(Pocket-lint) - Rakuten's eReader brand Kobo has carved a name for itself as a credible alternative to Amazon's Kindle, but is also often considered as following it its more illustrious rival's footsteps. However, in the all-new Clara 2E it is trying something new - it has created an eBook reader for the more eco concious.
That's because the Kobo Clara 2E is mostly made from recycled materials, with 85 per cent of the exterior created with recycled plastics. That includes ocean-bound waste, such as old water bottles and CDs.
Kobo also hopes to offset 100 per cent of any carbon emissions involved in the shipping process. Its packaging is also more eco-friendly than most, using FSC-certified recycled paper and soy ink for the printed elements.
But how does it perform as an eBook reader and will you have to make any compromises to feel better about its impact (or lack thereof) on the planet? We checked out the new device briefly during IFA 2022 in Berlin for a quick hands-on.
Our quick take
Certainly, unless told you wouldn't know the Kobo Clara 2E was made from recycled plastics. It feels as solid and dependable as Kobo and other brand eReaders we've held over the years.
The internals have been improved generationally too, so it's actually better than the last model at this price point (the Clara HD). You get support for audiobooks, for example, and waterproofing.
In all honesty, we didn't get to play with it enough for a proper impression, but a book loaded quickly enough and the 300ppi 6-inch HD display 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 giving it a more thorough test in the near future. It'll hit stores on 22 September, we understand.
- Made from 85 per cent recycled plastics
- Bluetooth support
- Can be used with audiobooks
- We need to get the full model in to test to find out if there are any negatives
Aside from its eco-friendly design, the Clara 2E offers are a number of key new features and improvements in comparison with the model it replaces - the Clara HD.
Some come from Kobo's more premium devices, others a natural progression in generational terms.
There's twice as much storage, for starters, which is essential as there's now the ability to listen to audiobooks bought through the Kobo store. It comes 16GB of internal space with Bluetooth support added to connect a pair of wireless headphones.
Battery life is enhanced too, with "weeks" of lifespan available from its 1,500mAh battery.
Waterproofing is rated to IPX8, which means it can last up to 60 minutes in 2-metres of water without failing. That all adds up to an impressive eReader for a similar price.
Easy on the eyes
The display is essentially the same though - something to consider if you plan to upgrade. It sports a 6-inch HD E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen with a 1448 x 1072 resolution.
The ComfortLight Pro lighting system did a great job of keeping the display crisp in our brief viewing. It can also be adjusted for brightness and colour temperature.
It's worth noting that the Clara 2E is fractionally heavier than its predecessor - by 5g - but it'd be hard to tell even with one in each hand.
All the important eBook file types are supported - EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, FlePub and MOBI.
It can often be forgotten that there are eBook readers available outside of the Amazon ecosystem. But, Rakuten is doing a great job in providing decent alternatives. Adding sustainable messaging helps, we feel and it'll be great to get the Kobo Clara 2E in for a full test to see how it rates directly alongside the latest Kindle Paperwhite.
Writing by Rik Henderson.