As promised by Kobo, their latest and greatest ebook reader the Aura H2O went up for pre-order on Monday. And much to my surprise my loaner review unit arrived today from Kobo, meaning that I should have time to post a review before Kobo starts shipping orders at the end of the month.
The Kobo Aura H2O is a premium ebook reader with a 6.8" Carta E-ink screen, frontlight, and touchscreen. It's the first ereader to use this screen, and it is also the first premium ereader to ship with IP67 certification.
Like its predecessor, the Aura H2O runs kobo's proprietary reading software on a 1GHz CPU with 4GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, and Wifi. It ships with much the same features and the same bonus apps like a web browser.
The new Aura H2O is currently sitting on my desk, and while I have just started playing with it I can conform that it feels much nicer in my hands. It's slightly thinner than the Aura HD, and it also has a rubberized layer on the rear shell which is both easier for me to hold and offers a more pleasant texture than the cheap plastic shell of its predecessor.
My Aura HD is still charging, so I can't do a long comparison, but I can tell you right now that I can really see the difference in the screens. The newer Aura H2O has a Carta E-ink screen, while the Aura HD has a Pearl E-ink screen, and it is easy to see which one is using the older screen tech.
The screen on the Aura H2O has a whiter and brighter frontlight. The colors stronger. I know that it is strange to say that one grayscale screen is better than another, but in this case it is true.
I can also see that the software is slightly different, but since my Aura HD just went into an update cycle I don't think that difference will last long. I'll let you know if it is different when I post my review in a couple weeks.
The Aura H2O is up for pre-order from Kobo, with a retail price of $180. It is scheduled to ship at the end of the month.