The Kobo Aura is the smaller brother of the Kobo Aura HD. It's a light-up ebook reader. The Kobo Aura HD has a 6-inch high-resolution front-lit display, but its real selling point is the over-two-month-long battery life, giving it more than enough power to compete with the Kindle Paperwhite.
Kobo has worked hard to separate its Aura ebook reader from the competition. It has a recognisable, chiselleled back panel and a textured finish. And comes in black and white shades.
At 174g, the Kobo Aura is one of the lightest front-lit eReaders on the market too, a noticeable 32g lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite. This makes it very comfortable to hold for long periods - an important factor for commuters.
The 6-inch screen has a slim bezel, which should make it more difficult to hold and use. But it actually allows Kobo to cut down the dimensions of the Aura for an easier grip. Kobo hasn’t used a raised bezel on the Aura either, meaning the front surface of the device is completely flat - a nice design feature that keeps the Kobo Aura compact.
Those 150 x 114 x 8.1mm dimensions also mean you can fit it in the back pocket of your jeans or your coat pocket without stretching the fabric. It's smaller than a Kindle Paperwhite.
The Kobo Aura doesn’t creak or flex when put under pressure and its straight edges and squared-off corners only add to its rigidity.
One of the defining features of the Kobo Aura is its outstanding battery life. It lasts for over two months with a half hour's use a day, beating the Kindle Paperwhite by more than a fortnight. The Kobo Air makes a great travel buddy - it lasts an age and weighs less than a single hardback.
The Kobo Aura is packed with useful software features, including access to a variety of reading stats that explain how long you have until the end of the chapter, and what percentage of the book or chapter you’ve churned through.
All the features are well presented and easily accessible from the Kobo Aura's home screen. You are immediately presented with your latest reads and how far you're through them, as well as a brief blurb about the author of the text you’re currently reading.
While you're reading, the Beyond the Book button offers definitions and further information about key figures and places in novels. This can be filtered for individual chapters or the book as a whole.
What’s great about Beyond the Book is all its info is available offline, apart from any 'further reading' it suggests you should buy from the Kobo Store.
Within the Store you can also buy Kobo’s Collections, which offer a range of content on a specific topic or author. These are handy and very interesting if you are particularly passionate about a certain writer and want to learn more about them. They are reasonably priced to boot.
Kobo has also added Pocket integration, letting you wirelessly sync any articles you’ve saved for offline reading on other devices. Pocket is available for iOS and Android too, making this pretty handy.
Reading Life is a quirky final feature. It has a selection of reading-related achievements that you can unlock, Xbox 360 style. We can’t imagine any user over the age of 18 actually using this feature, but it could be a way to encourage the younger generations to get actively engaged with reading.