Kobo eReader

The Kobo eReader is an e-reader produced by Toronto-based Kobo Inc. The company's name is an anagram of "book". The original version was released in May 2010 and was marketed as a minimalist alternative to the more expensive e-book readers available at the time. Like most e-readers, the Kobo uses an electronic ink screen.[1] The Arc tablet series, released between 2011 and 2013, was based on LCD technology instead.[2]

Kobo Aura, Kobo's baseline e-reader
ManufacturerKobo Inc.
Operating systemKobo firmware
PowerInternal li-ion rechargeable battery

E ink devices

Chronological overview

Legend:   Unsupported   Discontinued   Current
Component Display Input Storage CPU Connectivity Features / Notes Dimensions Weight Introductory price Released Battery & RAM
Model Type Size Resolution ppi Internal Expanded Make and model USB + (US$)
Kobo eReader E-Ink 6" 800x600 170 D-Pad 1 GB 4 GB SD Bluetooth $199 May 2010
Kobo WiFi N289 E-Ink 6" 800x600 170 D-Pad 1 GB 32 GB SD Freescale i.MX335 Wi-Fi 184 × 120 × 10 mm (7.2 × 4.7 × 0.4 in) 221 g (7.80 oz) $199 October 2010
Kobo Touch

N905[ BC]

E-Ink Pearl 6" 800x600 170 Touch 2 GB 32 GB microSD Freescale i.MX507 800 MHz Wi-Fi First touchscreen. 165 × 114 × 10 mm (6.5 × 4.5 × 0.4 in) 200 g (7.05 oz) $129 May 2011 1200 mAh
Kobo Glo


E-Ink Pearl 6" 1024x768 213 Touch 2 GB 32 GB microSD Freescale i.MX507 1 GHz Wi-Fi First illuminated display. 157 x 114 x 10 mm (6.2 x 4.5 x 0.4 in) 185 g (6.5 oz) $129 September 2012
Kobo Mini


E-Ink Pearl 5" 800x600 200 Touch 2 GB 32 GB microSD Freescale i.MX507 800 MHz Wi-Fi 133 x 102 x 10 mm (5.2 × 4 x 0.4 in) 134 g (4.73 oz) $79 September 2012 1000 mAh
Kobo Aura HD


E-Ink Pearl 6.8" 1440x1080 265 Touch 4 GB 32 GB microSD Freescale i.MX507 1 GHz Wi-Fi 175.7 x 128.3 x 11.7 mm (6.91 x 5.05 x 0.46 in) 240 g (8.5 oz) $169 April 2013 1500 mAh
Kobo Aura


E-Ink Pearl 6" 1024x768 213 Touch 4 GB 32 GB microSD Freescale i.MX507 1 GHz Wi-Fi 150 x 114 x 8.1 mm (5.9 x 5.6 x 0.3 in) 174 g (6.1 oz) $149 August 2013 1500 mAh
Kobo Aura H₂O


E-Ink Carta 6.8" 1440x1080 265 Touch 4 GB 32 GB microSD 1 GHz Wi-Fi Waterproofed 179 x 129 x 9.7 mm 233 g (8.22 oz) $179 October 2014
Kobo Glo HD


E-Ink Carta 6" 1448x1072 300 Touch 4 GB No Freescale SoloLite iMX.6 1 GHz Wi-Fi 157 x 114 x 10 mm (6.2 x 4.5 x 0.4 in) 180 g (6.3 oz) $129 May 2015
Kobo Touch 2.0


E-Ink Pearl 6" 800x600 167 Touch 4 GB No Freescale SoloLite iMX.6 1 GHz Wi-Fi 157 x 115 x 9.2 mm 185g $61 September 2015
Kobo Aura Edition 2


E-Ink Carta 6" 1024x768 212 Touch 4 GB No Freescale SoloLite iMX.6 1 GHz Wi-Fi 154.5 x 109 x 8.5 mm 180g $119 September 2016
Kobo Aura One[3]N709 E-Ink Carta 7.8" 1872x1404 300 Touch 8 GB No Freescale SoloLite i.MX 6 1GHz Wi-Fi Waterproofed,

ComfortLight PRO[4]

195.1 x 138.5 x 6.9 mm 252 g $230 September 2016 512MB RAM
Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2N867 E-Ink Carta 6.8" 1440x1080 265 Touch 8 GB No Freescale i.MX6 SLL 1 GHz Wi-Fi Waterproofed,

