Kobo have been a quiet of achiever in the eReader space for some time, this week they’ve dropped a new device aimed at readers who prefer paper over LCD screens – The Clara HD.
Having had some exposure to eReaders in the past, the ease of reading on the screens is remarkable even in daylight giving them a clear advantage over an LCD display on your phone or tablet. The Clara HD has a 300ppi E Ink touchscreen which includes anti-glare and will be as easy on your eyes as reading on paper.
The device itself is small, light and offers enough storage for several thousand eBooks. As part of the development of the Clara HD they’ve also included their night lighting which moves away from blue light to a more warm light, said to positively affect your sleep patterns if reading at bedtime.
CEO Michael Tamblyn commented
We decided to include features usually reserved for more premium eReaders in our newest entry-level device, Kobo Clara HD. Our customers deserve an amazing reading experience no matter which of our eReaders they choose, and that’s what we’re here to provide. Now, these must-have features are included in all our latest entry-level, mid-level, and premium devices. And as we keep removing barriers to reading, we are excited for what’s to come in digital reading innovation.
There are a lot of users who only have tablets in their life for reading eBooks, Kobo are clearly aware of this and offering a very cost effective alternative for that demographic. The Kobo Clara HD is available now in Myer, JB Hifi and Angus & Robertson for $179.00 or via the Kobo Website.
With the slow and steady decline in tablet sales, how much market do you believe eReaders can pick up?
So it’s basically the old Glo HD – re-introduced with a slightly less blue front-light?
Basically, yes. The front light has 9 LEDs : 5 blue and 4 orange. The front light color shifts from blue to orange with time of day based on your time zone, time of day, and the calendar. The IR touchscreen has been upgraded to a capacitive touch screen on the Clara HD. It also boosted the internal storage from 4GB to 8GB, and increased the RAM from 256MB to 512MB. It’s marginally smaller, and about 18 grams (10%) lighter too.
Could I use it to read library ebooks (Overdrive/Borrowbox)?
Yes, but you have to download the Overdrive books to your computer first, and then you can load them onto the Clara HD. Only the Kobo Aura One allows you to borrow books from Overdrive libraries directly from the eReader device itself.
I have used various Kindles for the last 8 years, the “paper” screens are great and you can read for hours with no strain because of no back-lighting. This is one tablet niche that will only get stronger.
Pardon my ignorance. At present, I purchase lots of books from Kobo or Google Play Books and read them on my phone or conventional tablet. If I purchase one of these units, will I be restricted to only reading Kobo purchases?
Hi Allan, you should be fine to read any e-books purchased from Google Play on a Kobo, judging by the following article:
So whilst this is technically correct, the process is very clunky. To get your Google Play books onto Kobo, you need to use a desktop (mac/pc) browser (I haven’t found a mobile one that works) to view your Play books. then download each book as an “epub” (which is DRM’d), register that book with Adobe Digital editions, then manually copy that book to the device (I’ve never had the automated sync process work). It’s very frustrating mainly because the Adobe apps are terrible and whilst they advise that they can sync, they actually can’t. My suggestion is to go all-in… Read more »
If you have any interest in reading e-books, there is no comparison between a “normal” tablet and a dedicated e-reader. The latter are superior in almost every way for this one task. Battery life is also significantly better.