Review: Upgrade Your Reading With The Kobo Clara Colour

If you've been following my blog or social media, it should come as no surprise to you that I'm a big fan of my Kobo e-Reader. My most read post is a review of the Libra 2 & H20 models — “Why I'm Switching from Kindle to Kobo”. I bring my Kobo literally everywhere, reading on buses, trains, planes, and even in the tub (it's waterproof). 

A gift from my partner in 2022, the Kobo completely changed how I read books, ingest information, take notes, and it's actually increased my reading time. I made the switch to Kobo after years of owning Kindles due to too many distractions on Amazon's e-Reader. On the Kindle, I could access an internet browser, watch videos on Prime, and even play games.

However, my goal was to pair down to a more basic e-Reader while maintaining necessary features such as highlighting, note taking, and the ability to read advanced copies of books for review. 

Don’t let the word basic fool you, this is a small yet mighty device. With Kobo, I can import books quickly using NetGalley and Adobe Digital Editions. One major upgrade is having access to e-books from my local library, a fantastic feature on Kobo that isn't available on Canadian Kindle models.

Kobo Clara Colour (Courtesy Kobo)

Kobo recently released two devices with colour display: the Clara and LibraI have to admit I was skeptical at first, thinking the colour might be a distraction, but after two weeks of test driving one of the new models, I can attest to its greatness. I took it on a recent long-haul flight, followed by a 5 hour train, then into a few sleepless jet lagged nights.

So, what's new?

I tested the Kobo Clara Colour and the first thing I noticed is the weight, which in comparison to my older model, is as light as a feather —  or closer to a frisbee if we're getting technical (174g). It's also smaller and feels slightly more ergonomic. Due to its size and weight, I can turn the pages one handed by tapping the screen. I'd always used the physical buttons on my other device to flip the page, so if you prefer a model with buttons, consider the new Libra.

The next, and most obvious change, is the full colour display. I've been making an effort to minimize my physical book collection, at times only acquiring hardcover or paperback books for social media purposes. Kobo's new models display book covers in all their beauty which means I can save some precious shelf space while still creating high quality content.

Kobo Clara Colour | The Age of Magical Thinking by Amanda Montell

Libra Libra vs Kobo Clara Colour

Reaffirming my love of e-Readers

To be clear, even with the world's best e-Reader, I can never imagine not shopping for physical books. There's something inherently special about a physical book that doesn't translate to an e-book. However, with that said, one thing I love about my Kobo is instant access to new releases as well as thousands of backlist titles. Another pro is the availability of foreign language editions. I bought a copy of Sally Rooney's Normal People recently in an attempt to improve my French. 

Having just returned from ten days in Europe, where I traveled with hand luggage only, I had the ability to read whatever and wherever I liked without the burden of a heavy suitcase. Vacation is ideal reading time for me so bringing my Kobo (with more than 100 books downloaded) was a no brainer. 

Thinking about the overall reading experience, I prefer immersive and investigative nonfiction over fiction, and having an e-Reader with the ability to highlight and take notes electronically rather than using dozens of Post-Its allows me to do my job of reviewing more efficiently. I can also return to my favourite highlighted quotes at anytime. 

The screen is glare-free and automatically reduces blue light throughout the day. Kobo also offers the option to change font size and line spacing, making it a perfect middle-of-the-night reading companion as I learned through three agonizing days of jet lag.

Browsing Toronto Public Library Staff Picks

The Specs: Highlights

If you're here for a run down of the technology, Kobo's Clara Colour boasts a 6” E Ink Kaleido™ 3 display with Fast GLR and Dark Mode. In simpler terms, the display offers 16 levels of grayscale and more than 4,000 colours. It's wonderful for graphic novels and cookbooks.

The Clara Colour has weeks of battery life, depending on usage. Not once during my trip, or since, have I had to charge the new model or my older one, which I've been reading for at least two weeks since its last charge. The storage on the Clara comes in at 16GB which is enough for 12,000 e-books or 75 Kobo audiobooks. Like my Libra, this model is also waterproof (up to 60 minutes in 2 metres of water). 

For a full rundown of specs, visit the Kobo website.

For Book Reviewers

If you're a book reviewer considering a Kobo device, you won't be disappointed. The seamless integration with Adobe Digital Editions allows for ARC uploading in a number of formats (EPUB, PDF, MOBI, and more).  

Highlighting in colour is one of my favourite features. An upgrade I'd love to see is the ability to organize highlights by colour, which currently isn't possible. 

The Year of Magical Overthinking by Amanda Montell

The Year of Magical Overthinking by Amanda Montell

With Kobo's desktop app, available for PC and Mac, you can access your full library of books as well as any annotations which is super for a post-read review.

Revisiting a favourite audiobook, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wrapping this up, it's safe to say I'll be using my Kobo Clara Colour for many future reads. I'd love to hear from you if you're using an e-Reader and if so, which one and what do you love about it? 

The Kobo Clara Colour is available for purchase at Kobo and select retailers. Click here to learn more. While this post is not sponsored, I did receive a Kobo device free-of-charge for reviewing purposes.