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The Nook and Kindle might be the two behemoths in the e-reader market, but for those in the know, there’s another company making strides—Kobo. The company has released several models of the Aura. Their latest one–the Aura H2O–may even convert a few Kindle fans.
Let's see what reviewers are saying!
Kobo is known for pushing the boundaries with their eReader designs. One look at the Aura One’s sizeable screen shows that it’s going to be a little different than most models currently available, but that comes with a bigger price tag as well.
What else does the Aura One offer and what are reviewers saying? We’ve dug through the best reviews out there so you don’t have to. Let’s see what everyone thinks of this behemoth of an eReader!
Reviewers were quick to point out that though the Aura One was bigger, it was still easy to use. Everyone loved the rubbery grip coating on the back of the device. TechCrunch described the eReader as “big, but not unwieldy.” Digital Trends summed up opinions nicely, saying, “Despite its size, I had no problem reading one-handed on the subway with the Aura, though two hands are best. Swiping the screen to turn the page will be intuitive enough to anyone with a smartphone, but hard buttons would feel better.”
The Aura One is also IPX8 certified for worry-free use poolside or in the bath.
It’s been two years since Amazon revamped their entry-level Kindle. The 8th generation Kindle comes with a handful of upgrades and comes in two colors: black and white. When compared to the 7th generation Kindle, the 2016 Kindle is 11 percent thinner and 16 percent lighter and has a more rounded design making it easier for experts to hold for long amounts of time.
As far as the screen goes, there’s no change from the previous version. It uses the same 6-inch, 167ppi resolution touch screen. While good enough, critics did notice text looked blurry from far away, although they mention at regular reading distance the text was sharp enough. Those hoping for page turn buttons will have to pay extra for the Oasis or Voyage as this entry-level device only offers a touchscreen. For most, this is no issue as they found the touch screen perfectly usable for turning pages and navigating the user interface. The one issue they did notice, however, was the darkness of the screen. Unlike other members of the Kindle lineup, his one does not offer front lighting, The eBook Readers states “My biggest problem with the new Kindle is how dark and gray the screen looks. Maybe it’s partially because I got a white one and it highlights how not white the screen background color is.”
Amazon has successfully cornered the eReader market and each new Kindle release is better than the last. The Kindle Oasis is no exception. It is thinner than its predecessor measure in at 0.14 inches and weighs a mere 4.6 ounces, lighter than a standard paperback. Reviewers were surprised by its sturdiness despite its light weight and thinness. There were no creaks or any flex thanks to the electroplated metal alloy over the plastic case.
Besides making it lighter and thinner, Amazon also updated the design slightly. Rather than having the same thickness throughout, one edge of the Oasis is thicker than the center. This slight change provided reviewers with a better grip, though it only works when there is no cover.
The Paperwhite was considered by consumers and experts alike as one of the best e-readers on the market when it hit. In the third iteration of the popular e-reader, Amazon is able to keep the costs the same as previous models while improving some of the hardware and features.
Design-wise, Amazon has made some minor changes switching over the glossy textured body to matte and the logo o from Kindle to Amazon. The only physical button is the power key so all navigation is done via the 6" touchscreen panel. The screen itself is the biggest upgrade as it offers a pixel density of 300-ppi instead of the 212-ppi of its predecessor. On paper, this might sound like a huge improvement, but many reviewers didn't notice a significant difference. They add, however, images and text did look slightly crisper than older version. CNET notes, "The extra screen sharpness is a subtle but important upgrade in a product category that's reach a maturation point…" Still, many experts consider the Paperwhite as having the best ebook reader screen as it was glare-free in bright light with sharp and dark text. In fact, the Wall Street Journal states, "It looks closer to real paper book than anything else out there."
While it might seem as though Amazon has a tight grip in the e-reader market there are, in fact, other choices available – most notably the Kobo Glo HD. It comes in a fairly small package of 6.1 x 4.5 x 0.3 inches and weighs in at only 180 grams. Experts found it incredibly easy to grip and comfortable to hold thanks to its larger bezels and dimpled, rubberized back cover. It also only comes with the only the necessary buttons and ports: power, reset and micro-USB port. The only issue critics ran into when handling the device was a slight creakiness to the front when they held it tightly.
In an effort to edge out Amazon, the Glo HD's 6-inch display offers a resolution of 1,448 x 1072 pixels for a pixel density of 300pixels per inch. This is slightly higher than the Kindle Voyage though not by much. Still, reviewers were sufficiently impressed with the sharp text and clearer images with Tech Radar stating, "…it's the best experience I've had on an ereader." Even in bright sunlight critics did not experience any glare thanks to e-ink technology. As the "glo" in the name suggests, the Glo HD offers front lighting for low-light reading, which offered experts fairly even light distribution. With that said, they did notice some discoloration and blotchiness towards near the bottom bezel. As the Glo HD has limited buttons, the majority of commands are done through the touch screen, which experts found to be very responsive.
Despite its 1GHz processor, reviewers actually noticed significant lag when turning pages or opening up a new book when compared to the Kindle Voyage. Still, they add it does handle the HD screen well enough and while the delay was annoying it wasn't a deal breaker. Battery-life is fairly standard and drained down to 50 percent after a month of use even with WiFi always enabled. The Glo HD also comes with 4GB of internal storage. Unfortunately, it does not come with an expandable microSD slot. To counteract this Kobo offers a cloud service to store your e-books. Speaking of books, it should come as no surprise that Kobo cannot compete with Kindle devices in terms of sheer book selection. Despite its smaller library it still offers more than 4.7 million titles and supports 15 file formats including ePub and ePub3.
Despite its limitations, reviewers still recommend the Kobo Glo HD. CNET states, "…we can confidently recommend the Glo HD as an upgrade to the Glo, or for someone looking for their first-time e-reader." Mashable adds, "…the Glo HD has just about everything most users want from a current-gen e-reader…"