About a week ago Kobo unveiled the successor to their Kobo Aura One, the Kobo Aura H20 Edition 2, which is a new eReader from the company that is completely waterproof and offers all of the specifications that you need to get reading.
Today we have a review of this new eReader for you, after just about 10 days of testing, we are going to let you know more about this new eReader and help you decide if it should be your new eReader.
At the first glance, the Kobo Aura H2O edition 2 will probably remind you of the Kobo Aura One, featuring plastic contour design that wraps around the eReader, it’s 129 x 172 x 8.9 mm in diameter and weighs just 210g, making it very easy to hold for long periods of time.
On the back of the eReader, you will find the power button at the top along with a grippy plastic backing along the remainder of the reader, making it just a little more comfortable to hold, without worrying about dropping it, even when wet.
If you go ahead and turn the H20 Edition 2 over then you will find the main attraction, the 6.8-inch E-Ink Carta touchscreen display.
This display is very nice to use and read one, featuring a decent 1,430 x 1,080-pixel resolution along with 265 PPI, it is extremely clear and thanks to that E-ink display, it’s one of the closest things that you will get to paper, without using paper.
It also features LED lights embedded along the bottom of the bezel, which shine the light from the bottom of the bezel upwards across the screen, which results in less eyestrain when compared to a smartphone of tablet. Kobo has also built a night-time function into this light, allowing it to dim the blue light at certain times.
That said, there are various eReaders with slightly higher resolution displays, however, if you want a Kobo eReader, this might be your best option right now, but you should make note of that.
The Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 does have some unique features though, as the second eReader to use Kobo’s new ComfortLight PRO lighting system, it uses a total of nine white LEDs and eight RGB LEDs to light up its display effectively.
This system provides two separate advantages, the first is that you can control the overall illumination of the white LED lights via a slider bar, and the second is that you can turn the screen from a white light to a light that produces various shades of orange, eliminating blue light.
You can swap this to orange automatically at certain times of the day or you can switch to orange light manually, should you prefer that.
As you would expect from the name, that’s not the only notable feature of this eReader. It comes with a huge IPX8 rating.
This rating is pretty important as it means that the eReader is fully waterproof for up to 60 minutes in up to 2 metres of water, meaning that it will continue to work great after spills and will be no worry next to the bathtub or on the beach, allowing you to read where you want to, not where the reader allows you to.
And the specifications aren’t finished there.
The Aura H2O Edition 2 also comes with a Freescale 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. Unfortunately, there’s no SD card slot for expanding that storage.
Of course, none of this would be any good without decent software. Thankfully Kobo has thought about that building an entirely new menu structure for the Aura H20 Edition 2, developing a new system that would take advantage of the new higher resolution displays and higher PPI.
On the main home screen, you will find the last few titles that you have opened from the library, along with a few recommended titles from the store.
Kobo has also optimised this by loading fewer images.
To top it off, it also comes with a new menu system in the left-hand corner, which provides a few quick links to things like your library, the store, and the settings.
Along the right, there are quick controls for the WiFi, the lighting on the display, the sync buttons, and the search.
The biggest problem with this software is that it locks you into Kobo’s own store and although you can load ePUB documents to it, you can’t use another service like Amazon’s Kindle Store.
In use, the Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 is a pretty great eReader as it provides pretty much everything that you could want from a device, including the ability to use some pretty advanced options that allow you to customise your reading experience.
You can load your own fonts to the eReader, change the weight of the fonts displayed, and configure the margins and line spaces of the text. You can also long-press words to find the definition, as well as check what the word is in a different language.
After a long press, you can also highlight words, sentences, or paragraphs and make notes about it.
Along with that, you can load popular electronic book formats such as PDF and EPUB onto the device and it supports the manga, graphic novels, and comic books formats out there, with CBR and CBZ support.
All in all, it supports EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RFT, CBZ, and CBR playback, however, due to fact that it only has 8GB of storage without a microSD card slot, it may be hard to fit all of your books on the device.
All in all, the Kobo H2O Edition 2 is a pretty great eReader that’s available for just £139.99 in the UK, or $179.99 in the US.
That makes it a pretty good option for anyone looking to buy an eReader as it has a low entry point but provides a range of great specifications, including the fact that it is waterproof, supports a range of file formats and has some great software features.
However, if you already have an eReader, this might not be the eReader that you are looking for. Also if you prefer to buy books from Amazon’s Kindle service then you might be better off picking up a kindle, that said, Kobo does have some pretty great selections in their store and you can always download and load books from the Kindle store, so you’re not completely locked out.
If you want to find out more about the Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 you can do so via Kobo’s website here.
Disclosure: Kobo sent us a sample of the Aura H2O Edition 2 for the purpose of this review.