Kobo Clara 2E Review
- Compactness / mobility
- Working times
- Supported formats
A compact reader for people who like to read on the go and at bedtime, both for those who read sporadically and for real bookworms. It is waterproof and allows the use of audiobooks. In addition, Kobo Clara 2E is probably the only reader that focuses so much on ecology, which for many people may be an additional advantage in favor of buying this device.
If you haven’t heard of Rakuten Kobo so far, it’s high time to change that. Rakuten Kobo Inc., headquartered in Toronto, is a retailer of e-books, audiobooks and reading / listening devices. And also a company owned by Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant. The company’s readers are popular in many Western countries – now, together with the Kobo Clara 2E model, Rakuten wants to conquer the market.
- Ecological housing, packaging and case
- Compact shape and quality of workmanship
- Great high resolution screen with configurable backlight
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- E-book and audiobook support
- Water resistance (IPX8) for up to 60 minutes at a depth
- Charging via the USB-C port
- Integration with Pocket service
- Limited number of gigabytes of memory (no SD card slot)
- The reader does not work in the horizontal orientation
- Only one color version
- Software limitations (Kobo ecosystem, no possibility to install additional applications)
- Audiobooks only by purchasing from the Kobo bookstore
- Occasional lag, slow interface work
How does it compare to the Amazon Kindle, InkBook, Onyx or PocketBook readers available for sale? Is it worth paying USD $129.99 for it? And how does ecology fit in with all of this?
We encountered the Kobo Clara 2E model for the first time in Berlin, during the IFA 2022 fair . There, we not only found out that Rakuten Kobo is entering the market, but also that we will be the first to debut a reader with an emphasis on ecology . Well, the Kobo Clara 2E is made of 85 percent recycled plastic, including 10 percent ocean-related plastic. Protective covers were also created from recycled materials, which are available in various colors (Deep Ocean Blue, Black, Coral Reef Orange, Sea Glass Green).
Specification and price
Here is the specification of the new reader – the data comes from the manufacturer’s website :
- Display : 6 inch touch screen, E Ink Carta 1200, 300 PPI, resolution 1448 x 1072 pixels
- Memory : 16 GB
- Processor : 1 GHz
- Connectivity : Wi-Fi 802.11 ac / b / g / n (dual band), Bluetooth, USB-C
- Other : night mode, IPX8 waterproof (up to 60 min at 2 meters depth), ComfortLight PRO backlight, brightness and color temperature adjustment, 12 different fonts
- Battery : declared several weeks of operation on a single charge (depending on frequency of use)
- Dimensions : 112.05 x 159.02 x 8.66 mm
- Weight : 171 g
- Supported formats : EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR
The manufacturer’s suggested price of the Kobo Clara 2E reader for the market is USD $129.99 , while Sleepcover will be sold for USD $29.99 depending on the color.
Although the market of readers seems to be dominated by Amazon and its Kindle brand, it must be admitted that the Clara Kobo 2E may be a model that will convince many people to switch to the ecosystem offered by Rakuten . Anyway, the Kindle Paperwhite would probably be a direct rival to the reviewed Kobo reader.
What’s in the set?
Not only the reader itself is made of ecological materials (i.e. recycled plastics). The manufacturer also wants to be eco-friendly in terms of deliveries, striving for a zero carbon footprint, and the reader packaging has been prepared from recycled paper and eco-friendly soy-based ink.
Inside the box you will find little – some papers and a USB-C cable for charging the reader and data transfer.
Not only the reader was sent to the editorial office, but also the SleepCover in the Sea Glass Green color . Like the reader and its packaging, the case is also eco-friendly, made of 97% recycled plastic, including 10% of plastic that was supposed to be thrown into the oceans, and microfiber made of 40% plastic water bottles. What’s more, it has a built-in stand that allows you to read without holding the device in your hands and automatically controls sleep and wake up of the reader.
The screen is a 6-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touch panel with a resolution of 1448 x 1072 pixels. The pixel density here is 300 ppi, and the displayed texts are clear, sharp and perfectly legible. The backlight system called ComfortLight Pro works great – I also like the presence of a night mode and the ability to adjust the brightness and color (temperature) of the backlight to my preferences.
The screen is surrounded by large frames, and the display itself is slightly recessed in relation to the housing – personally, I would prefer it to be at the same level, but in practice it is not a disadvantage. If the manufacturer offered a flat screen – that is, in practice, he added a layer of glass, it could worsen the readability of the display.
I noticed that many people were surprised by how compact the Kobo Clara 2E is. It is actually not the largest, but personally I appreciate the small size and weight more, which works well with everyday use of the reader and means that it will not take up much space in a backpack or purse . Anyway, my personal Kindle, which makes my time in public transport pleasant every day, also has a 6-inch screen and I believe that it is the optimal size of the reader for travelers on a daily basis.
The reader has been designed so that it is comfortable to hold in your hand, and the texture on the rear panel means that it will not slip out of your hand by accident. The only physical button the Kobo Clara 2E has is on the rear panel, and it’s a switch. It is worth adding that the reader is available in only one color – the front is black and the back is blue, but they can be dressed in a colorful case.
The reader is not only a solid device – you cannot forget about its water resistance. The Kobo Clara 2E is IP X8 certified, which means it survives a submersion of up to 2 meters for 60 minutes.
The application is available, which is proud, but in places the translation needs some fine-tuning. The main screen is simple and intuitive – I had no contact with Kobo readers before, but I found myself here quickly. It is worth adding that an internet connection is necessary here – immediately after starting the reader downloaded and installed the update, you also need an account for Kobo services.
