Kobo Aura Review

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E-readers are a great underutilized technology, one that’s privy to great innovation. If only more of us had time to read books! I haven’t had the time to read a full book in over a few months, and the one I did read was short too! But today most of us read shorter pieces online, be they short stories, articles, or long-form narratives. And thanks to some excellent software, it’s now possible to read such things on an e-ink device.

Kobo is the biggest innovator in the field. Their latest line of readers are integrated with Pocket, the web-content saving application that will store anything, from articles to YouTube videos, in the app for you to view later. Combining that with an  E-reader is the easiest way to actually keep up with the barrage of great, often indispensable writing that millions publish daily.

The Aura is a 6-inch reader that’s thinner and lighter than most of today’s larger smartphones. It can even fit in the back pocket, and is wonderfully light at just 174 grams, perfectly comfortable to hold one handed for extended reading time. And the built-in backlight provides concise, soft light for reading in the dark. The Aura is the do-everything reader; the design alone makes it one of the best I’ve ever used because of the excellent balance between form and feel, down to the slightly textured back precisely shaped for better grip.

Kobo Aura-0338

What sets the Aura apart is Pocket. Pocket is a really great way to store and save web content for later consumption; one of it’s largest competitors is Instapaper. My preference has always been Pocket because of the remarkable number of available integrations: all web browsers, all mobile platforms, all computers, and the web too. Saving and reading content is so easy that the only problem is actually sitting down to read it, which in the past may have sat in a tab ad infinitum. But if you dislike reading from a display, then it doesn’t matter how you store web content, you’ll always strain to read it on an LCD panel of some sort, be it your phone or computer.

With the Aura and Pocket, reading at your desk is no longer a problem. The log in with your Pocket account and the Kobo will connect and synchronize all of your unread articles, all perfectly translated to the 1024×758 pixel resolution display. Syncing is quick over Wi-Fi; after the first massive download (depending on how much content you’ve got stored on Pocket), grabbing the rest is quick every time. With 4GB of internal storage, I’ve still used very little space after throwing a handful of books and over 200 articles (many of which include pictures).

As someone who is constantly reading articles on great platforms like Medium, personal blogs, friendly and competitive publications to Gadget Review, short stories, or perhaps just Wikipedia articles of interest, the Kobo Aura is a necessary part of life. I hate reading off of screens all day; like most Americans today, I sit in front of one for 6-10 hours a day already. When I read I want to do two things: stay the hell away from a light-pulsing display and learn something new. That’s exactly what the Aura offers, as well as Kobo’s full library of over 4-million titles (and soon Sony’s entire Reader library too). And it does it all with excellent style and taste, and even if you’re using the Aura daily, it’ll still manage to last at least a month per charge. The Aura is everything you need in an E-reader and more; I couldn’t ask for more.

Bottom line: It’s the perfect E-reader for anyone who reads more than books.


 
 
Overview
 

Price: $140
 
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Positives


Excellent size, shape, and weight. Excellent screen and backlight. Great battery life. Pocket integration makes it a must-buy.

Negatives


Kobo store is not the Amazon store; cannot transfer e-books purchased elsewhere easily.


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James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.


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