This Blog Post is in collaboration with Kobo, the E-reading company.
It’s summer and I bet a lot of you will be heading to the beach. Well, don’t forget to pack your favorite book or even better yet the new Kobo Aura H2O.
There are two types of vacation – the kind where you travel to a new place and spend the full day on your feet, ticking off everything on your itinerary and the kind where you relax on the beach, pop up your feet and dig into your favourite book. This summer Gary and I will be enjoying a bit of both types in Thailand and I cannot wait to get stuck into a long novel.
As much as I love paper books (their feel and smell will always have a special place in my heart) there’s no denying that e-readers are far more practical when it comes to travelling. I’m not going to lie. The days when I used to cram ten books into my suitcase, only to pay surcharges for the weight of my luggage at the airport, are long gone. These days, I always opt for the convenience of an e-reader.
E-readers do have their drawbacks and limitations though. When you travel as much as I do and are as clumsy and accident prone as I am, you tend to go through a fair share of gadgets and electronics. And it’s certainly always a little risky using your e-reader at the beach or in a bath, when there’s such a high likelihood of getting sand, or worse, water on it.
This is where the Kobo Aura H20 comes into play, an e-reader that can survive a splash, a sandstorm or even a total submersion. A sensible idea and one that could sway a lot of you who have steered clear of e-readers for fear of ruining them at the beach or in the bath – two of my favourite spots to read. The Kobo Aura H20 certainly has changed my life!
Now I have to admit that so far my E-reader loyalties have been placed elsewhere but the idea of an E-Reader that I can use in the bath, on the beach or by the pool without worrying got me intrigued. I recently had the immense pleasure of test-driving the new Kobo Aura H20 (notice the reference to water in the name). This lightweight e-reader is fully waterproof and thus ideal for people who like to splash around in the summertime in between page-turning their favourite spy or romance novel. It’s also dust and sand-proof for those breezy days at the beach.
So here is my review and a couple of reasons why I believe the Kobo Aura H20 is the perfect e-reader for your next trip to the beach.
WHY I LOVE THE KOBO AURA H20
THE KOBO AURA H20 IS WATERPROOF
I can’t tell you how many times I have damaged my electronics by spilling a drink on them, due to an unexpected thunderstorm or because of a leaky water bottle in my handbag.
So you can imagine that I usually avoid using my e-reader in the bathtub, near a pool or on a beach. Water and consumer electronics simply do not mix. Unfortunately these are exactly the places where I like to relax and read a book.
Thankfully the Kobo Aura H2o was designed to allow users to submerge their e-Reader completely in five meters of water for a whole hour, as long as the port cover is closed.
To my amazement and pleasure water simply beads and rolls right off this device. I even tested my Kobo Aura H20 by submerging it fully in my bathtub.
Not only was it fine, it was actually fully functional while under water. A quick wipe with a towel and it was as good as new. Note: You will want to wipe the screen dry before you start turning the pages again. A warning will pop up to remind you of this each time you try to use the touchscreen.
THE KOBO AURA H2O COULD WITHSTAND A SAND STORM
As well as being water resistant, the Kobo Aura H20 easily shrugs of sand and dust.
This is perfect if you travel as much as I do. Not only can you use the device to read your favourite book on the beach, you can even pull it out in a desert location. This e-reader really does cope with most environments.
When my dad took my sister and me on a safari to Namibia, our backpacks were regularly covered in sand. Dusting the sand of our clothes and electronics became an everyday task. And my dad’s video camera soon succumbed. The Kobo Aura H20 would have been incredibly useful in his situation.
THE KOBO AURA H20 HAS AN AMAZING BATTERY LIFE
For me an important aspect to consider before buying an e-reader (scratch that, any electronic device) is its battery life or lack thereof. There is nothing more frustrating than having your e-reader die on you during a long haul flight. Especially when you are just about to find out who did it.
I am therefore happy to confirm that the Kobo Aura H2O has an impressive battery life. I have now been using my device for two weeks, and even with the ComfortLight turned on for an hour or more a day, its battery is still two-thirds charged. According to Kobo, I will be able to use my e-reader for two months without charging it, based on 30 minutes of reading a day and depending on how often I use the light and whether I keep the Wifi turned on. That’s pretty impressive, don’t you think? My mobile phone doesn’t even last a day.
THE KOBO H20 HAS A REALLY CRISP HIGH DEFINITION SCREEN
The Kobo Aura H20’s high definition capacity touchscreen is beautifully crisp, reactive and the pages turn quickly – all of which are feature that are important to me.
Its 6.8-inch black and white e-ink Carta Touchscreen has a resolution of 1440 x 1080 (265 ppi), making for razor sharp text. That’s about the same pixel density as Apple’s iPad with Retina Display (t 264 ppi) and significantly higher than Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite (at 212 ppi). The E-Ink Carta Imaging allows for faster page turns and the ability to turn pages in this digital book, without the need of constant screen refreshes.
THE KOBO AURA H20 IS GLARE PROOF
The whole point of an e-reader is to devour your favourite novel whilst on the go. Most people however, who have ever tried reading a book on an electronic device (especially a tablet or smartphone) outside on a warm summer day, will have come across the incredibly annoying issue of glare. You just can’t see anything on that darn screen. Aside from an actual physical book, E-readers still remain the best way to go if you’re planning on reading outdoors or under reflective lighting. And the Kobo Aura H2O is perfect for us outdoors readers. It has a glare proof screen that makes it easy to read in the sun without squinting.
