Kobo’s new e-readers are a sidegrade most can skip (with one exception)

Kobo's new color e-readers underperform, with the monochrome Clara BW being the most recommended.

: Kobo released new e-readers including color versions of the Libra 2 and Clara, and an updated Clara BW. The color e-readers display desaturated colors and diminished contrast, making them less desirable. The Clara BW, however, offers modest improvements and is recommended for its value and performance.

Kobo recently introduced new iterations of their popular e-readers, adding color options for the Libra 2 and Clara models and updating the monochrome Clara BW. During tests, the color e-readers, utilizing E Ink's Kaleido 3 display technology, showed improvements in color display but failed to meet expectations with washed out colors and decreased readability due to lower contrast. The devices tested included enhancements over previous models but still lagged behind conventional displays in terms of vibrancy and clarity.

The Clara Colour and Libra Colour specifically suffered from these issues, making them undesirable for users looking for quality comic book or vibrant web content viewing. While the presence of colors was confirmed, their desaturation and the overall dimness of the screen were significant drawbacks. Further comparisons with other Kobo models like the Clara 2E illustrated that even with the same resolution, the color models had a perceptible gauze over them that affected display sharpness and contrast negatively.

However, the updated Clara BW model stood out among the new releases for delivering minor yet worthwhile improvements over its predecessors. It sports a better contrast and quicker page-turning speeds, albeit these enhancements were minimal in everyday use. Priced $10 less than the previous model and with features conducive to a convenient reading experience like ad-free usage, the ability to sideload content, and a robust built-in library app, the Clara BW is recommended as a practical choice for most users, unless they already own a recent prior version that still performs adequately.