Unwrapped: The Kobo Aura HD e-reader

E-reader not disappearing.

As tablets continually do more, and do it faster, you might think the humble e-reader is headed the way of the Walkman. Not necessarily. The new Kobo Aura HD is embracing its relative simplicity—an oft-unappreciated quality amid our more-now-again tech habits—and focusing on the “best reading experience for the most discerning book lover.” But when everyone and their grandma has a Kindle app, how can e-readers stay relevant (despite being priced at less than $200)? Read on.

Photograph by Bloomberg/Getty

Photograph by Bloomberg/Getty

The screen
A sleek ergonomic design offers the highest resolution on the market—265 dpi, 1440 x 1080 resolution—on a front-lit 6.8-inch E Ink Pearl touchscreen, making it the most evenly lit e-reader available. Custom Comfort Lights make reading in bed easier on eyes—and sleepy bedmates.

The portability
At 240 grams, just a third of the latest iPad’s heft, the Aura gets points for portability. Coated for extra durability, and with a month-long battery life, this e-reader will stay strong even while buried in your briefcase.

The experience
To navigate 3.2 million books and magazines, including those from local libraries, Kobo makes personal recommendations and shares your favourites via social media. True, there’s none of the iPad’s bells and whistles—notifications, tweets, IMs—but at least grandma can finally read in peace.