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Kobo shows off its Aura e-reader, we go hands-on (video)

Brian Heater
08.27.13
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Remember that new e-reader from Kobo we told you about, not all that many minutes ago? Say hello to the Aura. The successor to the Glo owes more than just its name to the recently introduced Aura HD -- the device has also brought over the high-end specs and a bit of the device language from that Cadillac of e-readers. When the company handed off the reader, the first thing we noticed was that best in class front lighting. Kobo mastered that back with the Glo and has naturally trotted it out on subsequent devices.

Also immediately apparent is the size of the thing. The Aura appears smaller than other six-inch readers. Hold it up against the Paperwhite and it's clear that there's considerably less bezel. Also, the bezel lays flush with the display -- Kobo's dumped the old infrared touch for a capacitive screen, so there's no need for a gap. The device is impressively thin and light compared to past Kobo readers -- and the rest of the market, for that matter. This really is an impressive piece of hardware, though even with that in mind, the $150 price tag may be tough for all but the most hardcore readers to swallow. Around the back, you'll notice that Kobo brought a bit of the crooked design from the HD, though it's a lot more subtle than on that reader. As an homage to past Kobo readers, the criss cross diamond design is back, though it's also far more subtle and smaller this time out.

Gallery: Kobo Aura hands-on | 22 Photos

As promised, full page refreshes have been greatly reduced -- in fact, we flipped through several pages on The Hobbit and didn't notice a single full page flicker. Otherwise, performance seemed mostly on par with what we've come to expect from this class of reader, and Kobo has maintained much of its familiar interface, which should put fans of the ecosystem at home, should they opt to drop a hefty sum on a new one.

Edgar Alvarez, Terrence O'Brien and Daniel Orren contributed to this report.

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