Kobo’s announced that its first fully waterproof six-inch e-reader, the Kobo Clara 2E, will be available on September 22. However, you can preorder it now from Kobo for $129.99.
The new e-reader is also the first from the Rakuten-owned company with more than 85 percent recycled plastic, including 10 percent ocean plastic, Kobo said. The changes are part of Kobo’s goal to reduce 100 percent carbon emissions from shipping its e-readers to consumers. Made from FSC-certified recycled paper and printed with soy ink, its non-magnetic packaging is also thought to be more environmentally friendly.
On the features front, the new e-reader differs from its predecessor the Clara HD in that it supports Bluetooth so you can listen to audiobooks. It also has 16GB of storage on board, which is twice what the Clara HD offers. However, like the Clara HD, it has a 6-inch display that should be glare-free on paper, but can also reduce blue light exposure when you’re reading late at night.
It’s waterproofing, Bluetooth support and extra storage, however, 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 $139.99 and only has 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. Additionally, the Kindle Paperwhite also offers a larger 6.8-inch display, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preferences. Sure, it might be easy to read, but as we found out in our review, it might be difficult for some people to hold with one hand.
Still, the Kindle Paperwhite offers months of battery life, while the new Clare 2E lasts “weeks,” Kobo says. It’s likely to last longer than that, but I won’t know for sure until I test the model, which I’ll let you know soon and in my upcoming review. Stay tuned!