Kobo Clara 2E initial review: The recycled eBook reader

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(Pocket-lint) – Rakuten’s eReader brand Kobo has carved out a name for itself as a credible alternative to Amazon’s Kindle, but is also often seen as following in the footsteps of its more illustrious rival . However, in the all-new Clara 2E, he’s trying something new – he’s created an e-book reader for the more environmentally conscious.

That’s because the Kobo Clara 2E is made primarily from recycled materials, with 85% of the exterior created with recycled plastics. This includes ocean-related trash, such as old water bottles and CDs.

Kobo also hopes to offset 100% of all carbon emissions involved in the shipping process. Its packaging is also greener than most, using FSC-certified recycled paper and soy ink for the printed elements.

Plush pocket

But how does it perform as an e-book reader, and will you have to compromise to feel better about its impact (or lack thereof) on the planet? We briefly checked out the new device during IFA 2022 in Berlin for a quick hands-on.

Our quick take

Certainly, unless you know you wouldn’t know that the Kobo Clara 2E was made from recycled plastics. It seems as solid and reliable as Kobo and other branded eReaders we’ve owned over the years.

The internals have also been improved over the generations, so it’s actually better than the last model at this price (the Clara HD). You get support for audiobooks, for example, and proofing.

We honestly didn’t play around with it enough for a good impression, but a book loaded fairly quickly and the 6-inch 300ppi HD screen was crisp and clear. We could easily read the default font even though we didn’t have our reading glasses on us at the time.

It’s nice to note that the SleepCovers for the Clara 2E are also made from recycled materials. We’re certainly looking forward to putting it through a more thorough test in the near future. It will hit stores on September 22, we get it.

Kobo Clara 2E initial review: Hands-on with the (mostly) recycled e-book reader
For
  • Made from 85% recycled plastics
  • Raincoat
  • Bluetooth support
  • Can be used with audiobooks
Versus
  • We need to get the complete model to test to know if there are any negatives

Improvements

Along with its eco-friendly design, the Clara 2E offers a number of key new features and improvements over the model it replaces – the Clara HD.

Some come from Kobo’s higher-end devices, others a natural progression in terms of generation.

Plush pocketKobo Clara 2E picture 3

There’s twice the storage, for starters, which is essential as it’s now possible to listen to audiobooks purchased through the Kobo store. It comes with 16GB of internal space with added Bluetooth support for connecting a pair of wireless headphones.

Battery life is also improved, with ‘weeks’ of life available from its 1,500mAh battery.

The waterproof rating is IPX8, which means it can last up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of water without failing. It all adds up to an impressive eReader for a similar price.

Easy on the eyes

The display is essentially the same – something to consider if you’re considering upgrading. It sports a 6-inch HD E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen with 1448 x 1072 resolution.

Plush pocketKobo Clara 2E picture 4

The ComfortLight Pro lighting system did an excellent job of keeping the display sharp during our brief viewing. It can also be adjusted for brightness and color temperature.

It’s worth noting that the Clara 2E is slightly heavier than its predecessor – by 5g – but it’d be hard to tell even with one in each hand.

All major eBook file types are supported – EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, FlePub and MOBI.

To recap

We often forget that there are e-book readers available outside of the Amazon ecosystem. But, Rakuten does a great job of providing decent alternatives. Adding durable messaging helps, we think, and it’ll be great to get the Kobo Clara 2E for a full test to see how it stacks up directly alongside the latest Kindle Paperwhite.

Written by Rik Henderson.

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