Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location
    The Republic of Neptune
    Posts
    7,760
    My impressions of the Kobo Aura HD
    Bobtomay asked, and I deliver. I've long been interested in an e-ink e-reader due to the long battery life they afford as well as a paper-like display that's easier on the eyes, so I finally settled on the Kobo Aura HD a couple weeks ago. The main reason I bought this in particular was for the larger-than-typical screen size and the highest DPI (265) of any e-ink device. Much of my decision to go with it was also based on this video review, which went into great detail in comparing it to the Kindle Paperwhite. This is my first e-reader, so my own perspective here is fairly limited.

    Briefly, I can say I'm very satisfied with it. The text is ridiculously sharp... it looks like print off a high quality laser printer. Other e-readers, in my limited handling, still have great print-like quality, but the fonts are a tad heavier than what you can get on the Aura HD. I don't know that I would call this feature a deal-killer for me, but it certainly is nothing to complain about. The fonts can also be changed, and some more heavily adjusted than others if you want more weight to the text.

    The size of the display, at 6.8" vs the more typical 6" display, does afford a little more reading space and thus potentially fewer page turns. That for me was what put this over the top in my decision. I had read a number of reviews comparing ebooks from Kobo to the same one on Amazon and they complain Kobo wastes a lot of space by putting a blank line in between every paragraph, rather than indenting the first line and saving the spacing for scene changes. I've downloaded a few previews from Kobo and bought a couple ebooks from them, as well as imported some books for my wife that she had bought on her Nook Color and on Amazon, and I can say that these "complaints" are cherry-picked. Not all of Kobo's ebooks are formatted that way and likewise, some ebooks from other sources ARE formatted that way. Reportedly, Kobo has said that the formatting is according to how the publisher provided them and not of their own doing. I see no reason to dispute that, though it is a bit curious that the publishers are providing some ebooks with differing formatting to different resellers

    If the way some of those ebooks are formatted bother you, it is perfectly possible to reformat them. That does involve stripping the DRM, so I can't really go into details here. All I will say is that, with the exception of Apple's iBooks purchases, it is a trivial process to do so. And you can, of course, get DRM-free ebooks from Baen Books and other, free sources like BookOS and Project Gutenberg. You can reclaim space in your DRM-free ebooks by removing those blank lines between paragraphs using Calibre, as well as remove the top line that simply has the title of the book you are reading. What you can't recover is the space at the bottom that tells you what page you are on. There is an awful lot of space used there just for that reason... far more than necessary. It's annoying, but not a deal-breaker.

    Loading 3rd-party books is also done through Calibre. It's very easy to do so. Just connect your Kobo by USB; acknowledge Kobo's prompt to mount to your computer; wait for the "device" to show up in Calibre; then right-click on any books in your Calibre library and "send to device". You can also easily remove books via Calibre's menu ("remove matching books from device"). The Kobo will mount as an external device in Finder if you are more inclined to manage your ebooks directly that way. I wish I could do this sort of thing wirelessly, but alas, it's not likely to ever happen, although naturally you can download from Kobo's book store via the Kobo itself.

    The Kobo's home screen consists of a group of tiles that change depending on your recent activity. You'll get one indicating newly-uploaded ebooks; one for your most recently read ebook; one for "shelves" as you create them; and so on. One of the more bizarre features is "awards". Kobo has adopted an awards system that works like achievements in games. You get one when you "start to build a digital library"; "read 5 times between 4p and 6p"; etc etc. You can even share the fact that you earned these on Facebook. The whole fascination with social media is just weird. Do they really think anyone cares that I read 5 times between 10p and midnight? Of course you get a tile on your screen every time you earn one of these awards. Thankfully you can dismiss those (and most any tile actually) by long-pressing until you get a pop-up prompt.

    When browsing your library, you have the usual sorting options (title, author, etc). You can create shelves to categorize your ebooks, and you can have an ebook on multiple shelves. One feature that is sorely lacking is that you can't sort titles of a series of books in their reading order. For example, I have the entire series of the Solar Queen novels by Andre Norton and even though I have properly tagged them using Calibre to put the books in reading order, Kobo just doesn't have a way to sort that way. This is probably my single biggest beef. A simple workaround would be to re-title the book using Calibre, but that's something of a kludge to have to do.

