Kobo Aura H2O

KOBO’S HEAD­ING POOL­SIDE WITH ITS LAT­EST WATER­PROOF EREADER, BUT WILL IT SINK OR SWIM? TIME FOR A DIP!

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ARE YOU ‘BEACH book ready’? That’s the ques­tion Kobo’s ask­ing with its lat­est e-reader, the Aura H2O Edi­tion 2. Based on the orig­i­nal Aura H2O, but draw­ing upon tech from the Aura One, this new edi­tion fo­cuses on max­imis­ing read­ing com­fort while cul­ti­vat­ing a cus­tomis­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

It’s dust-re­sis­tant, with 8GB of stor­age for hold­ing up to 6,000 ebooks, and has an HZO Pro­tec­tion water­proof coat­ing. It has a blue on/off but­ton at the back, with page turns and cus­tomi­sa­tion func­tions tak­ing place on­screen.

The new Aura H2O feels light (210g) and com­fort­able to hold. It has a 6.8-inch screen, com­pared to the Aura One’s slightly larger 7.8-inch screen, dis­play­ing print-qual­ity text at 265ppi (300ppi on the Aura One). The Carta E Ink touch­screen dis­play has a pa­per-es­que feel and look, and is vis­i­ble in bright day­light.

The main at­trac­tion, though, is the Aura One’s bril­liant Com­fortLight PRO tech. Com­fortLight PRO cuts blue-light ex­po­sure and pro­tects your eyes from the strain of read­ing at night. It uses an am­bi­ent light sen­sor to de­ter­mine how bright your screen should be, au­to­mat­i­cally mim­ick­ing the sun’s pro­gres­sion and ad­just­ing the dis­play’s bright­ness and hue as the day moves on — at night it has a gen­tle, can­dle­light hue.

Other as­pects can also be cus­tomised, via a fea­ture called TypeGe­nius. You can choose from 11 font types and 50 font sizes, ad­just page mar­gins and write notes within them, plus high­light pas­sages and look up words via the built-in dic­tio­nary. We were also able to ad­just sharp­ness, colour tem­per­a­ture and light­ing set­tings. The Aura H2O was a lit­tle slug­gish in re­spond­ing to our taps, but the cus­tomi­sa­tion menu was sim­ple to nav­i­gate once in­side.

The big­gest draw is its claim of be­ing water­proof (IPX8). Kobo says the Edi­tion 2 can be sub­merged, with­out port cov­ers, for up to an hour in up to two me­tres of wa­ter. We dropped it into a warm bath on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, each time leav­ing it to ‘soak’ longer. When we re­trieved the Aura H2O, it was in per­fect work­ing or­der.

While the Aura H2O takes some tech from the Aura One, it hasn’t in­her­ited its bat­tery life. Kobo states a non­com­mit­tal “weeks of bat­tery life on a sin­gle charge”. Start­ing fully charged, we had some charge re­main­ing af­ter two weeks of test­ing, which is con­sid­er­ably less than the Aura One’s “up to one month” of juice.

Buying the new Aura H2O comes down to whether you al­ready own an e-reader and what level of im­por­tance you place on fea­tures such as it be­ing water­proof and hav­ing blue-light re­duc­tion tech. If you’re sans e-reader and want some­thing more af­ford­able than Kobo and Ama­zon’s flag­ship de­vices, es­pe­cially one that will sur­vive a bath-time ac­ci­dent and won’t dis­turb your sleep cy­cle, the Aura H2O is worth splash­ing out on.

KOBO AURA H2O EDI­TION 2 $240 kobo­books.com CRIT­I­CAL SPECS 6.8-inch Carta E Ink touch­screen, 265ppi; water­proof IPX8 (up to 1hr in 2m); 8GB stor­age; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; mi­cro USB up to 6,000 ebooks; 14 file for­mats sup­ported; 10 lan­guages; 12.9 x 17.2 x 0.8cm; 207g

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