Kobo Aura H2O review: Waterproofing bodes well on Kobo's eReader
A library 30,000 books strong on a device you can hold in one hand
- Water and dust resistant
- Sharp and well-lit screen
- Long battery life
- Extra games and web browser
- Little ghosting
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
The standout feature of the Aura H2O is its water resistant and dustproof credentials. It is the first eReader in the world to earn an IP67 rating; which certifies it against freshwater a metre deep for thirty minutes.
The Aura H2O works in water with varying degrees of success. It will work as normal if there’s a light drizzle on the screen or if it is dunked completely underwater.
All waterproof electronics that have a touchscreen tend to struggle with water as it falsifies screen selections. Kobo gets around this issue with the H2O by generating a pop-up that asks you to shake some of the water off.
Think of the waterproofing as a safety net. The Kobo will work underwater, but holding it just above the waterline still delivers the best experience. That IP67 coating simply ensures a little water or sand won’t spoil beach and bath reading sessions.
No compromises have been made on the quality of the Aura H2O as an eReader. All of the hallmarks of a good eReader remain present: the screen still has a high resolution; there’s a strong backlight and the battery life is long.
The 6.8-inch E-ink screen has a sharp 1430x1080 resolution, which gives the H2O a 265 dot-per-inch density. The resolution is sharp enough to make tiny fonts legible, while the backlight is evenly distributed and makes it possible to read in absolute darkness at night.
Pages can be refreshed on every page at the most frequent, or at the least, on every sixth page. Readers won’t notice signs of ghosting passively, though little can be eyed if they squint hard enough.Read more: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-book Review
Kobo claims the integrated battery in the Aura H2O can last “up to 2 months” based on daily reading sessions 30 minutes long. Good Gear Guide has been reading Roger Ebert’s Life itself on the eReader over the last two weeks. During that time the battery has dropped 25 per cent, giving us confidence in the battery claims made by Kobo.
Using the Aura H2O is easy enough. Tap or swipe the right or left of the eReader and the page turns. Tap it anywhere in the middle and the menu populates, presenting options for brightness, battery life and settings up-top, along with chapter progress, font size and statistics boarding the bottom.
Kobo’s business is eBooks and the company wants people to read from its 4 million eBook library on the devices they find most convenient. We found ourselves stranded on a train one afternoon, the Aura H2O left behind on our desk, and still managed to read Life itself on our Android smartphone. The fact the Aura H2O is part of Kobo’s refined ecosystem is a feature of note in itself.
Powering the Aura H2O is a 1GHz CPU and 512MB of RAM. Wi-Fi is used to download eBooks, of which 3000 can be stored on the Kobo’s 4GB of internal storage, or you can insert a 32GB microSD card for up to 30,000 softcopy books.
Buried in the settings menu under the title ‘Beta Features’ is an Internet browser, a sketch pad and games that include chess, solitaire, word scrabble, unblock it and Sudoku. The H2O is an eReader first and foremost, but we think these are great value adding extras nonetheless.
Kobo’s Aura H2O is not just a waterproof eReader; it is a fantastic eReader that benefits even more so from being waterproof. The screen is sharp and well backlit, the battery life is wonderfully long and, best of all, the Aura H2O makes it possible to take your entire library with you into the bath or onto the sands of Australian beaches.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 2 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 3 Parrot Mambo Drone review
- 4 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 5 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Amazon's redesigned Kindle is whiter, thinner, and still $109
- Amazon launches the Kindle Oasis, a $449 e-reader with a love handle
- Amazon's flagship new Kindle e-reader may get slimmer thanks to a rechargeable case
- New Kindle Paperwhite: higher resolution, same price
- Kobo brings the eReader back to beaches, pools and baths
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- TV buying guide: What to look for when buying a TV in 2016
- Best iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus plans: Optus vs Telstra vs Vodafone vs Virgin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Manufacturing ConsultantSA
- CCSecurity Incident Response Handler - TelcoVIC
- TPEDRMS Project ManagerVIC
- TPBusiness Process AnalystNSW
- FTBizTalk Developer X3VIC
- FTBusiness/Technical Consultant (CPM)QLD
- FTSolution Architect - Application IntegrationQLD
- CCHuman Sciences Professional - DefenceSA
- CCSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCDrupal Developer - ContractACT
- FTMid-Level .NET DeveloperVIC
- CCL1 Desktop Support - 3 days a weekNSW
- TPSenior Finance Systems AnalystVIC
- FTProduct ManagerVIC
- CCFront End Developer - Mid LevelNSW
- TPSenior UI Front End DeveloperQLD
- CCContract IT Assistant (PC LAN Support) 161020/ITA/652Asia
- CCFull Stack Java DevelopersNSW
- CCIT Project CoordinatorNSW
- CCData Scientist (Big Data)VIC
- CCInfrastructure Solution Designer - Finance - Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTEmbedded Software EngineerSA
- FTHL7 Interface AnalystQLD
- TPNetwork and Voice EngineerVIC
- CCSenior Change AnalystNSW