The Kobo Libra H20 is an eBook reader with a 7 inch, illuminated E Ink display with adjustable color temperature and 300 pixels per inch.
As the name suggests, it’s wateproof, making it safe to use on the beach or in the kitchen or bathroom. And it has physical page turn buttons.
In other words, on paper it sounds a lot like Amazon’s newest $250 Kindle Oasis — but with a $170 price tag, the Kobo Libra H20 costs about $80 less.
First unveiled earlier this month, the Kobo Libra H20 is now available from Walmart or the Kobo website.
Sure, you don’t get access to the Kindle Store. But Kobo has its own bookstore, and the same company (Rakuten) owns both Kobo and Overdrive, the company that powers eBook lending for many public libraries.
You also don’t get lock screen ads — Amazon charges customers extra if they want an ad-free experience. Kobo does not.
That said, while I find the Kobo Libra H20 pretty attractive on paper, I’ve been using Kindle eReaders since 2011, so moving to a new platform seems kind of daunting. I’ll probably just hold onto my aging Kindle Paperwhite for a few more years and see what the market looks like then.
If you’re considering picking up a Kobo Libra H20, here are a few key details you might want to know:
- 7 inch, 1680 x 1264 pixel E Ink Carta display with ComfortLight Pro
- 8GB storage (no SD card)
- 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- Micro USB port
- 1200 mAh battery
- Support 14 file formats (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR)
- IPX8 water protection (up to 60 minutes in up to 2 meters of water)
- 144mm x 159mm x 7.8mm
- 192 grams
For what it’s worth, Amazon is currently selling the previous-gen Kindle Oasis (without the adjustable color frontlight) for $175 for Amazon Prime Members.
Kobo also has an 8 inch model called the Kobo Forma. It sports a 1920 x 1440 pixel display and a starting price of $250 for a model with 8GB of storage.
I just picked up the new Oasis a few days after it launched. Was considering the Forma. Would have probably gone with this one if it were announced before the Oasis. I did get a good deal on the Oasis though — $220 on tax free weekend.
This is a very nice device. Supporting so many formats gives you a lot of choices. Think of all the free books out there (i.e. Project Gutenberg). Too bad I don’t need an ereader right now. This would definitely be on my (very) short list.
I’m really hoping someone will release a waterproof USB-C reader with around these specs — my Kindle Keyboard’s still going strong, but it’s the last micro-usb holdout I’ve got. 🙂
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