ComfortLight PRO

172 x 129 x 8.9 mm 210g $180 May 2017
Kobo Clara HDN249 E-Ink Carta 6" 1448x1072 300 Touch 8 GB No Freescale i.MX6 SLL 1 GHz Wi-Fi ComfortLight PRO 159.6 x 110 x 8.35 mm 166g $130 June 2018 1500 mAh
Kobo Forma[5]N782 E-Ink Carta 8" 1920x1440 300 Touch/buttons 8 GB or 32 GB No Freescale i.MX6 SLL 1 GHz Wi-Fi Waterproofed, ComfortLight PRO 160 x 177.7 x 8.5 mm 197g $279.99 October 2018 1200 mAh / 512MB RAM
Kobo Libra H₂O[6][7]N873 E-Ink Carta 7" 1680x1264 300 Touch/buttons 8 GB No Freescale i.MX6 SLL 1 GHz Wi-Fi Waterproofed, ComfortLight PRO 144 x 159 x 5.0 - 7.8 mm 192g $169.99 September 2019 1200 mAh / 512MB RAM
Kobo Nia[8][9]N306 E-Ink Carta 6" 1024x758 212 Touch 8 GB No Freescale i.MX 6 ULL 900MHz Wi-Fi ComfortLight 112.4 x 159.3 x 9.2 mm 172g $99.99 July 2020 1000 mAh / 256MB RAM


Common attributes

All Kobo e-readers share a unique pagination system giving users the option to count and reference pages separately within each chapter as opposed to the book as a whole. The latter, however, is user selectable as an alternative. All Kobo readers require connection to the Internet during the initial setup phase and will not work until they are connected to Kobo's servers. Kobo e-readers support viewing Epub, Adobe PDF, plain text, HTML, and unprotected Mobipocket (mobi, prc) e-books. They also support many other formats, such as ZIM, unofficially.

Kobo Nia

The Kobo Nia was released on 21 July 2020. It has a 6-inch E-Ink display at 1024x758 pixels, with a density of 212 ppi.[8]

Kobo Libra H₂O

Kobo Libra H₂O was released on 15 September 2019.[6]

The Libra features a 7-inch E Ink Carta HD display with a resolution of 1,680 x 1,264 and 300 PPI.[10]

Kobo Forma

The Kobo Forma was released in November 2018. It has an 8-inch, 300 ppi E-Ink display that can be held by right- and left-handed people, and it can be flipped horizontally. It has physical page up and page down buttons to flip pages.[11]

Kobo's website gives the following technical specifications:[12]

  • Features: Waterproof IPX8 - up to 60 mins in 2 meters of water
  • Screen: 8.0" 300 PPI E Ink Carta display, 1440 × 1920 resolution
  • Weight: 197 g
  • Size: 160 x 177.7 x 8.5 (thickness at gripping area) & 4.2 (thickness at the thinner side)
  • Storage: 8 GB or 32 GB
  • Front-light: ComfortLight PRO – Adjustable color temperature
  • Customizability with 11 different fonts and over 50 font styles with a font weight and sharpness setting
  • Supported formats: 14 file formats supported natively (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro USB
  • Battery Life: 1200 mAh, weeks of battery life
Kobo Clara HD

The Clara HD was released on 5 June 2018.[13] It has a 6-inch, 300 ppi screen.[14]

Kobo Aura One

The Kobo Aura One was released on 6 September 2016 and it is the first e-reader with a 7.8-inch E Ink Carta HD waterproof touchscreen display with a 300 ppi screen.[15] The Aura One weighs 252 grams and measures 195 by 138.5 by 6. 9 mm. It has Wi-Fi, 8 GB internal storage, and 512 MB RAM. The Aura One is lit by nine white LEDs and eight RGB LEDs around the frame. The additional RGB LEDs allow the device to have a night reading mode that limits the blue light that comes from white LEDs.[16] The Aura One was the first Kobo eReader with built-in OverDrive support.[17]

Kobo Aura Edition 2

The Kobo Aura Edition 2 was released with the Kobo Aura One in September 2016 as "a refreshed version of a beloved classic".[18] It has a 6-inch E Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1024×768 at 212 ppi. The exterior styling is similar to the Kobo Aura One. Unlike the original Kobo Aura, there is no MicroSD slot. The specifications are otherwise similar to the original Kobo Aura.

Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2

The Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2 was released in May 2017.[19] It has a 6.8-inch E Ink HD Carta waterproof IPX8 display at 265 ppi.[20] Its LED light, called the "ComfortLight PRO", can automatically reduce blue-light exposure during the night to lower the screen's effect on sleep.[21]


Kobo eReader

Kobo Inc. announced its first e-reader on 24 March 2010, at the CTIA show.[22] The device was officially released on 1 May 2010.[23] It had expandable memory, holding an additional 4 GB via an SD slot and limited wireless connectivity via Bluetooth to select Blackberry wireless devices. It was available in black or white and came preloaded with 100 public domain books.[1] It was manufactured by Netronix Inc.,[24] a Taiwan based company with factories in Taiwan and China.[25]

