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In the slow lane: Kobo Clara 2E review


If you read my last e-reader review, you’d know I’m loathe to change my reading device. I love the distraction-free experience that an e-reader provides. It works perfectly for Finding Nemo’s Dory-like, easily distracted readers like me.


After a fairly good run with the Kobo Libra 2, I gave the Kobo Clara 2E a shot. Here’s how it fared.

Display

Design-wise, the Kobo Clara 2E reminds me of the old Amazon Paperwhite I’ve had for ages. This one sports a 6-inch HD e-ink Carta 1200 display. It has a glare-free touchscreen that offers a typical 300 ppi resolution. The device’s rear panel offers a matte, firm grip and comes only in the Deep Ocean Blue colour variant. The rear panel also houses a physical power button on the top corner. At 171 grams, it’s fairly lightweight and easy to pop in my mini shoulder bag when commuting. The company says it’s been crafted with an 85 per cent recycled plastic exterior, which includes 10 per cent ocean-bound plastic, such as water bottles and CDs.

Experience

I chose Isabel Allende’s The Soul of a Woman to start the reading experience on this device. From the get-go, something felt off. As I used the device for a couple of more nights in bed, I realised the interface was painfully slow. There’s a 1 GHz processor packed in. However, everything from page turns to tweaking settings. Opening a new book from my library sometimes took up to 8 seconds to render. Considering it’s a step down from the Libra 2, on-device features, too, are limited in comparison. There’s Dark Mode for high-contrast reading if that’s your thing. There’s also the choice of having a cool or warm backlight on the device. ComfortLight PRO is also included, which reduces strain from blue light emission. When I want to tweak some reading settings, returning to the page after closing the settings window also takes 8-9 seconds. Painfully long.

It supports e-book formats such as ePub, ePub3, PDF, FlePub and MOBI. If you like listening to books, keep in mind it supports Kobo Audiobooks only. You can also read graphic novels and comic books as it supports CBZ and CBR formats.

Tech Specs

There’s 16 GB of on-device storage, enough for tens of thousands of e-books or close to 80 audiobooks. The device is also waterproof, meaning you can chill with it by the pool or beach.

It is water resistant for up to 60 minutes (in up to two meters of water). So it does mean you can’t just leave it there and forget about it. Like all other e-readers, this one, too, stays on for weeks on end, and charging it is so rare that you wouldn’t worry about how much time it takes.

Verdict

At its price point, I had more expectations of the Kobo Clara 2E. I did not anticipate it would struggle with the basics of what a good e-reader should be, which is – before offering frills – offer a snappy, seamless reading experience. That, it does not.

Price – ₹14,999

Pros – Lightweight, customisable features, USB-C charging port

Cons – Slow to function overall which mars the reading experience





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