Kobo Clara 2E evaluate: sluggish reader

I don’t know what to do throughout thunderstorms. I’m from Southern California, in spite of everything, the place we’re accustomed to heat, sunny days, even through the winter. So when the primary raindrop fell on the Kobo Clara 2E I used to be studying whereas within the park, my bewildered self naturally thought a hen peed on my evaluate unit. Solely when the rain actually began to pour down did it hit me that I used to be caught in the course of a storm exterior with no jacket or umbrella to guard me or this $129.99 e-reader. Evidently, I freaked out and ran.

However there was no must. It turned out the Kobo Clara 2E is best at coping with rainstorms than this, nicely, Californian author. Now again indoors, drenched and frazzled, I nervously clicked the facility button hoping I didn’t destroy it. The e-reader powered on and labored like regular, regardless of spending about twenty minutes exterior in a literal storm. 

I breathed a sigh of reduction. 

Boasting an IPX8 waterproof ranking, Kobo’s $129.99 Clara 2E is its first six-inch waterproof e-reader — and clearly, it does the job nicely. But it’s simply one of many many new options Kobo’s newest e-reader gives that additional narrows the divide between the Kobo and Amazon’s ubiquitous Kindle. With a high-resolution show, twice the storage of the bottom Kindle Paperwhite, and Bluetooth help so you may hearken to audiobooks, it’s Amazon e-reader various. I’d additionally advocate it if the ad-free $169.99 Kindle Paperwhite is simply too costly however you’re hesitant to purchase the cheaper, equally specced Kindle as a result of it’s not waterproof.

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Earlier than I even registered that this was a water-proof e-reader, I used to be impressed by the Kobo Clara’s 2E display. Given you purchase an e-reader primarily to, nicely, learn, a show that makes it simple to take action is an absolute should. Fortunately, the Kobo Clara 2E nailed this e-reader elementary. It makes use of the identical sharp 300 PPI show discovered on Amazon’s newest Kindles so textual content reveals up crisp and clear, however with a couple of additional customization options for a extra comfy and accessibility-friendly studying expertise. Kobo, for instance, gives extra flexibility with sliders you should use to regulate the font weight, margins, and line areas precisely to your liking, which is useful for these of us who don glasses. The Kindle Paperwhite allows you to alter this stuff too, however it’s important to select from a set of preset choices. Plus, the Kobo additionally comes with barely extra font and font model choices, even one which’s catered to these with dyslexia. 


The entrance of the Kobo Clara 2E. Kobo gives sliders you should use to regulate the font weight, margins, and line areas precisely to your liking.
Photograph by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

Just like the Kindle Paperwhite, the show additionally routinely adjusts its brightness and tone based mostly on the time of day. Mixed with tech that reduces blue gentle publicity and a darkish mode choice, studying at night time and in low-light circumstances didn’t give me any complications or eye fatigue. And if you end up studying below the solar, it is best to have the ability to with out a difficulty because the show does job of considerably lowering glare.

But the display comes with two weaknesses. First, the Kindle Paperwhite comes with a flush display, that means there’s no hole between the show and the aspect of the e-reader. Sadly, the Clara 2E’s sunken show means there’s a hole the place it could possibly accumulate some mud and dust. The second flaw is extra a matter of non-public choice. As a normal six-inch show, it’s smaller than the Kindle Paperwhite’s, which is 6.8 inches. That might make it a bit more durable to learn for some, but it surely additionally means it’s a bit extra pocketable and might be held with one hand, which I can’t comfortably do for lengthy stretches with the Kindle Paperwhite. 

Talking of what it’s like to carry the Clara 2E, a novel wavy sample on the again of the system helps with grip and makes it simpler for me to hold it. Simply watch out to not unintentionally press the facility button, which is situated on the again. In any other case, the e-reader appears like every other plastic e-reader. Nonetheless, there’s one large distinction: in line with Kobo, the “eco-friendly” Clara 2E stands out as a result of it’s created from 85 % recycled plastic, with ocean-bound plastic accounting for ten %. It’s doubtless that is why Kobo included a wavy sample and made the again navy-colored in distinction to the black entrance. That’s a bit extra recycled materials than utilized in Amazon’s e-readers; the Kindle makes use of 30-75% recycled plastics, whereas the Kindle Paperwhite is created from 60 % recycled plastics.

A hand holding up the Kobo Clara 2E turned around so the side where the USB-C port is is on display.

The Kobo Clara 2E comes with USB-C help.

In response to Kobo, battery life ought to final weeks, though that depends upon how vibrant you just like the show to be. With the display brightness turned on at 50 % and Wi-Fi enabled, it lasted for about two-and-a-half weeks earlier than I wanted to juice it again up, however I principally learn at night time for an hour or two. You possibly can comfortably learn with 30 % brightness, particularly when you principally learn through the day and switch the Wi-Fi off often, so the battery may last as long as 4 weeks for others. That’s not the Kindle Paperwhite’s “months-long” battery life nor the six weeks battery life the usual Kindle gives, although. Fortunately, the Kobo Clara 2E costs fairly shortly, due to USB-C help. Utilizing a sluggish five-watt USB energy adapter, I used to be nonetheless in a position to cost the e-reader from 50 to 100% in about two hours which is on par with the Kindle.

