Kobo Aura ONE E-Reader

Last updated date: June 14, 2021

DWYM Score

8.4

Kobo Aura ONE E-Reader

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We looked at the top E-Readers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best E-Reader you should buy.

Update as June 14, 2021:
Checkout The Best E-Reader for a detailed review of all the top e-readers.

Overall Take

This high-end reader holds up to its Kindle competition with a large screen and impressive memory capacity. It's also waterproof, and it comes with an array of LED lights around the screen for nighttime reading. Though the added size and weight may make this reader less travel-friendly, it's an overall great option for an e-reader.


In our analysis of 95 expert reviews, the Kobo Waterproof Aura ONE E-Reader placed 8th when we looked at the top 14 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Designed with the help of our most passionate customers, Kobo Aura ONE was crafted to deliver the absolute best reading experience, period. At Kobo, we are 100% focused on making the reading experience better for Booklovers around the world. With Kobo Aura ONE, we took it one step further. We invited a group of our customers to work alongside us from start to finish. They challenged us to push the limits on screen size, front-light technology and easier access to the stories they love. The result? An eReader unlike any other. Bedtime readers rejoice with ComfortLight PRO. By reducing blue-light exposure, the front-light technology protects your eyes and provides the best nighttime reading experience without impacting your sleep.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.2
12 expert reviews

What experts liked

And Kobo’s high-end reader, the Aura One, has a 7.8-inch display. The value of these Kobo models’ larger screens is debatable. Some people will benefit from being able to use larger text and to see more on the screen
- New York Times Wirecutter
The Kobo Aura ONE is an e-reader built by and for readers. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to features, comfort and convenience.
- Tech Spot
Kobo Aura One is water-resistant – and that alone makes it great.
- Trusted Reviews
September 16, 2016 | Full review
The larger screen mimics the full-page experience you’d have with a hardcover book. You get more words on each page, even when you crank up the font to an enormous size that would lead to lots of page flipping on a 6-inch reader.
- Digital Trends
The Kobo Aura One is a solid waterproof ebook reader with an extra large display.
- Engadget
The Kobo Aura One sports a 7.8-inch e-ink display that's significantly larger than the 6-inch e-ink displays found on all of Amazon's Kindle e-readers.
- CNET
The Kobo Aura One's headline feature is its size. This is different to any other ereader we've seen, and if you've always thought the current crop of devices were a bit small for your liking then this might be the ereader you’ve been waiting for.
- Tech Radar
October 24, 2016 | Full review
The Kobo Aura One is a big e-reader with a 7.8-inch, 300 ppi display and twice as much storage as any product we reviewed.
- TechHive
December 11, 2018 | Full review
The Kobo Aura One is a solid waterproof ebook reader with an extra large display.
- PG Magazine - SE Asia
The Kobo Aura One features an IPX8-rated waterproof design that allows it to last up to 60 minutes in up to 6.5 feet of fresh water.
- Tom's Guide
August 17, 2016 | Full review
The Kobo Aura One comes with nine white LEDs and eight RGB LEDs around the frame. It’s one of the very rare ebook readers on the market with RGB LEDs. And they are truly the icing on the cake!
- Hooked To Books
January 1, 2019 | Full review
As one of Kobo's flagship e-readers, the Aura ONE packs a punch. There's a lot to love here from the screen size, to the water resistance, to the multitude of software features.
- Wired Shopper
July 10, 2018 | Full review

What experts didn't like

Aura One, has a 7.8-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
Touch screen occasionally didn't respond well
- Tech Spot
The one thing that I’m not a fan of is the Kobo logo that’s stuck on both the front and rear of the device.
- Trusted Reviews
September 16, 2016 | Full review
I did miss having page-turn buttons, which I had gotten used to after using the Kindle Oasis for the past few months. Swiping the screen to turn the page will be intuitive enough to anyone with a smartphone, but hard buttons would feel better.
- Digital Trends
may be a little too large for some people's hands.
- CNET
Design-wise, the Aura One doesn't feel as premium as some Kindle products. The back panel is covered in dimpled plastic that makes gripping it easier, but it doesn't feel as nice as the Kindle Oasis.
- Tech Radar
October 24, 2016 | Full review
We weren’t impressed with its backlight, which the manufacturer claims doesn’t emit the type of blue light that can interrupt sleep cycles
- TechHive
December 11, 2018 | Full review
Screen has slightly shadowy edges
- PG Magazine - SE Asia
The Aura One's ambient-light sensors enable the most comfortable reading I've experienced on an e-reader.
- Tom's Guide
August 17, 2016 | Full review
Heavier (8.1 oz or 230g) than most Kindles
- Hooked To Books
January 1, 2019 | Full review
The device is heavier than other Kobo devices because of its larger screen and it gets close to the Kindle Oasis in cost.
- Wired Shopper
July 10, 2018 | Full review

Our Expert Consultant

Molly Thornberg   
Technology and parenting blogger

Molly Thornberg is a professional writer, creative and mom to four kids, living her best life outside of Dallas, Texas. With a love for all things tech, she is passionate about helping parents raise kids in the digital age. She writes about technology, parenting and humor on her blog Digital Mom Blog.

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. One of the first questions you’ll want to ask yourself is how you plan to use your e-reader, and whether you might benefit from purchasing a tablet that can double as your e-reader, says technology expert Molly Thornberg, a parenting and tech blogger.

“Basic e-readers allow just reading. These are great for focused reading, and for kids,” says Thornberg, the brains behind the Digital Mom Blog. “More advanced e-readers are typically tablets offering more options like web browsing and a music player.”

Understanding the technology behind e-readers can also 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.

Staring at a computer screen to catch up on your reading list might sound like a headache, but e-reader technology reduces eye strain. Large screens, backlights and adjustable fonts and text sizes all make ebooks easier to read than ever.

Before you buy, you’ll want to consider whether you prefer an e-reader experience that closely mirrors the one you’d have with a regular book, or whether you’re up for a more lively display.

“E-readers offer either e-ink (electronic ink) or LCD display,” says Thornberg.  “E-ink offers an electronic paper-like display. LCD screen displays offer color and typically more touchscreen capabilities. Some devices offer both.”

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 Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite are compatible with Audible, a massive library of audiobooks and original content.

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.

Thornberg says you’ll also want to consider what e-book stores and libraries your new e-reader will have access to as well.

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 that fits easily in a 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 Clara HD 6-Inch Touchscreen E-Reader comes with 8 GB of built-in memory.
  • What type of controls are you most comfortable with? Touchscreen controls are effortless. However, some older e-readers still use buttons to help you scroll through pages.