Kobo’s new ereaders include its first with color displays

Rakuten has a trio of new Kobo readers, including the company’s first two-color displays. On Wednesday, the company introduced the $220 Kobo Libra Color and the $150 Clara Color, along with the $130 monochrome Clara BW. You can pre-order them today ahead of their launch on April 30th.

The Kobo Scale Color is seven inches E Ink Kaleido 3 A display with a noticeable improvement from the latest generation of E Ink technology, with 16 levels of grayscale, 4096 colors and 30 percent better color saturation. The Libra Color is the only one of Kobo’s new readers with stylus support for e-book annotations and lighting. But you’ll need to add the $70 Kobo Stylus 2 (also Ellipse 2E) to enjoy it.

The device has a curved, “ergonomic” design with page-turning buttons. It supports portrait and landscape reading and has 32GB of storage (good for about 24,000 e-books or 150 audiobooks). Rakuten says its battery can last up to 40 days on a single charge, but that’s for 30 minutes of daily reading with the front light at 30 percent brightness and wireless turned off. (If you read more than that or increase the brightness when turning on wireless radios, wait less.)

Product lifestyle image of the Kobo Clara Color reader.  The device sits on a small, round, wooden table in front of vases of plants.Product lifestyle image of the Kobo Clara Color reader.  The device sits on a small, round, wooden table in front of vases of plants.

Rakuten Kobo

Meanwhile, the six-inch Kobo Clara Color and Clara BW ditch the Libra Color’s page-turning buttons and stylus support in favor of more affordable prices. The Clara BW differs from the last generation Clara 2 (Engadget’s pick the best reader) with a faster processor, more memory (16 GB) and the latest E Ink Carta 1300 display technology.

Rakuten says the Clara Color and Clara BW can last up to 53 days on a charge, but that means reading for half an hour a day, setting the brightness to just 10 percent and turning off WiFi / Bluetooth.

All three devices have ComfortLightPro for automatic blue light adjustment. They have an IPX8 water resistance rating, making them suitable for poolside or bath time reading. Readers use recycled and ocean-bound plastics in their construction materials, and Rakuten has partnered with iFixit to repair itself.

You can buy separate covers (made from recycled materials) with built-in stands for all three new devices. There’s a standard $30 SleepCover in Libra Color and a $40 Notebook SleepCover with a magnetic pen slot. Clara Color and Clara BW have a $30 SleepCover and a cheaper $20 Basic SleepCover.

You can pre-order the new readers here Rakuten Kobo starting today. The Kobo Scale Color costs $220, the Clara Color costs $150, and the monochrome Clara BW costs $130. All three devices arrive on April 30.

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