E-Book companies implement very little changes to their devices most of the time when it comes to software – and the same holds true for what you will find in the Kobo Aura Edition 2. But, as you will soon see, that’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
Amazon may have the largest eBook store in the industry, but the Kobo stpre frees the user from the rigidity of a locked-in ecosystem. Amazon almost always offers lower prices for titles in their Kindle store, but Kobo users aren’t limited to having to buy from the Kobo store. Because of Kobo’s support for files outside their own proprietary format, readers can even choose which publishers they want to buy from.
Which all leads to two major consequences. For one, the user can directly support any niche genres they like and keep their content alive. For another, users can find the greatest deals on books if they’re willing to go on a book hunt.
Kobo also has an abundance of coupons and discounts going around. Granted, these are mostly for non-agency books, but if you don’t mind waiting to purchase a book, you might just be able to save more than you’d expect. (Some discounts even dip to 80% off!)
Seamless file transfers are the Kobo’s bread and butter. Downloads for Adobe Digital Editions is supported in separate files, making it easy to move your books to and from a device. Share an interesting book with your family without having to give them access to your own private library.
Another feature sure to please you is Kobo’s integrated support for Pocket. Pocket is a reading service that lets you “pocket” articles. A sure winner for professionals wanting to stay informed, Pocket makes it easy for you to transfer files by using a simple drag-and-drop interface. This saves you from the hassle of dealing with third party software that might compromise your eReader’s performance.
Unfortunately, Amazon’s store still comes out on top. Their store has more polish, more features, more value, and more books (not that Kobo’s offerings are severely lacking). However, Kobo trumps Amazon in terms of flexibility – so you better know where your priority lies when choosing which ecosystem you want to belong to.
Kobo has the most customizable reading environment for an eReader. With a Kobo, you get to choose settings that suit your taste, such as customizing with several font faces, font size, font weights, line spacing, margins, and content alignment. Unlike Kindles, it’s relatively easy to install custom fonts on a Kobo Aura Edition 2. If you are fond of the font used by Amazon’s eReaders, but enjoy the flexibility of Kobos, you will be glad to know that you can even install Bookerly and Ember, the fonts used by Kindles.
Reading on the Kobo Aura Edition 2 makes you feel like you’re reading a real book. The reading pages are styled to mimic the design of a paperback, with the title of the book on top and the page numbers on the bottom. Page turns are flawless and you can even mark your progress by dog-earing a page.
The Kobo Aura interface has a lot of tabs integrated in its navigation, cutting down on scrolling and organizing your many file types just the way you want it. The Kobo store has also made a lot of improvements since it was first launched, forgoing its earlier complicated design details in favor of a cleaner, simpler look.
Kobo also supplements your reading experience with translators, Wikipedia, dictionaries, and reading statistics. Tapping on a word will pull up more information on it, and the built-in reading statistics show you your reading progress and expected time to finish a page or a chapter.
You can also personalize pages to your heart’s content. Kobo offers extensive customizability of your user settings with its customizable line space setting, margins, font weights, and the aforementioned ability to download font faces online. The dual-split window that shows you the “before-and-after” of your reading settings makes sure you fine-tune your changes according to your taste.
Kobo takes your love of reading and nourishes it. Loaded with ideas from your latest read? Positively exploding with ideas? Want to get your feet wet with self-publishing? Kobo’s got your back.
If you’ve ever thought of publishing your own books but got scared off by all the talk about literary agents and technical details, you might want to jumpstart your career as a published writer through Kobo’s Writing Life feature. Why? It’s quick and easy to join, they convert your files for you for free, you get an ISBN should you want it, and they distribute your eBooks for you to their partnerships around the globe.
While PDFs are usually terrible to read with on eReaders, the Kobo Aura Edition performs worse than others. Zooming in on a PDF file still takes about 10 seconds to refresh, which can be frustrating to say the least. The same goes, more or less, for image files. Needless to say, you might want to look into other eReaders if you need to open up PDF or image files regularly.
|Resolution||1024×768 (212 ppi)|
|Advertised Battery Life||Months|
|Dimensions||159 x 113 x 8.5 mm|
|Storage (on board)||4GB|
At $120, the Kobo Aura Edition 2 doesn’t have the trademark crisp paper-like quality of a Kindle Paperwhite, but that doesn’t make it the worst display in the market. But it’s not that great, either. Sure, text looks just fine on Kobo Aura Edition 2’s screen, but for its price, you would expect them to match the fantastic screen of Amazon’s similarly priced offering, the Paperwhite. On top of the Aura Edition 2’s lower resolution, text tends to become murky or blurry on higher brightness settings. And while the latest update on the Kobo Aura also has its screen nestled in surrounding, easy-to-grip bezel, it isn’t completely flush to the front panel anymore. Instead, you get a slightly sunken screen, which, on some lighting conditions, mean that you might see the shadows of the bezel on the screen itself. Plus, it isn’t as attractive as its predecessor. It’s a small gripe – but for an upgrade, it is a step back in terms of aesthetics.
On the bright side, the Kobo Aura Edition 2 is cased in a sturdy body. The most recent updates have moved the colored power button to a more accessible position near the top of the eReader. While it’s not the most appealing aspect of the device, it is nice to have a little color against the dominant monochromatic color scheme of most eBook readers. Meanwhile, a textured back gives it a solid grip to add to a nice finish. It’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet though – those who are easily annoyed by such, beware.
Beyond that, the Kobo Aura Edition 2 sports a lighter build. So, not only is this more portable than the company’s larger eReaders, those whose hands tire out easily when reading can be more confident they can last hours on the Kobo Aura Edition 2.
In addition to the so-so screen resolution, Kobo also, quite inexplicably, decided to take out the microSD slot – which was present in the previous Aura, as well as the Glo and Glo HD. On the plus side, they do have cloud storage. The omission is still disappointing though.
What's the Verdict on Kobo Aura Edition 2?
Kobo Aura Review 2020 — Conclusion
Compared to its most similar competitor—the Kindle Paperwhite 3—the Kobo Aura Edition 2 pales in comparison. While it does a lot of things right, the overall value just isn’t there. Sure, you get good build, lighter weight, the great ComfortLight technology, and the flexibility of the Kobo ecosystem. But then, in so many ways, the device feels like a step back and not a true successor to the 2013 Aura. Screen resolution, while not terrible, does not measure up to modern eReader standards (especially at this price point), and text gets blurry on brighter settings. And don’t even bother trying to open up PDFs or images with this eBook reader – you’ll just end up pulling out your hair. For under $200, you could do a lot better. In fact, get a Kindle Paperwhite, instead. But if you really want to dip your toes in Kobo’s flexible ecosystem, then you better wait for the price to get knocked down.