Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/179959/htg-reviews-the-kobo-aura-hd-its-not-a-kindle-and-thats-ok/
Although the ebook reader market has been dominated by the Kindle (still going strong) and the Nook (losing steam) for years, there’s a contender rising from the ranks: the Kobo Aura HD. Read on as we put it through the paces.
I've had a Kobo Touch eReader for a few years now and I'm very happy with it. The device itself is decent enough and the range of books is adequate, plus you can always side-load books from other sources if you can get them in epub format.
I did have some problems with the web store for several months, whereby I could browse without a problem if logged out but everything disappeared if I logged in, which was frustrating. I could still shop using the device itself or the phone app and the recent rebuild of the web store has resolved the issue.
I like the fact that the software syncs your bookmarks on various devices, so if you want to read on your phone for some reason it remembers where you were up to on your eReader.
I looked at the Aura HD and the Paperwhite before settling on the Kobo Aura (non-HD) a couple months ago.
The deciding factor for me was weight and size. The Kobo Aura is actually smaller than the Paperwhite, both in dimensions and in weight, though they have the exact same screen. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware, and one that I use all the time just because it’s so easy to always have on me. That’s something that’s somewhat easy to overlook in devices—people want the beefiest, most powerful, speedy hardware, but if it’s too cumbersome to just stick in your bag and go, I find I use it less often. This thing is so tiny, I can stick it in my smallest purses and forget it’s there. Battery life is also a non-issue, on par with the Paperwhite.
Anyway, the screen, while not quite as high-res as the HD, is still beautiful and compares favorably to the Paperwhite. All the same font-tuning options are available as well, though I believe the HD has one or two extra faces. The capacity is the same as the HD, 4GB on board, expandable to 36GB with a 32GB microSD card.
I sideload all my books so the ecosystem doesn’t matter at all, though I do agree that the home screen could use some work. It’s possible to remove tiles you don’t want via a long-press, but it’s not immediately obvious and takes some getting used to. And contrary to the review I find it extremely handy to have a physical light-press button. Whereas on the Paperwhite you have to fidget around with a slider on the screen, on the Aura you can set your brightness setting once, and then just toggle it on and off with one keypress. Much more convenient.
Yes, too bad the article didn't mention whether it was easy to side-load content (though it did mention that it seems to happen more or less automatically with the sd card). There is a significant difference between the Kindle and Kobo, and really, just about any other ereader, and that's that the Kindle relies on its proprietary format and Kobo and everyone else uses the open epub format (though Apple has introduced proprietary extensions for iBooks). Amazon and Kobo want you to buy all your content from them, but how easy is it to use content from elsewhere? Kobo has made a lot of progress in supporting the advanced features of the epub 3 format--MathML, embedded video, scripting, and so on (which the Kindle reader can't do)--and it would have been cool and perfectly appropriate for a web site allegedly for geeks to run those features through the paces. Or at least mention that they're there.
Assuming you convert your books into the Kindle format, it's pretty easy to side-load stuff onto it.
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