Kobo announced its latest eBook reader, the Aura H2O with IP67 waterproofing, prior to the IFA consumer electronics trade show, but Pocket-lint caught up with the rising rival to Kindle and Nook on its stand to have a proper look at the device.
In many respects, the Aura H2O is like the conventional Aura. Its screen is larger, 6.8-inches in favour of six. And the technology used is the new Carta E Ink HD touchscreen with a resolution of 1430 x 1080 to present clear, sharp text.
But in operability it is similar. The user interface is the same and it's just as speedy. The biggest change however is that unlike the Aura and just about every other eBook reader on the market, the Aura H2O can be submerged in water down to one metre for up to 30 minutes.
That means you needn't worry about reading when at the beach, floating on air bed in a swimming pool, or even in the bath. If you drop the device and fetch it out quickly again, it will have survived with no problems whatsoever.
The Aura H2O has a 1GHz processor and while that would be considered slow for a smartphone, pages turns and actions on the Kobo are lightning quick for an eReader.
We also like the feature shown to us that relates directly to the front light to help read in the dark. Instead of an exterior button to switch it on or off, or having to bring up the menu and use a slider, you just run your finger down or up the left-hand side of the screen when in an eBook. It changes the strength of the light from maximum to off and all the permutations in-between.
But of course, the most spectacular part of our demo was the device's dunking in a specially prepared vase of water. And bar some residue that needed to be wiped off afterwards, the reader was exactly the same as before it took a swim.
We'll be reviewing the Kobo Aura H2O in full soon, and will spend more time discussing specific features. It is available for pre-order now on Kobo's site and will ship on 1 October, priced £139.99.