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Kobo Aura One review

Kobo Aura One evaluation

Amazon has achieved within the eReader market what Google has carried out for engines like google: made itself generic. To the typical member of the general public, shopping for a Kindle is a basic intention, not a shopping for determination.

But it surely is a choice, and there are alternate options, from corporations equivalent to Kobo. On this article we evaluation the Kobo Aura One, a large-screen eReader with distinctive water-resistance and good night-time studying options.

Design & construct high quality

The Aura One is a plain, considerably generic-looking, barely larger-than-average eReader. The entrance, admirably, is the type of design that tries to not be seen, presumably to put all consideration on the guide you are studying; there are not any seen buttons, and even the Kobo emblem, darkish gray on black, is barely noticeable. In use the product is basically a thick black rectangle across the edges of a guide.

The One is nearly completely flat on the entrance, with no detectable distinction between bezel and display screen beneath the finger, only a slender and really low rim across the very fringe of the gadget. However the gently curved rear of the gadget is a special matter, with swirly grip texturing and a big debased emblem on the high proper, together with a brilliant blue energy button to finish the ornament. It is good to carry and never drop-prone.

The dimensions – properly, we’ll come again to the advantages of that bigger display screen within the subsequent part, however notice that you simply pay for this when it comes to portability in addition to worth.

It is nonetheless a fantastic, gentle, one-hand design that matches simply within the smaller pockets of a rucksack, however in sure methods it’s possible you’ll discover its slight further width – you may need been in a position to match a Kindle in your handspan or denims pocket, as an example, however wrestle to do the identical with this. Verify the scale within the specs part, reduce out a chunk of cardboard matching them, and spend just a few moments seeing how a lot the additional measurement goes to hassle you.

The gadget feels cheaper than it’s – light-weight, uncolourful, plasticky – however that tends to be the case with eReaders. And in an odd sense that is relatively reassuring, because it seems like it will in all probability be advantageous in case you dropped it.

And in case you dropped it within the swimming pool you actually ought to be okay, as a result of this reader affords IPX8-rated water-resistance – the corporate boasts that it could actually survive as much as 60 minutes in 2m of water. Kindle house owners nonetheless have to purchase waterproof instances for his or her gadgets, and this can be a massive benefit for the vacation market; unusual, actually, that Amazon nonetheless hasn’t caught up for the reason that Aura H20 provided comparable again in 2014.


The touchscreen show measures 7.8in diagonally, and has a decision of 1872 x 1404 at a formidable 300ppi. (Your fundamental starter Kindle has round half that, however all Amazon’s fashions at this type of worth are 300ppi.) It is a mono E Ink show, which suggests glorious battery life and diminished eye pressure, however you do get that tech’s characteristical gradual ‘dissolve and reappear’ refresh model – regardless of the 1GHz processor this is not a fast-responding touchscreen, so count on a half-second delay between swipe and motion.

At 7.8in the Aura One affords roughly 70% extra display screen area than the usual 6in providing of the Kindles. You are just about getting the world of a normal B-format paperback, which makes for a pleasing studying expertise – there’s much less must both squint at small sort or crank it up a lot that you simply’re continuously turning the web page.

Speaking of which, Kobo continues to supply a very good vary of studying customisation choices, though that is an space the place Amazon has largely caught up. You get a selection of 11 fonts, an astonishing 50 sort sizes and management over brightness and lighting.

The Aura One has front-lighting (relatively than the backlighting which shines the sunshine by means of the panel, E Ink shows shine gentle on to the show) and this is ready to adapt to ambient lighting situations. Kobo boasts that its ComfortLight PRO tech mechanically selects optimum color temperature to assist your sleep patterns (even white gentle has blue and yellow parts) and whereas we will not provide a scientific verdict on this it appeared restful, and placebo impact or not we slept properly after nighttime studying classes. 

Getting eBooks

There are many methods to load eBooks on to the Aura One, however the obvious – and naturally the one Kobo needs you to make use of, for the reason that firm will get a share of the income – is to purchase books instantly from the Kobo retailer. And in case you’re used to searching the Kindle retailer, this can be a disappointment.

This is not a query of the debatably smaller library. (Kobo is cagier with precise numbers than Amazon, however talks about “greater than 5 million titles”; at time of writing the Kindle retailer returns 5,696,052 outcomes for eBooks, however official estimates put it nearer to seven million earlier in 2017.) Each libraries are so huge that you simply’re unlikely to expire of interesting choices, and a quick browse means that new titles seem in every retailer roughly concurrently.

Fairly it is a query of curation and discoverability. Amazon’s entrance web page is interesting, tailor-made to the consumer, and full of tempting choices; Kobo goals for a similar issues however falls quick, giving the impression that is it is simply showcasing no matter’s promoting properly or has been uploaded most not too long ago, regardless of the standard or suitability.

(Certainly, on the day we checked – and double-checked on different individuals’s machines, to verify it was nothing to do with us! – there have been a few cheaply made porn titles on Kobo’s Quick Tales entrance web page. Delicate stuff, admittedly, however not one thing any human curator would select to focus on.)


Luckily there are alternate options. In the event you’ve obtained DRM-free eBooks in one of many quite a few codecs supported by the Aura One – and with the correct plugins you possibly can even put together Kindle purchases for this therapy – you possibly can plug it into your PC or Mac and drag-and-drop them on to the gadget (you possibly can’t e-mail books to the system, although, and it is not good at syncing eBooks apart from Kobo retailer purchases throughout a number of readers).

However the methodology we’re most happy by is named Overdrive. This can be a service (and a cell app) that allows you to borrow eBooks out of your native library, assuming you are a member and have obtained a PIN for on-line reservations and so forth. The choice is not big but it surely’s free, and in contrast to a variety of the free eBooks you see elsewhere – the out-of-copyright classics on Kobo’s retailer, for instance – the formatting is as much as industrial requirements.

Your native library may have a restricted variety of digital copies and in our expertise you’ll in all probability need to ‘return’ it after a shorter interval than with bodily books (a fortnight, in our case, versus the three weeks we get usually). However you need not do something – it simply vanishes on the appropriate time, so there is no hazard of late charges.

Overdrive is a pleasant bonus function that is not constructed into Kindle readers in the identical manner. (It’s doable to get Overdrive books on to a Kindle, but it surely’s tougher.)


The value may appear off-putting at first (in spite of everything, it is doable to get a Kindle for a 3rd of the value, in case you’re prepared to place up with ‘particular affords’, or £70 in case you’re not) however there’s a lot right here to justify the expense.

The Kobo Aura One is manner forward of Amazon on waterproofing, for one factor, and that is no small matter for an enormous part of eReader customers – anybody studying by the seaside or swimming pool on vacation, or within the bathtub again house.

It is also obtained a beautiful massive (7.8in) display screen by eReader requirements, tucked right into a glossy chassis that is not a lot heavier than the 6in Kindle fashions (and truly lighter than one in all them). And the display screen is sharp and geared up with night-time studying options that may provide help to get a good sleep.

However whereas the studying expertise is nice, getting books on to your Kobo within the first place is much less of a pleasure. The Kobo retailer is lightyears behind Amazon’s Kindle retailer, when it comes to curation if not measurement, and when you can side-load eBooks from elsewhere (offered they’re DRM-free), you miss out on among the Kindle options that make library administration simpler, equivalent to free 3G and broad cross-device syncing.

The one exception is Overdrive, a superb manner of borrowing high-quality library eBooks without cost, which is best supported right here than on Kindle. However the comparatively small choice we have seen in our native library at any price suggests this ought to be thought to be a pleasant bonus relatively than a main supply of reads.

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