Aside from one main downside, which I’ll clarify shortly, studying on the e-reader is usually an fulfilling expertise. From the beginning, I appreciated there are not any annoying adverts on the lockscreen, which it’s important to pay additional to take away on Amazon’s e-readers. I additionally preferred that the primary homescreen was much less cluttered with suggestions and different books than Amazon’s, which made it really feel much less overwhelming. Plus, there are even some good new experimental options you may play with, like a sketchpad you may take notes with or draw on both along with your finger or a stylus (bought individually) and a Massive Print mode that enlarges textual content everywhere in the Kobo.


The e-reader comes with enjoyable new experimental options like a sketchpad.
Photograph by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

But my pleasure over this stuff shortly began to fade once I truly began to navigate the menu. The Kobo Clara 2E is noticeably sluggish in comparison with each the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite. Because of this, navigation and turning pages by tapping on the touchscreen typically required me to attend a second or two. This was one thing that obtained on my nerves at occasions — particularly whereas typing in my Wi-Fi credentials. Whereas not a complete dealbreaker given the opposite praiseworthy options this e-reader boasts, it was positively a disappointment. 

Efficiency points apart, although, I used to be pleased with the big selection of content material you may entry, particularly exterior of the Kobo ecosystem. You’ll be able to simply entry ebooks out of your public library of alternative due to OverDrive help. There’s even a tab on the homescreen for fast entry. As well as, you may shortly sideload ebooks, comedian books, and different kinds of paperwork in 15 file codecs by utilizing a cable and a pc. Plus, due to its distinctive Pocket integration, you may even learn articles you discover on-line in your e-reader by saving them to the app’s account — a function that requires a bit extra legwork on the Kindle and doesn’t work as nicely. Nonetheless, there’s no help for AZW recordsdata, so that you received’t have the ability to learn Kindle books on the e-reader. That could possibly be a downside when you’re already embedded in Amazon’s ecosystem.

When you do wish to purchase from Kobo, its on-line retailer additionally hosts thousands and thousands of books, so that you’ll have the ability to purchase the newest bestseller simply out of your homescreen. I additionally preferred that, like Amazon, Kobo typically reductions its ebooks and has a brand new, cost-effective e book subscription service, the Kobo Plus, which is like Amazon’s Kindle Limitless. After the free first month, you’ll should pay $9.99 a month for entry to over one million ebooks. You may as well recover from 100,000 audiobooks for $12.99 per 30 days. The library is admittedly fairly restricted compared to Kindle’s. Nonetheless, you may obtain a limiteless variety of ebooks at a time, which isn’t one thing Kindle Limitless permits. 

Talking of audiobooks, not like its predecessor, the Clara HD, the Clara 2E additionally now helps Bluetooth. Because of this, you may hearken to dozens of audiobooks saved on the 16GB of storage, which is twice what the Kindle Paperwhite begins at. Sadly, nevertheless, you may solely hearken to audiobooks bought from Kobo as you may’t sideload them.

A hand holding up the Kobo Clara 2E. Its screen is on and open to a page in an ebook.

The Kobo Clara 2E’s display when it’s sunny.

The Kobo Clara 2E is an effective e-reader, but would I like to recommend it over different e-readers like Amazon’s? It relies upon. At $129.99, the Kobo Clara 2E is $40 cheaper than the identical specced Kindle Paperwhite with no adverts and 16GB of storage. But I wouldn’t select the Clara 2E over the Kindle when you’re merely in search of a less expensive various. In spite of everything, for $119.99, you should buy an ad-free base Kindle that shares a lot of what I really like in regards to the Kobo Clara 2E, like a high-resolution show, but it surely’s loads sooner. You’ll simply should be comfy with the very fact it’s an Amazon e-reader that’s not waterproof. 

Nonetheless, when you’re primarily in search of a water-proof e-reader that’s cheaper than the Kindle Paperwhite, or an Amazon various, then the Clara 2E is a stable various. It does job at nailing the basics, but it surely’s extra pocketable, customizable, and doesn’t come tethered to Amazon’s ecosystem.

Comply with Proceed: Kobo Clara 2E

Like many e-readers, Kobo’s Clara 2E requires you to conform to a collection of phrases and circumstances earlier than you should use it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s inconceivable for us to learn and analyze each single one in every of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions it’s important to hit “agree” to make use of gadgets after we evaluate them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and positively can’t negotiate.

Whenever you first use your Kobo Clara 2E, you’ll be requested to attach your system both to Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, with third-party apps like Fb, Google, and Apple, or by making a Kobo account. When you try this, you should give permission for Kobo to entry no matter account you select. For instance, when you join your e-reader to Google, you’ll should conform to let Kobo and Google use your data in accordance with their respective privateness insurance policies. By the act of utilizing the e-reader, you additionally conform to Kobo’s phrases and circumstances. You shouldn’t have to attach and thus submit your debit / bank card data or different billing particulars to make use of the system.

In whole, there are two obligatory agreements to get began utilizing the Kobo Clara 2E.

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