Now, with the availability of a newly upgraded e-reader, the Kobo Aura H20 (a new 2nd generation Aura H20), it may be a good time for you to see how it might compare in a match-up with the ever-popular Kindle Paperwhite. Many fans of e-books are familiar with Kindle e-readers, and know that the Kindle Paperwhite is definitely one of the best e-readers on the market. But especially in the United States, Kobo e-readers are not quite as well known or popular. That’s understandable, since Kobo has always focused it marketing efforts on more of a global and international scale, instead of targeting the USA, which is Amazon and Kindle’s main turf. Amazon also dominates because it invented the first mass-marketed e-reader. But Kobo is a rather young company, not launched until 2009. Ever since then, however, Kobo’s e-books and e-readers have been competing directly with Amazon and its big line of Kindle products…and gaining market share.
The Kindle Paperwhite is widely regarded as the best screen for reading, thanks to its elegantly soft lighting, consistent illumination, and lack of glare. But if you compare the Paperwhite to the Kobo in terms of that visual reader experience in bright sunlight, it’s virtually a tie. Kobo doesn’t just make a dustproof, waterproof e-reader, in other words, but it makes one that’s bright sunshine- proof too as far as reading comfort.
Sometimes when you’re outside that may be more important that the waterproofing. After all, you may use your e-reader all summer and, if you’re careful, never get it wet. But you’ll spend many hours reading e-books on super sunny days, and if the screen handles direct sunlight exceptionally well, that’s going to be a real value-adding feature.
Advanced, User-Friendly Technology
The Kobo touchscreen reads essentially like printed paper, which never glares back at you, even when you use the e-ink powered e-reader in direct sunlight. Fourteen file formats are supported, you can read e-books from your public library. Choose from 11 different fonts, and 24 different font sizes…compared to 8 font sizes on a Kindle.
While you are reading a book, you can use the Kobo graph in the menu to see how many minutes are left in the chapter you are on, whereas with Kindle most books will only give you an estimate of time left to finish the whole book. Plus you can read in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, and Japanese.
Kobo Aura H20 can be put underwater, to a depth of two meters (more than six feet) of water, for up to an hour, and the manufacturer says it should still operate just fine. The screen size of the Aura H20 is a little bigger….6.8 inches compared to the 6-inch Paperwhite, but both weigh almost the same. A Paperwhite has slightly more pixels per inch, but for most readers the high-definition resolution of these competing e-readers is virtually indistinguishable. Both are backlit, Wi-Fi capability, and boast similar battery life.
Kobo Aura seems to win out in terms of which of these two great devices perform better in bright, glaring sunlight, although the Paperwhite also wins rave reviews for how well it performs in bright sunlight. A cool feature on the Kobo Aura is that if you want to adjust the light setting, all you have to do is slide your fingers up or down the touch screen. You don’t have to go to the setting menu. Meanwhile Kindle offers one of the largest selections of e-books in the world, and it the Paperwhite provides lots of easy ways to synch your e-books between devices and download all sorts of reading material to your e-reader.
The Price Tag and Bottom Line
Most people are budget-minded, and it is important to note that other than the waterproofing feature, the big difference between these two e-readers is price. You can buy a Kindle Paperwhite for about $119, whereas you’ll need to shell out around $179 for the new Kobo Aura H20. Those who are around water when they read may be willing to pay a premium price for serious waterproofing. Others will be content with the Kindle, and can always invest in a protective cover to use around water.
The bottom line is that both of these e-readers are pretty fantastic. If this kind of side-by-side comparison still doesn’t sell you on one or the other, the best way make a final determination is to handle one in person. Everyone has their own unique preferences and needs when it comes to e-readers. But there is no substitute for actually reading with one and getting a total experience of the pros and cons of each.