Kobo Aura H2O impressions 13 October 2014
I've grown accustomed to reading on computers and phones (though I miss home delivery of the Times) so I decided to get an e-reader. I figure I'll have fewer physical books to store (and, someday, get rid of) and more reading options when travelling.
I bought Kobo's new Aura H2O, $180 plus $40 for the cover. The Kobo reads epubs and pdfs, even jpgs and docs, but nothing from Amazon. And that of course is the big disadvantage to the Kobo. Buying epub-format books on Kobo.com and Chapters is nothing like Amazon. The Amazon site is, well, it's Amazon; designed to make the shopping experience easy and supportive with comments and a well-designed search. The flip side is that there are a lot of free (Project Gutenberg) and almost-free epub and pdf books. It helps if you've a taste for works that are over a century old. I quickly loaded it with pdfs and epubs. No more asking myself, do I take one Dostoevsky or two Austens?
The Kobo's display is crisp and easy to read in the daylight and the dark, which is what you'd expect. Occasionally the screen flashes black, something to do with the e-ink technology, which is jarring until you get used to it. The flash is more common on menus, less frequent while reading.
The Kobo is waterproof so you can swim with it or read in the bath. I don't see me doing either but waterproof isn't a bad feature, like when it's in your backpack and it rains. Waterproof didn't make it much bigger or heavier as they just added seals, like Nikon does with their higher-end bodies.
The Kobo firmware could use some work as I can easily crash it. Trying to open one of Davd DuChemin's admittedly-large pdf books on photography immediately brings the Kobo to a white screen of death that only a power reset can fix. I suspect it has to do with the pdf's images as a similarly-sized Nikon D800 manual opens with no problem.
The Kobo in the photo was shot with a 50/1.2 at f/1.4, iso 500, 1/1600 sec.
I'm listening to trance, In Pools by Human Mesh Dance.