    If you want a cover for the Aura HD, those are few and far between. Kobo has a few listed, but were mostly out of stock when I order my device. There were only a couple 3rd party covers I could find, with Gecko Covers having a decent number of options. I settled on their leather protection cover and man is it sexy! It also works with the Kobo's sleep cover feature so that closing the cover puts it to sleep. I found that I had to set the "auto sleep" option to Never once I started using the cover because it kept going to sleep prematurely (before even finishing a page). There must be some bug with the sleep cover feature battling with the timer for auto sleep once the cover has been used.

    Weight-wise, the Kobo Aura HD is heavier than other e-ink e-readers due to it being a larger device. It weighs in at 240 grams (8.5 ounces), compared to 213 grams (7.5 ounces) for the Kindle Paperwhite; 185 grams (6.5 oz) for the Kobo Touch; and 174 grams (6.14 oz) for Kobo's upcoming Aura (non-HD model, 6" screen). I mostly have been reading using a fold out stand on a desk, so the weight is mostly a non-issue for me. I'm not particularly uncomfortable when holding it while in a chair, though if that was how I mostly read, I might prefer a lighter model, especially given the extra weight from my case. In the grand scheme of things, even with the cover it's still lighter than a hard cover book and on par with many paperbacks, at least going by what this guy reports.

    Bottom line here is that I have no reservations in recommending the Kobo Aura HD. Despite the few gripes I've mentioned, it's a perfectly competent device. Judging from the more in-depth reviews and comparisons others have made (see the video I linked to earlier), it arguably is superior in many ways to other devices. I think it's very odd that they have been positioning it as a "premium" device for "discriminating" readers. The larger display and improved resolution are features that anyone can appreciate, not just hard core book aficionados. It boils down to whether or not one wants to pay $30 extra dollars for it (vs the ad-less version of the Kindle Paperwhite); are not put off by the extra ounce it weighs; and are either satisfied with Kobo's own bookstore or have no reservations about sideloading ebooks from other stores. Even if one considers the price to be a bit steep, they have other e-readers that are sized and priced comparable to the Kindle, albeit not with the high DPI of the Aura HD.

  2. #2

    MYmacROX's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 17, 2009
    Posts
    3,625
    Specs:
    2008 15" MBP Yosemite, 2012 21.5" iMac Yosemite
    Thanks for the review. Very informative and well-written.
    64GB iPhone 6, 64GB iPad Air 2.

    Reminder: Please include your Mac's specs. This will make it much easier for the other members to assist you.

  3. #3

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,541
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    Nice write-up - appreciate it.

    Def need to keep this one in mind next time I'm looking.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    36,524
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Great review! Looks like you put some serious time into the project.

    Thanks,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location
    The Republic of Neptune
    Posts
    7,760
    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    Nice write-up - appreciate it.

    Def need to keep this one in mind next time I'm looking.
    Yer welcome. BTW, I just started the first book of the Harrington series. 2 chapters in and so far, I'm pretty impressed. I'm particularly fond of science fiction dealing with intergalactic empires, so I expect I'll be picking up the rest. Asimov's Foundation series was a favorite. He had some GREAT concepts that were completely ahead of his time, though his writing style is rather dated and sometimes the plots are a little.... corny.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | EasyFind | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | The Safe Mac Adware Removal Guide | Uninstall MacKeeper
    ------
    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  6. #6

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,541
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    Another series I've enjoyed is The Lost Fleet and the main character named "Black Jack Geary" (makes you want to read it already).

    Particularly good in this series are the space battle scenes.
    Particularly bad when reading them back to back is his repeating of too many details given in the earlier books. The books are so short you really wish he hadn't wasted words with that, but not enough to diminish the anticipation of what's to come.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Cloudy Purple Aura Bottom Screen
    By Searcher9 in forum Apple Notebooks
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 06-26-2014, 11:16 PM
  2. kobo ereader app crashes
    By cj007 in forum OS X - Operating System
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-05-2013, 01:54 PM
  3. Macbook Air 240GB Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD
    By sc4r3d in forum Apple Notebooks
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-09-2012, 10:59 PM
  4. Help with my Kobo E reader
    By pjryan3 in forum Other Hardware and Peripherals
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-02-2012, 10:48 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •