back to article Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

Now that even the cheapest tablets are notching up increased battery life these days, it seems that the ever-ready e-reader could run the risk of becoming extinct. Kobo Aura H2O e-reader Kobo's Aura H2O hi-res waterproof e-reader In recent months Barnes and Noble has announced a partnership with Samsung to make Nook …

  1. A Twig

    Perfect - my previous Kobo Glo died, I repaired it with parts cannibalised from antother "spares or repair" one I got of ebay, but that now too has died. It survived 3 years of abuse though, including being thrown out of 4x4s etc so I wasn;t too upset.

    Was going to buy another of the same, but now that this has come out - defo where my hard earned will be going. :)

    One question - the software was a bit glitchy a couple years back, as every model has its own version and foibles, and at least one a month it required a reset. Any ideas if they have sorted these issues out?

    1. Mike Taylor

      We have three minis, they're all very stable as of the last release

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re. dead Glo

      Can you chuck it in my general direction pweety please? :-) My hacking skills on e-readers are pretty advanced, I might be able to fix it with the parts from my bleedin' demised PRS600.

      Runs from external power but screen ghosting, suspect mainboard mismatch.

      email testing_h at yahoo dot com

  2. dogged

    > It is hard to know what kind of punter is going to opt for a top of the range waterproof e-reader over a tablet

    Me. I get the train to work with a long walk at either end, often in the rain, and I'm forever worried about it soaking my Kindle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A deep sea diver perhaps?

  3. dotdavid


    It's a shame e-ink readers are not doing as well as the manufacturers had initially hoped, but really they've been a victim of their own success.

    Everyone I know with an e-reader (no matter what brand) loves it, and only seem to replace them when they break as the new ones only really seem to provide incremental upgrades to an already excellent product. Everyone I know without an e-reader can't see the point of them for whatever reason and a new e-reader probably won't change their minds.

    I just hope that there will continue to be enough of them being replaced that there'll always be someone willing to make a decent e-reader, because I for one won't be reading my novels on a tablet any time soon.

    1. John Gamble

      Re: e-ink

      Yes, but... while I love my now-aged Kobo, I've also said that I'd upgrade once it had some features that I've been wanting.

      In particular, EPUB3 support (I read a lot of math texts). So finally, a reason to buy a new e-reader.

      (Plus, back-lighting that doesn't have to be used until actually necessary is a plus as well.)

  4. Big_Ted
    Paris Hilton

    Do I need an e-reader ?


    Would I buy one ?

    Yes if there was one with a 10 or 12 inch display and not too expensive.

    Why ?

    Because I read a lot but the tablet is good enough for home use etc, but it would be nice to take a collection of books with me any time I am off on holiday etc....

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Kindle DXG

      Still available at discount.

      not needed for eBooks

      Great for PDFs, esp scans of Manuals, datasheets and old books.

      Big screen.

      no AMOLED or LCD screen comes close to eInk in daylight or for reading 4 hours at a go, 120K novels etc.

    2. Tapeador

      There are a few here

      Some available in EU (altho Amazon US seem to have no problem sending stuff to me in the UK). Note that buying via mail with a UK credit card does give you UK Sale Of Goods Act protection via your credit card provider.

  5. sandman

    Endangered Species

    Bloody hell, I hope not. At present, tablets simply aren't as good for reading on. The combination of long battery life, ruggedness, ease of use and lack of glare makes e-readers fit for purpose.

    I'm still using my original Kindle, sadly the damn thing simply won't die, so I've got no excuse to upgrade. It's survived tropical and mountain trekking, various beaches, getting a little damp and general packing abuse without turning a metaphorical hair.

    As for ease of use, my 94 year-old mother-in-law will only have hers prised out of her cold, dead hands. She doesn't want anything more complex, just something she can read. Everyone in our family owns Kindles of various models, we are serious readers :-)

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Endangered Species

      "I'm still using my original Kindle, sadly the damn thing simply won't die, so I've got no excuse to upgrade."

      Now I'll have to - some time ago they sent me a questionnaire. Standard stuff, "do you like this or that about Kindle", "what would you like to change" etc. So, I replied - "I want page turning buttons - add the buttons and I'll buy a new one". And what did they do? They've made a new one with buttons!

      Now I'll have to buy a Voyage when it's out - man has to keep his promises and all that...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call the subeditor !

    The headline does not match the contents.

    You write that it is "pricey", but do not state the price. FFS.

    1. AIBailey


      Taken from the bottom of the second page of the review.

      Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

      IP67 rated waterproof e-reader with a 6.8-inch, 1420 x 1080 E Ink display, 4GB storage with micro SD expansion.

      Price: £140 RRP

      More Info: Kobo's Aura H2O page

  7. Lamont Cranston

    If the touchscreen packs up in the wet,

    does it have physical buttons, for page turning purposes?

    1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

      Re: If the touchscreen packs up in the wet,

      No. Wipe the screen.

  8. Edwin


    Absolutely, but if waterproofness isn't a must, an Aura HD (like the H2O, just not waterproof) can be found online quite affordably (though generally only on the western side of the pond). Love the HD - it makes my previous Sonys look pretty dismal, to say nothing of the BeBook Neo I have in the closet as a 'spare'.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    Reading in the bath

    Surely I'm not the only one who does this... I put my (non-touch) Kindle in a clear sandwich bag :)

    1. Stacy

      Re: Reading in the bath

      This is exactly what I was thinking about when I read the headline. I read in the bath, but with a limited set of titles as I doon't want to ruin all of my paper books.

      However, dropping the Sony reader in a sealable sandwich bag may save me 180 euros!

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Reading in the bath

        I just read in the bath anyway - Kobo Glo. It doesn't seem to mind getting steamed up.

        I also have a 'reserve' Kobo touch, and a Kobo Mini with XCSoar and a GPS module added for both aerial navigation and those unavoidable 'waiting for the wind to get right' moments.

        I'd argue for the Kobo for one simple reason: it reads ePubs, and you can grow your own without being tied into shops and DRM. And of course Calibre for the book management.

        Minor grumps: the desktop Kobo software refuses to accept anything that you haven't bought from the shop actually exists; and that even with the welcome addition of shelves, there still isn't an automatic 'would you like me to arrange all your books on shelves, in alphabetic order by author?'.

        1. silent_count

          Re: Reading in the bath

          If you haven't already, can I suggest trying (the badly named) pbchess, which comes with a build of CoolReader. The virtue of using it instead of the kobo software is that it loads the books from the file system, so you can name the files as you see fit and arrange them in whatever directory structure makes you happy.

  10. MrWibble

    "Now that even the cheapest tablets are notching up increased battery life these days, it seems that the ever-ready e-reader could run the risk of becoming extinct."

    Not by people that like reading - those who casually glance at a book may be served by a tablet, but those who read more than a couple of pages at a time will always prefer an ereader - eink is much better on the eyes, better is direct sunlight, and no distractions that you'd get from a tablet notifications.

    But what do I know - I still think Netbooks are great...

    1. Bassey

      "Not by people that like reading - those who casually glance at a book may be served by a tablet, but those who read more than a couple of pages at a time will always prefer an ereader - eink is much better on the eyes"

      It must be an eyesight thing but I can read perfectly well for a couple of hours on a tablet. I've read many long novels on a tablet (Pipo U1 with a 720p IPS display) without any issues. I do like eReaders, my wife has a Kobo Mini and I think it is excellent. I just don't feel the need to own a smartphone, a tablet AND an eReader. As for distractions, I turn the WiFi off when reading.

  11. Peter 48

    kindle hack?

    Is there any way to hack this so I can access kindle books as well?

    1. Bassey

      Re: kindle hack?

      Yes. Calibre. Download it, install it and use it to "backup" all of the kindle titles you own to ePub. You can then plug in a Kobo (or any other eReader with a USB connection) and synch those titles to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: kindle hack?

        It's not quite that simple as the mobi files from Amazon have DRM in them but I am told there are ways around that out there somewhere in the internet.

        Calibre also supports hosting a server so you can access titles wirelessly which is handly for it downloading news during the evening and your device and download it without having to plug it in.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: kindle hack?

          Not sure if this will get molded out, but once you have Calibre, look for some software by a chap called Alf - he's an Apprentice.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Amazon Lock-in is possibly the best feature.

    You of course can use Kobo's excellent service (books are generally cheaper, and more plentiful than Amazon), but because it's an EPUB reader, you certainly aren't locked to Kobo for content. You have a world of choice.

    1. Lusty

      Re: No Amazon Lock-in is possibly the best feature.

      Yeah, every time I buy a book I think to myself "I wish I could have bought this from one of those other more expensive shops". I used to think ePub was a good idea until I realised that Amazon are consistently much cheaper for books than the competition. True, they may decide to abuse that monopoly some day but right now they are winning for a reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No Amazon Lock-in is possibly the best feature.

        "True, they may decide to abuse that monopoly some day but right now they are winning for a reason."

        The problem is, when that day comes there are a load of Kindle users who are decidedly non-techie and will simply end up either re-purchasing all their books in a more standard format or sticking with Amazon out of necessity.

        As a certain Admiral once said: "It's a trap!"

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: No Amazon Lock-in is possibly the best feature.

          I'm buying ebooks from Amazon all the time and all of them are DRM-free and not locked-in. Not anymore, that is. *cough*

      2. Anonymoist Cowyard

        Re: No Amazon Lock-in is possibly the best feature.

