Kobo Aura H20 (2017) Review

Good books needn’t be dry

This new version of the waterproof ereader is even more waterproof: its IPX8 rating means you can not only drop it in the bath but fall asleep while doing so, since it’ll survive for at least an hour. It’s no longer rated dustproof, so sawmill operators should hang on to the old model.

Like other ebook readers, the Aura displays pages in black-and-white ‘e ink’, which looks like a real book page, not a glowing screen.

As before, Kobo’s ComfortLight feature can be turned on when necessary, and it now adjusts to cut blue light in the evening, when it can affect sleep. You can adjust the brightness manually. The resolution stays the same, at 265 pixels per inch (ppi), which isn’t quite as sharp as current Kindles, but in return you get a slightly bigger screen. Text looks very crisp, and there’s now more control over its exact appearance. Options include a special font to help dyslexic readers.

This ebook reader is a good size, with a grippableback and wide border

The device is a good size, with a grippable rubbery back and a border wide enough to keep your fingers out of the way. The rechargeable battery, which lasts weeks, uses a standard microUSB port, via which you can also transfer ebooks from a PC, but the device connects directly to the internet via Wi-Fi too. Like most current Kindles, it has no buttons to turn the pages; you have to swipe across the screen.

Kobo is one of the very few remaining competitors to Amazon’s Kindle readers, and the Aura H20 doesn’t work with the Kindle Store. Instead, you shop for books on Kobo’s store, which has about five million titles to Amazon’s seven million (not all available in the UK), or find them elsewhere. It supports plenty of formats, just not Kindle. Like Amazon, Kobo also has apps for phones, tablets and PCs so you can read your books elsewhere. If you already have a collection of paid-for Kindle books, however, they can’t be converted. Another limitation is that the Aura H20 can’t play audiobooks; there’s no sound.

If you’re OK with reading on a screen, a tablet such as the Kindle Fire would be a lot more versatile; the Aura H20 can’t run apps or games. Then again, nor does it show you any adverts. If you prefer an ebook reader, Amazon’s Kindle devices are the obvious choice. But none are waterproof, and that might just sway you towards this very well-designed ereader.

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6.8in E Ink touchscreen • 8GB memory • 802.11n Wi-Fi • Reads EPU8. EPUB3. PDF. MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML RTF, CBZ. CBR • T72x129x8.8mm (HxWxD) • 207g • One-year warranty


Except for the absence of buttons, we can barely fault this e-reader; only Kindle’s dominance would make us think twice


Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

If you want to buy books in Kindle format this is a decent reader with a backlight but its not waterproof

8 Total Score
Kobo Aura H20 (2017) Review

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