web analytics

Kobo E-reader Review – Always your Bookcase at Hand

Kobo e-reader review

During our sixth move, I complained that this should be the last time we dragged all those books around. Two more moves would follow! But the last time I sold or gave away a lot of books. I had to, because we were going to travel and all our stuff had to go into the storage.

Especially while we were traveling – with a car full of clothes, stuff to cook and to sleep – I was so pleased with my e-reader. 300+ Books the size of a small pocketbook. I finally convinced my husband an e-reader has its advantages so he has one too now. In this Kobo e-reader review I discuss both models and other reasons why I prefer an e-reader nowadays.

Advantages of an e-reader

As a graphic designer I designed a lot of paper books. That’s why some of my friends can’t understand my love for e-books. They want to feel the paper in their hands and be able to touch the cover.

  • A whole bookcase at hand, even a small e-reader can have 1.000 e-books. This depends on the size of the e-book of course. One without images is way smaller than one with images. And it depends on the technical quality of the person who made the e-book;
  • Making notes in the book without ruining the book for the next reader. I don’t know about you, but I hate books that have underlined text and scribbles in the margin made by someone else;
  • Highlight pieces of text, all your highlighted text is collected in one place, letting you easily make a summary after finishing the book; 
  • Easily enlarge the letter size or the line space, when I am tired my eyes refuse to read small print, which is not a problem anymore with an e-reader;
  • Bookmarks, you can make as many bookmarks as you want and they won’t fall out of the book, when you put it down;
  • Dictionaries included, so you can easily look up difficult or foreign words;
  • The e-reader remembers on which page I am, no matter how long ago I was reading;
  • Because Tom and I both have a Kobo, my books synchronize with his, and vice versa. Mind you, it is necessary to use one account in that case, otherwise there will be no synchronization;
  • Most e-books, both fiction and non-fiction, have an affordable price;
  • A lot of e-books are free;
  • The newer models of e-readers have a built-in blue light blocker, so they won’t withhold you from sleeping when you have been reading at night;
  • It is not necessary to choose an e-reader right away. Because there are a lot of apps for tablet and smartphone, you can try several of them. 

Disadvantages of an e-reader

  • PDF is hard to read, because the text is not reflowable (tip: I read PDF’s on my tablet, because I can enlarge the pages then);
  • Kindle and EPUB are different formats that require different e-readers. There are ways to convert one format to the other, but that requires some effort;
  • Some e-books are technically poorly made, so the letter sizes and letter fonts are not adjustable. When the e-book has images and nothing has been done to minimize the size, the files can be unnecessary huge;
  • The look and feel of all e-books is the same. No differences in size or texture of the paper.

E-reader or tablet?

Tom's Kobo Clara

You might ask why bother buying an e-reader when there are apps for tablet or smartphone. I have 2 reasons for preferring an e-reader over my tablet:

  1. The technology of the screen is different. The tablet has an LCD screen, most e-readers have an e-ink screen. E-ink is more like paper and matte, while the tablet is glossy which makes reading more tiring;
  2. You can still read from an e-ink screen outside in the sun. The tablet reflects too much making it hard to read when you are outside.

And of course there are reasons to prefer a tablet over an e-reader:

  1. A tablet has a color-screen, an e-reader is black-and-white;
  2. It’s easy to enlarge the screen of a tablet for a detailed look.

Why Kobo?

When I did my research for a brand, it didn’t necessarily have to be Kobo, but it had to be an e-reader with the epub format. Like most people probably do, I browsed the internet and I asked my friends.

My conclusion was that the cheaper brands were unreliable. So I bought a Kobo. One that failed after 10 months!! Moreover, I was on a 3-month trip at the time and wouldn’t make it back in time home for the 1 year guarantee. 

And that’s why I’ve loved Kobo ever since. Not only was it no problem that I returned the e-reader too late, because I made the report on time. But I also got a full refund. Not a new e-reader, but a refund, so I could decide at my own pace whether or not I wanted another e-reader.

When to choose Kindle?

I am in Europe, that’s why I prefer the epub format. I can imagine when you live in the United States you’d rather choose Kindle. For the same reason I want an epub reader, which is availability.

Which criteria to use when choosing an e-reader?

