2 August 2015

REVIEW: Kobo Aura H2O

Pool-side bookworming.

Surely the best thing to take with you on holiday (other than, like, your passport and money. And your tickets. And your kids), is a good book. If, like many of us jetting off to enjoy some sun, sand, and sexy times, you'll be taking an eReader with you, as well as deciding what books to download onto it (50 Shades of Grey from his point of view?), you might also be wondering which eReader to buy. Looking for full protection against anything a holiday can chuck at it, we test the Kobo Aura H2O.

Way back when, our second ever review was of the Kobo Touch, from a time when an eReader with a touch screen was a thing to be impressed by. These days they all sport them, from the market leading (and quite cocky) Kindle, to the plucky rivals like Nook and our dear Canadian chums Kobo. So, how else can an eReader up its game in an already jam-packed market? How about being waterproof and dust proof? It'll do for us.

The Kobo Aura H2O is just that; Kobo's usual level of eReading awesomeness, wrapped up in package that you can safely take with you by the poolside, or in the bath, or while wandering along the shoreline, your toes being tickled by the tide, as that Spanish waiter you've been eyeing up all week finally walks over to ask you what you're reading. Quick, lie.

It is waterproof to IP67, which basically means it can be submerged in shallow water for a while, and thanks to the new method of construction around the screen, and the cover over the USB charging port, it is also dust and sand proof. The Kobo Aura H2O even ships with its own little drying cloth so you can give the screen a wipe should you spill your sixth sambuca on it.

Clearly Kobo have come on leaps and bounds since we last delved into their product line, as not only is the Kobo Aura H2O much bigger than the Kobo Touch, weighing in with an impressive 6.8 inch screen, it also features a backlight and a much whiter background 'paper'.

Difference in size and paper colour, next to the older Kobo Touch...

...and the difference in screen brightness in dark conditions. So better, then.

It has also lost the metallic physical 'Home' button on the lower front side, replaced by an alternative in the actual OS, and the sleep/power slider is now a much easier to use button. The velvet-feeling rear has gone, and instead your fingers will happily rest upon a smooth and slightly angled surface.

Reading on the Kobo Aura H2O is a dream, thanks both to the clearer white screen and the optional backlight. All the settings are still in place to alter the font , text size, line spacing, margins etc, and everything runs extremely quickly and smoothly (at least by what we have to compare it to - the Kobo Touch). Our eyes never got tired, not even after a couple hours of reading, nor when it got dark and we had to up the brightness.

We tested the Kobo Aura H2O in the Kobo Aura H2O Sleepcover, the only official Kobo case for the eReader. Putting it into the cover certainly did add a lot of bulk to the device, but the leather fold-back cover will help protect the screen while stuffed into your carry-on luggage, and the plastic frame will help keep the reader itself safe. Also, as the name suggests it might, you need only close the cover to send the Kobo Aura H2O to sleep, and likewise wake it up by opening it.

We really enjoyed testing the Kobo Aura H2O and think that, even in the bright sunshine of your hols (or your lunch break at work), you will too.


Available from www.qvcuk.com

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