Kobo Aura H2O
KOBO’S HEADING POOLSIDE WITH ITS LATEST WATERPROOF EREADER, BUT WILL IT SINK OR SWIM? TIME FOR A DIP!
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