit to the claim - on paper. We unboxed Kobo's latest effort to find out whether or not it stacks up with the mighty Kindle competition.

The good

There's simply no competition for the Kobo Aura HD's touchscreen right now: the e-paper display is 6.8-inches of pure high-def black and white glory, punches in at a super crisp 1440 x 1080, 265dpi resolution that simply blows the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite away. Text and comics have never looked better in black and white, and everything simply just looks crisp.

The screen is coupled up with an evenly lit front light that shines a soft blue and is easy on the eyes. That's adjustable too, with full control from zero to 100 percent, so you won't be straining your eyes on full brightness. Battery life is also great: it’s rated for around a month of use and when it needs some juice, you can simply hook it up with a micro USB cable.

There's Wi-Fi on board too, alongside an experimental web browser, though you’ll mainly want to use the web connection for downloads from the well stocked Kobo store.

On the inside, 4GB of storage is enough to get you started with the Kobo, but if you want more, that's upgradable with a microSD card up to 32GB for when your book collection starts getting big or if you're an avid comic book fan.

Physically, the Kobo is a bit on the fat side, but that's for good reason. The textured backside fits nicely into your palm, though the button placement for the front light and the power slider is a bit annoying.

How to get an ebook collection for free!

The bad

Despite a 1GHz processor under the hood, there were times when we saw the Kobo Aura HD lag. PDF and comic book files pushed the processor to a page-turning halt, with a few seconds to wait after pressing the touchscreen. Regular epub books were quite nippy, but the screen sometimes needed an extra prod to turn the page.

The key stumbling block is the price: you're paying an extra premium for the gorgeous E Ink screen, yet for £20 more, you can grab a fully-fledged Android tablet like the Nexus 7 which gives you more bang for your buck. You can grab the same downloads through Kindle and kobo apps, and do much more besides - even if battery life isn’t comparable.

The bottom line

The Kobo Aura HD is a bright, crisp and luxurious e-reader, but its price tag lets it down. There's a few nifty - yet meaningless - features on-board, such as social sharing and rewards for reading, but if you’ve got cash to splash and you can look past all this, the Aura HD simply offers the best E Ink screen on the market right now. If that’s your top priority, then the Kobo is definitely worth a look.
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Kobo Aura HD is tagged with Kobo, aura hd and e-reader. Select a tag (Kobo, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (2)

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If like to read PDF file, you would be very disappointed with Kobo Aura HD. It has no landscape modole option and no PDF convert to ePub service. It not practical to zoom the page and constant moving the page for every line to read.

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@Shulonghe It does have landscape, and you can convert to epub. Look up calibre :p

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