        More expensive? Are you nuts? Google Books is substantially cheaper than Amazon, Kobo is usually cheaper, and your local library is FREE for EPUB books. You don't get cheaper than that.

        I guess you looked at Waterstones and stopped there, satisfied that you weren't getting ripped off by Amazon. Ignorance is bliss as they say....

        1. Lusty

          Re: No Amazon Lock-in is possibly the best feature.

          Just checked the last 6 books I bought on Google play and they were 2-3 times the price I payed on the Kindle, although as you say slightly cheaper than Waterstones. Also Amazon doesn't require me to give Google my details. Win win.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tried reading an ebook in the bath...

    I got elocuted.

  14. James 51

    What's it like for annotating the text? Use my sony for proof reading and it's good for that. Plus sync to evernote is handy (when it works).

  15. Kalibrator

    Not really the first one

    I bought a Tolino Vision 2 instead, I prefer the smaller and lighter form factor and it is fully waterproof too!

  16. Czrly

    The Hardware is Not the Problem

    The problem lies with the content. It seems to me that publishers are not willing to expend any effort at all in producing high-quality electronic books. Books are frequently unavailable through legal channels and every single book I have ever purchased from Amazon's Kindle store is littered with blatant spelling mistakes and punctuation errors - the worst being the almost universal case of hyphens (often without *any* spaces) where em-dashes or properly spaced en-dashes should appear. (I am not being a pedant, this completely breaks the text because it makes a compound word out of something that should read like a very important comma) - or the loss of section breaks between scenes within a chapter, causing paragraphs that should be separated to flow together. I have compared some e-books to their printed editions and noted that these errors are not present in print.

    If there was an e-reader that fixed poor content, I would upgrade.

    (I originally thought this sort of error was common in pirated ebooks because they weren't officially published files. They are no less common in legally purchased, officially published ones.)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even if Kobo have best hardware is not going to lure me back. I tried Kobo a while back, purchased a few books. One was riddled poor OCR mistakes which had never been proof read. Complained to Kobo and they refused to refund. I moved to the Amazon ecosystem and can can easily get a refund when a lazy publisher tries to pass off a poor eBook.

  18. psychonaut


    the reason people like them over tablets is that trying to read on a phone or tablet is very difficult - the sheer output of the white light from the tablet does your eyes in pretty quick in the dark, also the weight of the device will do your hand in after a short while if you actually hold the thing while you are reading.

    i used to be a complete book fanatic, i wouldnt countenance the idea of an electronic device because i like the feel of books and the err, gui experience??? its so simple.....just like that ikea ad for their catalogue - sounds a bit weird but there you go -

    but since the very first time i used a kindle i havent bought another paper book.

    i had an original kindle - no touch, no keyboard for years. its light, so your hand doesnt get cramped and the reading experience is just like a book. last for months, i have 1000 or more books on it. now my suitcase isn't half full of books when i go away

    unfortunately, it is somewhere in Germany idea where.

    so ive ordered the new kindle voyage. but its not waterproof which is a bummer (sandwich bags aside). however, the amazon ecosystem is going to prevent me from going elsewhere as there are just so many titles available.

    i also dont like the crap attention to proof reading that seems to be endemic in the ebook community, but you can live with it.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: ereaders

      Crap proofreading is there, I suspect, because even the main publishers, who you surely expect to be typesetting electronically, don't seem to be able to transfer these files to their ebook versions. You'd expect this to be not beyond the wit of man, but it's apparent that many commercial ebook versions I've seen - and indeed as indicated above - are laden with OCR errors... which rather suggests they're doing it the hard way. And proofreading is expensive. Just give to the trainee for a quick flick through.

      I've done a *lot* of work looking at proofreading issues; it's a non-trivial task. It doesn't help when you get ridiculous CSS files which allocate a new, identical, style to each paragraph...

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. Justicesays


    I prefer my ebook readers to have physical buttons for page turning.

    Ideally somewhere my thumb can access them while reading.

    Unfortunately all the manufacturers have decided that touch screens are the way to go.

    I guess it saves a few pennies to remove the buttons once you have a touch screen.

    As a result, still using my Sony PRS-650 (although custom PRS+ firmware, epub/adobe format support and ability to group books up and manage them via Calibre on my desktop also means I don't want to switch to, say , a kindle)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for a 140 squid

    it can (...) and die. Really

    (obviously a fan of a competitive, but good-as-dead brand)

  22. RonWheeler

    Got an aura HD already

    Can't justify the waterproof bit, although since I mostly read outdoors it would save me worrying about dashing out to retrieve the book if it starts to rain. e-ink is simply so much better for reading long passages of text - tablets would kill my eyes and you can't use them in sunlight.

  23. RISC OS

    "Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet..."


    Are we talking about the thing that most people would understand as watersports, or are talking about the alan partridge kind of watersports...

    " do know what whatersports are, don't you alan?"

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