Kobo has released the Aura One, a new e-reader which is light, thin, and resistant to water.
It will go on sale on the 6th of September in the US and Canada for $229 and $249, respectively. It is also going to be released in various other regions on that day including the Netherlands, France, UK, Spain, Japan, Turkey, and Germany.
Aura One Highlights
The first thing that you will notice about this e-reader is that it’s huge. Amazon used a 9.7-inch display on the early versions of the Kindle, but most e-readers today come with 6-7 inch screens. The Aura, however, comes with a 7.8-inch, 300 PPI display that is the biggest high-resolution e-reader on the market today. This size increase does not come with extra bulk. It’s just 6.9 mm thick, and weighs only 230 grams. This means it is thinner than the iPhone 6S and doesn’t weigh much more than the iPhone 6S Plus.
One more major distinguishing factor is its resistance to water. Kobo says that it meets IPX8 standards. This means you can submerge in water up to 2 meters. This is one step up from the previous IP67 rating of the Aura H20.
They are also adding a new feature which lets you change the screen’s color temperature. The settings can be changed manually or can be auto-adjusted.
Beyond these changes, the Aura One provides the same experience as all of Kobo’s other devices. They have a tiled home screen which shows you all the books you’re reading and gives you fast access to the bookstore and purchased books. It works.
Rakuten, Kobo’s parent company, acquired Overdrive last year which has deep connections with the e-book lending programs all over the country. So, library lending features are prominently featured in this software too.
The reading experience is smooth enough and is much better than previous devices. You can tap on the sides or swipe to turn pages. A tap on the top of the display will bring up the menu. You can also look up definitions, make notes, and select text. There aren’t any physical buttons apart from the power/sleep button. The touch action buttons perform well with the 512 MB of RAM and 1 GHz processor.
The e-reader market has been stagnant over the last few years. Amazon remains the company to beat, and the only product they have released in 2016 is the Oasis. With the Aura One, Kobo hopes features like water resistance and size will help them stand out.