Rakuten Kobo unveils new color E-Readers: meet Libra Colour and Clara Colour

Rakuten Kobo’s new ebook reader lineup is made from recycled plastic and they’re all waterproof

Kobo Libra Colour
Kobo Libra Colour

Rakuten Kobo has just unveiled three new devices: the Kobo Libra Colour, Kobo Clara Color, and Kobo Clara BW. Among these, the Kobo Libra Color and Clara Colour stand out for their ePaper color displays, while the Kobo Clara BW caters to traditionalists who prefer black and white ePaper but want enhanced performance.

Now, if you’re not up to speed on e-ink tech, you might be scratching your head about how Kobo managed to achieve a color display using ePaper technology. Well, it’s all thanks to the Kaleido 3 display from E-Ink Holdings. The specifics of how it works might be a tad intricate, but the bottom line is this: E-Ink Holdings has cracked the code, delivering 16 levels of grayscale and an impressive 4096 colors with the Kaleido 3.

Of course, eye protection is a big concern for e-book readers, and Kobo doesn’t disappoint in this department either. Alongside vibrant color, buyers of the Kobo Libra Color and Clara Color e-readers will enjoy E-Ink’s ComfortGaze technology, which minimizes blue light reflection from the display surface.

Kobo Clara Color
The Kobo Clara Color is made of recycled plastics and its waterproof

GEEKSPIN got an exclusive hands-on with the Libra Colour provided by Rakuten Kobo, revealing three key areas where the color ePaper enhances the user experience: book cover images, audiobook thumbnails, and multi-color highlights. This implementation is quite impressive, as it enriches the reading experience without detracting from the primary purpose of an e-book reader, which is hassle-free reading, whether indoors or outdoors.

The flagship device in the lineup, the Kobo Libra Colour, boasts a 7-inch display and a curved design, ensuring a comfortable fit in the reader’s hand while making page-turn buttons easily accessible in both portrait and landscape modes. With 32GB of storage, it can hold up to 24,000 e-books or 150 audiobooks, and it introduces support for Dropbox and Google Drive for the first time on a 7-inch Kobo device, promising convenience for users. According to Kobo’s tests, its battery can last an impressive 40 days on a single charge.

Kobo Libra Colour
Kobo Libra Colour is compatible with the Kobo Stylus 2

Additionally, the Kobo Libra Colour is compatible with the Kobo Stylus 2, catering to users who enjoy annotating, organizing thoughts, and highlighting passages in color during their reading sessions. This stylus enhances the user experience by bringing the Kaleido 3 display to life, allowing for journaling, note-taking in the margins, and even page decoration.

In contrast, the Kobo Clara Colour and Kobo Clara BW offer 16GB of storage, sufficient for 12,000 eBooks and 75 audiobooks respectively. All devices in the lineup feature Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO technology, which reduces blue light exposure throughout the day, enhancing reading comfort. Furthermore, they integrate OverDrive for borrowing library books and Pocket support for reading saved online articles.

Notably, all three devices are IPX8 waterproof rated, ensuring resilience against water damage for up to 1 hour in depths of 2 meters. All three new devices are also made with recycled and ocean-bound plastics

In a commendable move, Kobo has partnered with iFixit to introduce repairability capabilities in this new lineup, allowing users to replace features like the battery, promising greater longevity and sustainability for their devices.

Kobo Libra and Clara availability

The Kobo Libra Colour is priced at $219.99 USD, the Kobo Clara Colour at $149.99 USD, and the Kobo Clara BW at $129.99 USD. These eReaders are set for pre-order starting April 10, 2024, on www.kobo.com/ereaders and select retailers. The Kobo Stylus 2 is currently available for purchase at $69.99 USD.

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