Kobo Aura H2O review

Reading in the bath has never been easier

Kobo Aura H2O review
Happy come rain or shine

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

In making the Aura H2O waterproof, Kobo has stumbled on an ereader must-have.

Amazon might have scooped-up the declining market for ereaders with its vast range of devices, but none of them are waterproof - and with baths, swimming pools and beaches common environments for ereaders, that's surprising.

The Aura H2O is also better than any Kindle when it comes to customising the page, with readability arguably the best there is.

We liked

The waterproofing is a stroke of genius, and so is the new, bright and easy to read e-ink screen that only needs to be refreshed every six page turns.

Battery life is long and the battery quick to charge, the user interface is easy to understand and the reading experience can be customised. The inclusion of the Pocket app to read web pages works well, as does its simple LED illumination.

We disliked

There's a distinct lack of processing power that makes the Aura H2O sometimes frustrating to use, especially when it comes to PDFs, which are slow to navigate and zoom-in on.

The bezel is also noticeably raised, so does look rather retro when compared to tablets and smartphones, and even a Kindle. Some will miss the lack of a 3G model.

Final verdict

Great for the beach and the bath, Kobo's latest is the only waterproof ereader we know of. There's no 3G option, the store isn't as good as Amazon's, and there is a slight lack of processing power, but there are other unique attributes aside from waterproofing that make the Aura H2O worth considering.

Slightly bigger and chunkier than any Kindle, the Aura H2O is able to display a plethora of file formats on its precise, detailed and nicely illuminated screen, its page turns are quick, the reading experience uniquely customisable, and the arrival of the Pocket app brings offline web pages.

However, the bottom line is this; if you want a waterproof ereader, but the Aura H2O.

First reviewed: October 2014

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),