E-reader online review: Kobo Clara HD vs. Kindle Paperwhite

Hi there! I hope you’re all doing well.

In this post, I invite you to join me as I compare two of today’s most popular e-readers out there. The Kobo Clara HD (2018) and Kindle Paperwhite Gen 4 (2018). First, I’ll be talking about why I, a passionate lover of paper books, made the tough decision to purchase an e-reader; then, I’ll compare the pros and cons of the Kobo and Kindle. Let’s dive in!

Why do I want to purchase an e-reader?

I absolutely love paper books. I love holding them, being able to feel the letters printed on old paper, my excitement going up as a turn a new page, the feeling of accomplishment when I’m on the last page before the chapter ends…and, of course, anything that does not involve looking at a blue-light screen is a great addition. However, books take up quite some space. In my room, in my bag, in my travel luggage, everywhere I carry my books with me I am, once again, confronted with their volume and weight. To be honest, this was never a reason for me to stop purchasing physical books. So, what is? It’s easy (but painful), I simply do not have any space for more books. Yet I still love to read, a lot. So, I guess I have no other choice than purchasing an e-reader…, right? E-books are often way cheaper and way more sustainable as well. But on the other hand, what about all the things I love about reading in a paper book? I also feel pretty bad about contributing to putting bookstores out of business. Even though many public libraries are offering a great selection of e-books as well, what about those little bookstores that are not getting any funding or support? I’m not entirely comfortable with that thought yet ,but I’ll find a way to fix it.

I’ve been doing some research (reading articles, comparing e-readers, watching reviews on YouTube) and found that most people purchased an e-reader (1) to limit their screen time- which is also relatable for me, (2) because they are more convenient for traveling / commuting, (3) to start reading (more), and (4) because e-books are generally cheaper. I think these are some pretty great reasons and benefits, and they just might outweigh my love for paper books. Alright, let’s start comparing.

Kobo Clara HD

The first e-reader I’ve been interested in is the Kobo Clara HD (€130 / $120)

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. Excellent battery life, what does that mean? How can we define “excellent”? Several reviewers mentioned that their Kobo Clara HD could go 3 to 4 weeks with daily reading (not taking into account how long they spent reading each day) which sounds pretty great to me? I usually only read for 30mins up to max. 1 hour a day, so I think I should be fine. Apparently this e-reader has ComfortLight Pro which either removes (or reduces, according to other reviews) blue light. Blue light is quite an important point for me because what’s the point of trying to reduce screen time when you’re just reading from another blue-light screen? This is something I’m not entirely sure about but then again, I feel like it will be an issue with all e-readers so that is not necessarily a reason not to pick the Kobo Clara HD. So, a con, not water resistant. Well, how often do I take a bath? Let alone take a bath with a book? Neither do I have a pool or jacuzzi or anything where I could be reading a book. So this is not really a ‘con’ for me. Alright, so apparently the Kobo has an activity mode which provides detailed information on your reading. That sounds pretty fun and convenient, especially since I like to keep track of my progress and take a look at stats every now and then.

Kindle Paperwhite

Now let’s take a look at the Kindle Paperwhite (€139 / $109)

The first thing I noticed was how Digital Trends mentions that the Kindle Paperwhite as a “good battery life“, but the Kobo Clara HD’s battery life was “excellent”. So, that’s certainly interesting. However, let’s try to stay objective. Another pro is that the Kindle Paperwhite has a water-resistant design which makes it suitable for tubs and pools, but like I said, that’s not really relevant for my personal situation- so not that much of a valid pro for me. Also, bluetooth-connectivity for audiobooks. This seems like a great feature for people who are planning to use their e-reader for audiobooks as well, something I’m personally not quite interested in either. Now, the cons. Cannot customize page-turn gestures; but is that possible with the Kobo Clara HD? Not sure. Another con, no option to adjust color temperature. Hold! I’m not looking for a lot of features, but being able to adjust color temperature is something I personally prefer- and the Kobo Clara HD does offer this feature.

So, what’s the conclusion?

Alright, I think it’s pretty clear that the Kobo Clara HD is more suitable for me and my preferences. However, if you’re someone who likes to read in a bathtub or pool, or if you’re planning to listen to audiobooks, the Kindle Paperwhite might be your best option. So, I’m not sure if there’s a clear winner here. Both e-readers are currently competing to become a leader in the e-reader market, and I think they both have different features that match different preferences. I’m planning to buy the Kobo Clara HD for Christmas, so you can expect an updated, extensive, and honest review somewhere in the beginning of 2022.

But until then: stay safe, take care of yourself, and I’ll see you soon!