The Kobo Libra H2O is the first e-reader that Kobo released in 2019. This device has the same form factor as the Kobo Forma and Kindle Oasis 3. It is going to retail for $169 when it is available as pre-order on September 10th and will be available from most retailers on the 15h. It comes in black and white.
The Libra features a 7 inch E Ink Carta HD display with a resolution of 1,680 x 1,264 and 300 PPI. It has a front-light and color temperature system to read in the dark. These come from the 19 LED lights on the bottom of the screen, that project light upwards, evenly distributing it, there are no light splotches. Kobo was able to offer this model on the cheap, because the entire body is made of plastic. The screen is not flush with the bezel either, so this also cut costs.
Underneath the hood is a Freescale Solo Lite 1GHZ processor, 8GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM. It is powered by a 1,200 mAh battery that should provide you’re standard weeks on a single charge. Rakuten says its HZO Protection gives the Kobo Libra H2O water resistance to the IPX8 rating, with endurance of up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of water.
Pocket and the Overdrive library are built into the Libra This makes purchasing ebooks from the store as not the only option, you can browse your local branches selection and read them right on the device.
Kobo has introduced a new e-reading interface. These updates are more important than the addition of the Libra H2O, because the entire device family will be receiving the new reading interface in future software updates.
One of the new features comes in the form of an e-book scrubber, which brings up smaller page previews that sit atop the current page you’re reading. The scrubber also lets you navigate through those smaller pages to any point in the book. Kindle users will be familiar with this feature, although it looks particularly nice in action on a device with a larger screen. Updated headers show what chapter you’re currently reading and how many pages you have left in it, while a new footer shows what page you’re currently on in the book overall.
The Libra H2O measures 0.2 – 0.31 inches thick and weighs 6.8 ounces, making its overall dimensions similar to the Kindle Paperwhite (0.32 inches thick, 6.4 ounces) and the Kindle Oasis (0.13 – 0.33 inches thick, 6.6 ounces).
Kobo neglected to send us an early review unit of the Libra, this is because all of the senior PR reps that have been with the company for five years or more, have all left the company at about the same time. They now have a bunch of new people running internal PR and obviously don’t know about me, the literal kingpin of e-readers.
Kobo is sending us a review unit of the new Libra H2O, we should be conducting our hands on written review, alongside our unboxing and video review. Additionally, we will be comparing this against the Kobo Forma, Kindle Oasis, and the previous gen Kobo H2O.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.