Kobo Clara 2E Review: eReaders Are Surprisingly Handy?!

Are you a physical book reader like myself? If so, space has always been a factor of consideration and worry, with books being as small as a wallet up to the size of a freaking brick. They quickly take up all the shelf space which you really seem to get enough of. So, the solution? eBook Readers, they’re small, comfortable for the eyes and the best thing of all, they can store way more books than all the shelves in my house combined.

Display

The Kobo Clara 2E sports a 6-inch 1448 by 1072 HD E Ink display with a pixel density of 300ppi, it's no OLED so visuals are displayed in an achromatic manner which is more than sufficient for text and the like. The display is touchscreen but don't expect to be doing any 120hz swiping and scrollings. There are also brightness and temperature adjustments, I don't usually read my books outdoors but for the sake of this review, I went out and did it anyway. Safe to say, even under direct sunlight glaring right at your 2E, turn the brightness to the max you'll be able to read it just fine.

Build Quality

The 2E weighs about 171g which is just about the same weight as a regular iPhone 13, the pocketable size also lets me grip it easier for longer periods, even while laying down.

It's IPX8 certified so you can read your ebooks up to about 2 metres underwater for about 60 mins, not that I've tested it, but it's what the certification says so if you've actually tested that claim do let us know how it went.

Connectivity

Connectivity-wise, the 2E supports dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth for all you audiobook listeners. As for WiFi, the connection does drop off fairly easily and good luck trying to get any signal out of the 5Ghz band when you are not standing directly in front of the modem.

In actual usage though, the WiFi is really only needed for downloading ebooks, you can purchase ebooks directly from the 2E but trust me, it's faster to do it on your phone or PC. Aside from the Kobo app, the 2E can also be linked to Pocket or Adobe Digital Editions if you already have an existing library there. Other than that, you get the power button at the back and the type-c port for charging and transferring your “legally purchased” ebooks from external sources. The 2E comes with 16GB storage for it and supports a wide range of publication formats.

Impressions

And with specs out of the way, let's talk about the experience. Usually, I either read physical copies or digital copies using my phone so I have no prior experience with eReaders. That being said, I feel that this is very comparable to physical books. The E Ink display is pleasant to look at and I don't feel as much strain in my eyes as compared to reading off my phone.

The size is also much larger than my Pixel 6 for comparison and you don't need to worry about charging as I've had it for a week and a half now, putting in about an hour or two every day and I still haven't charged it yet. The battery indicator still looks full as of shooting this video as well, pretty cool.

Reading Experience

Let's talk a bit about the books now. I've tried novels, manga, webtoons and audiobooks. Nothing to shout about in the novels and mangas as they are meant to be read in a left-to-right format, coloured pages will, of course, be displayed in achromatic colours and looks almost paperlike.

Webtoons are where the experience suffers a little as it is usually structured in a vertical format and since you can't change the page orientation of the 2E, you'll be forced to read webtoons broken up by pages which is not really how webtoons are meant to be experienced.

As far as Audiobooks go, it's alright, you can pair it with a Bluetooth speaker or earbuds and have the book be read to you, I did try listening to the whole of Dune on this, audiobooks aren't generally my thing but if it works for you, here you go.

Pricing and Conclusion

And with that, let’s talk pricing, the Kobo Clara 2E cost about S$219.90 and this SleepCover here cost an additional S$49.90.

If you don't already have an existing eBook collection, then the Clara 2E may be the eReader you are looking for, it's affordable, easy to use and syncs to your books via the Kobo app so you can even read on your phone if you don't feel like bringing two devices around. If you already have an eBook collection in say, Amazon, then maybe you would like to stay in those ecosystems instead. Lastly, if you are mainly a webtoon reader, sorry to say, eReaders may not be for you...for now.

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