7.6/10
Informr score
The Kobo Aura H2O (2017) currently has an Informr score of 7.6 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 10 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • IPX8 rating for full waterproofing for 60 minutes up to 2 meters
  • Large, sharp screen
  • Durable build
  • Blue-light filter to avoid disturbing sleep patterns

What's bad

  • Lackluster performance
  • Lack of selection in Kobo store

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!

Like most e-readers, the Aura H2O won’t win any beauty pageants, but it’s functional. It has a rubber back which provided reviewers with a decent grip and some protection from fall damage. Compared to previous models, this one is lighter and thinner. At 210 grams, it’s heavier than the Kindle Paperwhite, but the difference is negligible.

What sets the Aura H2O apart from other e-readers is its IPX8 rating. This means it is completely waterproof and can withstand up to 60 minutes under two meters of water. As a side benefit, the same sealing also keeps out dust and sand, making it a great choice for the beach or pool.

How does it work in real life? Critics put it to the test and submerged the device in water for 55 minutes. Once removed, it worked without a hitch despite the charging port not having a cover.

Besides being waterproof, the Aura H2O also has a large screen measuring in at 6.8 inches. While it falls short of the 300ppi of the Kindle Paperwhite, at 256ppi experts still consider it incredibly crisp and sharp. And, thanks to the front lighting, they can read in any lighting situation, even direct sunlight. Still, when compared to back-lit e-readers, they noticed the light itself was not as bright or evenly spread.

Speaking of lighting, it also changes as the day progresses from having a cool blue hue in the morning to a warmer orange one later at night so as not to impact sleep cycles. With that said, TechRadar states, “… we didn’t notice any significant improvement to our sleep… we didn’t notice any sleep disturbance either, which is probably the desired effect.”

Kobo bumped up the specs for the Aura H2O. It now comes with a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Despite this, many critics found its performance lackluster as it took several seconds longer to load books than a Kindle with similar specs. They also noticed stuttering in menus—most notably in the search screen.

As far as batteries go, most reviewers averaged around a week of battery life, including heavy use with both WiFi and the ComfortLight Pro on. However, they add readers can get more life by turning the WiFi off and the brightness down.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Aura H2O is its poor selection of books. The Kindle store has hundreds of thousands of books available with many going on sale often, something the Kobo store cannot compete with. To counteract that, the Aura H2O supports multiple ebook file formats.

In general, reviewers recommend purchasing the Aura H2O for those who want a more durable e-reader that can handle water, dust and sand. Digital Trends states, “The Aura H2O is a great ebook reader—it’s waterproof, has a blue-light filter, a large, sharp screen and it supports a number of ebook file formats.” PC Magazine adds, “Whether it’s the beach or your bathtub, if you like to read near water, the new Aura H2O is worth your attention.”


Screen Size
6.8"
Backlight
Yes
Storage
4 GB
3G
No


What the Critics Are Saying...


Tech Advisor

There are a few disadvantages to the Aura H2O that are important to note, such as processing power and unresponsive interface. Processing is quite slow and menus, settings and controls take a bit longer to display. What sets the Kobo Aura H2O apart from its competitors is its water resistance. This...

- Nicol Natale, Tech Advisor
PCWorld

The Kobo Aura H20 Edition 2 is a waterproof and feature-packed e-reader that, provided they’ve not already amassed a large library of Amazon Kindle eBooks, that any book lover will enjoy—provided you don’t try to use it while it’s wet.

- Séamus Bellamy, PCWorld
Mobile Syrup

The compromises the Aura H2O asks consumers to make in exchange for its more affordable price tag are reasonable.

- Igor Bonifacic, Mobile Syrup
TechRadar

A device that they can throw in a beach bag, read by the pool, drop in the bath, and not worry about too much.

- Andrew London, TechRadar
PC Magazine

Though a bit pricier than the competition, the waterproof Kobo Aura H2O is the ultimate beach reader.

- Alex Colon, PC Magazine


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Quick view

Screen Size
6.8"

The Kobo Aura H2O (2017)'s screen size is 6.8 inches with 1080 x 1430 pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz
OS
Storage
4 GB

Internal memory is 4 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
1500mAh

The e-reader is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1500 mAh battery.

Aura H2O (2017) Specs

Overview
Release date May 22, 2017
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Networks
No
SIM card size No
Operating System Custom
Processor Freescale SoloLite iMx6 1 GHz
Internal Storage 4 GB
RAM 512 MB
ROM No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages No
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1500 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time Unknown
Reading Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 60 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 17.9 x 12.9 x 1 cm (7.1 x 5.1 x 0.4 in)
Weight 233 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Waterproof
Rugged design No
IP Rating IP 67
Display / Screen
Type Grayscale
Technology E-ink
Colors Unknown
Resolution 1080 x 1430 pixels
Pixel density 265 pixels
Size 6.8 inches
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch No
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Anti Glare Unknown
Additional Display Features IR display
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Page Turn Key Unknown
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock No
External Volume Control No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth No
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization No
Audio / Video
Audio Playback No
Video Playback No
Streaming Video No
External Speakers No
Headset Jack No
Vibration Alert No
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2

Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
Kobo Aura H2O (2017) Reviews
Where to buy Kobo Aura H2O (2017)
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