Specs summary

Screen
6.8"

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

Processor
1GHz

There is a 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on the Other operating system (OS).

Camera
No
This model has no built-in camera. Sorry, no selfies.
Storage
4 GB

Internal memory is 4 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
Unknown

The tablet is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery. Kobo's performance ratings are 60 days standby time, 30 hours reading.



Reading in the bath is no longer a risky maneuver with Kobo's waterproof H2O.

- Malarie Gokey , Digital Trends 

Kobo's Aura H20 is fantastically designed and its party-trick is flawless - but it doesn't have the Kindle's fantastic ebook store, 3G connection or low prices.

- James Vincent , The Independent 

Reviews summary

7.7/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 15 reviews

What's good  

  • Uniform screen brightness and almost pure white background
  • IP67 certification for waterproofing
  • Large, high resolution display

What's bad  

  • No pinch-to-zoom capability for PDFs
  • Impersonal store experience
  • Loads PDFs slowly

In the market of e-readers, the first name that comes to mind is the Kindle. Kobo is trying to break that with the introduction of their latest e-reader, the Aura H2O. What sets this apart from other e-readers? It is IP67 certified, which means it is completely waterproof in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This is perfect for consumers who bring their devices in the bath, pool or beach. Not only can it be read under water but it maintains all of its general functionalities thanks to plastic covers for the microUSB and microSD slot. However, when submerged for over 10 minutes, Gizmodo states that, "For about five minutes after the fact, no matter what we hit, the device shuffled between slow loading and freezing entirely." They add that it worked fine after it dried off completely.

Design-wise, the Aura H2O is bigger than the Paperwhite due mostly to the larger 6.8-inch screen. Despite its slightly larger dimensions, experts found it comfortable to hold for long amounts of time due to the soft-to-the-touch surface and light weight of 227 grams. The screen itself offers a resolution of 1080p for a pixel density of 265ppi. More important than resolution is actual screen quality. When critics compared it to the Kindle Paperwhite 2, they noticed that the background was much whiter and the light distribution was very even.

Show more

Perhaps the biggest downside of the Aura H2O is its store. Amazon has had years to build up relationships with publishers and authors so it isn't any surprise that they have a bigger selection. However, critics also point out that the shopping experience is overall far easier and cheaper on the Kindle. TechRadar adds that there's very little in the way of personalization noting that, "The Kobo storefront…is dominated by a carousel of book covers of random authors in random genres."

Experts also ran into issues when trying to load PDF books. When attempting to load a book, it took them over a minute load large files and over seven seconds to flip through the pages. There is also no pinch-and-zoom capability so reviewers had to manually zoom in using a slider at the bottom of the screen.

Reviewers were impressed with the Kobo Aura H2O and recommend it to people who are not already invested in the Amazon ecosystem and want an e-reader with a great screen and protection against accidental drops in water. Tech Crunch states, "Rakuten-owned Kobo has executed perfectly on e-reader hardware with the Aura H2O."


Reviews (7.7/10 Avg. rating)


PCWorld

This e-reader is pool and bathtub-ready

from PCWorld
If you do a lot of your reading poolside, on a boat, in the bath, or in the desert, the Kobo Aura H2O's IP67 rating for water and dust resistance offers an impressive amount of protection from water and dust incursion. But other, less-expensive e-readers deliver better reading experiences... Full review
Tech Advisor

A waterproof eReader you can read at the beach or in the bath

from Tech Advisor
The main reason to buy the Aura H2O is for its water resistance. And for that you do pay a premium. In fact, it’s hard to find the H2O at its recommended price of £140 – many places are selling it for £25 more. For some people, this would be a price worth paying, but the H2O’s unresponsive interface is a big problem. Unless you need an eReader that’s waterproof and has an SD slot, you’re much better off going for a Kindle Paperwhite which is both cheaper and much more responsive... Full review
TechRadar

Reading in the bath has never been easier

from TechRadar

Great for the beach and the bath, Kobo's latest is the only waterproof ereader we know of. There's no 3G option, the store isn't as good as Amazon's, and there is a slight lack of processing power, but there are other unique attributes aside from waterproofing that make the Aura H2O worth considering.

Slightly bigger and chunkier than any Kindle, the Aura H2O is able to display a plethora of file formats on its precise, detailed and nicely illuminated screen, its page turns are quick, the reading experience uniquely customisable, and the arrival of the Pocket app brings offline w... Full review

Computer Shopper

We laud Kobo for the hardware's beautiful design and usability

from Computer Shopper
That's not to say the Aura H2O is a subpar choice—far from it. We laud Kobo for the hardware's beautiful design and usability. But unless you're not overly committed to any one platform, we can only recommend the Aura H2O to those who truly do intend to read near water, outdoors, or in the tub—and can justify the extra cost for this device as a kind of e-reader flood insurance... Full review
Digital Trends

One of the most authentic reading experiences

from Digital Trends

Even though the ebook reader seems to be fading fast, Kobo and Amazon are still producing high-end devices for that market. If you prefer reading on an ebook reader to reading on a tablet, the Kindle Paperwhite and Aura H2O are really your best options. The Kobo Aura H2O offers one of the most authentic reading experiences of any ebook reader and it even has a cool design. The reader’s special features are what set it apart from Amazon’s offerings.