Kobo E-reader Review - Always your Bookcase at Hand
  • Resolution, the higher the better. A high resolution gives a sharp image;
  • Adjustable light color, my husband’s Kobo Clara calls it comfort light. The color changes to yellowish/orange when it’s dark;
  • Memory, depending on how many books you intend to have. Some e-readers have a slot for extra memory (tip: you can safe your e-books on your computer or removable hard disk. That way you don’t need a lot of memory on your e-reader. And more importantly, you have a backup!); 
  • Screen size, I would recommend around 6 inches, but it depends on your preference of course;
  • Weight, most are light, especially when compared to a printed book;
  • Battery life, choose one without gadgets. The minimum you need is a WiFi connection, making the synchronisation and purchase processes easy. The more gadgets, the less battery life.

Kobo E-reader Review: Kobo Clara HD

My Kobo Aura is not for sale anymore, so I will only review my husband’s Kobo Clara. I must admit I am jealous of his e-reader, because with the comfort light and a different cover it is better than mine. 

The resolution of the screen is 1014 x 758 with 16 shades of grey, which results in a pleasant reading experience and sharp images. The menu language can be set to one of several languages, probably your own as well.

  • Screen, 6 inch;
  • Memory, 8 Gb;
  • Light, adjustable;
  • WiFi, yes;
  • Expandable, no;
  • Weight, 174 gr.

A cover for protection

e-reader cover

Whether it’s my laptop, phone, tablet or e-reader, I have a cover for all of them. And it has saved me from several broken screens. I’m not sloppy at all, but an accident happens easily.

The advantage of an e-reader cover is that it shuts off the reader when you close the cover. My cover is like a book that unfolds. The disadvantage of that is, I always have to keep my e-reader in my hands. 

An Origami case or a foldable one is more practical. You can hold it in your hands, but also put it down on a table when you read.

It’s obvious I am an enthusiast

One of the reasons apart from the ease of use, is also that e-readers save a lot of trees. No paper needed. No waste from unused editions.

P.S. As idea #21 in 20 Ideas on how to make money after retirement: Sell your books, so you will have money to buy e-books 🙂

Do you have or want an e-reader? Tell me in the comment box.

18 thoughts on “Kobo E-reader Review – Always your Bookcase at Hand”

  1. Fantastic article, Hannie! As someone who loves to read books and prefers not to lug heavy books around, an e-reader would be perfect for me! I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t yet invested in an e-reader yet, but you have made an excellent case for the Kobo! I definitely want a device that is affordable, portable, allows me to enlarge/decrease the text size at ease, has a built in dictionary and translator, and offers a wide variety of books. Kobo sounds like the perfect choice (I’m not a Kindle fan. Haha). Great read! God bless you!

    • Thanks, Carletta, and you’re right, that’s the main advantage of an e-reader – all those books to have at hand. I love it that it saves a lot of trees as well 🙂
      Take care.

  2. I have a Kindle, which I’ve never had any issues with. The navigation can be a bit painful when trying to buy books etc. (likely due to it being an older one now and the nature of the product), but overall it’s been great. Judging on the above, I’d probably try the Kobo next though! I think these gadgets are fantastic for travel, they really shine in that aspect. However maybe I’m just old-school but I still want to have a full on library in my house one day. I grew up loving reading books and sometimes you just can’t beat the real thing! 🙂
    Thanks for the review – immensely helpful.

    • Hi Gareth, the formats of ebooks are like the formats of video in the old days. At some point there was Video2000, Betamax and VHS, and neither of them was interchangeable. The same problem occurs with ebooks, Kindle is totally different from epub and is not interchangeable. So if you buy a Kobo, all your other books will need to be changed first, for instance with a program called Calibre, before you can haul them over to your new e-reader. You would have to consider that consequence when you make the choice. 🙂

  3. Hi Hannie,

    Really good review of the Kobo E-reader. I haven’t had an E-Reader for a long while. I was given one as part of my job years ago when the Kindle first came out, but I left it at home when I moved away and I never bothered to buy a new one. I have bought lots of books since then and I want to buy more but it becomes a hassle having to wait for them to arrive, and be in the house when the postmen arrives so you can sign for it. Why don’t I just buy a Kobo E-Reader and it will save all that hassle is what I am asking myself 🙂

    I will let you know if I do buy one and what I think of it.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,


    • Yes, I would love to hear about your choice, Tom. Better yet, I would love to hear which books you will have on it! It’s always so inspiring to read books, don’t you think? 🙂
      Take care.

