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Kobo has been selling a line of eReaders with E Ink displays for years, but I can’t recall a time when the company’s lineup looked quite as diverse as it does in 2021, with models ranging from the $100 Kobo Nia to the $400 Kobo Elipsa.
Now the Kobo is launching two new models. The Kobo Libra 2 is a $180 eReader with a 7 inch display, a waterproof design, 32GB of storage and support for Bluetooth audio. And the Kobo Sage is a $260 model with an 8 inch display and support for an optional pen that you can use to write notes, highlight text, or draw pictures. Both are up for pre-order now and ship October 19.
Both of the new models feature E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen displays. Both have frontlit displays with support for adjustable color temperature, allowing you to reduce the amount of blue light. The Kobo Libra 2 and Kobo Sage are both waterproof. And both have physical buttons that you can use to flip pages without touching the screen.
These are also Kobo’s first eReaders to feature Bluetooth audio, which you can use to listen to audiobooks.
But there are some key differences between Kobo’s new devices.
Not only does the Kobo Sage have a larger display than most other eReaders, but the 8 inch display is also one of the only models with a screen that sits flush with the bezels, rather than recessed (a feature shared by the previous-gen Kobo Forma, which is still available for $250).
The screen features 300 pixels per inch, with a resolution of 1440 x 1920 pixels, and supports an optional Dark Mode.
Powered by a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, the Sage has a faster processor than any other device in Kobo’s lineup, except for the $400 Elipsa.
And like the Elipsa, the Kobo Elipsa supports a Kobo Stylus that you can use to mark up eBooks or create your own notes using a notebook feature. You can sync your notes to Dropbox.
But while the Elipsa has a larger 10.3 inch display and comes with a stylus, the Sage ships without the stylus, which you can buy separately as an optional $40 accessory.
The Kobo Sage features 32GB of storage, a USB-C port, and support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth. It’s rated IPX8 for water resistance, which means it can survive in up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) of water for up to an hour.
This model measures 160.5 x 181.4 x 7.6mm and weighs 240.8 grams.
While it’s tempting to think that the biggest differences between the Sage and the Libra 2 are the screen size and pen support, there are a few other significant differences.
This model, for example, has just a 1 GHz processor. The 7 inch, 1264 x 1680 pixel display has 300 pixels per inch and supports dark mode, but it’s a recessed display that doesn’t react to a stylus. And wireless connectivity is limited to Bluetooth and WiFi 5.
That said, the slower processor probably won’t be much of an issue if you’re primarily looking for a device for reading eBooks, and the Libra 5 looks competitive with Amazon’s Kindle Oasis, which features a similar design but sells for $250 and up.
Like the Sage, the Kobo Libra 2 features IPX8 water resistance and allows you to listen to Kobo audiobooks when using Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
The Kobo Libra 2 measures 161.6 x 144.6 x 9mm and weighs 215 grams.