I still don’t have one of these babies (I found out while writing this post that mine is literally on the UPS truck right now), but The Verge, Tom’s Hardware, and Techcrunch have all posted reviews which confirm the leaked specs and our guesses about the prices.
Update: the product listing is now up.
The Aura One will cost $230 when it goes on sale on 6 September. It’s going to be available in the US, Canada, UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Japan, and Turkey. Prices will vary across markets (according to last week’s leak the Aura One will cost 229 euros).
This ereader is not only larger and as sharp as Amazon’s flagship Kindle, it also costs less and is nearly as thin.
And it looks pretty in the video:
And oh yes, it is waterproof; I just got the press release from HZO, the company which developed the tech for water-proofing the electronics (it’s not a waterproof case like on the Aura H2O). The Aura One meets the IPX8 standard, where the Aura H2O met the IP67.
Edit: And somehow Kobo has also added night reading mode which filters out the blue light:
I’m still reading the reviews, but a couple interesting points jumped out. According to The Verge, it’s thin (they also said the bezels are too small to hold it comfortably):
The first thing you notice about the Aura One is that it’s big for an e-reader. While Amazon used 9.7-inch displays on some of the early Kindles, and more obscure companies like Pocketbook have sold e-readers in that size range in the past, the industry (Kobo included) has since settled on a standard of 6–7 inch screens. But the Aura One sports a 7.8-inch, 300ppi display, which is large enough to make it not just Kobo’s biggest e-reader ever, but essentially the biggest high-resolution e-ink screen you can buy. That size increase doesn’t come with any extra bulk. The Aura One is just 6.9mm thick, and weighs 230 grams — thinner than an iPhone 6S, and not much heavier than a 6S Plus.
The reviewer also noted one of the more interesting software features.
Remember when Rakuten bought OverDrive last year? The Aura One benefited from that acquisition:
Kobo’s parent company, Rakuten, acquired a company last year called Overdrive that has deep ties with the growing e-book lending programs around the country, and so library lending also features prominently in the Aura One’s software. The most useful part of this is that, as long as you have your library credentials plugged in, titles that are available for borrowing will also show up when you search. It’s an important feature for the company’s business, too: Kobo boasts 5 million titles in its store, which is a lot, but it’s still not as deep a well as you can find on Amazon.
I don’t usually do library ebooks because they are more of a hassle than checking out a paper book, but this could change my mind. That sounds like an even easier solution than the Kindle-OverDrive integration, and I can’t wait to test it when my unit arrives.