Between Kindle and Kobo, you’ve chosen Kobo, but which model is right for you? We explain everything to help you.
If the power of Amazon has undoubtedly succeeded in making the Kindle the symbol of the digital reader, the Kobos, designed by the company of the same name, are a very credible alternative. Coming after Amazon on the market, the Canadian company has succeeded in undermining, at least in part, Amazon’s hegemony in the segment. Absorbed since by Rakuten, in France, Kobo has been widely popularized by Fnac, to the point that it is believed that it is she who produces them. It must be said that the catchphrase “Kobo by Fnac” is confusing to say the least.
If the partnership with Fnac has very clearly contributed to the success of the Kobos in our regions, the quality of the brand’s products is also a factor. Kobos are generally very good value for money with a full product line, where each one is aimed at a different reader.
Don’t know which one to choose? We explain how to make the right choice according to your uses or your budget.
The Kobo Clara HD is the brand’s entry-level proposition and it’s the one we recommend. This e-reader launched at 129 euros and now available at 109 euros already embeds all the features of a good e-reader. Its 6-inch high-definition e-ink screen offers enough resolution to display characters finely and give the impression of reading a real paper book.
Its screen is obviously backlit for reading in the evening and it also has the merit of also automatically adjusting to the light atmosphere. This is what Kobo calls “ComfortLightAnd that is to vary the temperature of the backlight light. From blue during the day, it will turn to yellow in the evening to less disturb the eyes and make it easier to fall asleep. This is an element that seems very important to us for an e-reader which is often required to be used in bed.
Since this is the entry level, the Clara HD is however a few dead ends: the two most important are water resistance, yet very practical, and a very simple design, devoid of button which does not facilitate not always navigation. On the other hand, like all e-readers, its autonomy is very comfortable, with already several days, even several weeks on a single charge depending on your use. It has 8 GB of storage, which is already more than enough since it corresponds to approximately 6000 pounds.
If you are used to reading on the beach, by the pool or in your bath, we advise you to opt for the Kobo Libra H20. As its name suggests, it has the merit of being waterproof. This is one of its advantages, but it is not alone. The screen, still high definition, also gains an inch to reach a diagonal of 7 inches therefore.
Besides its larger size, it also has a wider border on the right. This facilitates the gripping and it incorporates buttons allowing in particular to turn the pages. No more twisting or using the other hand. This may seem quite anecdotal in theory, but it is a real plus in practice, especially for regular readers.
It obviously retains the “ComfortLight” backlighting, excellent battery life and still 8 GB of storage. Also note that you can use it horizontally and that it is possible to add a protective cover. It is available at 179 euros.
Kobo Nia: For small budgets
Released in 2020, the Nia complements the Kobo lineup with an affordable entry-level model. If it tells you something, that’s normal: it uses the same design as the Aura Edition 2 released a few years ago. We therefore find a simple and solid plastic shell, with a textured back to prevent it slipping out of your hands. It is also very light with only 172 grams on the scale.
On the screen side, there is a 6-inch panel with a fairly low resolution of 1024 x 768 points. Everything obviously benefits from lighting, but the latter is a little worse than on its big sisters. In particular, it ignores the anti-blue light functions. The 8 GB storage is not expandable and the eReader supports many open formats.
In short, a simple and unfussy e-reader sold at a reasonable price.
We end with the Kobo Forma which therefore comes to oversee the range of e-readers. To differentiate itself, it first relies on its size, this time with an 8-inch screen. That’s two more than the Clara HD. This is an obvious gain in reading comfort, especially if you do not have perfect eyesight. Its design is very similar to the H2O model since we find the handle on the right with buttons. There is also ComfortLight and waterproofing.
So what more does she have? Well… other than the bigger size, not much. The other main difference is a more resistant screen, adapted to this larger diagonal. And that’s about it. We will always store our books on 8 GB of memory as well, and the autonomy is similar.
In other words, unless you absolutely want an 8-inch e-reader, the Kobo Forma is difficult to justify its 279 euros when the H20 model costs 100 euros less while offering almost identical features. Finally, note that there is a 32 GB version at 329 euros.
What to know before buying a Kobo eReader
What are the advantages of Kobos over Kindle?
In addition to the technical or form factor specifics, the Kobos have one main advantage over Amazon Kindle: support for Epub formats. It serves as the standard for electronic books. With Kindle, you will have to convert them before you can put them on the e-reader. It is not very complicated, but it requires an additional step.
Finally, the Kobos are one of the rare viable alternatives to the Kindle, a real plus if you want to avoid feeding the distribution giant a little more.
Where to buy electronic books?
The easiest way to buy e-books is to go to the shops Kobo or Fnac. They are accessible directly from the e-reader if it is connected to the Internet (via Wi-Fi). You can also access them from your computer and transfer them to the eReader later. Remember that we can find many free works that have fallen into the public domain.
What eBook formats are supported by Kobos?
Kobo supports major eBook formats including .EPUB and .EPUB3, as well as .PDF, .FlePub, .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG, .BMP and .TIFF; .TXT, .HTML and .RTF then finally .CBZ and .CBR for comics.