Kobo Aura HD review

£140
Price when reviewed

No e-reader manufacturer has come closer to matching Amazon with the quality of its devices than Kobo in recent times, but with its latest model – the Kobo Aura HD – it’s aiming to snatch the lead. It’s marketed as the “Porsche” of e-readers, aimed at “passionate booklovers”, and at first glance it looks like one of those rare devices that matches the marketing boasts.

Pick it up, and its silky-smooth finish and solid construction immediately impress. The Aura HD’s finely buffed surface feels more like velvety-frosted glass than plastic, and the build quality is superb. Twist the chassis manfully, and there’s barely a creak, hardly a groan. It makes the Kindle Paperwhite and its siblings feel positively humdrum in comparison.

Kobo Aura HD

The shape of the Aura HD is unusual, too. Resembling something akin to a folded piece of paper, it has three subtle creases “folded” in the rear panel. These give you something to hold onto while reading, with your fingers resting securely on the inward crease at the centre and curling around the sides. It works brilliantly, and with every edge and corner honed to a soft curve, the Aura HD is supremely comfortable in the hand.

Even the included USB cable is designed to reinforce the overall perception of quality, with a posh braided sheath instead of the usual, drab black plastic.

The use of such quality materials sets the Kobo Aura HD apart from its rivals, but that isn’t the end to its talents. It also sports a larger 6.8in screen than most e-readers, and a higher resolution as well, at 1,080 x 1,440. That gives a pixel density of 265ppi – higher the Kindle Paperwhite’s 212ppi, which has a resolution of 758 x 1,024 squeezed into its 6in touchscreen. Remarkably, it’s on a par with the Retina display on the iPad 3 and 4.

Kobo Aura HD

That extra resolution doesn’t make a huge difference compared to the Paperwhite, but hold the two displays around a foot away from your face and you’ll be able to tell the two apart. It’s much crisper than the cheaper, standard 600 x 800 Kindle – but then it should be at double the price.

No flagship e-reader would be without built-in illumination these days, and the Aura HD obliges with a light that’s at least the match of the Kindle Paperwhite. The brightness is adjustable, and only the faintest hint of patchiness is evident along the bottom edge of the screen. Unlike the Paperwhite, which has its light permanently on, the Aura allows you to toggle it on and off with a button along its top edge.

Screen

Screen size 6.8in
Resolution 1080 x 1440
Colour screen no
Touchscreen yes
eBook screen-refresh time 0.6 seconds

Battery

Integrated memory 4.0GB
Memory-card type microSDHC

Dimensions

Dimensions 128 x 12 x 176mm (WDH)
Weight 242g

File format support

Plain text yes
HTML yes
RTF yes
PDF yes
EPUB yes
BBeB no
AZW no
Microsoft Word no

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