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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kobo Aura Review + Giveaway

I have recently received the newest addition to the Kobo e-readers family - the Kobo Aura -  and, guys, let me just tell you that this is one of the best e-readers I've had the pleasure of reading on! I used to be a Kindle kind of gal, and while Kindle has some awesome features that Kobo does not *yet?* have, one thing that I didn't like was how unreliable all my Kindles turned out to be. Those of you Kindle users out there probably know what I'm talking about - frozen screens while trying to highlight a quote and eventual deaths by getting stuck on a random screensaver. 

Kobo does not have these issues, or at least they are not as common as what you'd get with a Kindle. Personally, I have never experienced a frozen screen or a sudden black-out. I highlighted and shared plenty of quotes, spent hours reading, browsing online and playing around with different settings - and nothing weird or unexpected happened. I found both Kobo Aura and Kobo Aura HD to be extremely reliable. 

Kobo Aura is small, compact and very light. It fits comfortably in your hand and you can spend hours reading on it without getting a cramp in your hand :) 

I love the design! Quite honestly, I have never seen a smaller, more chic e-reader. 

Kobo Aura sports something called ClarityScreen, has little to no glare and a great 6” high res Pearl E Ink screen for a print on paper reading experience even in direct sunlight. For night reading, the adjustable light works perfectly. I keep my brightness at about 25% and find it very easy on my eyes. Most importantly, thanks to the great resolution and fantastic E Ink screen, I can go on reading for hours and I don't get tired (as opposed to reading on iPad or Kindle Fire). 

Another thing about the screen is its responsiveness to the touch. I swear I had a few instances when my hair would touch the screen and the page would turn. Kobo Aura is extremely sensitive and responsive, which also makes other things like highlighting or taking notes easy. 
Customizable fonts and sizes, line spacings, margins and justification - all that allows you to improve your reading experience. Highlighting a single word automatically pops up its meaning in dictionary. You can highlight, make notes and *dog ear* pages. You can also share highlighted quotes on Facebook, which I think is a great idea, though due to publisher regulations there is a limit to the length of the quote you can post. If your quote is a longer one, it will be cut off at some point and only part of it will appear in your Facebook status. Still, nice and useful feature, that I hope will be improved in the future. 

As far as getting files onto your Kobo is concerned, I find myself wishing for a better solution. So far, we have only three options: 1) purchase the book in Kobo's ebook store and have it delivered to your e-reader wirelessly, 2) connect your e-reader to your computer via cable and move the book through Adobe Digital Editions (for drm files from NetGalley, Edelweiss or your local library), or 3) connect your e-reader to your computer via cable and simply drag-n-drop your epub file onto the storage disk of your Kobo. 

For bloggers who get lots of review copies in their mailboxes or simply get them via NetGalley or Edelweiss non of these options are good. I often find myself wishing for Kobo to come up with a system similar to what Kindle offers - i.e., using email to send books wirelessly onto e-readers via some sort of *cloud* service. Admittedly, this is my main and only issue with Kobo Aura so far.

Kobo Aura is quite the cool cat among e-readers. Kobo came up with some really awesome and fun features to make our reading experience even more enjoyable. Not only do we have book stats, where we can track our progress with a particular book or see how many books we've read so far, how many pages we've turned or even how long it took us on average to read one page, but we also get awards. YES, we get cool and quirky awards for many things - from reading way into wee hours, to reading during breakfast or dinner. It's a cute, experience-enhancing addition that I really enjoy :) 
Kobo Aura is full of features. It allows you to categorize your books and put them in different folders. You can create reading lists and wishlists. You can take a look at books recommended for you based on what you've already read. You can download previews and easily access Kobo store.

A new and interesting feature that Kobo Aura now offers, is something called POCKET. An app that allows you to save an article found online (whether while browsing on Kobo, on your computer or on your phone - it's all synchronized), and access it on your e-reader. It's especially useful if, like me, you read blogs, websites, news etc. 

Overall, I love my new Kobo Aura. If only there was an easier way of getting my books onto it, I would be 100% satisfied with it. Still, it's a great, affordable e-reader that I highly recommend. You will LOVE the E Ink screen and the many unique features for sure!

Are you in need of a new awesome e-reader?!
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ENDS: October 15th
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