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1301 posts

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Topic # 123374 5-Jul-2013 10:34
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My first impression when opening the box of the Kobo Aura HD was, "Wow! This is big!" My second thought was, "What a weird back". The Aura HD has a huge screen (6.8") and the back is contoured. I find my hand naturally holds to the contours and provides a stable feel to the device, despite a plasticky feel. 

However, although I am mostly right-handed, I use my left hand a lot. The Aura HD is designed for right-handed use and, although I am certain I will soon adjust, it does not sit comfortably in the left hand. If you only use your left hand this is something you need to be aware of. I've got a sleep cover on its way that will probably take care of that small issue. 

Set-up via the Kobo Desktop app was a breeze. The quick-start guide, however, was useless. If you follow common-sense, instead of sticking exactly to what the guide says, the set-up is straight-forward and quick. Following the guide (use the USB cable, plug into the computer, download the app, then click "setup") it's likely that a Windows 7 or 8 computer won't recognise the device. Downloading the app, installing and leaving open, then plugging in the Kobo via USB, the setup took 5 minutes. It initially updated the device. 

The display is just gorgeous! This provides the most realistic book-like appearance I've seen. I've used Kindle's keyboard, Touch and Paperwhite models and the Aura HD beats them all hands down for appearance, colour and clarity. There's a multitude of easy-to-adjust settings but, so far, I have been sticking with the default settings to get a better idea of how each e-reader compares out of the box. 

The "ComfortLight" is amazing - it evenly lights the screen with no variations, no visible glare spots, and is fully adjustable. It can turn off completely - this is button-controlled. All settings are controlled from the screen. 

The tech specs for the Aura HD say that .mobi is supported. The FAQ's say they aren't. I found that they are but some .mobi files are better if converted to .epub. I understand the handling of .mobi is not that consistent on Kobo devices (or Kobo apps) so will probably routinely convert them with Calibre. This isn't an issue for me as I routinely converted .epub to .mobi when I was using my Kindle anyway. 

Although it's 240 grams in weight, it feels lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite. My husband uses a Kindle Touch and he commented on it being lighter too. It's not so I can only conclude that the shape of the back impacts on the way weight is perceived. 

Page turns are FAST! When I was trying out the Paperwhite I mourned the loss of side buttons for turning pages. Somehow, this doesn't seem to be an issue with the Aura HD. The screen is IR, not capacitive, and seems more responsive than the Paperwhite. 

So far, so good-I couldn't be happier. I love books and read a lot, and this is the first e-reader I've had that so nearly gives the same experience as reading a printed book. 

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  Reply # 850696 8-Jul-2013 10:38
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Great review, Elpie!

I was very interested in reading that the front light was perfectly even without any problems at all. A while back a Kindle owner told me that it was impossible to get a perfectly lit screen, but I think he was just making excuses for why his Paperwhite wasn't perfect.

It's also good to know that the extra screen size and DPI really does make a difference.

May I ask where you got your Aura from? Did you get it shipped from overseas or has it finally gone on sale in NZ?

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  Reply # 850869 8-Jul-2013 14:25
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I understand they are for sale in NZ now (with NZ stocks dependent on supplies from an Australian supplier) for around $279. I bought mine from Chapters Indigo in Canada and had it sent to someone to ship on to me. It cost CAN$169 plus taxes, and shipping, landing for NZD$201.  There's not enough price difference in it to be bothered getting it outside NZ now that they are available here. 


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  Reply # 851195 8-Jul-2013 20:06
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Great review thanks.

I just picked one up from Whitcoulls (Lambton Quay)

Will probably charge it and have a play tomorrow night - other things to do tonight.

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