Kobo’s latest ereader has just been announced – the Clara 2E is the successor to Kobo’s mid-range Clara HD tablet and maintains all its bells and whistles, plus adds some new ones to enhance your reading experience. Its selling point, however, is its eco-conscious attitude.
For the first time, Kobo has made an ereader built mostly out of recycled plastics. The Clara 2E’s chassis is, the company promises, made from 85% recycled plastic, which includes 10% of ocean-bound waste. Kobo is keen on doing its part for the planet and we applaud the effort.
That’s not all, though. Not only does it retain the Clara HD’s clean design with a 6-inch screen, the display has been updated to the latest E Ink Carta 1200 tech. That means it’s going to be faster and more responsive than its predecessor. It’s the same display used in the Kobo Libra 2 – our pick of the best ereaders around – and increases contrast by 15% for better text clarity and bumps up the screen response time by a very significant 20%.
The Clara 2E also gets Bluetooth connectivity so you can listen to audiobooks via a set of wireless headphones or a portable speaker, plus doubles the internal storage at 16GB. USB-C charging is now the norm on Kobo ereaders, and the Clara 2E is no different. Most importantly, though, it’s also waterproof – something the Clara HD was noticeably lacking.
Picking one up will set you back $129.99 / £129.99 / AU$229.95 making it $10 / £10 / AU$40 more expensive than its predecessor. However, you’re getting a whole array of new features with this model. You can already preorder one directly from Kobo’s online store (opens in new tab) in your region, but you’ll have to wait until late September to have it in your hands.
This also means it’s still cheaper than the latest 11th-gen Kindle Paperwhite in the US and Australia (by $10 / AU$10), though both ereaders are the same price in the UK (£129.99). You’re getting twice the memory with the Clara 2E, so it could be worth considering if you’ve been looking to grab the Paperwhite, especially if you’d rather use that additional saving on some new ebooks.
This will be Kobo’s first ereader made under its new environmentally conscious scheme. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Clara 2E is made of 85% recycled plastic, with 10% of that being ocean-bound waste. That’s things like water bottles and CDs that have been salvaged and transformed to create this new device. This changes nothing about its design, as it’ll still look like the Clara HD, but it’s a nice thing for readers who are looking for more eco-friendly options.
This outdoes what Amazon has done with its latest Kindle Paperwhite models (including the Signature Edition). The 11th-generation Paperwhite is a Climate Pledge Friendly product too, but only 60% of its body is made from recycled plastic.
One improvement we’re really glad about is the waterproofing. Unlike the Clara HD, if you drop the Clara 2E in the bath or pool, you’ll have nothing to worry about thanks to its IPX8 rating, which is in line with its competitor, Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, and other Kobo models such as the Sage, Libra 2 and Forma. For those who don’t know what that rating means, the Clara 2E can remain submerged in two metres of fresh water for up to an hour without damage.
Kobo already offers a fantastic range of supported file formats, but access to audiobooks in the Clara 2E is another welcome addition that was also missing from all the older models prior to the Libra 2. Paired with the a set of wireless headphones or a speaker, you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite books on this device regardless of whether you prefer to read or listen to them. If Kobo hasn’t changed its audiobook policy yet, then the only caveat is that all audiobooks you can listen to on the Clara 2E will be those purchased from the Kobo Store – this is the case with the Libra 2 and the Sage.
We’ll be putting the Clara 2E to the test soon, so check back with us to see if it really is worth the higher asking price.