Kobo’s new ereaders include its first with color displays


Rakuten has a trio of new Kobo ereaders, including the company’s first two with color displays. On Wednesday, the company revealed the $220 Kobo Libra Colour and $150 Clara Colour alongside the monochrome $130 Clara BW. You can preorder them today, ahead of their April 30 launch.

The Kobo Libra Colour has a seven-inch E Ink Kaleido 3 display, which should have a noticeable improvement with 16 levels of grayscale, 4,096 colors and 30 percent better color saturation than E Ink’s last-gen tech. The Libra Colour is the only one of Kobo’s new ereaders with stylus support for ebook annotations and highlighting. But you’ll need to add the $70 Kobo Stylus 2 (also compatible with the Elipsa 2E) to enjoy that.

The device has a curved, “ergonomic” design with page-turn buttons. It supports portrait and landscape reading and has 32GB of storage (good for around 24,000 ebooks or 150 audiobooks). Rakuten says its battery can last up to 40 days on a single charge, but that’s for reading for 30 minutes daily with the front light at 30 percent brightness and the wireless turned off. (Expect less if you read more than that or turn the brightness higher with wireless radios on.)

Product lifestyle photo of the Kobo Clara Colour ereader. The device sits propped up on a small, round, wooden table in front of vases with plants.

Rakuten Kobo

Meanwhile, the six-inch Kobo Clara Colour and Clara BW forgo the Libra Colour’s page-turn buttons and stylus support in favor of more accessible pricing. The Clara BW differs from the last-gen Clara 2 (Engadget’s pick for the best ereader) with a faster processor, more storage (16GB) and the latest E Ink Carta 1300 display tech.

Rakuten says the Clara Colour and Clara BW can last up to 53 days on a charge, but that’s with half an hour of reading per day, the brightness set at a mere 10 percent and WiFi / Bluetooth off.

All three devices have ComfortLightPro for automatic blue-light adjustment. They have an IPX8 water resistance rating, making them suitable for poolside or bathtime reading. The ereaders use recycled and ocean-bound plastics in their build materials, and Rakuten has partnered with iFixit for self-repairs.

You can buy separate covers (made from recycled materials) with built-in stands for all three new devices. The Libra Colour has a standard $30 SleepCover and a $40 NoteBook SleepCover with a magnetic stylus slot. The Clara Colour and Clara BW have $30 SleepCovers and a cheaper $20 Basic SleepCover.

You can preorder the new ereaders from Rakuten Kobo starting today. The Kobo Libra Colour costs $220, the Clara Colour is priced at $150 and the monochrome Clara BW runs $130. All three devices arrive on April 30.



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