Kobo Clara 2E review

Kobo’s first eco-friendly ereader is packed with features

The Kobo Clara 2E laying flat on a table surrounded by a fake plant, speaker and books while showing the front cover of a book.
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

As the latest mid-range ereader from Kobo, the Clara 2E doesn’t disappoint. While it looks just like the original Kobo Clara HD, it does have some great updates that make it a more well-rounded ereader when compared to its predecessor. Coming with the latest E Ink screen tech, it’s a smaller option that fares well from a features and price perspective against its Kindle competitors.


  • +

    Audiobook support

  • +


  • +

    85% recycled plastic

  • +

    Snappy E Ink Carta 1200 screen


  • -

    Battery life is inconsistent

  • -

    Bland design

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One-minute review

[Update January 31, 2023: The Kobo Clara 2E has had a small price rise to $139.99 in the US (still the same price in both the UK and Australia). We've updated the price and availability section to reflect this.] 

As the environmentally-conscious sequel to the Kobo Clara HD, the Kobo Clara 2E comes packed with a bunch of features that were noticeably absent from its predecessor. It’s now waterproof with an IPX8 certification, has audiobook support thanks to the addition of Bluetooth connectivity and double the storage capacity at 16GB. It’s also the first Kobo ereader to be made of 85% recycled plastic.

The Kobo Clara 2E’s 6-inch display makes the upgrade to the latest E Ink Carta 1200 screen, which makes text look really nice, and it responds well too. The crisp display and good contrast help details to stand out well on the smaller screen.

In keeping with its open ecosystem, Kobo’s latest ereader still offers wide format support that makes it easy to sideload your existing collection of ebooks and documents. It also brings over the same crisp and clean user interface that we’ve been big fans of since the beginning. The interface is something Kobo has really nailed, and navigating around the device is incredibly simple even for first-time users. It makes finding your library, the Kobo Store, settings or OverDrive (to borrow library books) really easy.

Like the newer Kobo ereaders, the Clara 2E also features Bluetooth support, so you can listen to audiobooks (albeit only those purchased from the Kobo Store). That said, you will need to pair a set of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker to it to enjoy them, as the device itself doesn’t have built-in speakers (like some Onyx and PocketBook models). Interestingly, its Bluetooth connectivity holds up well and has a decent range, as we found out when leaving the Clara 2E on the kitchen counter while we were cleaning the living room.

Overall, Kobo’s latest Clara model features some sweet upgrades for a relatively small markup. That’s right – the Clara 2E’s starting price is higher than the Clara HD. However, it does slip in cheaper than its competitor – Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite – but only in the Australian market. 

The Kobo Clara 2E displaying the use of an audiobook.

The Kobo Clara 2E has an abundance of new features including audiobook support. (Image credit: Future)

Kobo Clara 2E: price & availability

  • $139.99 / £129.99 / AU$229.95
  • Released late September 2022
  • Available to buy now

Announced in September 2022, the Kobo Clara 2E was available for $129.99 / £129.99 / AU$229.95 on release. Given the stack of upgrades from its predecessor, a price rise of only $10 / £10 / AU$40 isn’t too bad.

Since then, the price for the Kobo Clara 2E has gone up to $139.99 in the US, matching the price for the 8GB Kindle Paperwhite in that region, the same as over in the UK (£129.99). Australia's pricing for the Kobo Clara 2E still remains at AU$229.95, coming in AU$10 cheaper than the 8GB Kindle Paperwhite (AU$239.99).

Compared to Amazon's 6-inch Kindle (2022), the Kobo Clara 2E is a bit more expensive. The Kindle (2022) comes in at $99.99 / £84.99 for an ad-supported model, while over in Australia it'll set you back AU$179 for the device with no ads. Both devices give you16GB of storage, audiobook support and a 6-inch display, but the Kobo Clara 2E won't lock you into Amazon's ecosystem and has a waterproof rating of IPX8, something the 6-inch Kindle (2022) is noticeably missing.

Value score: 4.5/5

The Kobo Clara 2E positioned between a speaker, fake plant, two books and a coffee mug. On the ereaders display is an image of the cover of the current book being read on the device.

