Kobo's Clara 2E ereader looks like the ultimate Amazon Kindle rival

Kobo's new Kindle rival protects your eyes and is better for the planet, too

Kobo Clara 2E
(Image credit: Kobo)

When it comes to e-readers, the first product that comes to mind is Amazon's Kindle. It's a great device and the extended range of Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis and Kindle Kids Edition means there's likely a best Kindle for most people.

The thing is, though, there's not much competition left on the market for ereaders in 2022. While many Amazon rivals have come and gone – remember when you could walk into a bookshop and see all kinds of e-readers from brands including Sony – Kobo though has stayed the course, and its new Kobo Clara 2E looks like a quality device that also promises to protect your eyes and be nicer to the environment.

Kobo Clara 2E vs Kindle: which is best?

The £129.99 Kobo Clara 2E goes on sale later this month and costs the same as Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite (when Amazon isn't discounting it) and has a slightly smaller display: six inches to the Kindle's 6.8. It's an upgraded HD 300ppi, low glare E-ink panel with dark mode and what Kobo calls ComfortLight Pro, which reduces blue light to help you read at bedtime without ruining your sleep. It's Kobo's first waterproof e-reader (like the Kindle Paperwhite it's IPX8), and it's made with over 85% recycled plastic compared to the 60% in a Kindle. Storage is 16GB, twice that of the Kindle.

If like me you're a lover of audiobooks, the Kobo matches the Kindle here too: it supports Kobo Audiobooks and works with Bluetooth wireless headphones. There's also support for a wide range of e-book formats so you can easily buy from independent publishers (please do, they need the money).

Although the devices look very similar, the Kobo software is more fun: there's a lot more customisation here compared to the fairly limited options on the Kindle.

Ultimately, though, e-readers aren't about the hardware: they're about the books. In addition to the Kobo Store, the Clara 2E has local library borrowing via the built-in OverDrive app, and it has tight integration with the Pocket app so you can send web pages and longreads to your device from your phone. 

If you're a fully paid-up member of the Kindle tribe this probably won't tempt you to defect, but if you're new to e-books and would rather not be locked in the warm embrace of Amazon's ecosystem this looks like a really good device – especially if you like to buy from small publishers or use your e-reader to catch up on all the things you've noticed during the day when you're too busy to read them.

The Kobo Clara 2E will go on sale on 22 September. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).