The pricing strategy of the original Kobo, at US$149, was to rival the Amazon Kindle, which was US$110 more expensive.[1] However, in June 2010, just after the Kobo was released, Amazon dropped the price of the Kindle to US$189.[26] Its pricing strategy in Australia was similarly aggressive where it was available for A$199, again A$100 less than the Kindle.[27] Borders Australia said that they hoped to sell high volumes of the Kobo to drive up sales at their e-content store.[27]

The original Kobo received a mediocre review from CNET, which said that, while the Kobo was compact, lightweight and affordable, the lack of Wi-Fi or 3G made it outdated, especially when there were similarly priced eReaders available with those features.[26]

In December 2010, the original Kobo's feature set was updated with a firmware update to more closely match the Wifi model.[28]

Kobo Wi-Fi

A new model with Wi-Fi capability was released on 15 October 2010. It included an improved processor, screen, and new colour choices (porcelain/metallic silver, porcelain/pearlized lilac, and onyx). The SD expansion had been improved to claim a capacity for up to 10,000 books with a 32GB SD card.[29] Other improvements included a longer battery life and a built-in dictionary.[30]

Like the original model, the Wi-Fi model came pre-loaded with 100 public domain books.[29]

Kobo Touch

The Kobo Touch was released in June 2011.[31] It introduced an infrared 6-inch touchscreen interface. Other improvements compared to the Kobo Wi-Fi included an E Ink Pearl screen, a faster processor capable of smooth PDF panning, 802.11n capability, and reduced size and weight.[32]

Kobo Glo

The Kobo Glo is an e-reader released on 6 September 2012. It is a front-lit, touch-based E Ink reader.[33] The Kobo Glo supports most ebook standards, including EPUB. It has a 6-inch touchscreen, 1024×758 resolution, 213 ppi, 6.53 oz, 2 GB of storage, and supports microSD.[34]

Kobo Mini

The Kobo Mini is smaller, at 5-inch, and lighter than standard ebook readers. It was released on 6 September 2012. It has 2GB internal storage and Wi-Fi. The 5" E Ink Vizplex screen has a resolution of 800x600 with 200 ppi.

Kobo Aura

The Kobo Aura is the baseline e-reader with a 6-inch E Ink ClarityScreen display with 1024×768 resolution, 16-level grey scale, and a built-in LED front-light. It has 4GB storage, weighs 173g (6.1 oz), has two months of battery life, a Freescale i.MX507 1 GHz processor, and a microSD expansion slot.[35][36] It was released in September 2013.[2]

Kobo Aura HD

The Aura HD was a limited-edition device, released on 25 April 2013, with a 6.8-inch E Ink display, with a high resolution of 1440×1080 with 265 ppi.[37] It is 8.47 oz and has a microSD expansion slot. Other improvements compared to the Kobo Touch included a built-in "ComfortLight" LED light, a faster processor (1 GHz), twice the onboard storage (4 GB), and twice the battery life (estimated at two months).

Kobo Aura H₂O

The Aura H₂O, released on 1 October 2014, is the second commercial waterproof e-reader. It has an upgraded version of the Aura HD's 6.8-inch E Ink Carta display with a resolution of 1440×1080 with 265 ppi.[38] While its screen is improved over the Aura HD, it contains the same processor, on-board storage, and software as the Aura HD, and has dust/waterproofing – certified to be immersed for up to 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water with its port cover closed.[39]

Kobo Glo HD

The Kobo Glo HD, released on 1 May 2015, is an e-reader with an E Ink Carta screen and is the successor to 2012's Glo. It has a 6-inch screen in a resolution of 1448×1072, or 300 ppi, matching the resolution of the Kindle Voyage. Internally, the device stores its operating system and content on a MicroSD card,[40] allowing for storage upgrade. For users who open their device, this will invalidate any warranty[citation needed].

Kobo Touch 2.0

The Kobo Touch 2.0 was released on 8 September 2015 as an entry level e-reader[41] with an E Ink Pearl 6-inch display with a resolution of 800×600 and 167 ppi. The exterior is similar in appearance to the Kobo Glo HD and it has a 1 GHz Freescale i.MX6 Solo Lite Processor and 4 GB of internal storage.

Market share


Global e-book readers shipment in 2015[42]
Sellers Percent
Pocket book


The Kobo e-reading platform was, as of January 2012, the best-selling in Canada. Research firm Ipsos-Reid estimating that Kobo e-readers represented 46% of the Canadian market.[43]

Market share of e-readers in Canada by Ipsos Reid at January 2012[43]
Sellers Percent


As of spring 2012, Kobo had 50% of the market share in France.[44]

Other countries

In August 2013, Kobo was the second largest ebook retailer in Japan, and Forbes estimated it at 3% of the market share in the United States.[45]

Beta, development, and hacking

On Kobo eReaders, Kobo offers a publicly available beta channel. In older models, this included turn-based, puzzle, and word games, however this has been removed from newer models, which only feature a web browser.[46] Kobo eReaders also feature a dev mode, similar to the android developer options setting. Within this, there are slight and untested changes meant for developers, however, in recent firmware updates, enabling dev mode by typing into the search bar devmodeon will add the games found in older hardware to the beta menu.

