A few weeks back I was loaned a Kobo Aura ebook reader to review but ever since have been struggling to finish the resulting article.
This isn’t because of any great flaw with the product – if it was a bad device it’d make writing the review easier – but because overall it offers little already available on the market, including within Kobo’s existing line up.
Like pretty much every new ebook reader, the Aura includes WiFi connectivity so you can download books straight to the device and like many models it includes a front-lit screen so you can read in the dark.
The only real difference between it and other e-ink readers is that the touch-screen is flush with the body, tablet style.
This looks nice and eliminates the hard front corners which make some ereaders a pain to hold, but it’s not really enough to hang an entire review on and I’m not convinced it’s enough to separate the Aura from the competition on the shelves.
The device costs £119, £20 more than Kobo’s own Glo and the same sum less than the Kobo Aura HD which was launched with much fanfare at this year’s London Book Fair.
The Glo is a perfectly fine ereader for the masses, the larger Aura HD with its 6.8” screen is billed as the device for the committed reader. But where does the Aura fit in?
For me it just seems to complicate the purchasing decision.
Having used the three Kobo devices there’s nothing about the Aura which would compel me to buy it over the Glo. On the other-hand, if I was shopping and saw the Aura and Aura HD next to one another I could well decide the extra .8 of a inch wasn’t worth £20 and spend less than I otherwise might.
Does Kobo really need five different e-ink reader plus a range of tablets?
Amazon seems to get by just fine with three models of Kindle, one of which is a 3G variant of another and so offers a clear consumer choice.
e-ink is still a popular choice for those unable or unhappy with reading on an smartphone or tablet but are there really enough devices being sold to justify so many models in any firm’s range?