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Kobo Aura HD vs. the competition: A backlit e-reader tale of the tape (chart)

We take Kobo's reading tablet to the tape to see how it stacks up against the Kindle Paperwhite and Nook with GlowLight.

Kobo has Amazon in the crosshairs with its new Aura HD e-reader, which features a higher-resolution display than the Kindle Paperwhite--albeit at a higher price tag.

Kobo dubs the Aura HD a "premium" e-reader, with a 6.8-inch E Ink display sporting a 1440 by 1080 pixels resolution. That's good for a Kindle Paperwhite-topping 265 PPI pixel density. Amazon's e-reader rocks a slightly smaller 6-inch display with 1024 by 768 pixels resolution at 212 PPI.

Kobo also packed a 1GHz processor in the Aura HD, which is a notch faster than the 800MHz chips found in the Kindle Paperwhite or the Nook Simple Touch. The Aura HD has twice the RAM found in the Kindle and four times the amount in the Nook. Kobo claims these extra specs give it an edge over competing e-readers, making it 25 percent faster processing page turns.

All three readers feature their own version of backlighting technology, and claim battery life of up to eight weeks, though your mileage may vary depending on your usage pattern.

The Kobo Aura HD also has another advantage over the Kindle Paperwhite; like the Nook Simple Touch, it has a Micro SD card slot so you can expand the built-in 4GB storage--a total already twice the size of its rivals--to up to 32GB. In comparison, the Kindle has only 2GB of built-in storage, but Amazon will keep on its cloud service all your purchases so you can access them when needed.

However, the Kindle Paperwhite holds an edge in two key categories: price and connectivity. Kobo doesn't offer a 3G version of the Aura HD to match Amazon's 3G Paperwhite. The Aura HD is $170, a full $50 more than the Kindle Paperwhite with ads. The ad-supported 3G Kindle Paperwhite only costs $179, or just $10 more than the 3G-less Aura HD. The Aura HD is also a tad chunkier than its competition.

You can preorder the Aura HD on the Kobo website today, with shipment slated to begin on April 25.


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