The Kobo Aura One seems to have everything it takes to be the best e-reader of 2017: a large, 7.8-inch Carta e-Ink screen with a 1872×1404, 300 dpi resolution. It’s “natural light” mode allows you to limit your exposure to the harmful effects of blue lights from LEDs. So, just how good is it?
At the first touch, the e-reader seems to be a quality product, light (230g) and very thin, despite its larger screen size.
The large Carta screen provides high contrast and a lot of precision: the characters appear to be clean and the screen size is very comfortable. Despite the larger screen size, the weight is still quite light, which implies that a little bit of autonomy is lost compared to the brand’s previous models.
The screen has a “natural light” mode, Comfort Light PRO, which allows you to change the screen’s warmth. The light mode can be defined manually, or you can set it so that it adapts depending on the time, going towards warmer, more orange tones as it gets later so that it’s adapted for night reading.
While this idea is great, some users have had some issues with its actual application, such as the color going too far towards red, or there being green marks on the screen. To read more about this, check out the discussion on the mobileread.com forum.
We tested 3 different Aura One e-readers, and we experienced these problems on every single one of them at low brightness, even though the severity of the issue was different on each one. Is this an inherent problem with the technology that Kobo is using, or just an issue of quality control since some users don’t seem to be affected by it? If you choose this e-reader, purchase it from a seller that has a good return policy, just in case you end up with an e-reader that has this issue…
Format and Software
However, just like all the other Kobo e-readers, this model handles different file formats very well. This e-reader is capable of naturally reading a large number of file formats: EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR.
The software has undergone an update that has made it more pleasant to use, especially the home screen which has become much clearer. The interface is also clearer and easy to use, just as the user experience is very good. You can easily organize your books and have the option of changing fonts and font size. You don’t have this kind of freedom on a Kindle.
The PDF support could be improved. An e-reader with a large screen seems like it would be the perfect device for reading PDFs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the default PDF reader included with the e-reader. For the tinkerers, you have the option of installing “Koreader”, a free alternative software that allows you to comfortably read a lot of different file formats, including PDFs. In this software you can crop the page and adjust the margins, which are often set too large and make the font smaller than necessary and therefore uncomfortable to read. On Koreader, this adjustment stays consistent for every page: which is what’s missing from Kobo’s default program to make it the multipurpose e-reader that’s sought after by those who read lots of PDFs…
We do have a small critique on underlining and making notes in the documents. On the handful of Kobo e-readers that I’ve been able to test, the touchscreen seems less precise than that of a Kindle. For example, it’s often difficult to click on the tiny numbers that direct you to footnotes or endnotes. For someone who’s reading essays or for a student, a different model would be a better idea. The Kindle Paperwhite, for example, allows you to switch between notes and the reader much more easily, even after “leafing through” a couple of pages of notes…
This e-reader has plenty of qualities and might seem like it would be expensive. However, the PocketBook Inkpad 3, has a similar price and offers more versatility. For those with a larger budget, the new Kobo Forma could turn out to be a good choice, considering that all the main issues that the Aura One had are fixed in this version. Even though its price is a little higher, the Aura One is still competitive, especially if you buy it secondhand, as long as you don’t end up with one that has any lighting issues.