There might be a bunch of new features, but the Kobo Clara 2E sticks to a similar design as other ereaders in this price range. (Image credit: Future)

Kobo Clara 2E review: design & display

  • 85% recycled plastic
  • E Ink Carta 1200 screen tech
  • 6-inch display with basic design
Key specs

Screen size: 6 inches 

Display type: E Ink Carta 1200

File formats: 15 file formats & Kobo Audiobooks

Storage: 16GB 

Connectivity: Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

Weight: 171g

At first glance, the Kobo Clara 2E looks just like the Clara HD – the same tablet-like plastic chassis with a 6-inch display – however when flipping the ereader around you can distinctly see the difference. The back panel is navy in color with a wavy pattern on the back for some texture. It’s a nice and subtle touch, perhaps alluding to the fact that 85% of the plastic used to make its body is now recycled material, a lot of which was destined to end up in the ocean. Unfortunately, the rear panel doesn’t really give the device any additional grip, and tends to pick up a bit of dust and dirt – something to keep in mind if you don’t plan on popping it in a case.

There’s only one button and one port on this device. The power button has moved to the back of the device, rather than on the bottom bezel like the Clara HD. This change makes the edges of the device look sleek and neat from the front. The USB-C port replaces the micro USB slot on the bottom of the device.

An up close shot of the Kobo Clara 2E's back panel showing the logo and texture imbedded in navy blue plastic.

The power button on the Kobo Clara 2E is on the navy-coloured back panel that also has a wavy texture embedded into it. (Image credit: Future)

Like its predecessor, the Clara 2E is light and compact. It’s super easy to slip into a backpack or small purse, and we even managed to fit it into a pocket on a pair of cargo pants. The small size of the device made it easy to hold in one hand, meaning even while standing on crowded public transport we were still able to enjoy reading a novel while holding onto an overhead handle.

The E Ink Carta 1200 screen is a crisp display with a 300ppi resolution, and sufficiently avoids glare in the brightest of days. It’s also got a snappy response that makes selecting text, typing in your Wi-Fi password and page turns an absolute breeze.

Speaking of page turns – because the bezels aren’t flush to the screen, this is comfortable to do even while being held in just one hand as they provide ample space for a decent grip on the device.

Design score: 4/5

The Kobo Clara 2E ereader being held.

It's easy to grip the Kobo Clara 2E thanks to the raised bezels around the screen. (Image credit: Future)

Kobo Clara 2E: user experience

  • Audiobook support
  • Clean and easy-to-navigate interface
  • Great reading and listening experience

Reading on the device is a pleasant experience. We found it super convenient to whip out on a packed bus, or to have in a bag playing an audiobook with headphones on. We used the books that came preloaded with the review device that was sent to us, but you’re also able to sideload digital books and documents in 15 different formats from your computer.

Not only that, the fact that you can access ebooks from a public library is a big selling point – this, however, is contingent on the fact that your library of choice has OverDrive support (which many do in several countries). This is simple to use and all you need is your library card number to set up, then head to the OverDrive feature easily found on the device’s home screen.

Kobo’s own store is also easy to access directly from the home screen. While Kobo will pop up a few recommendations based on your collection, you also have the option for signing up to Kobo Plus, which is the Japanese-Canadian company’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

The Kobo Clara 2E laying flat on a table with the home page being displayed.

You can find the Kobo Store straight from the Kobo Clara 2E's home page. (Image credit: Future)

You also get a massive 16GB of space on the Clara 2E. That’s double the space of both the Clara HD and the Kindle Paperwhite that's closer in price, however there is an option for a 16GB Kindle Paperwhite for $149.99 / £149.99 / AU$259. While you can access the books you’re currently reading directly off the home screen, you can easily find your entire collection under My Books on the bottom navigation bar, and they can all be organized into Collections or sorted by authors and a whole load more. 

This makes it super easy to find your next story, with a variety of filters and different subheadings available to narrow down your search. The library shows the front cover of each title, and also gives you some information on how much you’ve read of each book and an estimate on how long you have left to finish your current reads.

