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Kobo Aura HD Review

Honestly, I never thought I’d buy an e-reader. I just didn’t think I needed one, paper books did the job fine and I was pretty attached to them anyway. Then I became a book reviewer and had the increasing opportunity to read advance e-copies of books. Sometimes I turned down the offers, but sometimes it was a book I really, really, really, wanted to read. So I spent a lot of time reading at my computer.

About two and a half years ago when I had a pretty decent stack of gift cards saved up for Chapters, I finally took the plunge and purchased a Kobo E-reader. It was at the time when the ability to have wifi access on your e-reader was still a big deal, and the Kobo was slim, lightweight, had a very long battery life, and featured the no-glare, easy-to-read, e-ink. It was perfect.

Fast forward to May 2013 and a brand new Kobo entered my life. When I was given the chance to review the Kobo Aura HD, I may or may not have jumped up and down at my computer. Seriously.

Kobo Aura HD

So it arrived, all shiny and pretty and waiting for me to plug it in and charge it. And maybe I should have written my review right then, but I wanted to give it a real chance to see what it could do that my older Kobo couldn’t and if I would decide I wanted a Kindle instead (I don’t, I like being able to read the epub format).

kobo aura hd

Fortunately, Kobo Aura HD features the e-ink text again. I know that having colour is awesome and some people basically use their e-readers as iPads, but I want something that is as close to possible as an actual book except without the bulky weight and difficulty when traveling. E-ink means there is no glare in the sun, and I think the battery life is also probably much longer than a backlit device. Also, it is much easier on my eyes compared to reading at a computer.

One thing I noticed on the Kobo Aura HD was that I found the text to be extra crisp if that makes sense. The lines felt sharper than on my original Kobo and it was even easier to read. You also have a ton of new options that let you pick from 10 different font styles, 24 different sizes, as well as altering the text weight and spacing between lines, to make it perfect for your eyes.

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But the most noticeable difference between my Kobo Aura HD and the original is what happens in the dark (or any low lighting environment). It’s called ComfortLight and I love it. Honestly, I wish I had this feature growing up while I was trashing my eyes reading when a penlight under the covers late at night. You can control the ComfortLight on the Kobo Aura HD with an on-off switch, and it lights the text from the front. This makes it WAY easier to read, and way easier on your eyes, than a traditional backlit device.

You get all the benefits of e-ink but you don’t have to carry around your own lighting like you would with a paper book. Instead, the light is built right into your Kobo Aura HD! The other result of this is the lighting is even, as you can tell in my photo, there’s not one part of the screen that’s brighter than the other like there would be with an attached light.

Another great thing I discovered is that if you left your Kobo Aura HD go to sleep, the ComfortLight will turn off, saving your battery. It’s honestly perfect for bedtime reading.

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One of the really neat additions to Kobo Aura HD is called Reading Life, and it keeps track of stats such as how long it should take you to finish a book, your reading speed, how many books you’ve read, and other things like that. I actually think this is really, really cool and I can’t wait to watch it ‘learn’ my habits and tell me more about them as I continue to use my Kobo Aura HD. There are also a ton of features I was really hoping for, like the ability to highlight and save a portion of text or leaves notes.

Reading Life has a social component to it as well. For example, you can earn awards. If you look at my screen, you can tell I’ve earned the awards “Not An Open Book” for reading a book till the very end (thank you Requiem by Lauren Oliver) and “Night Rider” which is a secret award I’m not sure how I collected. You can share these awards, as well favourite quotes from the book you’re reading, on Facebook.

I haven’t taken full advantage of the Reading Life component of the Kobo Aura HD yet, but I think it’s really cool and provides some nice benefits for using an e-reader.

Overall, I’m incredibly happy with my Kobo Aura HD. I loved my old Kobo, but honestly, there have been a lot of improvements over the last few years and I’m so happy I had the change to upgrade. But the good thing is that my old Kobo still worked great after 2.5 years–I passed it onto my mom who didn’t have an e-reader– so I know Kobo is a reliable brand. I still buy paper books, but there are a lot of situations these days where I’m grateful to have an e-reader and if you are considering picking one up, I highly recommend the Kobo Aura HD.

Do you have an e-reader? What do you think of the Kobo Aura HD?

Note: I received this product for review, as well as an e-book to test it out. However I will always give my honest opinion on a product regardless of the source. If you are interested in purchasing a Kobo Aura HD, you can check out Kobo.com for more information.

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