  4. Hullo Hannie,

    your article is exquisite and lovely. I like the bit of saving trees…hahahaha. I had no Idea of gadgets existing just for the sake of being readers. You should really be a book lover. This is a good suggestion for parents who like to control what their kids have in gadgets. I guess you can’t play video Games, make calls or watch you tube on it…


    • With gadgets I meant possibilities, I guess. And you’re right, Francis, it’s a big advantage you can’t play games or watch youtube on an e-reader. I am not sure though whether kids will like an e-reader. There is little fancy about it. 🙂

  5. I have moved often in my life – so often I lost count, seriously! – and since I am an avid reader I always hauled those books around with me, which filled several boxes and added much weight. I could never leave them, though 😉
    Nowadays I read from an app on my phone, but I have been thinking of getting an e-reader for the reasons you mentioned. I think it will be easier on the eyes and a valid point you mentioned is that you can read at night before going to bed and the light on the screen will not interfere with your sleep. I have not decided on what brand yet. If I buy a Kobo e-reader, it still works for all platforms, doesn’t it? It’s probably a silly question, but I could still download books from Amazon kIndle unlimited?

    • It’s not a silly question at all, Christine, and it means I haven’t put enough emphasis on the differences between Kindle and Kobo. No, you can’t read Kindle unlimited on a Kobo. Kobo has the epub format, Kindle has its own format. I have several apps on my iphone and ipad as well. And had Kindle unlimited for awhile – which I read on the phone.
      When my husband decided he wanted an e-reader, I told him to try the apps first, and to have a look which library (Kobo or Kindle) had the largest selection of books he presumed he would wanted. Based on that selection he chose Kobo.

  6. I am not usually one for reading E-books personally, I prefer a hard back book. I like what you have to say about the e-reader. Now that kids here are able to get most of their school books in PDF I think I will need to look into an e-reader for the kids.

    • I wouldn’t recommend reading a PDF on an e-reader, Kay. PDF’s ‘act’ like an image. You can’t enlarge that image on an e-reader. So the only PDF’s that will be readable in a comfortabel way on an e-reader are the ones that are made in a small size, like A5.

  7. I have had a Kindle, for many years now. I used to travel a lot and I like to have something to read on hand. Whenever I took out my, usually huge book and someone sat into the seat beside me with a most elegant, thin, light Kindle…oh, I wanted it so much! So, I purchased one. It has been absolutely great for the purpose and I still use it when travelling, which I still do, but not that frequently as I used to.
    In the meantime, I do read some books on it, but also have a huge collection of paper books, which I still adore (I do fell guilty about the trees, though…) My shelves also look like the one behind Tom on the photo 😉
    Anyway, it is pretty old now, so it might need a replacement at some point. When I bought it, it was the only reader I knew about. Now, your review makes me rethink my choice for the future. I think I’ll take your advice on using an app first and see if Kobo would have the selection that suits me. Thanks for this great review!

    • Thank you so much, Kerryanne, I am so glad you like my review. And I didn’t meant to let you feel guilty about the trees 🙂 I too have several books. Especially my artbooks are presumably better on paper than on an e-reader!

  8. Hi Hannie,

    Thanks for putting this wonderful article together!

    I must admit, I’m a little conflicted. On the one hand, I love the feel of a book in my hand, and the sight of a full bookshelf in a room.

    On the other hand, it’s really hard to deny the obvious advantages of getting a personal reading device.

    What to do!?

    Well, I guess the answer is to get with the times. And this information makes the decision making process a lot easier, so thank you for that!

    The KOBO Clara sounds pretty good, so I think I might get one of those.

    Thanks again,


    • Hi Michael, you will probably have books already, so you can have it both ways! The bookshelves and the e-reader 🙂 Some books I like too because of the paper, but I have read books in the past I resented because of the paper! As a graphic designer I knew very well which paper was great for books and which wasn’t. 🙂
      Take care.

  9. Thank you so much for this review. I really love reading and sometimes it can be hard to find all the books in the library. I have a pocket book that I bought really long time ago. Probably 7 years, lol, I am wondering how it is still working.

    I have been looking for a better alternative. I found that the kindle paperwhite is a great option, but now I see that your recommendation is good as well.

    What would you say are the main differences between the two?

    • Both are good. The reason I am a fan of Kobo, is that the format is exchangeable with other e-readers (except Kindle) where Kindle is not exchangeable with any other e-reader. But the quality of reading and searching etc. is the same for both Kindle and Kobo. If you want to be able to transfer the books of the pocket book to your new reader, the format of those old ones can determine the brand you have to choose.


Leave a Comment