Kobo Aura One review

An ereader to rival the top-end Kindles

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The Aura One is different to any other ereader on the market. The size is a big change, and something that will take some getting used to if you’ve used other ereaders, but the new front-lighting technology is a big plus, while the waterproof design will be welcomed by many.

The problem for Kobo is getting noticed in a market dominated by the behemoth that is Amazon – but there are good reasons to take a look at Kobo, and the Aura One showcases most of them.

Kobo Aura One

Despite coming with a larger screen the Kobo Aura One offers a comfortable reading experience, and is easy to hold for long stretches.

Unlike most other ereaders you can safely use it around water, and it won't matter if you spill your Piña colada on it when you’re on the beach.

The screen is impressive on the Aura One too, and not just because of its size – it's clear and simple to read on, and offers one of the best ereading experiences around.

There are negatives to the Kobo Aura One that may put you off. The big one is the limited selection of titles compared to the competition.

If you’re thinking of buying an Aura One, take a look at Kobo’s online store, and search for the kinds of books you like to read to ensure the titles you want will be available.

Also the battery life on the Aura One isn't as strong as we'd like – if you compare it to some of the Kindle range it's not that impressive, and it may be an issue if you’re on the move a lot and likely to be away from a power outlet for a while.

Why should I buy the Kobo Aura One?

If you’re after a big screen alternative to a Kindle, the Kobo Aura One is the obviouis choice. The design is unlike anything else on the market, and the great high-res display is a big selling point.

It’s well designed, and easy to grip considering its large size. You may sometimes have to use two hands to be able to use the Kobo Aura One comfortably if you have smaller hands though.

The waterproof design makes this the ultimate ereader if you’re planning to take it on holiday, and want to leave it on your sunlounger while you’re off swimming without worrying about it getting splashed.

The software on the Kobo Aura One is  simple to use, allowing you to download and read ebooks with ease, even if you're new to ereaders.

The combination of great design, beautiful screen and innovative new features, all for a lower price than a Kindle Oasis, mean this could be the premium ereader to go for.

Why shouldn’t I buy the Kobo Aura One?

The Kobo Aura One is generally a great ereader, but it does have some issues.

If you’re looking for specialist books, the Kobo Store may not be the best choice for you. Your best bet is to take a look at the store, and Amazon’s ebook collection, before you decide  which ereader is the better buy.

Kobo Aura One

The battery life on the Kobo Aura One isn’t fantastic either. It will last the length of the average paperback book with the backlight on, but if you’re going to be using it a lot you may find it slightly limiting – and if you’re on holiday you'll definitely want to take your charger with you.

First reviewed October 2016

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.