The Kobo Clara 2E eReader Is Great for the Environment, if You Can Put Up With its Processor

The Kobo Clara 2E eReader Is Great for the Environment, if You Can Put Up With its Processor
At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Kobo has found a way to make reading eBooks more eco-conscious by introducing the Kobo Clara 2E, its first-ever eReader made from recycled materials.

While the chassis of this new eReader is made from 85% recycled plastics, 10% of materials are taken from ocean-bound plastics such as water bottles and CDs. Kobo’s move is a cheeky and loud one-up to Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, which currently sports a 60% recycled body.

In a series of firsts, that’s not the only thing that Kobo’s changed since updating its predecessor, the Kobo Clara HD. The new Clara 2E is now fully waterproof, with an IPX8 rating, which allows it to survive in water that’s two metres deep for up to 60 minutes. This is great news for those of you who love a steamy read in the tub, since you’ll no longer have to break out the rice every time you drop your eReader in the water.

The Clara 2E also improves on the former Clara HD with a next-generation processor, double the internal storage capacity, audiobook functionality and Bluetooth connectivity. Some features remain unchanged such as its file format compatibility, as well as its light and font customisation options.

Here’s what we thought about Kobo’s newly released eReader.

Kobo Clara 2E

Kobo Clara 2E

What is it?

Kobo's first-ever eco-conscious eReader.




Eco-friendly, compact design with a solid battery life and audiobook capabilities.

No Like

The processor is still very slow and glitchy while the interface can feel clunky to navigate.

Kobo Clara 2E: Specs & Features

Here’s the sleeping screen for the book I read during my Kobo Clara 2E review, Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Image: Isabella Noyes/Gizmodo Australia
  • Display: 6-inch HD 300 PPI E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen
  • Storage: 16GB
  • CPU: 1GHz
  • Features: Made from 85% recycled plastic, waterproof, adjustable screen brightness and temperature, can listen to Kobo Audiobooks.

[related_content first=”1762572″]

Design and display

Image: Isabella Noyes/Gizmodo Australia

When I first unboxed the Kobo Clara 2E, I was initially taken aback by its six-inch screen. I was worried it would be too small to read from or to hold in my hands, but after spending almost a month reading on it, I’ve now realised it’s a perfect size.

Thankfully, there are settings that allow you to adjust the font to make it bigger, although this will result in upping the number of pages you need to flip. Unfortunately, there’s no landscape mode, so you won’t be able to flip it onto its side if you prefer to digest a book’s content lengthways.

From a travelling perspective, it’s slim and compact enough to slide into the pockets of most bags. Gone are the days when I feared creasing the pages of books I used to cart on my morning commute.

As touched on earlier, this is the first Kobo eReader that’s made from recycled plastics and, wow, it truly doesn’t look or feel any different (in a good way). I can definitely get behind an eReader with a sustainable agenda.

While the Clara 2E is only available in black, you can grab a protective case in sea glass green, coral reef orange and black if you want to add a burst of colour. As a neat FYI, the case itself is also made from recycled materials.

The Clara 2E only offers a black and white colour display, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a dealbreaker. Sure, the book covers don’t pop out from the screen like they would in a bookshop, but realistically, you would have bought a physical book if that was important to you.

This eReader possesses a 300PPI resolution, which is much higher than what other Kobo eReaders offer – such as the Nia, which sits at 212PPI.

If you’re reading a novel full of text, you won’t notice a difference in its resolution unless you study the book covers or read one with illustrations interspersed through it.

Graphic novels or comic books, for instance, would render okay, but scrutinising the panels on the Clara 2E’s itty bitty screen size would prove a challenge. Plus, everything would be rendered in black-and-white.

Unlike the Nia, the Clara allows you to change the colour temperature to your preference, so reading at night is much gentler on the ol’ eyeballs.

Battery life

Image: Isabella Noyes/Gizmodo Australia

It’s awfully vague that Kobo advertises “weeks of battery life”, but I found that by reading for a couple of hours each day I depleted the battery in about eight days. This did include leaving it on Sleep mode and listening to an audiobook for about two hours while using Bluetooth.

So, the battery life is… okay? A little disappointing, considering that the messaging is not as precise but still solid. If you’re a voracious reader, you might find you’ll have to charge it more often than I did.

User interface and navigation

Kobo Clara E2 review
Image: Isabella Noyes/Gizmodo Australia

As someone who’s used to reading eBooks on an Apple iPad, which has an ultra-fast processor, the Kobo Clara 2E is painfully slow. Whether its navigating through its clunky interface or flipping to the next page, it often feels like more than a second’s delay.

Even flicking the pages or restarting from sleep mode causes this annoying glitch where the screen will briefly flicker black and white, which isn’t great to look at. Since you’re reading on a small screen, chances are you’ll be turning the page more frequently than you would with a paperback, especially if you’ve increased the text size.

Considering that this is one of the latest processors Kobo has on offer, it’s a pretty irritating quirk to adjust to. That said, I’ve found that it didn’t impact the quality of my read. Adapt, evolve, overcome and all that jazz.

Even its touch screen is slow to recognise my admittedly fairy-like touch. Interacting with its screen often relies on a firm press if you want to adjust its brightness settings, turn the page or switch between books.

Navigating the Kobo store or your personal library is a bother. Not only is it super slow switching between the tabs, but scrolling to find a book you read a few months ago feels like a punishment.

If you want to get a better look at the lag, check out our TikTok from the official Gizmodo Australia account (@gizmodoau) below:


Here’s a first look at the new Kobo Clara 2E. #kobo #booktok #ereader

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

On the plus side, customising its settings is intuitive and easy to remember.

Listening to audiobooks

Kobo Clara 2E ereader
I’m listening to A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, one of my favourite fantasy novels. Image: Isabella Noyes/Gizmodo Australia

If you love Kobo’s eReaders and want one with audiobook capabilities, you’ll appreciate the Clara 2E if the more expensive Sage or Elipsa is out of your budget. You can still go for the Libra 2, but only if you value a slightly larger storage capacity and that extra inch of screen.

I’m going to go ahead and admit (because this is a safe space) that I’m not an audiobook person. Maybe a podcast here and there, but an audiobook tends to take a backseat to the ever-buzzing thoughts racing through my head.

That said, I couldn’t complain about the audio experience I had while listening to one of my favourite books, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

Perhaps my only gripe about the experience is the Clara 2E’s lack of a speaker. While Bluetooth is a welcome addition and ideal if you’re travelling and want to listen to a book while on the go, I would’ve liked the option to play a book out loud while at home. This might just be a personal quirk, but without a portable speaker handy you don’t have much of a choice.

The other little irk I had was that if I zoned out and wanted to replay what I’d missed, I had to endure the processor’s lag as it tried to rewind 30 seconds of dialogue.

[related_content first=”1781573″]

Kobo Clara 2E: The verdict

Kobo Clara 2E review
Catmodo appears to be quite attached to the Kobo Clara 2E. Image: Isabella Noyes/Gizmodo Australia

If you’re choosing from Kobo’s current eReader range, I don’t see why you’d upgrade to anything other than the Clara 2E (if you don’t need one that doubles as a note taker). Not only are you getting the most bang for your buck, but you’re also making the most sustainable forward-thinking choice.

Aside from burning through dozens of books a year, it’s nice to feel a sense of satisfaction from reducing my annual paper and plastic waste. Although, I’m not quite ready to break up my relationship with physical bookstores just yet.

Where to buy the Kobo Libra 2E eReader

The new Kobo eReader is now available from the following retailers:

Amazon ($266.17) | Booktopia ($218) | eBay ($248.12) | Kobo ($229.95)

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.