World Book Day: is buying an e-reader worth it? Kobo Aura One review

Recently, I’ve developed an overwhelming guilt about reading. I find the time to watch Netflix, read the papers and doss about on my phone – but, for some reason, I can never find the time to finish a book.

The last one I finished was for this blog and, before that, I hadn’t completed a book since the summer.

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Could a Kobo become an essential?

It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading – there is something magically immersive about getting into a book that you don’t find with watching a film or series – but it is the physical detachment from all of my screens that I find hard (although it really shouldn’t be).

As one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I endeavoured to read more and, although I haven’t quite finished my second book of the year (I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou), I’m almost there.

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For a while, I have considered getting an e-reader: it is eco-friendly, you can carry multiple books at once, it is easier to hold and you can read in the dark. The main reason I didn’t buy one was because I love reading in the bath – or from a lilo in the pool on holiday.

Enter… the Kobo Aura One.

I tested out the Kobo Aura One and I can confirm it works in the bath 🛁 📓 new post in bio @kobobooks

A post shared by Cristina Criddle (@criddlerr) on

It’s the waterproof e-reader, a title which no Kindle has ever been able to claim. Considering e-readers are popular with holidaymakers, it’s amazing that this feature isn’t more common. The Aura One is IPX8 waterproof up to 2 metres for 60 minutes – so you’re safe in the bath… Trust me, I’ve tried it.

Okay, at £189.99, it’s not as cheap as the Kindle Paperwhite but it is pitched as a premium e-reader. It’s proved so popular it has sold out on the Kobo website.

So is it worth it? The Aura One has a 7.8-inch screen with a resolution of 300 ppi. The resolution is the same as most Kindles but the size is 1.8 inches larger. Not as easy to hold with one hand on the Tube, but definitely easier to read and you don’t have to turn the page as frequently.

The Aura One also has a reactive light sensor which adjusts its screen brightness based on the surrounding light. It features Kobo’s new RGB front lighting technology, ComfortLight Pro, which works like Apple’s Night Shift and turns to a warmer light in the evening, helping you sleep better after you’ve been reading a screen.

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Unfortunately, unlike the Kindle, Kobo doesn’t offer daily newspapers but it does have magazines. However, one huge plus is that it is compatible with Pocket.

Pocket is a read-it-later app that lets you save articles online to read later. It’s one of my favourite apps and means that you can catch up with the pieces you’ve wanted to read throughout the day.

The Aura One apparently has a battery life of around a month, but it depends on how much you use it. I have used it infrequently for around a week and the battery is still high but other reviews found that if reading for an hour each day, the battery fell from 100% to around 30%. It’s a lot better than the average tablet or smartphone but others in the market offer more.

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I was impressed by the Aura One but it, sadly, hasn’t compelled me to read more than usual (apart from in the bath). I would, however, definitely consider getting one for a holiday – think of all the suitcase space!

But the problem is, I love holding a paper book. I love scouring charity shops for them, smelling the musky pages and wondering who else had read the book. In fact, second-hand books are often cheaper than on Kindle or Kobo and, more importantly, you can then pass good books on to friends to love.

My friend Issy once told me to never trust a person who didn’t have a bookcase in their house and I think she’s right. A kobo is handy, but you’ll never beat the charm of a good, old book.

*I was loaned a Kobo Aura One for the purposes of this review but all opinions are my own and completely honest.

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