The main benefits of waterproofing our gadgets are twofold: devices are protected in case of accidental exposure to water or can be purposely used it wet environments. The new Kobo Aura H2O has been created for precisely these reasons.
Perhaps the most high profile devices released of late that have some degree of waterproofing are the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones. Kobo claims, however, that the Aura H2O is the world's first premium waterproof e-reader.
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The Aura H2O is a successor to the Aura HD, which was released last year. It's said to be thinner and lighter than the Aura HD, and has a 6.8 in anti-glare touch-display with a resolution of 265 dpi. Kobo says this is the highest resolution of any e-ink device available.
The stand-out feature of the Aura H2O, though, is its waterproofing. "When we asked our customers what held them back from reading more ebooks, many told us they love to read in the bath, by the pool, or on the beach, but believed that devices and water didn’t mix," explains president and chief content officer of Kobo Michael Tamblyn. "As we dug deeper, we found that more than 60 percent of customers surveyed said they would love to be able read near water without worry."
With that in mind, Kobo has designed the Aura H2O to be IP67-certified. This means it is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in 1 m (3.3 ft) of water, as long as its port cover is closed. In addition, the device is said to be dust-proof.
It is powered by a 1 GHz processor aimed at providing snappy performance and it has 4 GB of onboard storage, which can be augmented with a further 32 GB using a microSD card. Battery life, meanwhile, stretches up to 2 months. The device features 10 size-adjustable fonts, recommendations for users, note-taking, highlighting and bookmarking functions.
The Aura H2O is available from October 1 and will retail for US$179.99. It will go on sale initially in Canada, the US, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, with more countries added in the future.