Honestly, I’ve got mixed feelings about Kobo’s announcement of their new e-reader. On the one hand, I’m glad to see someone releasing a high-end E Ink reader. The specs on this one look good, with a pixel resolution that is better even than the Kindle Paperwhite. Lots of people on various e-book forums are saying they read more on their tablets because of the better resolution. I definitely notice it when I go from Nexus 7 to Kindle Touch. The Aura’s resolution should be a selling point.

As to performance, we’ll have to see what it’s like in person. Pre-orders start tomorrow.

However, I do have to question Kobo’s wisdom of pushing a high-end E Ink reader in the current climate. At $169.99, it’s expensive in comparison to a low-end 7-inch tablet that can do more than just read books. Study after study shows that consumers are continuing to read more on tablets than on dedicated e-readers, and that makes me wonder if people will be willing to pay that much for a single-function device.

Don’t get me wrong. I love E Ink. I want to see E Ink continue, and I wish Kobo the best with this device. I like competition just as much (if not more than) I like E Ink, and Amazon needs competition to keep the e-book marketplace healthy.

Anyone planning to get one? I admit I’m seriously tempted.

Oh, and when I went hunting for a picture, I noticed that Engadget already has a pretty positive hands-on review of the Aura. Kobo might want to mention in their press release that it has a front-light. I’d actually written a paragraph criticising them for omitting it because it wasn’t listed in their press release specs. Trumpet that feature, guys. You need it to compete with the Paperwhite.


  1. The Aura’s 6.9″ screen (and it’s higher than iPad retina ppi) would make it a pretty good reader for Manga.

    I’m tempted by it, but will definitely wait for user reviews to see what kind of bugs it has. If it’s like other Kobo’s it’ll have a few.

  2. I was ready to shell out for this, but after some thought I realize it’s not something that I really need. The extra storage is nice, but not really necessary since the Glo that I have already has expandable storage. The HD isn’t really a selling point to me since the overwhelming majority of content I read has no pictures outside of the cover. The extra size is nice, but comes with a trade-off of more weight. I’m not really sure how comfortable it would be for long periods of reading.

    I think I’ll hold off for the next-gen Kobo Glo. Having said that, I said reader comes out in that neat-o espresso color.

  3. I might be tempted if it included an internal light like their Glo. My wife has a Nook with glowlight and I definitely see the benefit. The tablet market is incredibly competitive right now, so I can see their reasoning behind doubling down on e-ink. They’re positioning it as a boutique item for the serious reader, which also makes sense for me. Again, if it had an internal light then I’d be seriously tempted.

  4. @Joe, manga renders quite nicely on a color tablet.

    @Jason, I do want to see one in person and see if the HD makes a difference on font. Going back to my Touch from my Nexus generally gives me a few moments of “Hey! Where’s the sharpness?” It still might not be enough to make me drop that kind of money, but if I look at one when I’m in a weak moment of “need gadget now!” I might fall.

  5. I am curious to see how this device does as well and I am glad more options are still showing up for e-readers rather than just phasing them out into a single model as a complement to tablets.

    However, I am also surprised by the attention this is getting. I have never thought to myself that I wished I had an e-reader with a larger screen. The 6″ size is fine for standard text and it fits conveniently in my purse. Larger is less convenient. The exception would be for something like textbooks, but I don’t think this device is enough bigger to accomodate that. And I don’t read manga but I am guessing that a tablet would be better for that and just as cheap at this price. And if the deal is higher picture density with better looking text – I would rather have better looking text on a smaller screen, although better looking text might make it worth it to accept a larger screen.

    Rather than wish for a larger device, I have sometimes wished for a smaller, phone sized e-reader that I could fit in my pocket and bring to places I wouldn’t take my purse – like an amusement park – great for reading while standing in long lines in the sunlight and then can be pocketed while riding. The Kobo Mini is too big for that use.

    Still, I hope it turns out to be a hit and encourages manufactures to keep coming up with new innovations in e-readers.

  6. For those interested in a decent pdf reader with good pdf controls, Kobo has done a good job with this one. For pdfs, I find I have to scale up to a 10″ tablet. This one, based on an online video review, solves the pdf dilemna and maintains all of the goodness of an e-ink backlit device (inlcuding light weight and battery life).

  7. I want it for PDF’s
    6″ ereaders and smaller are great for epub and amazon books. But pdf’s can’t be read on such a small screen. Larger ereaders like 8.9 or larger are to big to carry around.
    I am hoping that 7″ will be large enough to read pdf text books and technical data sheets and is still small enough to carry or keep in a bag.

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