The Kobo Clara 2E laying flat on a table next to a speaker and coffee mug, showing the collection of books loaded onto the device.

Navigating through the library is simple on the Kobo Clara 2E. You can filter, sort and switch between categories to find what you're after. (Image credit: Future)

Not only does the Kobo Clara 2E’s clean interface make using the device a breeze, but reading on the device is also a delightful experience. You can customize the font by type and size, plus adjust the brightness of the screen to your liking. There’s also a feature that adjusts the light temperature of the screen when you’re getting close to bed, yellowing the display at the time you set to reduce sleep-disrupting blue light. We found the contrast on each page to be great. 

Listening to audiobooks is also a great experience. As with most mainstream ereaders, there’s no built-in speaker here, but Bluetooth connectivity lets you pair a set of wireless headphones or a portable speaker. We found that connecting headphones was a breeze, and the range was good enough for us to leave the ereader in one room and move into another while still listening to a narration. You can purchase audiobooks directly on your ereader from the Kobo Store.

The Kobo Clara 2E displaying available Bluetooth connections.

You'll need to pair a device through Bluetooth with the Kobo Clara 2E to listen to audiobooks.  (Image credit: Future)

You can also see how you’re tracking in each book and total reading hours under the Activity section in the settings menu. While this may not interest everyone, it’s a great little ego booster for some avid readers. Kobo also has this neat little awards section that earns you badges for various achievements, but note that both the Activity stats and awards work only for titles purchased via the Kobo Store and not for sideloaded ones. 

User experience score: 4.5/5

Reading stats on the Kobo Clara 2E

You can check out your reading stats on the Kobo Clara 2E to track your progress on ebooks purchased from the Kobo Store. (Image credit: Future)

Kobo Clara 2E: battery life

  • 1,500mAh battery
  • USB-C charging

When it comes to battery life, the Kobo Clara 2E was a little erratic during our testing period. The brand-new device had 74% battery life right out of the box and it took us two weeks of reading one to two hours every day to bring it down to 1%. This is with the screen brightness at 25%, page refreshes set to each chapter, and with a mix of reading and listening.

The first time top-up took 3.5 hours to go to 100% when plugged into a computer. After that, though, the battery drained down to 0% in five days with the same settings and same amount of time spent with the device. In a weird twist, plugging it in for a charge showed there was still 35% left. We’re really not sure what happened there, but we didn’t encounter this issue again (thankfully).

Over the next few weeks, the battery issues seemed to smooth over. Used for just over an hour each work day, both listening and reading, we got it down to 48% after about two weeks, indicating that the battery could just be settling down after initial hiccups. 

We’ll need a little more time with the ereader to fully assess its battery life and we’ll update this review as necessary, but we can currently estimate that you’d get up to four weeks when using it for about an hour each day on the default settings (screen brightness at 25%, page refresh rate set to each chapter and both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on). 

Compared to the Libra 2 which also has a 1,500mAh battery, that gave us about 7 weeks per charge when used an hour each day during our testing, it’s a little lackluster. That said, this might get better with use, or Kobo could roll out a firmware update to sort battery issues if this is more widespread.

The Kobo Clara 2E laying flat on a table next to a speaker showing it's settings.

To increase the Kobo Clara 2E's battery longevity, there are a bunch of settings you can adjust. (Image credit: Future)

While the battery appears to be sufficient for a reader who likes to read in short bursts, it’s potentially not great for someone who reads for multiple hours a day and wants a device that can last for weeks without charging. There are battery saving settings and ways to maximize battery life, so you can adjust these to help support longer usage if need be. We also noted that topping up the battery was quicker when using a wall socket rather than plugging the device into a laptop’s USB port which, of course, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Despite the lackluster battery performance, the USB-C charging port is a welcome upgrade from the Kobo Clara HD’s micro USB, and you get a USB A to C cord included with the device.

Battery life score: 3.5/5

Should I buy the Kobo Clara 2E?

The entire back panel of the Kobo Clara 2E showing the embedded texture and brand logo.

