Kobo has unveiled the world's first waterproof eBook reader, the Aura One. Here's everything you need to know about the new device, including all its key features, specs, price and UK release date. Could it be the Kindle killer we've been waiting for?
There's little doubt that Amazon bosses the ereader market, but it's not the only major player. Along with Barnes and Nobles so-so Nook range, Kobo is a real contender for the position of being your digital library. The latest in that range – the Kobo Aura One – is a seriously high-end piece of kit, so if anything can kill the Kindle, this is it.
Here's what you need to know...
1. It’s got a high-grade screen
The Aura One features a large 7.8-inch e-ink touchscreen display; it’s e-ink, but has a resolution of 1,872 x 1,404 pixels, giving it a hefty 300ppi pixel density. That’s on par with the priciest Amazon Kindle ereaders.
2. It’s easy to read
Scientists have long bemoaned the blue light from screens, warning of its impact on sleep quality. But the Kobo Aura One features enhanced front-light technology – it’s called ComfortLight Pro – that lets you enjoy reading without impacting your sleep.
An ambient light sensor detects light levels and emits the optimal brightness based on the time of day. The hue of the light will mimic the sun’s natural progression, and hopefully give you a better night’s kip.
Professor Colleen Carney, an expert in sleep at Ryerson University, said: “We’ve all heard that reading on an electronic device can hinder a restful night’s sleep due to the activating effects of blue spectrum light. We require red spectrum light tons stimulate melatonin, a hormone that regulates our body clock. This device pays attention to the timing of blue and red spectrum light to protect sleep quality.”
Related: Which Kindle should I buy?
3. You can dunk it!
Here’s where Kindle falls by the wayside a little; the Kindle Aura One is completely waterproof. In fact, you can dunk it to depths of 2 metres for up to 60 minutes. That’s probably an unlikely scenario for most of us, but scuba-diving bookworms are sure to rejoice.
4. Read your way
Kobo offers up a very impressive roster of font options, including exclusive weight and sharpness settings. You also get a choice of 50 font sizes and 11 font types, as well as access to features like margin adjustment, passed highlighting, note-taking, and dictionary look-ups.
5. Books, so many books
The new Kobo gives you access to upwards of five million titles, which you can save onto the 8GB flash storage built into the ereader.
You can also connect to your local library and borrow books digitally through an integrated catalogue. The future, ladies and gentlemen, has arrived.
6. It’s pretty powerful
Here’s a quick breakdown of the specs:
- Display: 7.8-inch Carta E Ink HD touchscreen (1,872 x 1,404 pixels – 300ppi)
- Dimensions: 195.1 x 138.5 x 6.9mm
- Weight: 226 grams
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Micro SB
- Processor: i.MX6 Solo Lite Freescale 1GHz
- Light: Adjustable ComfortLight PRO technology
- RGB front light: Auto-adjusting colour temperature and brightness
- Waterproof: HZO Protection (IPX8 certified for submersion in 2 metres of water for 60 minutes)
- Storage: 8GB
- RAM: 512MB
- Battery life: One month (claimed)
- Colour: Soft Black
7. It’ll cost you, but not as much as its rivals might
Here’s the zinger: it’s a hefty £189.99, which is pretty tough to chew for an ereader. That said, it’s similarly priced to the Kindle Voyage, and far cheaper than the Kindle Oasis. You’ll have to wait for our full review to find out which device takes the ereader crown, mind.
The Kobo Aura One goes on sale in the UK on September 6 from Kobo’s online store, as well as participating retailers.
Related: Kindle Voyage vs Kindle Paperwhite
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What do you think of the new Kobo? Let us know in the comments.