Review: The Kobo Aura HD

DSC02828 A couple of weeks ago I was extremely surprised to receive an e-mail from Kobo Inc. asking if I would be interested in reviewing their newest upcoming e-reader, the Kobo Aura HD. While I don’t read a significant amount of e-books, those that I do are on my original Kobo from a few years back, so I was happy to try out their newest device – and I’m quite loving it!

The Kobo Aura HD is an E Ink display touchscreen e-reader, showcasing a ridged back that fits very well in your hand (much more comfortable than holding the flat back of my original Kobo or a tablet). Very easy to set up, all you need do is plug it into your computer. If you’re a new Kobo user, you’ll need to download the Kobo desktop application. I just had to update mine and I was good to go. DSC02829After everything had been all set up through the computer (and the system walks you through it, it’s very user friendly), I just unplugged it, let it update itself and then voila – a handy tour through my new e-reader! Swiping to the left and right changes pages, and the tour explained the important icons and areas to be found on the Kobo Aura HD – as well as let you know there is an optional backlight. The button is located at the top, next to the red power slider. It’s perfect for night time reading, and you can easily adjust the brightness.

DSC02832 The home screen has a nice layout with the links for your library, bookstore, Reading Life at the bottom and a drop down menu up top by the battery icon for settings and wi-fi (did I mention yet that this newest Kobo also has wi-fi?) The home screen also tells you when your last sync to the desktop was, your current reads, recommendations, and newest books added to your library. Lots of things to explore and get used to, but it’s all laid out very well. Compared to the original Kobo which has a navigation button on the bottom and side buttons for home and menu (no touch screen), the process of using the Kobo Aura HD has been smooth and fairly quick (though it does take a good 4-5 minutes for the Kobo itself to update after each time you plug it in to your computer, update your library, charge it and such, and then unplug it again).

DSC02833 The Kobo Aura HD accepts numerous formats for e-books, text, images and comic books. I currently have ePubs and PDFs on mine, and there is a bit of a difference in readability. The PDFs, while MUCH better reading than on the original Kobo, are still a bit slow between page flips and more difficult to customize for your best reading experience. You can zoom in if you find the font small, but cannot change the font itself (at least, not that I’ve discovered). ePubs on the other hand are amazing. Page turns are ridiculously quick and seamless and the font is a decent size to start but very easy to customize if you want something different. Tapping the very top or bottom of the page will bring up your navigation menu, settings, zoom, light brightness (if on), etc. Swiping downwards diagonally from the top right hand corner creates a bookmark, and you can tap and highlight words to access the dictionary.DSC02834

With space for a micro-HD card and already 4GB of memory, you can carry thousands of books with you at one time. While I am always going to prefer a hard copy book to e-reading, The Kobo Aura HD (and any Kobo device, really. I quite enjoyed my original Kobo) definitely makes it easier to read those e-books that I do have and will be perfect for traveling and my purse (much lighter than a hardcover book!). If you’re in the market for either a new e-reader or are just starting out with them, I definitely recommend Kobo and the Kobo Aura HD. It’s available now from Kobo Inc. and Indigo.ca, and Kobo has a wonderful overview of all their e-readers on their website so you can find the perfect one for you. So however you decide to get your literature fix, happy reading!

The Kobo Aura HD in the pictures was provided to me by Kobo Inc. in exchange for my honest review of the product. Thank you!

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