Kobo’s announced its first fully waterproof six-inch e-reader, the Kobo Clara 2E, will be available on September 22nd. However, you can preorder it now from Kobo for $129.99.
Kobo says the new e-reader is also the Rakuten-owned company’s first built from over 85 percent recycled plastic, with ocean plastic accounting for 10 percent of that. These changes are a part of Kobo’s goal to offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions related to shipping its e-readers to customers. Made from FSC-certified recycled paper and printed with soy ink, its magnet-free packaging is also supposed to be more eco-friendly.
On the features front, 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 storage on board, which is twice as much as what the Clara HD offers. Yet, like the Clara HD, it features a 6-inch display that should, on paper, be glare-free, while you can also reduce blue light exposure when you’re reading late at night.
It’s the waterproofing, Bluetooth support, and extra storage, though, 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 is just equipped with 8GB of storage. In contrast, Kobo says its e-readers don’t come with ads, and the Kobo Clara 2E, as noted earlier, comes with 16GB of storage. Plus, the Kindle Paperwhite also offers a larger 6.8-inch display, which may or may not be a good thing depending upon 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, however, the Kindle Paperwhite offers months-long battery life, while Kobo says the new Clare 2E lasts “for weeks.” It’s possible it could last longer than that, but I won’t know that for sure until I test the model, which I will soon and let you know in my upcoming review. Stay tuned!