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Kobo Aura One Leaks, Has a 300 PPI 7.8″ E-ink Screen for 229 Euros

kobo aura one 1For the past six weeks Kobo has been teasing us with hints about a new and larger ereader.  We first learned of it in an FCC filing, then Kobo CEO teased that it would launch this month, and now thanks to a leak I can finally show you what we’ve all been waiting for.

A Dutch retailer has inadvertently published the product listing for the Kobo Aura One, and it is just about everything we would want from a premium ereader.

We still don’t know the launch date, but according to the leak the Aura One will feature a 7.8″ Carta E-ink display. It has a flush-mounted frontlight and touchscreen, and sports a screen resolution of 1872 x 1404. That is a 300 ppi screen, which means it’s not only larger than most other ereaders on the market, it is also just as sharp.

But wait, there’s more.

Inside this ereader’s waterproof shell you will find Wifi, 8GB internal storage (but no card slot), and 512MB RAM. The listing doesn’t mention the CPU speed, but it does say that the Aura One wieghs 252 grams and measures 195 mm by 138.5mm by 6.9mm.

In comparison, The Aura H2O has a 6.8″ screen, weighs 233 grams, and is only slightly smaller than the  Aura One. But it’s not as pretty:

And how much is Kobo asking for this beauty?

According to our source, the retail price is 229 euros. That price is about 60 euros less than the European price for the Kindle Oasis, so not only has Kobo developed an ereader which is bigger and better than Amazon’s flagship, it’s also cheaper.

I can’t wait to get one, can you? via MobileRead

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Rick August 9, 2016 um 1:06 pm

I am all over this one like white on rice! Those specs are awesome and if implemented right it might just be the end of Kindle for me.

Basem August 9, 2016 um 1:22 pm

My only concern is the PDF support on this device. Other than that, it is near perfect. I would wait, though, to see if Amazon releases a larger e-reader in response (they probably won’t).

Sergegobli August 10, 2016 um 6:36 am

It will support Koreader, so PDF support should be okay.

Chris August 10, 2016 um 1:37 pm

I think only tablets have the sufficient CPU and screen speed to make viewing PDFs pleasant.

Sergegobli August 10, 2016 um 2:22 pm

I read PFD on e-ink no problem. The main problem is the lack of good software. The CPU is fine.

Chris August 11, 2016 um 3:33 am

Seeing a page redraw slowly whenever you change zoom, page, or pan… actually that may be more to do with eInk speed and not CPU. But I would still prefer to read PDFs on a tablet for the responsiveness.

Fjtorres August 9, 2016 um 1:29 pm

I don’t care about the waterproofing.
I do care about SD card support.
(Or at least network storage access.)

So, as they used to say: "Just a bit outside."

Kobo Aura ONE eReader with 7.8 inch high-res – Liliputing August 9, 2016 um 1:35 pm

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RAD August 9, 2016 um 2:12 pm

This looks like a great device but I’m not sure that it offers enough to trade up from my current Aura H2O. After an hour or so I probably wouldn’t even notice the slightly higher resolution and extra screen real-estate. The flush screen sounds much better than the recessed one on the H2O and I’m assuming that the touch mechanism works better.

Now if it came in white I’d trade up instantly…. its a functional need (not fashion). Black devices overheat when in direct sunlight and shut down with "cool me off now" type messages. Drives me bonkers.

Fjtorres, Kobo bought books can be "removed" from the device library. The book and metadata still shows up in the device library but has a "Download" link so that you can add it back later. I’ve never used the extra card slot but I do end up side loading via USB (either directly copying files into the root folder on the device or via Calibre) and occasionally Sort by File Size and remove the big finished books.

One of my favorite things is Pocket on Kobo for reading long form web content. I’ve never used Instapaper with Kindle so I’m assuming they work about the same.

I’m always on or around the water so the water proofing is important to me.

Fjtorres August 9, 2016 um 3:25 pm

1- I don’t buy books from Kobo. I barely buy books from Amazon for my mother’s Kindle. Just two or three a year.
2- I already have a deep collection of BAEN and PD titles that won’t fit on an 8 GB system.
3- If I’m dropping north of $200 on a new reader (I’m more or less due) it has to at least handle what my Sony T1 can handle. Ideally, I should be able to take the 32GB card out of the Sony and plug it into the new reader.
The screen looks good and the weight sounds fine but the Kobo cloud is useless to me. Ymmw, of course.

RAD August 9, 2016 um 4:22 pm

Ahhhh… I wasn’t sure what you were after technically with your "Or at least network storage access" comment. Your a one-card-man, and you won’t use Calibre, got it 🙂

Annie August 29, 2016 um 2:52 pm

Why on earth do you think using an SD card means not using Calibre? That makes no sense. They’re not related.

poiboy August 9, 2016 um 2:32 pm

its all for naught if their dreadful customer service stays.. you know.. dreadful.

