Kobo vs Kindle
E-book readers are designed to be an electronic substitute for a printed book. The main function of the e-book reader is to read books. There are several e-book readers from different manufacturers on the Canadian market. They are similar in size, shape, and weight, have very similar features and capabilities, and perform well in regular use.
This review is an attempt to make a comparison Kobo vs Kindle That is a comparison of two best-selling brands of e-book readers available in Canada in 2023.
Two major brands in Canada are Kindle from Amazon and Kobo from Rakuten. Nook from Barnes & Noble is another brand of e-readers available in Canada. Nook sells much fewer devices in Canada than Amazon or Kobo. There has been a constant battle between Amazon and Kobo, which of them will make a better e-book reader.
No e-book reader is perfect for everyone. In the following table, we compared major features of all Kindle and Kobo e-readers currently available on the Canadian market. Hopefully, it will help you make a decision about which one is right for you.
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Kobo Elipsa 2E
Kobo Libra 2
Kindle Paperwhite Signature
Kobo Clara 2E
Kindle basic model
In this article, we will compare Kobo vs Kindle to find out the difference between them and what are the little and big things that set them apart. Depending on your requirements and budget, you can choose the Kobo or Kindle model that is a perfect match for your needs.
Amazon is one of the pioneers in the e-readers industry. It has dominated the Canadian e-readers market from the very beginning – in November 2009, the first Kindle e-reader was released in Canada. Amazon is the largest manufacturer of e-book readers in the world.
Kobo is a Canadian manufacturer of e-readers. Its headquarter is in Toronto - it is a subsidiary of Japanese corporation Rakuten. It is the second-largest manufacturer of e-book readers in the world. Kobo launched its first e-book reader in May 2010, just a few months after Amazon.
Both Kobo and Kindle offer a full line of e-book readers for all kinds of budgets. Each of them offers different models of e-readers: the basic model (the cheapest model), the mid-range model, and the premium top-end model. (Kobo Aura was discontinued in December 2019, and Kindle Voyage was discontinued in July 2018).
Kobo models come in four different sizes (6 inches, 7 inches, 8 inches, and 10.3 inches). Kindle e-readers come also in four different sizes (6 inches, 6.8 inches, 7 inches and 10.2 inches). Kobo Elipsa with 10.3-inch screen is currently one of the largest e-readers in Canada. Kindle Scribe with 10.2-inch screen is the largest Kindle ereader.
Kobo and Kindle e-readers share many of the same tech specs and features. They all have long battery life. That is one of the major advantages e-book readers have over tablets and smartphones. A fully charged battery can last for several weeks without a need for recharging.
All Kindle e-readers can play audiobooks. Not all Kobo e-readers can play audiobooks. Kobo Sage Kobo Libra , Kobo Elipsa and Kobo Clara can play audiobooks.
Kindle e-readers have a built-in audio feature - listening to audiobooks is possible via Bluetooth. They have easy access to the Audible online store, which offers a large selection of audiobooks. A professional actor narrates audiobooks. One section of audiobooks on Canadian Audible is devoted to Canadian authors and narrated by Canadian actors.
All Kindle e-readers are waterproof but Kindle Scibe. Kobo’s high-end ereaders are waterproof, but Kobo Clara, Kobo Elipsa, and Kobo Nia are not waterproof.
Kobo’s primary advantage over Amazon was the front-lighting system of its ebook readers, but the recent Amazon ebook readers have a similar front-lighting system.
In essence, five Kobo models (the Forma, the Sage, the Libra H2O, the Libra 2, and the Clara) come with an adjustable color temperature of the front light ( in addition to the adjustable brightness of the ink display). The other two Kobo models (the Elipsa and the Nia) come only with adjustable brightness of the ink display.
Recently, in October 2021, Amazon released a new and improved version of Kindle Paperwhite and introduced Kindle Paperwhite Signature. Both new models come with an adjustable color temperature of the front light.
Therefore, there are three models in Amazon’s line-up of ebook readers that have the color temperature front-lightning system (in addition to the adjustable brightness of the ink display). These models are Kindle Oasis, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kindle Signature. Kindle basic model is the only Amazon’s ebook reader that comes only with the adjustable brightness of the ink display (and without an adjustable color temperature of the front light).
The front-lighting system consists of several white and amber LEDs. The color temperature of the front light can easily be adjusted to make the perfect reading experience in any ambient conditions.
More yellow lights are added in the dark ambient to reduce blue lights. Blue lights are the leading cause of eye strain and fatigue. Eyes strain more when reading in dim surroundings, so the quality of the front lights is a significant factor when choosing which e-book reader to buy.
Both Amazon and Kobo offer a massive selection of e-books. Amazon offers more than 6 million e-books on the Kindle store and Audible. Kobo is catching up with Amazon in a number of available books. Currently, Kobo offers almost 6 million e-books on Kobo and Indigo online stores.
Kindle e-readers primarily support MOBI digital format. Books on the Kindle store are in this format. However, Kindle e-readers do not support EPUB files. To be able to read an e-book in EPUB format, you need to download the e-book (in EPUB format) to your computer, convert the EPUB file to a MOBI file, and send it to your Kindle e-reader. Software Calibre helps this conversion from EPUB to MOBI format. This is an extra step that requires some time, and the conversion is not always perfect.
