Kobo Aura H2o E-Reader

Last updated date: March 27, 2019

Review Melt Score
8.1

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We looked at the top 1 E-Readers and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Radar, TechHive, Trusted Reviews, Digital Trends, Tech Spot, PG Magazine - SE Asia, Stuff, Good E-Reader, Mobile Syrup and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best E-Reader you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 101 expert reviews, the Kobo Kobo Aura H2o E-Reader placed 6th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note April 9, 2019:
Checkout The Best E-Reader for a detailed review of all the top e-readers.

Expert Summarized Score
7.8
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
18 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The Aura H20 Edition 2 is rated IPX8 for water resistance.
- New York Times Wirecutter
November 19, 2018 | Full review
IPX8 waterproofing means you’ll never worry about water, can withstand up to 60 minutes under two meters of water.
- Tech Radar
May 26, 2017 | Full review
Nighttime backlight changes hue to reduce light in the blue spectrum
- TechHive
August 17, 2017 | Full review
As the name suggests, the Aura H2O is water-resistant. This is a feature I’ve been calling for Amazon to add to its Kindles for some time now, and one that seems an obvious choice for a device that’s likely to be used in the bath or around the pool on a holiday.
- Trusted Reviews
May 19, 2017 | Full review
One appreciable improvement is the internal storage. The new Aura H2O can store twice as many books as the original, up to 8GB worth. That translates to about 6,000 ebooks, which is more than enough for the average reader.
- Digital Trends
Plenty of font customization options.
- Tech Spot
The H2O has a blue power button on the back of the top right edge. It also has a textured back, which, along with its size, makes one-handed reading easier than the previous model.
- PG Magazine - SE Asia
May 22, 2017 | Full review
More important is the IPX8 rating, which means it’ll be able to live 2m underwater for up to 60 minutes with no ill effects. Forget reading by the pool - with one of these you can read in the pool.
- Stuff
May 5, 2017 | Full review
One of the main benefits of the H2O e-Reader is the ability to enjoy eBooks, graphic novels or newspapers in lowlight conditions or complete darkness.
- Good E-Reader
August 26, 2014 | Full review
Aura H2O’s display still includes Kobo’s ComfortLight Pro backlighting technology, which reduces the display’s output of blue night when the sun sets.
- Mobile Syrup
June 3, 2017 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Aura H20 is 6.8-inch display,we think it would be a drawback for many others, because the H20 and Aura One’s size makes them harder to carry around, and they won’t fit into a pocket, whereas 6-inch readers can.
- New York Times Wirecutter
November 19, 2018 | Full review
The charging port doesn’t have any kind of cover; we’re not entirely sure how it would react to getting filled with salt from seawater
- Tech Radar
May 26, 2017 | Full review
Interface reacts unpredictably when the touchscreen comes into contact with liquids
- TechHive
August 17, 2017 | Full review
Battery life not as good as the competition
- Trusted Reviews
May 19, 2017 | Full review
Despite the upgrades from the original 2014 device, the Aura H2O isn’t as snappy as we hoped. It took up to a full second longer to load books than Amazon’s 6-inch Kindle, for example, and it sometimes stuttered in menus — especially the search screen.
- Digital Trends
$40 to $60 more expensive than Kindle
- Tech Spot
Unfortunately, Kobo also got rid of the microSD slot.
- PG Magazine - SE Asia
May 22, 2017 | Full review
There are no physical buttons on the front, which not everyone will like. You’ve got to tap or swipe the E ink screen to turn your digital pages. The single power button on the back wakes the H2O from sleep. It’s easy enough to find if you’re right-handed, but hardly in a convenient place for southpaws.
- Stuff
May 5, 2017 | Full review
Constant water droplet notifications are annoying.
- Good E-Reader
August 26, 2014 | Full review
physical buttons would have likely made waterproofing the device more complicated.
- Mobile Syrup
June 3, 2017 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

E-book reader of "anytime" waterproof function equipped to fulfill the "anywhere"! ◆ because equipped with waterproof a waterproof function to enjoy not choosing a scene, anytime, anywhere with peace of mind reading can be enjoyed. For example, when the half-body bath in the bathroom and, even when you want to see the recipes in the kitchen. Also in one scene of life, you can use without having to worry about getting wet. Of course, peace of mind even if caught in a sudden rain in the travel destination and the outdoors. And large screen yet unprecedented ◆, smooth page turning Kobo Aura H2O is a model in pursuit of readability. Kobo and the screen of the conventional model size larger than 6.8 inches, Rakuten Kobo best ever resolution, easier crisp also read comic fine depiction. Furthermore turning smooth page, crisp contrast also be realized. It is the perfect model for those of you like reading. ◆ because the front light mounted easy on the eyes, any less tired is comfortable reading eyes even in an environment, equipped with the optimal front light for prolonged periods of time with reading. Even when you want to read a book in the bedroom after the turn off the electricity, you can immerse yourself without worrying about the darkness. In addition, at dusk and vacated a little time on the go, even to the waiting time in a dark airport or train station, you can use feel free to contact. ◆ and built-in memory, a micro SD card, carry the Tabburi book! ◆ In the battery last longer, enjoy a long period of time!

