I consider this an open letter to Kobo, and its parent company, Rakuten.
Holy, shit you guys. Just holy shit.
After doing a lot of research on eink readers, I picked up the Kobo Aura as my birthday gift this year. (The wife and I get our birthday gifts around tax return time, as we rarely have money to burn around our actual birthdays.) My local independent bookstore was out of stock, and my OTHER independent bookstore was also out of stock, so I ordered it online and waited for customs to clear it from Canada.
It has a microSD expansion slot. It’s compatible with nearly every major ebook format, as long as there’s no DRM. The screen is incredibly crisp and clear. The full-screen refresh only happens every chapter. The back of the device is shaped to mimic a folded paperback. When I got it, I immediately purchased the majority of the Clockwork Century (I already had Boneshaker in dead tree format) and Flex from the Kobo store.
I cannot gush enough about the difference between reading on a laptop/tablet screen and reading on this device. I stare at screens for both work and pleasure, so when I felt most of the muscles around my eyes relax, without even realizing that they’d been tight, as I began to read, I fell in love. And as I do with the things that I love, I ended up leaving it on the roof of my car. (There will likely be an entirely separate post about my mutant power, regarding leaving things on the top of cars.) I set it there when I lifted my daughter out of her car seat, and entered a friend’s house, and totally forgot about it.
I later drove home, halfway across town, and remembered that I’d forgotten it. I called my friends and asked them to look around their house, to no avail.
The next morning, after a rainy night, I dropped the kids off at school, went back to my friends’ house to search for it. Having had no luck, and with the rain starting again, I drove back home.
Nikki volunteered to help, certain that I’d left it on top of my car, and it was gone forever. I refused to acknowledge the possibility, so she went outside to drive my car back to the friend’s to see if she could find it (she also has mutant powers). She looked my car over (which I’d done FOUR TIMES) and immediately saw it, still sitting precisely where I’d left it. She rushed it inside, yelling for me to dry it off, which I promptly did. I powered it down, and let it sit for the day to dry out.
That evening, it powered on and functioned perfectly. Not a single glitch. The next morning, it charged normally. No excess heat, no funky spiking in charged percentage, just the usual smooth curve. After several days of use, with and without the front-light, the battery discharge was also normal.
It survived riding round the top of my car, and spending the night and morning in the rain, and continues to act as if it was just taken out of the box.
HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS.
And I haven’t even mentioned how sweet the Pocket integration is.
If you are in the market for an ereader of any variety, I urge you to check Kobo out. They have my highest recommendation.