We really enjoyed the Aura’s larger screen and the ability to put almost any file we wanted onto the device. The im... Full review

Gizmodo

A gorgeous, waterproof screen that no one needs

from Gizmodo

Retailing for about $190, the Kobo H2O is unquestionably pricey by e-reader standards. Still, it is a whole $50 cheaper than our favorite waterproof, Wi-Fi-only e-reader option, the Waterfi-treated Kindle Paperwhite. And that's on top of actually being able to use the H2O's screen underwater, with Paperwhite's capacitive touch, once under the surface, you're effectively screwed.

However, if you're someone who buys a lot of books, it might not take you all that long to make up the price difference thanks to Amazon's notably cheap offerings. All-in-all, if you really need a waterproof... Full review

Culture Mass

Stability, extras, and security of waterproofing are well worth the price of admission

from Culture Mass
Whether you are in the market for your first device, looking to upgrade from an old model, or searching for that perfect book-worm gift, the Kobo Aura H2O is simply the best e-reader available to date. It may be a little more than a Kindle or Nook, but the stability, extras, and security of waterproofing are well worth the price of admission... Full review
The Independent

A fully waterproof e-reader with a HD screen

from The Independent
The H20 feels a little bit more businesslike and it’s certainly unique in that you can take it pretty much anywhere without fearing spillages or dunkings (hey, you could even tile a roof with it if you were crazy and hated spending your money on sensible things or food). But the store is still a bit of a let-down and the lack of 3G might be a problem for some. Still, it’s done more than enough to merit consideration in a market that has previously seemed dominated by Amazon and Amazon alone... Full review
Laptop Magazine

An E Ink e-reader that's ready for a bath

from Laptop Magazine
Smartly taking into account that people like to read near water, Kobo made the Aura H20 water resistant. The bright and crisp screen is easy to read, and Kobo's awards are a fun, social twist. However, for $179, I would also want parental controls, better e-book prices and the ability to read a newspaper. In this class, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite still reigns supreme... Full review
Recombu

HD screen, light and portable, and water resistant

from Recombu

If you want an eReader for chilling in the bath (or shower, or sea, or any other wet place) then the Kobo Aura H2O is pretty much your one and only choice. The water resistance is a great little feature that we can’t believe hasn’t been done before 2014.

With long battery life, a bright HD screen and an intuitive interface, there’s plenty to recommend here, especially if you want an eReader for enjoying graphic novels or offline webpages. However, the Kobo Store sadly falls flat compared to Amazon’s Kindle equivalent, with its overpriced books and lack of... Full review


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Full Specs

Overview
Release date October 1, 2014
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, North America
Networks
No cellular data
SIM Card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Other
Secondary OS No
Processor 1 GHz
Internal Flash Memory
4 GB
RAM No
ROM No
GPS No
Digital compass No
FlightMode No
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual
Power & Battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time Unknown
Video Playback Time No
Wi-Fi Surfing Time Unknown
3G Surfing Time No
4G Surfing Time No
Reading Time 30 hours
Standby Time Up to: 60 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
E-book Reader Yes
Colors Black
Dimensions [H x W x D] 17.9 x 12.9 x 1.0 cm
(7.1 x 5.1 x 0.4 in)
Weight 233 grams
(8.2 ounces)
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged Design Yes
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Grayscale
Technology LCD
Colors Unknown
Resolution 1080 x 1430 pixels
Pixel Density 265 pixels
Size 6.8 inches
3D No
Sensors
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features No
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry No
Physical Keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad / Screen Lock No
External Volume Control No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact No
Contact Groups No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browsing Type WAP
Browser Unknown
Javascript Yes
Flash No
Email No
Email Protocols
Additional Email Features No
Messaging Services No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth No
Bluetooth Profiles
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Expansion Slots Yes
Expansion Slots Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV-out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera  
Aperture Unknown
Resolution
Dual Lens No
Zoom No
Flash No
Additional Rear Camera Info No
Video Recording Formats No
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera  
Resolution
Zoom No
Additional Front Camera Info No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback No
Audio Formats No
Radio No
Video Playback No
Video Playback Formats No
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video No
External Speakers No
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert No
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar No
World Clock No
Alarm No
Stopwatch No
Timer No
Calculator No
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer BMP, EPUB, GIF, HTML, JPG, MOBL, PDF, RTF, TIFF, TXT
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps No
Notepad No
Voice Memos / Recorder No
Games Yes
Apps No
Included Software / Apps No
More
Additional Comments
Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Kobo Aura H2O Manual (PDF)
Kobo Aura H2O Reviews
Where to buy Kobo Aura H2O
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