CNET First Look
Kobo Aura: No Kindle killer, but a classy e-readerIn some ways, the Kobo Aura beats the Kindle Paperwhite.
Hi. I'm David Carnoy and I'm here with the Kobo Aura and E-ink e-reader that competes with the Kindle Paperwhite. The first thing you think when you look at it is that its screen is smaller than the Paperwhite's that's really an optical illusion. The screens are both 6-inches and the Aura is just smaller than the Paperwhite and weighs a little over an ounce less. Kobo, which is a stronger presence in international markets than in the U.S. describes the Aura as having an edge to edge screen and that that really means is that it simply looks like the screen you'd see on a tablet with no elevation for the border surrounding the display. The layer that covers the display has a matte finished. It helps cut down on the glare especially compared to the reflections you can get from a glass covering the display on your typical tablet. I really like the design overall. There's a grippy-finish on the back and Amazon would do well to emulate the Aura's smaller form factor. Like the Paperwhite, the Aura also has a built-in light and it's good, though not as good as the one in the second generation Paperwhite. I also didn't think the device as a whole is quite as zippy as the Paperwhite even if they both run on a 1 GHz processor. Aside from the smaller design, where the Aura has an advantage is in the memory department. You get 4 Gigabytes of on-board surge compared to the Kindle's 2 Gigabytes and there's a micro SD card slot for adding additional memory. Kobo has also managed to virtually eliminate the flashing you typically get with E-ink e-readers. It used to be that the display had to refresh every 5 or 6 page turns but with the Aura, you rarely see the screen flash. I'm not going to get in to all the Aura's features in this video. Read the tech's review for that but I will say that overall, the reading experience is quite good and Kobo has come a long way in a few years improving its user interface in book store and adding some interesting extra features. Where the Aura doesn't quite measure up to the Paperwhite is the screen itself. The Paperwhite has better contrast and the text looks crisper on the screen. The Aura's light also has a slight greenest hinge to it, the Paperwhite's light by comparison is white and more natural looking. In the end display the Aura's design advantage is hard to choose it over the Paperwhite particularly when you factor in its higher price point of $149.99. That's said, it's still a very good e-reader. It's just not as good as the competition. I'm David Carnoy. Thanks for watching.