Kobo Aura H20 2017 review – Kindle’s distant rival provides a great read

Price when reviewed

There are plenty of settings to customise your read, too. There’s a broad selection of fonts – including OpenDyslexic, designed to mitigate make text easier to read for dyslexics – and you can adjust everything from the font size to the width of the margins. Handy stats show you how much of the chapter and book you have left, including an estimate of how many minutes or hours to go, letting you make that judgement as to whether to start a new chapter before your next stop.

The display has a light, which can be adjusted by tapping the sun icon and moving the brightness slider left or right. It’s not adaptive though. What it does have, rather neatly, is a natural light filter which adjusts over the day to slowly reduce the blue light in the evening, ensuring your late-night reading habit won’t disrupt your sleep. You can alter your bedtime so the shift happens gradually without you noticing.

There’s also Pocket integration, which is handy. Just connect your Pocket account and all your saved internet articles are pushed across to your Kobo. These are displayed and laid out clearly and are easy to read.[gallery:7]

What you don’t get, as ever, is access to the Amazon Kindle store. As I said in the introduction, that will kill the Kobo Aura H20 stone dead for some people. The Kobo store, for what it’s worth, isn’t too bad. It boasts over 5,000,000 books and a quick search of Amazon suggests 5.3 million ebooks, so next to no difference. I did spot check some titles and found that, while they were generally the same price, Amazon did undercut the Kobo store on a few occasions – a conclusion that our sister site Expert Reviews came to when they ran a more in-depth comparison last year.

The big plus, of course, is that IPX8 rating, which means it can be submerged in two metres of water for up to two hours. No Kindle is currently waterproof (although you can buy models that have been disassembled and made waterproof for a premium), which gives the Kobo H2O a real advantage here. If you like to read in the bath, then it’s definitely worth considering.

Kobo Aura H20 review: Verdict


The Kobo is a great product that doesn’t put a foot wrong and if you’re happy not using Amazon for your book fix then it’s an easy recommendation. At £150 it’s a pricey, mind, but that’s the price you pay for a larger screen and waterproofing peace-of-mind. Essentially, it has everything you could want in an ebook reader. Except for those Amazon bargains, of course.

Unfortunately for Kobo that’s what most people want, and it’s hard to see what more the company can do to tear people away from what they know – no matter how great a product the Kobo Aura H20 is.

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