The main menu is located in the bottom bar and consists of four items: home page (you can see recent books or audiobooks here), my books (what has been downloaded, bought or otherwise provided by the user to Kobo’s memory), Discover (Kobo store, where you can buy e-books and audiobooks) and More (the most important here is access to the Settings tab).
There are quite intuitive icons in the top bar, pressing which activates the selected function: brightness change, Wi-Fi network, battery status, synchronization and search engine.
Compared to the Kindle reader, I have the impression that the interface is less intuitive – I had the impression that I was using the desktop version adapted to the mobile device, not the interface that was originally designed for the reader. However, in terms of the settings related to the displayed text and the reading process itself, I liked it more .
Kobo Clara 2E offers controversial speed of work – people used to lightning-fast smartphones would even describe its operation as slow. However, it is difficult to say whether it is a matter of insufficient processor power and RAM, or software optimization.
Uploading to the book reader may be a separate problem. There are people who use the Legimi application and other legal sources, there are people who obtain e-books from less legal sources, and there are also those who use company bookstores. The Kobo Clara 2E software will be the fastest for the latter, as it is strongly associated with the company’s store . It is also not possible to install applications and use the resources of such websites as Legimi or Empik Go.
But fortunately, it is enough to connect the reader to the computer and rip the files directly to the reader’s memory, and then synchronize the resources and books will appear in the device’s memory. At 16 GB, it will be enough for up to 12,000 books. Unfortunately, this method does not work for audiobooks – here you have to use the manufacturer’s bookstore (and it’s not cheap). With this type of file, there is room for about 75 listening book titles.
The support for the Pocket service is also an advantage – thanks to this, you can, for example, save articles from any publications or websites on a PC or smartphone and use them also via a reader.
Of course, the Kobo app – as long as you have it installed on your smartphone or tablet – will sync with the reader – and vice versa. This allows you to continue reading on another device, for example a smartphone, exactly at the point where you finished reading on the reader.
Kobo Clara 2E in action
The reader cannot be faulted – it supports all the most popular e-book formats (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, FlePub, MOBI). It works quickly and smoothly – there is no delay when changing pages or navigating through the menu. Anyway, there are a lot of settings here, so the user can adjust a lot of things to his own preferences.
The control itself is very easy. Flick left or right to change pages, and touching the center of the screen displays the menu. In fact, the weak point here can only be the processor, which will not keep up with the user – sometimes you can see some delay when navigating the interface, but it does not affect the comfort of reading and working with the reader ( unlike the slow work of the recently reviewed PocketBook Era reader ).
At most, skip PDFs with comics or magazines. Not only do they work slowly, but on a small screen and without colors, there is no comfort of reading.
The reader also allows you to listen to audiobooks purchased through the Kobo store. You just need to pair your headphones or Bluetooth speaker, because the Kobo Clara 2E is not equipped with a speaker or audio input. When reviewing the reader, I used the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 headphones to listen to audiobooks – there were no problems with pairing and operation.
Support for audiobooks is a nice addition for people who like books to listen to, but at the same time it is not something that must appear in an e-book reader – a smartphone works just as well, or even better in playing them.
While reading, the touch screen allows you to quickly change pages and access menus or settings. Just touch the side of the screen or slide your finger over it to turn the page. Touching the center of the screen displays the reading menu. You can also adjust the size of the font and its style, and turn on the night mode, which actually works great at a known time.
The advantage that deserves emphasis is ComfortLight Pro – this is a function that provides automatic color change throughout the day. But it doesn’t use a light sensor, relying instead on the time of day. Regardless of how it works, it reduces blue light, which is especially important when reading before going to bed.
The case is always the desired accessory – it not only protects the screen, but also makes it easier to put the reader to sleep and wake it up. In the case of the case prepared by Kobo, we also have the option of placing the reader vertically, which is to facilitate reading.
There are people who find it convenient to read on a reader positioned in a horizontal orientation – unfortunately, in the case of the Kobo Clara 2E, this option was missing. But there was no shortage of the possibility of creating notes or using a dictionary – just hold down a word to see its definition.
It can be added that Kobo supports the OverDrive service – borrowing e-books from public libraries.
Comparison with the Kindle Paperwhite 4
Earlier, I referred to the Kindle reader several times, which is a good material for comparison due to the identical screen size and similar dimensions. This is how the comparison of both models and the quality of the texts displayed by them looks like. Although I could not set the same font and size, in practice the screen of the Kobo Clara 2E model is in no way inferior to the Kindle Paperwhite 4.
Both readers have similar capabilities when it comes to reading e-books – and the text looks equally good on both. The difference is the ecosystem – if you’ve been using Amazon’s book offer for a long time, switching to Kobo may be a problem. But if you don’t already have these types of habits and want to invest in your first reader, the Clara 2E may be a good choice.
Finally, it is worth adding that you will not be disappointed with the working times offered by Kobo Clara 2E. After two weeks, with at least one hour of reading a day, I have 25% of my battery left. The device has a 1500 mAh battery and can provide good working times, unless you often listen to audiobooks – then in about 1.5 hours the charge can drop by up to 10%. In this way, the reader working time would be shortened to about a week …
The reader uses the USB-C port, so charging is not a problem – the battery can be charged with a laptop or smartphone charger. This is convenient especially during trips, when it is better to have as few redundant cables and chargers as possible.
In foreign markets, Kobo brand readers are considered reliable devices and a good alternative to Kindles. To distance himself more from Amazon readers and the rest of the competition, Rakuten tried something new – Kobo Clara 2E is equipment for more environmentally conscious readers.