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Kobo Aura HD review

An ereader 'reimagined', but not really

The home screen is uncluttered and simple enough to navigate. Book lovers who use tablets will be attracted to its simplicity, which is at the other end of the spectrum of a tablet device that has hundreds of apps and several pages of home screens.

Kobo Aura HD review

You're greeted on boot-up with all the relevant information you need; what book you're currently reading, the last time you synced up to your PC, a link to the bookstore, a link to your library and a 'search Kobo' bar that is stretched across the top of the home screen.

From the Library you can select one of your books or magazines, which is in list format. You can also opt for previewing a book if you're unsure about buying it, every book on the Kobo store is available for a 4 page preview.

The Reading Life statistics and social media makes for fun reading if you're a statto, but for most it will be pointless. You'll be able to view how many hours you've spent reading, the average minutes per session, page turns, total hours reading and the number of books finished.

Kobo Aura HD review

From the same menu you can also check how many 'awards' you've received for purchasing and reading books, similar the trophy or achievement system on the PS3 and Xbox 360 – and it's just as inane.

Awards include "pressed for details", which is awarded when you figure how to use the device and 'word up', which is awarded when you search for 10 or more word definitions.

Of course, this can all be published on Facebook. Why you would want to publish the fact that you have such a poor grasp of the English language is beyond us however.

Kobo Aura HD review

It is curious though as to why the awards you receive can be published on Facebook but not the reading stats, also, why can you only publish on Facebook and not Twitter? It all seems a bit arbitrary and last minute.

Searching and buying books presents the Aura HD's biggest flaw. There are two ways you can do this; through the bookstore on the device, or via your PC and sync it up later.

As cumbersome as it sounds, buying a book via your PC may be the quicker option. When you purchase a book directly through the device, you can expect to stare at a painfully slow loading screen, and that's if you make it past the snail speed search function in the bookstore.

Kobo Aura HD review

We calculated that there was a three minute wait for the Aura to load up the checkout and, even after the long wait, the order couldn't be completed, with the Aura asking us to 'try again later'.

This might have been a one off, but it was frustrating nonetheless. The standalone software that you can download on you PC is significantly faster and less infuriating. Books can be easily searched for and the Kobo store remembers your choices and recommends books that you might like, pretty standard stuff.

These features are all available on the device itself, but at a significantly slower speed. The Kobo is connected via a USB port that is also used the charge it. It doesn't come with a USB charger, but if you have a smartphone you can use that.

Kobo Aura HD review

Kobo has an impressive 3.2 million books and newspapers in its library, but, in some parts, it's lacking and pales in comparison to Amazon's bookstore.

For example, the graphic novel section in Amazon's store has a solid selection of Batman graphic novels. Whereas the Kobo store has handful of editions and lacks some of the more iconic titles like Batman Year One.

The Kobo book store is also more expensive then the Kindle store, an annoying drawback given that they're offering the exact same content.

Professor Brian Cox's Wonders of Life, for example, is £11.99 on the Kobo store, whereas it's £9.50 on the Kindle. This was the case in all of the books that we compared. Why would you pay more for the same product?

Kobo Aura HD review

When you've made a purchase, actually reading a book is a pleasure and it's clear this is where development time was spent.

Switching between pages doesn't feel sluggish like other endeavors on the device and related actions, like making notes and checking the dictionary, present no problems.

The Aura also comes with a basic mobile browser and some games to keep you busy when you're tired of book reading.

Browsing through a site like TechRadar on the Kobo does not feel natural however, pictures are in black and white, which means you miss out on some of the high definition graphics from reviews and the Aura flashes a black screen every time you scroll. It all feels a bit labored.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Text Reader
Flash Memory Capacity4 GB
TouchscreenYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD Card
Brand NameKobo
Product LineAura HD
Screen Size17.3 cm (6.8")
Display Resolution1440 x 1080
Graphic ModeWXGA
Wireless LANYes
Display Screen TypeE Ink
Text FormatsePub, PDF, MOBI, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR
Height175.7 mm
Width128.3 mm
Depth11.7 mm
ColourBrown
Operating SystemAndroid
Image FormatsJPEG, GIF, PNG, TIF
FeaturesDictionary, Library, Game
Language SupportedEnglish, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese
ManufacturerKobo, Inc
Product NameAura HD Digital Text Reader
Processor Speed1 GHz
Manufacturer Part NumberN204-KBO-N
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.koboereader.com
Marketing InformationEnhanced eReading

Kobo Aura HD is the only premium eReader on the market. Designed for the discerning reader, Kobo Aura HD offers a completely immersive reading experience and the most paper-like E Ink display. Get lost in your favourite eBooks thanks to Kobo Aura HD's advanced, high-resolution, extra-large screen and elegant, inspired design. For readers who want the best, Kobo Aura HD is your eReader of choice.

Host InterfaceMicro USB
Weight (Approximate)240 g