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Kobo launching new e-reader, three tablets

Before Christmas, Kobo will be launching the second e-reader in its Aura line, as well as three new Arc tablets in different sizes.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
3 min read

Before Christmas, Kobo will be launching the second e-reader in its Aura line, as well as three new Arc tablets in different sizes.

The new Kobo Aura. (Credit: Kobo)

With the launch of the Aura HD E Ink e-reader last year, Kobo made a shift toward a more premium device. The company's latest range of devices will further cement that move.

In the months leading up to Christmas, Kobo is launching a new high-resolution, 6-inch e-reader in its Aura line, along with three new Arc tablets on 16 October, at 10 inches and 7 inches in HD and a 7-inch model in standard resolution.

The four devices have taken on a new design, with matte glass making up the entire front of each, edge to edge. This is particularly remarkable for the new Kobo Aura; it will be the first E Ink e-reader we've seen that doesn't have a plastic bezel. It is worth noting that even though the glass front is edge to edge, the screen is not.

Kobo Aura

The Kobo Aura will have the smallest form factor of any 6-inch e-reader on the market, at 150x114x8.1 millimetres, thanks to a shaved-down border and buttonless navigation. In fact, it has only two buttons on the bezel, a power slider and an on/off switch for the built-in front light.

It also manages to be quite light, too, even in spite of its glass front — which is matte to minimise both glare and fingerprints — and lightweight metal bezel, coming in at 172 grams. The back is hard, sculpted plastic, similar to the Aura HD, rather than the soft, rubberised quilted backs of earlier Kobo e-readers.

At 212dpi, its resolution is slightly less than the Aura HD's 256, but sharper than the Glo's 210. At those screen sizes, though, the difference is scarcely noticeable. It has 16 levels of greyscale and runs on a 1GHz processor using an updated version of the Kobo software.

On board, the Aura will have 4GB of storage, with a microSD card slot to add more, and boasts a high battery life of over two months with the light turned off. Like Kobo's other e-readers, it charges and connects to a computer via micro USB and can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. It will be available for AU$189.95 in both black and pink.

Kobo Arc 10 HD

This will mark Kobo's first tablet in the 10-inch size, and it has a 10-point multi-touch capacitive LCD screen at 2560x1600 (330ppi). Overall, it will come in at 253x172x9.9 millimetres, weighing 627 grams — less than the iPad's 652 grams.

The Kobo Arc 10. (Credit: Kobo)

All of the new Arc tablets will run on Android using a Kobo interface that focuses on e-reading. The Arc 10 HD will run on a quad-core, 1.8GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 T40S processor, with 2GB of DDR3L RAM and storage capacity of 16GB.

Ports include micro USB for connecting and charging, micro HDMI out and a 3.5-millimetre headphone jack, while a front-facing camera comes in at 1.3 megapixels (720p). A gyroscope and accelerometer allow for full functionality of Google Play apps, and overall, it can last up to 9.5 hours on a single charge.

It will be available in black for AU$499.95.

Kobo Arc 7 HD

The Kobo Arc 7 HD will be available in 16GB and 32GB models. Its 7-inch screen boasts a 1920x1200 (323ppi) resolution, and it comes in at 194x122x9.6 millimetres and 327 grams. It will run on the 1.7GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, with 1GB of DDR3L RAM. It can last up to eight hours on a single charge.

Like the Arc 10 HD, it has micro USB, micro HDMI, 3.5-millimetre audio, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

It will be available in black for AU$249.95 for the 16GB version and AU$299.95 for the 32GB version.

Kobo Arc 7

The Kobo Arc 7 is the bottom-tier model, with just 1024x600 screen resolution and 8GB of storage, with a microSD card slot for expanding. Its processor is a 1.2GHz MTK 8125 quad core, and its front-facing camera is 0.3 megapixels.

It still has micro USB, micro HDMI out and 3.5-millimetre audio, as well as the gyroscope, accelerometer, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It can last up to nine hours on a single charge.

The Kobo Arc 7 will be available in black for AU$199.95. All four devices are now available for Australian preorder from the Kobo website.