Kobo Aura in-depth review - A compact and smart eReader with light-up touchscreen

Look and feel

The Kobo Aura is beautifully compact and light, making it a pleasure rather than a chore to carry around.

 

Ease of Use

The Aura is easy to set up and connect, and the menus are easily accessible and full of useful settings and info.

 

Features

Although you don’t find anything flash like cameras, the Aura has a varied and well-stocked online store, and the matt light-up screen means you can read in any conditions, including pitch dark.

 

Performance

Being an eReader, the Kobo Aura doesn’t suffer from typical slowdown.

 

Battery life

With the screen brightness activated, you’ll comfortably be able to read for the entire night with plenty of battery to spare. With limited use, you can keep reading for a month or more between charges.

 Kobo Aura Review - A compact and smart eReader with light-up touchscreen
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,9/23/2013 2:53:30 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

9

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

8

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Light and dinky; Anti-reflective light-up touch-screen; Good online store; Expandable storage

Cons:

Price; Top brightness kills the battery

The Kobo Aura is one of the dinkiest eReaders out there, with a compact six-inch touch-screen and a lightweight body. That compact body is very comfortable to clutch one-handed for extended periods - at just 174g, it certainly shouldn’t ache your arms or weigh down your bag. It’s simply designed with a bevelled rear and just the right level of chunkiness. Our review model was the standard black effort, but we have to admit we’ve got a soft spot for the bright pink version. It’s eye-catching and fun, and we’d happily pack it in our satchel every day.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

ClarityScreen

 

Get stuck into a book and you’ll notice how easy the Kobo Aura’s ClarityScreen is on the eye. We comfortably read for hours without suffering dry eyes or other strain, and the matt anti-reflective coating means you won’t struggle in sunlight either. The excellent ComfortLight feature also means you can now enjoy books until dawn without leaving a lamp on. Tap the button on the top of the Aura and the entire screen glows, although it’s soft enough so it doesn’t disturb your partner (you can even manually set the brightness level, just in case). As huge horror fans, this is a massive bonus over earlier models –few things are more chilling than getting stuck into a gruesome bit of fiction in total darkness.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

The Kobo Aura’s screen is also pleasingly crisp, something that certainly couldn’t be said about earlier eReaders. The 1014 x 758 pixel resolution is strong enough to display pictures with decent clarity, and to prove it we tested out a Walking Dead graphic novel. The pages refreshed quickly and cleanly and we could happily read the tiny text when zoomed right out, plus you can zoom in with a pinch of your fingers on the touchscreen’s surface if your eyesight isn’t up to it.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

Beyond the book

 

You have total control over your reading experience, thanks to a surprisingly deep level of settings. As well as the usual language and font options, you can also configure how you flick pages, see in-depth stats for each book (including how much you’ve read and how long it’s likely to take you to reach the end) and add as many annotations and bookmarks as you like.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

There’s also a new ‘Beyond the book’ feature, which is kind of like an appendix. You can access it at any time, and while not all books seem to support it, it’s a handy tool for those that do. The Hobbit, for instance, features brief profiles of the main characters and locations, with illustrations and photos from the movie.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

Connect to a Wi-Fi network and you can access the Kobo bookstore, which allows you to download a massive selection of new and old titles (including a handy selection of free books if you’re feeling a little skint). We love how you can preview a book before splashing out on it, and the selection really is impressive, covering all of the big releases as well as plenty of indie gems. The Kobo Aura comes with 4GB of built-in storage, plenty for a large selection of titles, and you can expand via the memory card slot.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

One of the best features of eReaders is the incredible battery life, and the Kobo Aura can keep going for a month or so if you only use it on your commutes. Turn the screen light on and the battery drains much more quickly, but after around two hours of reading on full brightness, the charge hadn’t even dropped by 10%.

 

Kobo Aura review

 

The verdict

 

If you’re after an eReader for taking on holiday or the daily commute, the Kobo Aura is a great option. It’s compact enough to carry anywhere, the expandable storage means you can carry an enormous collection, and the ClarityScreen can be clearly seen at all times, whether you’re in bright sunshine or the pitch dark. Of course, at £119 it’s fifty quid more expensive than Amazon’s Kindle, so you should really want that light-up screen to commit to Kobo.