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You’re after a small and compact ereader

If you need something small to chuck into a handbag, or even a decent-sized pocket, the Kobo Clara 2E is great. Although it’s small, it still packs in 16GB of space, meaning that you’ll save a lot of room when you’re traveling with the device instead of a stack of books.

You want audiobook support

While you’ll need an additional device to listen in, the fact that the Kobo Clara 2E now comes with audiobook support really gives it the edge over the older Clara HD or the Kobo Nia. And if you aren’t fussed about the side page-turn buttons like on the Libra 2, then the Clara 2E is more affordable. 

You’re after your first ereader

Not only is Kobo’s user interface simple to use, setting up an OverDrive account will give you access to your public library’s digital collection (provided they’re set up for it). If you don’t have your own collection of ebooks, it’s a great place to start and money-saving too. Plus it supports up to 15 different formats, so you aren’t locked into a specific ecosystem while building your own personal library.

Don’t buy it if…

You want a fresh design

Although there are some minor design changes, the Kobo Clara 2E looks exactly like both the Kobo Clara HD and the Kindle Paperwhite. The design on its back has had more thought put into it than its predecessor, but it doesn’t really add anything new aesthetically.

You want consistent battery longevity

While testing, the Kobo Clara 2E’s battery was a little lackluster. There were some initial charging issues that did seem to become better with time, but were a little off-putting initially. While it will give you weeks of battery life (depending on your settings and usage), it doesn’t quite square up to the more higher end Kobo Libra 2 which, incidentally, has the same capacity battery.

Kobo Clara 2E: report card

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ValueWhile it starts at a higher price point than its predecessor, the Kobo Clara 2E packs a punch with its new features which justify the hike. And it’s cheaper than the Kindle Paperwhite in some markets.4.5 / 5
DesignDespite a stale design, the Kobo Clara 2E has made some overall great improvements where it really counts – a snappier screen, waterproofing, a little splash of color and the use of recycled material.4 / 5
User experienceSnappy, clean and easy to use, the Kobo Clara 2E offers users a simple experience when enjoying their favorite stories.4.5 / 5
Battery lifeThe one big upset with this device was its erratic battery. Whether this will get fixed in a future firmware update remains to be seen, but until then, this could be a bit hit and miss. 3.5 / 5
TotalOverall, the Kobo Clara 2E comes with a huge variety of features for not much of a markup from its predecessor. Boasting an environmentally-conscious and waterproof build, Bluetooth connectivity and 16GB of storage in a compact ereader, it really packs a punch where it counts.4 / 5

Also consider


Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

The Kindle Paperwhite boasts a 6.8-inch E Ink display, but you are limited to Amazon’s ecosystem. Regardless, if you want something a little larger, it’s a good option with a similar design and features such as waterproofing and Bluetooth connectivity. You also have the choice between 8GB or 16GB of storage, but at a higher price point.

Read our in-depth Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review


Kobo Clara HD

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, and just want a simple ereader that still performs well, you can pick up the Kobo Clara HD while it’s still available. Kobo does tend to discontinue older models, but it will be supported with firmware updates for a few years more. If 8GB of storage is sufficient and you’re not too fussed about waterproofing, this one’s a great alternative.

Read our in-depth Kobo Clara HD review


Kobo Libra 2

Can you splurge a bit more and want one of the best ereaders currently available? The Kobo Libra 2 comes packed with all the features of the Kobo Clara 2E and then some: a 7-inch E Ink Carta 1200 display, physical page-turn buttons for one-handed use and a massive 32GB of storage as well. There’s a lot of bang for buck here if you’re an avid reader.

Read our in-depth Kobo Libra 2 review

[First reviewed October 2022]

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Petra Player

Petra has had a long-time love of tech, gaming and entertainment, especially if she can find it at a discount. With a background in archaeology, she’ll dig deep to find the best deals and thanks to her long history in retail, knows what makes a good bargain. She also is a bit of a keyboard hobbyist, having found enjoyment with mechanical keyboards during 2020’s lockdown, and enjoys trying out new peripherals whenever she gets the chance.