If all you want is to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks, the Kobo Libra 2 is the ebook reader to get. The 7-inch Libra 2 sits right below Kobo's flagship 8-inch Sage, and offers almost the same experience sans the stylus support. At the same time, you'll get more storage, water resistance and audiobook support with the Libra 2 compared to the 6-inch Kobo Clara HD. In short, the Libra 2 checks all the boxes for serious book readers.
- 7-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen with ComfortLight Pro
- Kobo audiobook support via Bluetooth headphones/speaker
- Supported file formats (EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR)
Why not a Kindle? That's the question most folks shopping for their first ebook reader would ask me when I suggest a Kobo. Hardware-wise, there's little separating Amazon and Kobo ebook readers at the same price points. This is especially as the Libra 2, like the Sage, supports audiobooks like the Kindle. But while Amazon arguably has the largest selection of ebooks in its Kindle store, Kobo lets you borrow books directly from public libraries that use the OverDrive digital platform. OverDrive is available in 12 countries, including Singapore's NLB. And unlike the Kindle, Kobo supports the EPUB format, which is the open standard for ebooks. This means you can easily load EPUB ebooks, such as free public domain books, to the Libra 2 using a USB-C cable. Kindles, on the other hand, will require you to convert using software like Calibre.
As its name suggests, the Kobo Libra 2 is the sequel to 2019's Libra H2O. The major difference here is the Libra 2's audiobook support via Bluetooth headphones or speakers. But you can only listen to audiobooks bought from Kobo's store. When asked about supporting audiobooks from other sources, Kobo said it will “continue to listen to customers and build on our platform with their needs in mind”. There's also no headphone jack, which is similar to the Kindle. The internal storage has been upped from 8GB in the H2O to 32GB in the Libra 2. I also liked that the Libra 2 now has a USB-C port instead of micro-USB.
The Libra 2's design is mostly unchanged from its predecessor. The physical page-turn buttons are slightly closer to the edge. The lip at the thicker part of the Libra 2's wedge-like design is also more pronounced than before. Both have recessed 7-inch E Ink HD screens (300 PPI) that are not flush with the bezel. The Libra 2, though, turns pages a fraction faster than the H2O. Text looked slightly blacker while the yellow light (for reading at night) was a tad more yellow in the Libra 2. Overall, the Libra 2 looks a bit more contrasty. However, you probably won't notice the differences unless you have the two models side by side.
At around S$290, the Kobo Libra 2 costs slightly more than the older Libra H2O (S$280), but the former is worth the price hike just for the storage upgrade alone. The latter is also likely to be discontinued in the near future. If you're like me, who only care about reading (and possibly listening) to books, the Libra 2 would be the more affordable choice over the higher-end Sage. It's available now on Shopee, Lazada and Amazon (US import).
Note: Review unit provided by Kobo.
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