Review: Kobo Aura

I’ve had Kobo ereaders for years now, and I’ve generally been very happy with their performance. I recently reviewed the Kobo Aura HD, called a “luxury” ereader, and I absolutely recommend it for any reading enthusiast. But what if you’re a more casual reader, or if the $170 price point is simply too high for you? Or what if you want to give an ereader as a gift? While I love my Kobo Aura HD, I recognize that not everyone is going to want that level of ereader for the cost. That’s why I was thrilled when Kobo approached me to review the Kobo Aura, which comes in at a more reasonable $150. This is a more accessible version of the Kobo Aura HD, and it’s absolutely something you should keep in mind with the approaching holiday season.

Kobo Aura

The Kobo Aura

Aesthetics

The Kobo Aura is lighter and smaller than the Kobo Aura HD. I personally prefer the bigger screen of the HD, but the Aura is a great size if you want something that will fit in a small purse or a jacket pocket (6-inch screen for the Kobo Aura versus a 7-inch for the HD). Rather than having a traditional raised frame around the screen, the entire front of the Kobo Aura is smooth. This is actually something I love; it feels sleeker than the Aura HD. The back of the device has raised dots (for lack of a better description), and it’s very comfortable to hold. The Aura HD’s smooth back feels a bit plasticky and could slip out of your hand; that’s not a problem with the Kobo Aura. While both these devices are aesthetically pleasing and well-constructed, I prefer the Kobo Aura’s look.

As far as size, this is really all about personal preference. As I said, I like the larger screen of the Aura HD, but I know a lot of people who prefer something more compact. If this is you, then you’ll love the Kobo Aura. It’s sleek and lightweight, and just generally well done.

 

The Kobo Aura on the shelf. Notice its size and thickness, as compared to hardcovers and paperbacks.

The Kobo Aura on the shelf. Notice its size and thickness, as compared to hardcovers and paperbacks.

The Reading Experience

It’s nice that the Kobo Aura is so shiny and pretty. But come on, you’re saying. What’s reading on it like?

The answer: Awesome.

The touch screen is incredibly responsive and quick. The only physical buttons on the device are to turn it on and to use the light, so the quality of the touch screen is important, and it’s great. The screen itself isn’t quite as nice as the Kobo Aura HD’s, but it’s still crisp and clear. Kobo’s Pearl eink technology really shines in this series of ereaders; you can’t ask for better contrast. The built-in light illuminates the screen evenly and is just gorgeous. I know it sounds like gushing, and it is, because this device is just that good!

Kobo Aura light

The gorgeous light on the Kobo Aura. Notice how crisp and clear the screen is.

There are a few special features on the Kobo Aura, one of which is the ability to sync saved articles from Pocket onto it. Happily, this feature has been extended to the Kobo Aura HD through a software update, but I love this. Having all my reading material in one place is really thoughtful and convenient.

The battery life for the Kobo Aura is great. Specs say it lasts two months, and I absolutely believe it.

The built-in wifi makes it easy to browse for and buy books, and the 4 gb of onboard memory (expandable to 32 gb with the micro SD slot) ensures you’ll have plenty of space for those books!

The only area where the Kobo Aura falls a bit short is PDF viewing. This is something that basically plagues all eink readers though. The bottom line is that if you want to read a lot of PDFs, buy a tablet.

The Bottom Line

If you’re in the market for an ereader, Kobo is absolutely what you should be buying. Not only are you not confined to a single source for books, but Kobo has partnered with independent bookstores to offer ereaders and ebooks for sale. Though I received the Kobo Aura for review purposes, I purchased my Aura HD through my local independent bookstore. It’s so nice to be able to support these neighborhood stores but still be able to read electronically. What’s more, these really are amazing devices; no matter whether you’re looking for a luxury experience or something a little smaller and more streamlined, Kobo’s absolutely got you covered.

Kobo Aura

The Kobo Aura HD and the Kobo Aura side by side.

To purchase a Kobo Aura, visit your local independent bookstore or visit Kobo’s website.

Comments

  1. I really should look into one of these because my Kindle is old and clunky.

  2. I have been looking for new e-readers since I have the very first Kindle edition. This seems good, I like this size better than the Hd one since it’s more easy to carry around probably. Thanks for the review Swapna.

  3. I’m so glad to read this! I think the Aura sounds good but I’m glad I got the HD

  4. I have both the Aura and the Aura HD. Because of comfortability, I like the Aura (no HD) better.

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