I had been patiently waiting for the new Kobo Aura 6″ to replace my dying Sony PRS-T1 for nearly a month. I clicked on a couple of Aura HD reviews and started to get interested in that too. I gave in once I handled one in store and bought one on the spot. Yep, that’s my second high price tag technology thingy in two weeks. Trust me, it will be my last high price tag technology thingy for some time.
I’m not going to do a full review where I show you every little detail as let’s face it, the device has been out for a while already. I will however give some of my impressions because it’s new and shiny and I want to talk about it.
Holding the HD felt good. I thought I would hate the ridges on the back but they actually make it easy for someone with small hands to hold and support the slightly heavier weight. Size wise it is practically the same height as my old PRS-T1 but a little wider. The extra space makes a big difference even though it is only .8″ bigger.
I’m able to read ePub, pdfs and am more importantly not locked into one service provider like Amazon. This is really important for me.
I’ve never had a backlit eReader before and I liked the ability to adjust the brightness. It made me realise just how much I must have been straining my eyes trying to read late at night. There isn’t a perfect diffusion of light but it it’s not bad by a long shot. Adjusting the brightness takes a few clicks so I can see why they fixed that with the new 6″ Aura where you just have to do a two finger swipe of the screen.
There are quite a variety of font options and the ones I magnified looked crisp and clear. I played around with different styles but Caecelia was my favourite. I also liked having the real page number on the side of the text as it will make citing much easier.
Battery life seems pretty good and recharging is fast. Waking the device up from sleep mode is very quick and starting it from scratch isn’t too shabby.
Reading is simply easy and I got lost in a book without any dramas which is the main thing.
I have two pin-prick light holes on the screen but they are only really noticeable when I have the brightness set really high. I will do a bit of reading and see if they annoy me enough that I need to swap it.
The home page is really busy with what you’re reading, shelves, awards, reading time, number of books read, other books to read, last sync time etc. I prefer the streamlined Sony style which simply has the cover of the book you are currently reading and 3 other recently added books covers and options to access the library or book collections.
The HD model doesn’t have a lot of things that the new Aura shipped with like Pocket integration but apparently this will be provided later on. Since I never had a lot of those features, I’m not too fussed.
The keypad felt awkward because they have replicated a full keyboard. I would have preferred the numbers be relegated to a separate screen so the letters could have been made a bit bigger. There is a slight lag from when you type to when it is displayed but it is nowhere near as bad as the PRS-T1 was.
I do miss the ability to press a button to get to the home screen. With the Aura HD I have to tap the bottom near the page number and then click the home icon in the top left. It is such a minor thing but since that is what a lot of people would be wanting to do during the course of using the device, it is a shame they couldn’t have worked out a way to make it simpler so your hand doesn’t have to move the length of the device.
Given the unusual shape of the device I am going to have to get a case specifically designed for it. It’s no biggie as I can order one off eBay but my precious eReader is currently sleeping in my singlet drawer when I’m not using it to ensure the cats don’t accidentally sit on it or knock it off the table.
Reading stats is a fun idea. It tracks how long you’ve spent reading a particular book, your average minutes per session, average pages per minute, books finished, total reading hours and percentage of your library that is complete. Nice idea for those obsessed with figures. I have a feeling though it is going to get a little depressing with numbers going up pretty fast.
Reading awards is something I’m a little less jazzed about. So I used the dictionary once…big deal. I’m not exactly sure why people would want that broadcast on their Facebook page but each to their own.
I’m very happy with my purchase. As you can see, my negatives are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.
I haven’t addressed price as I was prepared to pay what was necessary to get the eReader that suited me. I read hundreds of books per year so just making do isn’t worth it in the long run. The Kindle Paperwhite is A$179 at Big W and I paid A$218 at JB Hi Fi (this is the standard price in Australia). A$38 bought me an extra .8″ and given the ease of reading, I think it was a good investment.