Chris August 10, 2016 um 1:38 pm

Their bookstore’s customer service has been perfectly good the last few times I’ve needed them.

DavidW August 12, 2016 um 3:50 pm

It’s still bad. If you need good cs don’t bother.

Puugwash August 9, 2016 um 2:42 pm

It sounds good and the flush screen would avoid the dust collection I get on my H2O, but it’s not enough to make me upgrade. I’d have also preferred it to get lighter. I’ve never used the SD card slot on my H2O either.

RAD August 9, 2016 um 4:33 pm

I’d prefer lighter weight too. When I’m sitting outdoors, I tend to lay the H2O down face down. I guess an advantage of the recessed screen is not worrying about scratching the plastic screen when it’s laying face down. I think I’m just worried about birds leaving gifts 🙂

Annie August 29, 2016 um 3:00 pm

Flush screens are really nice.

I use my SD card all the time though. It’s really disappointing that Kobo is releasing an ereader in a size that’s good for comics and cookbooks, but not including enough storage to make carrying my collection feasible.

wehoho August 9, 2016 um 3:08 pm

I don’t think the size of the Aura One you list is correct. The size of the H2O is 179 x 129 x 9.7 mm. Do you mean 195 x 138.5 mm?

Nate Hoffelder August 9, 2016 um 5:54 pm

I lopped off the one from 195, yes.

good catch.

DavidW August 9, 2016 um 3:34 pm

The Kobo Aura H2O has the following dimensions: 179 x 129 x 9.7 mm this means that this new device is overall SMALLER than the H2O due to reducing bezel and it also has almost the same weight. On top of that it has better resolution.

But my question is that bezel too small? It looks like it might be uncomfortable to hold.

Patrick Holt August 9, 2016 um 3:36 pm

I’d need to see the screen, if it’s flush the same way the Aura was, I’m not interested at all, with those little scratch lines totally visible, depending on the lighting.

DavidW August 9, 2016 um 3:37 pm

No wait I should have seen that Nate had the specs wrong, the Kobo Aura One has dimension of 195.1 x 138.5 x 6.9 mm which makes it slightly bigger overall (but thinner).

RAD August 9, 2016 um 4:39 pm

Just eyeballing the Aura One photo compared to my H2O, it looks like the H2O has a much deeper chin, the bottom part of the bezel. I wonder if that changes how comfortable it is to hold the device for extended reading sessions.

DavidW August 10, 2016 um 5:56 am

If you like to hold it by grasping the bottom then yeah it would not be comfortable. I hold my ereaders by palm goes in the bottom right corner, thumb goes on the side of the bezel and fingers wrap around the back. So I don’t need much on the bottom but the side bezel needs to be at least the width of my thumb.

Nate Hoffelder August 9, 2016 um 5:55 pm

It was a typo, yes.

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ObviousFanboy August 9, 2016 um 9:44 pm

Yes! Excited! I want one now! Perfect device. Couldnt care less about storage. Just a seamless, distraction free, lush and luxurious reading experience and im sold, and it looks like this one might take the cake. So happy!

Pepito August 10, 2016 um 2:13 am

I want it now!!! I need it nowww!!! pleaseee…!!!!!!

dominique August 10, 2016 um 4:07 am

Is it a joke ? 229€ ? Why not 500 ou 2000? There’s no hardware reason for this price. A price like 140€ would be already high especially for a basic product without SD slot.

DavidW August 10, 2016 um 12:43 pm

It’s a bigger screen than Kobo has ever done with a higher resolution than Kobo or Kindle have ever done. I completely disagree with you.

vicente August 10, 2016 um 6:34 am

Does the screen have a plastic substrate? I would not buy such a large device if screen’s substrate is crystal…

Sergegobli August 10, 2016 um 6:39 am

This makes the Oasis look laughably under-featured and over-priced. Put this next to Kindles in-store and you have a Kindle Killer.

Frank August 10, 2016 um 9:27 am

While this e-reader seems nice, it is far from a Kindle killer. It may be an Oasis killer, but the lower price of the basic Kindle and the slighter higher Paperwhite is winning the market.

RAD August 10, 2016 um 10:14 am

The line of Kobo eReaders and Kindle eReaders are comparable I think. Kobo has $90, $140, and $200 offerings. The Kobo Auro H2O has filled the $200 slot since 2014. The upcoming Aura One is an update though its 7.8″ screen is more of a differentiator against the 6″ Kindle’s compared to the 6.8″ H2O.

