Product Kobo Aura HD
Specifications 6.8in Pearl E Ink WXGA+ 1440x1080 resolution 265ppi display, 1GHz CPU, 4GB internal storage for 4,000 books expandable up to 32GB via microSD card, microUSB port, WiFi connectivity, two month battery life at 30 minutes per day and no light, 140 hours of continuous use with light, 176x128x11.7mm, 240g
TOUTED AS the highest resolution ereader on the market, the Kobo Aura HD features a 6.8in backlit screen with a 1440x1080 resolution display for sharper text and images compared to its rivals.
Announced at a launch event in London last month, the Aura HD competes with Amazon's Paperlight, which features a 6in 1024x768 resolution and Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch Glowlight that has a 6in display with an 800x600 resolution. Both ereaders have been on the market much longer and offer lower specifications in comparison.
Following the success of a Kobo concessions shop in the WHSmith on Oxford Street in London that opened last year, the firm has said that it plans to launch an additional 100 stores across the UK this summer, so it's likely that the firm and its Aura HD ereader will become more commonly available in the coming year.
Design and build
When launching the Kobo Aura HD last month, Kobo geared its advertising and marketing towards the ereader's new "slanted back" design, which aims to make it much more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time and thus feel more natural in the hand.
Using the Aura HD for a number of weeks, we certainly noticed an improvement in its ergonomics over the firm's last flagship ereader, the Kobo Glo, which had a more box-like shape. With the Aura HD, we found that Kobo was true to its promise, with our fingers resting naturally on the back and making it a much more pleasant device to hold when reading.
On the top of the Aura HD, the power-on switch has been given a splash of red to not only draw attention to it but give it a slightly edgier design. And it's not just style over substance, as the switch works well, is responsive and does as it should - springing back into position once pulled to power the device on. The bright colour juxtaposes well with the minimalistic design of the ereader too, making it a nice touch.
Next to the power switch is a button that turns on the backlight, which responds well when pressed. The button is flush to the Aura HD's casing so isn't easily knocked on or off.
Overall, we were impressed with the Aura HD's design. It has a smooth texture to it without feeling like it will slip out of your hands. It is also very lightweight, weighing 240g, so it won't strain your wrists holding it for long periods, but is heavy enough to ensure that it doesn't feel cheap.
The Aura HD also feels rather sturdy despite its plastic construction. Twisting it in opposite directions with both hands, for example, it felt quite robust and demonstrated no warping under stress.
Next: Display, settings and functions.