Kobo Libra Colour lets you read all the colours of the rainbow

Kobo Libra Colour ereader
Image: supplied.

e-readers are about to get more colourful, with Kobo launching colour versions of its Libra and Clara, marking a first for the company.

One of the biggest Kindle competitors, Kobo will launch its colour-based models by the end of the month, starting at $259.95. Both e-readers use a technology called E Ink Kaleido 3 that supports a pixel density of 300ppi in black-and-white, and 150ppi in colour.

“For Kobo, colour is a way of deepening and enriching the reading experience, while keeping the daylight readability and battery longevity that E Ink screens deliver so well,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo.

Read and take notes with Kobo Libra Colour

Of the two ex-monochrome reading tablets, the Kobo Libra Colour is the fanciest. Taking after the Kobo Elipsa 2E, the seven-inch e-reader supports stylus notetaking, letting you annotate and sort books in colour.

It’s also Kobo’s first seven-inch reader to support Dropbox and Google Drive connectivity. On the inside is 32GB of storage, which is worth up to 24,000 eBooks, depending on size. If you need that many books saved at once, count me impressed.

Typically, when you think of e-readers, you think of black-and-white paper-like displays. As it turns out, there’s a lot that goes into making a colour-based equivalent.

Kobo Libra Colour notetaking
Kobo Libra Colour. Image: supplied.

“To build the most enriched reading experience for our customers, we worked tirelessly to optimise the Kaleido 3 display to ensure the best representation of colour,” said Ramesh Mantha, SVP, Product, Rakuten Kobo.

“We introduced collimated front lighting technology to our six-inch and seven-inch size e-readers to provide better colour performance, and have further engineered our software to automate the regulation of colours so they always look their best, no matter the content being displayed.”

At $359.95, the Kobo Libra Colour is a fair bit cheaper than the Elipsa 2E. However, should you want a stylus to take full advantage of the notetaking features, the Kobo Stylus 2 costs an additional $119.95.

An alliterative e-reader

Other than its nicely alliterated name, the Kobo Clara Colour takes the form of a six-inch reading tablet with 16GB of storage. Even if you’re not reading colourful books, it’s now easier to highlight passages for future reference. Using your finger, you can highlight text in different colours, simplifying the way you categorise and refer to selected passages.

Kobo Clara Colour ereader
Kobo Clara Colour. Image: supplied.

In a win for sustainability, both the new Clara and Libra e-readers are repairable via a partnership with iFixit. Hopefully, this contributes to reduced electronic waste over time. Plus, the e-readers are made from recycled plastics, including bottles, CDs and DVDs from oceans and landfills.

Don’t need a colour e-reader? Kobo also announced the Clara BW, an upgraded black-and-white device with a faster processor, more storage, and E Ink Carta 1300 display technology. In exchange for a colour screen, the Kobo Clara BW costs a cheaper $239.95.

You can even read in the bath or swimming pools without stress: each new device carries an IPX8 waterproof rating. In real-world terms, they’ll last up to an hour submerged in water less than two metres deep.

Pre-orders are live now for the new Kobo e-readers, which will arrive on 30 April. Various accessories are also available, including SleepCovers that let you read hands-free. There are also clear covers now, aimed at readers who like decorating devices with their own stickers and pictures.

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