It comes down to the Kobo/ePub ecosystem vs. the Kindle ecosystem. Kobo has been a viable alternative to the Kindle for a long time but it has not been able to gain a foothold in the United States and its way too late to change that now. Kobo may win a few more customers from the small set of people who are new to eReaders or get their eBooks outside of the Kindle ecosystem but I doubt the Aura One is going to convert Kindle customers en masse.

vicente August 10, 2016 um 3:40 pm

Fortunately, USA is not the unique country in which a lot of people read… 😉

This valuable blog is visited by people from many countries.

RAD August 10, 2016 um 4:30 pm

Well I know first hand of at least one visitor of this blog that is not from the USA, me.

Will Entrekin August 10, 2016 um 12:05 pm

But Kobo isn’t even really an Amazon competitor, much less killer, and that’s the bigger problem.

Waterproof Kobo Aura One Boasts Bigger 7.8-Inch Display – MEGATechNews August 10, 2016 um 1:08 pm

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hkckoo August 10, 2016 um 2:01 pm

shame they ditched the sd card support, wtf.. i was eagerly awaiting this new reader because of the bigger screen, to read manga/comics on, but with 8GB internal memory I cannot cary that many of them around, shame.. really.

Sergegobli August 10, 2016 um 4:20 pm

Fair point. You can’t carry a library of manga around in 8GB. You’ll have to swap them out. It’s still doable, but I get your point.

hkckoo August 11, 2016 um 3:42 am

I guess I just dont understand why kindle/kobo go with the 4GB internal memory shtick, wth.. its 2016. even the smartphones ditched the low memory trend a while ago, the lowest internal ssd you can find on cheapest laptops (sub 200) is 32GB.
if I am paying 200-300€ for ereader I absolutely do not want 4GB of memory in it.

RAD August 11, 2016 um 6:42 am

I guess the answer is that flash memory adds a significant cost so the device and the designers try to optimize price/reach for the majority use case. I think that your use case is rare, its not just manga, its a large side-loaded collection that you want on the device in its entirety. The compromise is to use Calibre to manage a partially loaded library.

Japan is a key market for Kobo so I guess the question is what is different about your manga use case and I think the answer is that Kobo purchased manga books can be loaded on demand from the cloud. If the 8GB and no MicroSD slot limitation kills the manga use case in general then I think you will see negative reviews on Rakuten (or wherever Japanese manga readers purchase their Kobos from) once the device is officially released.

Maybe they made a mistake when they decided not to include the MicroSD slot. Maybe they missed your use case. Maybe your use case is well understood but sufficiently rare that they risked losing you as a customer. Maybe the specs on the Dutch site are wrong. Maybe they don’t have the right numbers from which to make an informed decision. I dunno.

hkckoo August 11, 2016 um 8:40 am

what significant cost? there is no significant price difference between 4gb flash and 32-64gb flash? the internal flash memory in kobo is just a micro sd card. 4GB costs 6 bucks, 32 costs 10 bucks. 64GB is 20 bucks. there are surely different reason why they dont do this.

Frank August 11, 2016 um 8:50 am

Smartphones just this year finally dropped 16GB for the base model’s storage, which is solely needed.

I don’t know why you are either loading thousands of ebooks are a few hundred PDFs on your ereader, but I believe nearly all users only need normal ebooks.

While the cost difference is likely about 5 bucks, it adds up quickly when you sell as much as Amazon does.

Fjtorres August 11, 2016 um 9:21 am

But Kobo doesn’t sell anywhere near as much as Amazon. By one to two orders of magnitude on the hardware side.

Amazon gets away with limited memory on their readers because of their open cloud storage and the Fire Tablets which, being android-based can access network storage. And even there they are moving the tablets to offer SD support.

RAD August 11, 2016 um 10:59 am

Back of the envelope calculation:
– device price $200
– cost of parts ~ 50% of device price = $100
– $6 extra is 6%

The H2O has 4GB, the Auro One has 8GB two years later which fits Moore’s Law. The hardware engineers and product managers have to make choices and tradeoffs are involved. Customers are demanding, the squeaky wheel gets greased, keep squeaking.

Steve H August 11, 2016 um 3:39 pm

Agree with the squeaky wheel-squeak directly to the manufacturers.

Kobo's upcoming e-reader is going to be pretty big – NEWS August 10, 2016 um 2:11 pm

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mustafa altun August 16, 2016 um 5:56 am

Why not android?

Nate Hoffelder August 16, 2016 um 6:29 am

Because Brent Spiner was already under contract.

Seriously, though, Kobo doesn’t do Android on E-ink. I can’t tell you why, but they prefer to run Linux.

Kobo Aura One Ships in September, Will Cost $230 | The Digital Reader August 17, 2016 um 10:59 am

[…] right now), but The Verge, Tom's Hardware, and Techcrunch have all posted reviews which confirm the leaked specs and our guesses about the […]

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