Kobo e-readers support more digital formats than Kindle, including EPUB and PDF. Books on Kobo and Indigo online stores are in the EPUB file.
All recent versions of Kobo e-readers come with an integrated OverDrive feature. OverDrive feature allows you to access Canadian public libraries directly from your Kobo e-reader. You will be able to search for an e-book in the section of Kobo books in your local public library, choose a book and borrow it. Your e-book will be automatically returned to your public library when your lending period expires.
Kindle e-readers cannot access public libraries in Canada directly from the device – they have direct access to public libraries only in the USA.
So there is a big difference in approach between Kobo and Kindle regarding e-books. Since Kobo e-readers support more digital formats, you will be able to buy e-books from multiple online stores. You are not limited to purchasing books only from Kobo or Indigo online stores. You will be able to open and read many digital files from open source.
Amazon has more control over its e-readers. Kindle e-readers can read much less digital formats and can download books from fewer websites. So Amazon’s approach is: only buy on our store and no library support.
On the other hand, Amazon offers three subscription-based services that allow members access to a big selection of e-books and audiobooks at a popular price. These services are Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited, and Audible. Prime Reading is automatically included with Amazon Prime membership with no extra costs. The cost of a Kindle Unlimited subscription in Canada is $9.95, while the cost of the Audible subscription is $14.95.
Amazon devices have great support for Kindle books. They have the ability to remember your place in the book across different electronic devices. So you can start reading a book on a Kindle e-book reader and continue reading via Kindle App on Amazon Fire or any other tablet or smartphone without losing the place where you left off.
If you have an audio version of the same book on a Kindle device, you can easily switch between reading a book and listening to the audiobook. So you can start reading a book on Kindle Paperwhite in bed in the evening, switch to the audiobook in the morning while you are driving to work, from the same place where you left reading. This is accomplished through WhisperSync for Voice feature and is supported across different digital devices.
In the conclusion of the comparison of Kobo vs Kindle, the Kindle e-reader is a better device overall, but you have to buy most of your books.
Kobo Libra vs Kindle Oasis
Kobo Libra, released in October 2021, is one of the best e-reader from Kobo family. It is very similar to Kindle Oasis, especially when comparing size, display resolution, front light, and waterproof body.
Both e-readers come with 7-inch screens and a high display resolution of 300 PPI, which is sharp enough that text of all sizes and typefaces will look crystal clear.
Both e-readers come with a similar front lighting system, which automatically adjusts the brightness and color temperature of light to the ambient condition. This makes it easier to read in the dark. Oasis’s front lightning systems consist of 25 LEDs – 12 white and 13 amber LEDs. Similarly, the front light on the Libra (ComfortLight PRO) consists of a combination of white and amber LEDs that uniformly illuminate the screen.
They have similar weights, the new Libra (2021) weights 215 g, and the Oasis weighs 188 g.
Another feature that both Libra and Oasis have is an automatic orientation of the screen.
If you tilt your Libra or Oasis sideways, the text will switch from portrait to landscape mode. This is accomplished with a built-in gyroscope.
One of the significant advantages of Libra is that it comes with a built-in Overdrive feature. OverDrive feature on the Libra allows users to borrow books from public libraries directly from the device. Users who own Kindle Oasis cannot connect to their local public libraries in Canada directly from their devices.
On the other hand, Kindle Oasis can play audiobooks narrated by a professional narrator from the Audible website.
Libra H2O cannot play audiobooks but the new Kobo Libra 2 (introduced in October 2021) is capable of playing audiobooks.
Since audiobooks require much more space than e-books, Kindle Oasis is available in two versions depending on the size of storage space: 8GB and 32 GB. The Libra H2O comes only in an 8GB version but Kobo Libra 2 comes with 32 GB storage space.
Kobo has recently introduced two new models that are capable to play audiobooks. Besides Kobo Libra 2, the Kobo Sage ebook reader can also play audiobooks.
Kobo Libra 2 was released in Canada in October 2021 and it is the direct successor and improved version to the Kobo Libra H2O. New Kobo Libra is still waterproof but Kobo decided to drop "H2O" from the name since there are a couple more Kobo models that are waterproof as well.
While many design elements have remained the same, some significant updates bring the new Kobo Libra 2 in line with the Amazon Kindle Oasis. Kobo Libra 2 has built-in Bluetooth technology. It has a faster e-ink screen and more storage (32 GB) than Kobo Libra H2O.
Libra can download books only via WiFi connection while Oasis can download via WiFi and via a free cellular connection. Downloading e-books and especially daily newspapers and magazines via mobile networks is a useful feature for customers who often travel and therefore, most of the time, do not have access to WiFi.
In Canada, the Libra is available in two colors, white and black, while Oasis is available only in black.
The body of Kobo Libra is made of plastic with a bit of texture at the rear, while the body of Oasis is made of aluminum and glass for a fancy look.
There is a difference in price. The price of the Libra 2 in Canada is $219.99, while the cost of Oasis is 329.99 for the 8GB version. The price of the other versions of Oasis is in the range of $329.99 – $429.99, depending on the storage size and connectivity (WiFi or cellular).
Sini Saja is a passionate Electrical Engineer with over 40 years of experience in the electronics industry.
He wrote several articles on Instructables.com and EzineArticles.com.
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