Kobo Aura HD review

£140
Price when reviewed

Perhaps due to the larger screen, the Kobo Aura HD is on the chunky side. At 242g, it’s 12% heavier than its rival, and it’s a little less practical as a result. However, it makes up for that extra heft by including a microSD slot for expanding the 4GB of internal by another 32GB.

We’re also fans of Kobo’s revamped UI. Divided into tiles of various sizes and proportions, it displays thumbnails of books you’re currently reading, reading stats, and books you’ve finished recently or are part of the way through. Links at the bottom of the page lead to the library, the store (via single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi) and the device’s Reading Life section, where more detailed reading stats are displayed.

Kobo Aura HD

It’s all very simple to use. The Aura HD takes a minimum of 0.6 seconds to refresh the screen, and we found the store streamlined and responsive. Prices in the Kobo bookstore tend to be a little more expensive than in the Amazon Kindle store, but not prohibitively so, and as we’ve found in past reviews that there’s plenty of content to choose from.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the Kobo store, the Aura supports Adobe Digital Editions, so you can add books from other stores and digital libraries. It handles other files types with aplomb as well. We loaded our usual selection of e-reader test files on it, including some graphics-heavy PDFs, and found we were able to zoom and pan around pages with a freedom that simply isn’t available to Kindle users.

Kobo Aura HD

Kobo’s iOS, Android and desktop apps, meanwhile, offer a similar experience to Amazon’s Whispersync. As long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi when you finish a reading session, it’s possible to switch from the Aura HD to tablet or phone, and have the book open at the page you last read. There’s even a selection of “extra” apps and games, including a sketchpad, a chess game and a web browser. The latter is good for only casual browsing, though, due to the E Ink’s comparatively slow refresh rate.

The Kobo Aura HD is a mighty fine e-reader – the large, high-definition display is a pleasure to read on, and the front light is as bright and even as that on the Kindle Paperwhite. It really is as luxurious as e-readers come. The one fly in the ointment is the price: at £140, it costs more than most other e-readers on the market, and it isn’t that much cheaper than compact tablet rivals. Had it been £20 or £30 cheaper, we’d have recommended it without hesitation. As it is, it falls just short.

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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