Kobo’s new e-readers are a sidegrade most can skip (with one exception)

Kobo put out a handful of recent e-readers just a few weeks again: coloration variations of the superb Libra 2 and Clara, in addition to an up to date monochrome model of the latter. But after testing all of them out, I can say that for many customers, there’s no motive to modify.

First, the colour editions. I’ve been ready on coloration e-paper screens for what looks like half my life, and so they have but to attain the extent of vibrancy I’d need in an effort to actually get pleasure from comics and web sites on them. That’s nonetheless the case with the Clara Colour and Libra Colour.

These units use E Ink’s newest Kaleido 3 show, and positively issues have come a methods from what we have been seeing 10 years in the past. But the easy truth is the colour copy remains to be not nice. Better than it ever was … however poor in contrast with nearly the rest.

It’s unclear to me why you’ll need coloration in any respect on a 6″ system in regards to the dimension of a pulp paperback. I attempted to learn just a few comics however the textual content is just too small and zooming and panning too clumsy. And the colours, whereas current, are washed out in each shade. Perhaps a kids’s ebook?

Now, I need to give credit score the place credit score is due: The display shows all kinds of colours — I studied one panel specifically that had a number of distinct however comparable shades of blue (not the one beneath), and I used to be capable of discern them on the reader nearly in addition to my regular LCD display. They’re actually desaturated, however they’re there.

kobo color2
The moiré and aliasing are much less seen in individual, however you get the thought.
Image Credits: TechCrunch

These criticisms are all equally true of the bigger Libra Colour, the newest within the line of asymmetrical 7″ units with web page flip buttons. That additional inch makes for about as a lot additional readability as you’ll count on — a bit — however the display itself isn’t any totally different.

You could also be pondering: Why not simply get the colour one so you’ve gotten the choice? You can nonetheless learn odd books, in any case. Yes, however … sadly, the colour layer really makes black and white content material worse.

I in contrast the Clara Colour and BW aspect by aspect — and for that matter, the year-old Clara 2E I had sitting round. While they’re all nominally the identical decision, the Colour appears as if there’s a kind of gentle gauze over it, darkening your entire show barely and consequently lowering the distinction.

This isn’t just a few minor factor that one solely notices with a microscope. It’s actually apparent. The coloration screens are dimmer and more durable to learn. I attempted and did not seize it in images, however belief me, it’s unquestionably a step down.

As such, I merely can’t suggest the colour variations of those readers to anybody, except you’ve gotten a specific use case the place desaturated colours and a barely degraded studying expertise aren’t an enormous deal.

Now, as for the Clara BW, that is primarily the brand new default advice I’ll be giving — not as a result of it considerably outdoes my go-to reader, the Clara 2E, however as a result of it provides modest enhancements for $10 much less.

The new model of this very easy type issue features a frivolously up to date display, the Carta 1300 collection, which boasts barely higher distinction and page-turning speeds. Tested in opposition to the 2E, I discovered it to be noticeably sooner when tapping shortly via pages, however not noticeable in odd use. And so far as the readability and distinction, they have been about equal to my eye, with a slight benefit going to the brand new system. My favourite function is that it doesn’t crash after I plug it into my laptop half the time, a Clara 2E behavior I’d given up on fixing.

So actually, you get what I feel is essentially the most sensible e-reader in the marketplace for most individuals, just for $130 slightly than $140. No adverts, sideload your personal fonts and paperwork, built-in library app, loads of room to mess around and hack. However, in case you personal a Clara 2E, or perhaps a Clara HD, I don’t assume the improve is essentially value it. Type high quality hasn’t improved that a lot in the previous few years.

As earlier than, I like to recommend getting their faux-leather “sleep cowl,” which each protects your system from the standard scuffs and folds into a beautiful little stand. I like to recommend the Cayenne Red coloration so that you by no means lose it. Believe me, you’ll be glad you spent the $30.

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