Overall Product Rankings

1. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader (10th Gen)
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 13
2. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader (7th Gen)
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 5
3. Amazon Kindle Oasis E-Reader
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 12
4. Kobo Aura ONE E-Reader
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 12
5. Amazon Kindle Voyage E-Reader
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 10
6. Kobo Aura H2o E-Reader
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Amazon Kindle 6-Inch E-reader
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 7
8. Amazon Fire HD8 E-Reader
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 5
9. Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight Plus E-Reader
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 8
10. Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On E-Readers

E-readers have changed the way people consume books, magazines and articles. Instead of choosing between one or two physical books to bring with you on vacation, you can bring hundreds of options along in one sleek device. E-books tend to be cheaper than paperbacks, so it’s less expensive to expand your mind and check out new authors and titles. They’re also environmentally friendly; downloading e-books instead of buying hardcover books saves plenty of paper and cardboard.

The popularity of e-readers has spawned a large industry of digital reading devices, and finding the right one for your needs requires some research. Understanding the technology behind e-readers can help you make your decision.

E-readers take e-book files and make them accessible to readers by storing them on a small computer. Their optimized portability, readability and battery life make them great literary companions. Many models today are designed for easy reading in sunlight. Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite has a glare-free display for kicking back with a new novel at the beach.

Staring at a computer screen to catch up on your reading list might sound like a headache, but e-reader technology reduces eye strain. The Kobo Aura ONE E-Reader has an impressive 7.8-inch screen with a built-in ComfortLight that protects your eyes while lighting up your screen for late night reading. The 7th Generation Kindle Paperwhite has an adjustable built-in light, and the new Kindle Paperwhite lets you adjust the size and boldness of your book’s text.

Almost all physical books come in e-book form today. Amazon’s Kindle readers offer access to over a thousand books, magazines and more to Prime members, and The Kobo Aura ONE connects directly to your local library for free access to their entire e-book catalog.

Older e-readers needed to be charged regularly, but newer models have extended battery lives for more reading freedom. The Kindle Oasis can go weeks without a charge, so you won’t have to go hunting for power outlets at stops on your next road trip.

If audiobooks are more your speed, you can still listen to them on some e-readers. The Kindle Oasis and Kindle Paperwhite are compatible with Audible, a massive library of audiobooks and original content.

Comic book fans can keep up with their favorite series on an e-reader, too. The Kobo Aura ONE has HD resolution and 32 GB of onboard memory to hold up to 700 graphic novels. It also supports 14 different file formats, making visual books just as accessible as a standard e-book.

You don’t need to worry about squinting to make out the words on your e-reader’s screen, either. The Pixels Per Inch (or PPI) of modern e-readers eclipses their predecessors. All four of our top picks have impressive 300 ppi screens, so every sentence will be crystal clear.

Good e-readers can get a little pricey, so you’ll want to think about a few more things before you commit to one. 

Review Melt Fun Fact

E-readers didn’t reach the masses until the mid-2000s, but someone saw the new technology coming. Author Bob Brown predicted the death of printed books in his 1930 book “The Readies.” Brown suggested building a machine that had ribbons of miniaturized text scrolling behind a magnifying glass. It would shorten reading time by creating hyper-abbreviated words, with em dashes replacing certain words. He called these shortened words “readies.” Brown also said that the machine would allow users to adjust type size for easier reading, and he said that the machine would reduce paper waste and save trees.

Only 150 copies of Brown’s futuristic text were published when he was alive., But the book is now available in paperback, hardcover and of course, as an e-book.

The E-Reader Buying Guide

  • Will you be traveling a lot with your e-reader? If you regularly jet set for work or play, you’ll want an ultra-portable e-reader. At just 6.6” x 4.6”, the Kindle Paperwhite fits easily in your purse or carry-on bag.
  • How frequently do you plan on using your e-reader? All four of our top picks have improved battery life over their predecessors. They can go for “weeks” without a charge, but that’s dependent on how frequently you use them. Give your e-reader’s battery life a test run at home before you take it on any long trips.
  • E-readers can download books via WiFi or over your cellular network. Downloading over your home WiFi network will save you some cash, but you’ll be out of luck if you want to check out a new title on the go. Using a cellular network is convenient, but the data charges might drive up your cellular bill. Talk to your network provider before you dive into this option, and make sure you budget accordingly for your bookworm habit.
  • How many e-books, audiobooks and graphic novels do you plan on reading? You’ll need more memory if you want an extensive collection. The Kindle Oasis comes in 8 GB or 32 GB versions, while the Kobo Aura ONE comes with 32 GB of built-in memory.
  • What type of controls are you most comfortable with? Our three Amazon Kindle selections and the Kobo Aura ONE all come with effortless touchscreen controls. However, some older e-readers still use buttons to help you scroll through pages.