E-reader company Kobo has released the Aura One, a device that includes several features that might finally push potential new e-book readers to purchase an e-reader and could also cause Kindle owners to switch brands.
The Kobo Aura One packs a massive 7.8-inch e-ink display that is significantly larger than the 6-inch e-ink displays that are found in the current Kindle e-readers of Amazon. However, despite the big screen, the Kobo Aura One only weighs 230 grams with a thickness of 6.9 millimeters, which is even lighter and thinner than its predecessor, the Kobo Aura H2O.
Similar to the Kobo Aura H2O, the Kobo Aura One has a waterproof feature. The new e-reader does a better job at staying in the water though, with a higher IPX8 rating that allows it to stay submerged up to 2 meters of water for up to one hour. In comparison, the Kobo Aura H2O can only stay submerged up to 1 meter of water, and only for 30 minutes.
The waterproof feature will be great for users who would like to read while in the bathtub or at the beach, for example, with the textured and rubberized finish of the Kobo Aura One's back making it easier to handle the e-reader.
The Kobo Aura One also features a front light system that utilizes RGB bulbs in addition to white bulbs, enabling a night reading mode. Research has shown that blue light can lower the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is why staring into the screens of electronic devices often makes it harder to fall asleep. In addition, lights of warmer colors signals to the user's brain that it is the end the day, preparing the body to sleep.
The software of the Kobo Aura One will allow users to select the preferred color temperature of the e-reader's screen from a scale of blue to red. Users can also input their usual bedtime so that the device will automatically change the color of the front lights gradually into a warm orange glow by the end of the day. For iOS users, this feature is similar to the Night Shift mode found in iOS 9.3 and higher.
Another important feature for the Kobo Aura One is the integration of the Overdrive e-book library, which was purchased by Kobo's parent company Rakuten last year. Overdrive is said to be the biggest provider of e-books to public libraries, and with the user's library credentials plugged into the Kobo Aura One, titles that can be borrowed instead of purchased will also show up when searching through the Kobo store.
The Kobo Aura One, which will also come with 8 GB of internal storage and a battery that is claimed to last for up to one month, will be available in the United States for $229 beginning Sept. 6.