Amazon and Kobo have some of the deepest digital ecosystems in the world and have millions of books, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels and manga. The Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura are the best e-readers currently in the world and have raised the bar with their innovative glowlight technology and showcasing the largest generation e-Ink internals. How do these two devices stack up against each other? Today we look at the hardware, software, front-lit display and ecosystems.
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 features a six inch e-Ink display screen with a resolution of 1024×768. The front-lit display has received a small upgrade and gives a better illumination experience then the previous model. One of the neat little features is a software enhancement called “Max” which instantly brings the brightness level to the maximum.
Overall the touchscreen is more responsive and text has higher contrast to make text more legible. This is most noticeable on the homscreen when you are sweeping through the eBooks Amazon is trying to sell you. There is less flickering, which makes it a little more more responsive. This is due to e-Ink Regal, which is new technology.
Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ processor and 256 MB of RAM. There is 2 GB of internal storage and the majority of your content will be held in the cloud. Amazon has never included a Micro SD as an avenue to manually expand your memory. During our review session, we were actually having having storage issues with a three larger PDF files and a number of sideloaded eBooks.
The Kobo Aura maintains the standard six-inch approach that the company made famous with their entire product line. It currently has the same resolution found on the Kobo Glo, with 1024×768. This e-Reader has the exact same front-lite technology that was found on the original Kobo Aura HD. This will allow readers to adjust the brightness settings to suit their environment. Currently, Kobo has the best front-lit screen in the business and has surpassed Amazon in terms of quality. To turn the screen light on, there is a button at the very top and then a virtual slider bar to control the brightness. One of the most notable additions to the Aura is Pocketbook integration, for read it later articles. Also, Beyond the Book is fairly cool, which bears some resemblance to X-Ray for the Kindle.
It is powered by aFreescale i.MX507 1 GHZ processor and has 1 GB of RAM. There are 4 GB of internal memory, which can be enhanced via the Micro SD Card. This is something that separates the two brands, as Amazon has never offered expandable memory via SD since the Kindle 1.
Side by Side the front-lit display is better on the Aura then it is on the Kindle. The Kindle has a better storefront experience with Kindle Worlds, Singles, Serials and other interesting aspects. It also is designed better in terms of ease of use and intuitiveness.
In the video below we document the entire hardware and software experience. We show you how both readers handle PDF and eBooks, and even sideloaded content.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.