Kobo Aura ONE E-Reader

Last updated date: April 4, 2019

Review Melt Score
8.4

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We looked at the top 1 E-Readers and dug through the reviews from 12 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Spot, Trusted Reviews, Digital Trends, Engadget, CNET, Tech Radar, TechHive, PG Magazine - SE Asia, Tom's Guide, Hooked To Books, Wired Shopper and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best E-Reader you should buy.

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 103 expert reviews, the Kobo Kobo Waterproof Aura ONE E-Reader placed 4th 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
8.2
12 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
0.0
0 user reviews
Our Favorite Video 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

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.

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.