Kobo’s has announced that its first fully waterproof six-inch e-reader, the Kobo Clara 2E, will be available on September 22. However, you can pre-order it now from Kobo for $129.99.
Kobo says the new e-reader is also the first from the Rakuten-owned company and is made from more than 85 percent recycled plastic, with ocean plastic making up 10 percent. These changes are part of Kobo’s goal to offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions associated with shipping its e-readers to customers. Made from FSC-certified recycled paper and printed with soy ink, the magnet-free packaging should also be more environmentally friendly. In terms of features, the new e-reader also differs from its predecessor, the Clara HD, in that it supports Bluetooth so you can listen to audiobooks. It also features 16GB of onboard storage, which is twice what the Clara HD offers. Still, like the Clara HD, it has a 6-inch screen which on paper should be dazzling, while also allowing you to reduce your blue light exposure if you’re reading late at night.
However, it’s the waterproofing, Bluetooth support, and extra storage that make the Kobo Clara 2E more competitive against its biggest rival: Amazon’s excellent new Kindle Paperwhite. Both are waterproof, but the ad-supported Kindle Paperwhite costs more at $139.99 and comes with just 8GB of storage. Kobo, on the other hand, says its e-readers have no ads and that the Kobo Clara 2E, as noted earlier, comes with 16GB of storage. Plus, the Kindle Paperwhite also offers a larger 6.8-inch screen, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preferences. Sure, it could be easier to read, but as we found in our review, some may find it harder to hold with one hand.
Still, the Kindle Paperwhite offers months of battery life, while Kobo says the new Clare 2E will last “weeks”. It may last longer, but I won’t know for sure until I’ve tested the model, which I will do shortly and let you know in my upcoming review. Stay tuned!