Kobo also has a large community of hardware and software hackers.

Hardware hacking

The Kobo hacking community hacks the device hardware for a variety of reasons.

Most Kobo eReaders (excluding the Libra H₂O and the Forma where it is soldered) have a replaceable internal microSD card, so many people replace it to get additional storage, and faster speeds.

The Kobo motherboard has unused connection prongs to which people have attached a GPS, cellular connection boards, and various other enhancements.

People may also modify the hardware to fix issues, such as light banding by covering the lights with tape.

People may also replace broken components like batteries.

Software hacking

The motivations for Kobo software hacking vary.

There are many PDF and RSS readers available that aim to improve the experience of reading.

There are also added features, commonly distributed through KoboLauncher. These include games, a calculator, calendar, notepad, and a sketchpad. There are many add-ons available for KoboLauncher, such as pbchess. KoboLauncher is commonly used as the first step for distributing mods.

Finally, people have developed quality of life updates, such as a script that lets you make the page refresh at custom rates, or unhide the games from the beta section

Selected subsidiaries

In October 2012, Kobo Inc. acquired the digital publishing platform Aquafadas to increase the content available on its e-reader devices.[47]

See also


  1. Nowak, Peter (24 March 2010), "Indigo targets Amazon with Kobo e-reader", News, CA: CBC.
  2. Haselton, Todd (28 September 2013). "Kobo Arc 7, Arc 10HD and Aura Hands-On". TechnoBuffalo. TechnoBuffalo LLC. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  3. Albertini, Javier Penalva y (8 December 2016). "Kobo Aura One, análisis: hay vida (incluso mejor) después del rey Kindle". Xataka.
  4. Store, Rakuten Kobo eReader. "Kobo Aura ONE". Rakuten Kobo eReader Store. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  5. Kozlowski, Michael (24 October 2018). "Kobo Forma e-Reader Review".
  6. Store, Rakuten Kobo eReader. "Kobo Libra H2O". Rakuten Kobo eReader Store.
  7. Kozlowski, Michael (7 September 2019). "Kobo Libra H2O Review".
  8. "Kobo Nia". Rakuten Kobo eReader Store. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  9. Sarkar, Sharmishta. "Kobo Nia review". TechRadar. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  10. https://goodereader.com/blog/reviews/kobo-libra-h2o-review
  11. Palladino, Valentina (22 November 2018). "Kobo Forma review: A formidable opponent for Amazon's Kindle Oasis". Ars Technica.
  12. Store, Rakuten Kobo eReader. "Kobo Forma". Rakuten Kobo eReader Store.
  13. Kobo. "Rakuten Kobo Launches Kobo Clara HD: Its Newest Entry-Level, Feature-Rich eReader". Kobo. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  14. "Kobo Clara HD - Rakuten Kobo eReader Store". Kobo. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  15. ‘Kobo Aura One Leaks, Has a 300 PPI 7.8″ E-ink Screen for 229 Euros’, The Digital Reader, 2016-8-9, retrieved 15 August 2016.
  16. ‘Hands On With Kobo Aura One Night Mode (video)’, The Digital Reader, 2016-8-17, retrieved 18 August 2016.
  17. ‘Get connected to your local public library right from your Kobo Aura ONE with built-in OverDrive‘ Kobo.
  18. ‘Announcing Kobo Aura One: A breakthrough waterproof ereader designed with the help of real book lovers’, Kobo, Rakuten, August 2016.
  19. Kiran, Rao (8 September 2019). "Kobo Libra H2O cheaper but better than Kindle Oasis". LookGadgets. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  20. "Kobo Aura H₂O Edition 2". Kobo eReader Store. Rakuten.
  21. "Kobo's new Aura H₂O is a smaller, cheaper version of its best e-reader". The verge. 2 May 2017.
  22. Hamblen, Matt (25 March 2010), "Kobo announces $149 e-reader to be sold by Borders", Computerworld.
  23. "Homegrown Kobo hits the shelves", The Globe and Mail (review), 29 April 2010.
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  33. "Welcome the New Kobo Family of Devices – An eReader for Everyone!". Toronto: Kobo. 6 September 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
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  35. "Tech specs". Aura. Kobo.
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  38. "Kobo crams 1.5 million pixels into its 6.8" Aura H2O e-reader". Ars Technica. April 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
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  40. "How to: Extend Kobo Glo HD memory! - MobileRead Forums". www.mobileread.com. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
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