Kobo Aura H2O (2017) Teardown Reveals There’s No Internal Card Slot

Kobo’s newest ereader ships without an external card slot, limiting the average user to only 8GB of storage. That’s just not enough for everyone, which why some Kobo owners have taken to cracking open their device and replacing the internal microSD card found on some models.

Alas, that won’t be possible on the Aura H2O (2017).

I cracked open my unit today and found that there is no internal card slot:

This was to be expected; the Kobo Aura H2O (2017) uses a waterproofing process that involves coating the internal electronics with a water-resistant goo.

The Aura One uses a similar process, and so does the after-market Kindle from Waterfi. That process doesn’t work with card slot, which is why the new Kobo Aura H2O (and the Aura One) don’t have card slots of any kind.

It’s a shame, but also one we were expecting.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Byrdie4 May, 2017

    So glad now I bought the original H20 when I did, had I waited I probably would have been stuck with one of these new card-less wonders. I really don’t need extreme waterproofing, nor a “Comfort light’ or whatever it’s called that turns my screen a nauseating, migraine-inducing color at the expense of the extra 32 gigs of storage I get from just dropping in an SD card.

    1. BDR5 May, 2017

      I’ve both a gen1 H20 and an Aura One and the Aura One is a *much* better device; thanks in large part to that “nauseating” Comfort Light.

      What you’ve probably seen are pictures of the screen at max brightness, max natural light which turns the screen orange. Reduce both settings, though, and you can choose between a variety of color temperatures; none of which are “nauseating”. Kobo promotes this feature for nighttime reading but that’s not how I use it — I sit before a (huge) 4-monitor array blasting blue light into my eyes well into the night and I have zero trouble sleeping. What the natural light setting is useful for is adjusting the front light color to your liking, from cooler blues to warmer yellows. You can’t do that with any other e-reader and it makes a *huge* difference; it’s really quite remarkable.

      As for storage, I suppose if I included PDF’s on the KA1 I might go over the 8GB limit but the native reader is *so* awful with PDF’s that there’s really no point. The 6+ GB of available storage is plenty for my (pretty extensive) collection of epubs. PDF’s are better read on a backlit tablet

  2. Tarwin4 May, 2017

    Until they update their CPU and RAM, I’m fine without a memory card. Whenever I used one it would slow down to a crawl if I filled it up g and if you’re not filling it you what’s the point of using it. Of course it also depends on your use case. If you have some mega-sized files it probably won’t allow down like when you use thousands of small files.

    1. BDR5 May, 2017

      Personally, I’ve never experienced a slow-down with either the H20 or an older generation Nook; nearly filled sdcards in both. The cards vary in speed so maybe you were using a slow one although it’s not *supposed* to make much difference in an e-reader.

      I’ve heard the original Kindle had that problem but that was probably due more to the crappy indexing/file system that Amazon continues to use to this day than the sdcard itself. Fill up *any* Kindle’s on-board storage and it slows to a crawl. That’s not the case with Kobos or Nook (at least, not the *old* gen Nooks that I’ve used).

  3. Ben29 March, 2019

    Do you know what type of screws are at the end bottom of the H2O Edition 2? Are they torx?

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