THE KOBO H2O HAS CUSTOMISABLE FONTS
I’ll be the first to admit that my eyes are not what they used to be. I have spent way too much time staring at a computer screen, both as an architect and a blogger. So, I was thrilled when I realized that the fonts on the Kobo Aura H2O were totally adjustable.
The Kobo allows you to personalise you reading experience to an incredible degree. Not only can you adjust the sharpness and weight of the text – but there are also 10 font styles and 24 different font sizes to choose from. You can even use the sliders to configure the margins and line spaces.
Still not happy? You can opt to load in your own fonts, giving this e-reader an unbelievable amount of flexibility.
KOBO HAS AN AMAZING SELECTION OF BOOKS
The advantage of taking an e-reader with you on your travels, rather than physical books, is that you don’t need to limit yourself. You could easily take a whole library. Being a Kindle owner, I will admit, that I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have access to the Amazon store, I had grown accustomed to. But it turns out, I had no reason to be.
When it comes to buying books, Kobo has one of the biggest ecosystems in the world. They offer over 4 million digital titles, which not only includes eBooks but also kids’ books, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, manga and comics. They officially sell this content in over 84 countries and if you don’t live in a supported country, you are automatically sent over to the closest one to where you reside. I could read every second of the day for the rest of my life and probably wouldn’t even put a dent in their repertoire.
THE KOBO H2O HAS GREAT STORAGE CAPACITY
If you are planning to buy or borrow a lot of books, you’ll be glad to hear that the Kobo Aura H2O ships with 4GB of internal memory and can store up to 3,000 books.
This can be expanded up to a further 30 000 books with a 32 GB micro SD card, that slots into the bottom of the device. This is much larger quantity than I would ever need at one time, even if I was planning to sail around the world.
THE KOBO H2O ALLOWS YOU TO ORGANISE YOUR BOOKS
Once you start amassing a large library of ebooks you will want an easy system to organise, find and access them.
The Kobo Aura H20 lets you create custom bookshelves, so that you can organise your books by category, author or title. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so this the perfect functionality.
THE KOBO H2O HAS GEAT FUNCTIONALITIES AND IS EASY TO USE
The Kobo Aura H20 is incredibly intuitive to use. Its homescreen is heavily dynamic in nature and if you create a new bookshelf, buy an eBook or start reading a newspaper an entry will be automatically created right on the home screen.
A feature that I’m particularly fond of, is the percentage rating displayed below the title of your book on the homescreen. This shows how much of the book you have read. Not only is it a good reminder that you will soon need to purchase a new novel, I also imagine that this is a great way to encourage certain people to read more.
Another handy feature is the synch button. This button accomplishes a few things. If you purchase an eBook on your smartphone or tablet via the Kobo App, all of the content will automatically be downloaded to your H2O if you hit the sync button. Additionally, hitting the synch button, will query the Kobo servers for any potential firmware updates and then prompt you for an upgrade, if there is one.
Aside from being able to completely customise your font styles and sizes, the Aura H20 will also provide you with additional information on each book. If you long-press a word, its definition will pop up immediately. If you’re reading a book in another language to your mother-tongue, you can look the word up in Japanese, Italian, German, Dutch, and many more languages. This is a great way of learning a new language for your next trip.
You can select a word, sentence or entire paragraph to highlight it or add a note, simply by long-pressing the area.
Finally, the Kobo Aura H20 has an amazing feature called “Beyond the Book”, quite similar to Amazon’s X-Ray feature. Beyond the Book will provide you with more information about a certain part of the book, and suggest books and authors based on a similar topics. Not all titles however have the Beyond the Book feature, so don’t fret if you can’t find it for your particular title.
THE KOBO H2O HAS AN ERGONOMIC SHAPE
As soon as you unpack your new Kobo Aura H2O, you will notice its ergonomic design. In contrast to most e-readers, the Aura H20 isn’t a plane slate. It features a fold that gives it a somewhat triangulated shape at the back.
This fold means that the Kobo Aura H2o sits nicely in your hand and stops it room slipping. Not that it would matter if you dropped it into the bathtub though. The one drawback of its shape is that many accessories and cases won’t fit this e-reader. This however is in no way a deal-breaker and there are plenty of options, including cases made specifically for the device, out there.
1. The Kobo Aura H20 comes with Wifi only. To be fair, I never use a cellular connection with my E-readers. Nonetheless, it would be useful if the Aura H20 worked as a standalone device, so that you could download new books to read wherever you were.
2. At a RRP of 139.99, the Kobo Aura H20 does come with a premium price for an e-reader. Whilst not the most expensive e-reader, there are lots of cheaper options on the market. However none of those options are waterproof as of yet and I particularly enjoy the fact that the Kobo Aura H20 allows me to read in the bath, by the pool, or at the beach without worrying about water or sand damage.
Temperatures are soaring outside. And I’m melting inside. It is time for me to head outside, seek out a cosy spot, curl up and lose myself in a great book by the waterside. Perhaps on a beach, near a pool or even a boat. Just picture that expanse of cooling blue!
At only 233 grams, the Kobo Aurora H20 is lightweight, compact and won’t have a fit when wet. What better e-reader to pack into your carry-on for your next beach vacation!
You can find the full specs for the Kobo Aura H2O here, along with additional information such as Kobo’s Reading Life social media integration.
The e-reader is available online through Kobo.com, and Argos.
You can find all of our favourite travel gear here.