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Amazon has produced some amazing products over the years, but the Kindle is arguably one of their best. It’s not the only e-reader around anymore, however, which brings us to the Kobo vs. Kindle debate. While both companies have a line of e-readers, we’re going to take a look at two of the more affordable options.

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Clara HD share a lot of similarities from the design to the available formats. They also have comparable price tags and, while both devices allow users to read eBooks in direct sunlight thanks to e-ink displays, one provides a little more bang for the buck.

Kindle PaperwhiteKobo Clara HD
Display Size6.8”6”
Resolution1236 x 1648p, 300 PPI1072 x 1448p, 300 PPI
Front Light17 LEDs13 LEDs
Processor1GHz1GHz
RAM512MB512MB
Storage8GB8GB
ExpandableNoNo
FormatsAZW3, AZW, TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC, HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PMP through conversion, Audible audio format (AAX)EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR
Dimensions6.9 x 4.9 x 0.32 inches6.28 x 4.33 x 0.33 inches
Weight7.2 ounces5.9 ounces
Water ResistanceIP8XNone
Battery Life Estimate10 weeks per charge2 weeks per charge
Charging Time5 hours3 hours
Automatic RotationNoYes
Warm lightYesYes
Warranty1-year1-year
Price$139-159$119

5 Must-Know Facts: Kobo vs. Kindle

  • Kobo’s first e-reader was released in 2010 with Bluetooth and a D-pad, but no Wi-Fi.
  • The Kindle was introduced 2 years before the Nook.
  • The name Kobo is an anagram for the word book.
  • More than 20 versions of the Kindle have been released since 2007.
  • The first Kindle Paperwhite launched on October 1, 2012.

Kobo Clara HD vs. Kindle Paperwhite: What’s the Difference?

Comparing the Kobo lineup against Amazon’s staggering array of Kindles is a challenge given how many e-readers Amazon has released. They have a significant head start over Kobo, but we feel the Kobo Clara HD compares nicely against the 11th generation of the Kindle Paperwhite.

With that in mind, here’s how these devices stack up against one another.

Display

One of the reasons to choose an e-reader over a traditional tablet is the display. While you won’t find any QHD panels on these devices, both are designed for reading indoors or outside in full sunlight.

The Kindle Paperwhite has a 6.8” display with a pixel density of 300 PPI. The resolution is listed at 1236 x 1648p, compared to the Kobo Clara HD at 1072 x 1448p. The Clara HD has a smaller 6” display, although the pixel density is still 300 PPI.

Both touchscreen displays have an anti-reflective coating with backlighting. The E-ink panel on the Clara HD has a front-lighting system with a total of 13 LEDs: 7 blue and 7 orange. The color temperature makes it easy to read during the day or night without eyestrain, thanks to the ComfortLight PRO system.

As for the Kindle Paperwhite, it has 17 LEDs giving it a slight edge. It has a larger screen with a higher resolution, but both devices are easy on the eyes in a variety of conditions.

eBook Compatibility

The second area to consider once you’ve looked at the display of an e-reader is the selection of books you can read and the formats available. That can make or break a device, and it’s where things begin to get interesting between the Kobo and Kindle.

When Amazon introduced the original Kindle in 2007, the Kindle Store soon followed with a wealth of eBooks. Authors like Stephen King flocked to the new platform with exclusives like Ur, which you could only get through the Kindle Store.

It’s hard to put an exact number on how many titles are available through the Kindle Store, but there are well over 10 million ebooks at any given time. The Kobo store has more than 3 million eBooks by comparison, which gives Amazon a huge advantage when it comes to storefront books.

If you want to read things from outside those stores, things open up considerably for the Kobo, which supports 15 file formats including CBZ, CBR, TXT, FilePub, ePUB, JPB, and more. It allows you to read comic books with images sans conversion on an e-ink display and can handle HTML files and PDFs, just like the Kindle.

The Paperwhite can read many of the same formats along with PMP through conversion and PRC. You’ll have to remove DRM from Kobo titles to get them to work on the Kindle, however. As the Kindle uses MOBI while Kobo sticks to EPUB, you can’t carry titles over to the other platform without performing a few tech tricks or using an app.

The biggest difference in formatting is EPUB with Kobo and MOBI with Kindle. It’s something that can affect your buying decision if you are already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem or own a lot of books in EPUB format.

Kindle e-reader
Both the Kindle and the Kobo are renowned as fantastic e-readers with tons of impressive features and solid storage with wide catalogs of available ebooks.

©Tada Images/Shutterstock.com

Audiobooks

Devices like the Kindle and Kobo were initially designed for reading, but that changed with the rise of audiobooks. If you enjoy listening to books as much as reading them, this is an area where the 11th generation of the Kindle Paperwhite is a clear winner.

The Kobo Clara HD does not support audiobooks in any way, shape, or form. That’s due to an omission under the hood as there’s no Bluetooth module or 3.5mm headphone jack on the Clara HD.

The newest version of the Kindle Paperwhite has Bluetooth capabilities, although it doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can use Bluetooth earbuds to enjoy books from Audible, considering it’s built-in.

Battery Life

You don’t need a battery to read a physical book unless you’re trying to do so in the dark with a book light. E-readers are portable, so battery life is critical with these types of devices unless you want to be tethered to a wall outlet.

Both Amazon and Kobo are a bit vague when it comes to battery specifications. According to Kobo, the battery in the Clara HD can last for up to 2 months before needing to be recharged. A full charge will take around 3 hours while the Kindle Paperwhite takes around 5 hours to recharge using a regular USB cable and port.

A 9W adapter can slash charging times to 2.5 hours on the Kindle. Kobo’s reader also supports fast charging, although we were unable to find an accurate time. How long each battery will actually last depends on your reading habits and brightness levels, but the Paperwhite can go 10 weeks between charges.

Hardware

When comparing smartphones or tablets, it’s important to take a look under the hood. Components like the processor, memory, and storage are critical with these devices but tend to take a backseat to e-readers.

The Paperwhite has a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. You’ll find the same hardware beneath the glass on the Kobo Clara HD. Both devices are also capped with 8GB of onboard storage, which is not expandable.

That may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised by how many books you can cram into a tablet with only 8GB of space. You also have the cloud to fall back on with Amazon and the Kindle Cloud Library. Kobo doesn’t have official cloud support on the Clara HD, although there is a workaround available through Github.

Features

Companies that manufacture e-readers and other types of consumer tech rely on features to help set their product apart from the competition. The Paperwhite and Clara HD aren’t two devices known for flagship features, but there are a few that certainly stand out.

The 11th generation of the Kindle Paperwhite is 10% brighter than the previous generation and has a “warm” reading light feature. The lighting doesn’t adjust automatically and there’s no auto orientation if you want to read in landscape mode.  

There are around 6 fonts on the Paperwhite e-reader and you can adjust the size, margin width, and line spacing. You’re able to do the same thing on the Kobo Clara HD, but it comes with 12 fonts out of the box.

The Kobo Clara HD has a similar set of features, so you can take notes or highlight passages as you read. Neither device has a fully functional web browser, although you’ll get Bluetooth on the Paperwhite. That e-reader also has IPX8 certification, so it’s resistant to water.

You can use the Paperwhite in the pool, but you can’t do that with the Clara HD. Borrowing is better on the Clara HD, however. It’s easier to use Libby and Overdrive whereas Amazon took a more gated approach on the Kindle Paperwhite 11.

Kobo Clara HD vs. Kindle Paperwhite 11: Pricing and Availability

Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) – Now with a 6.8" display and adjustable warm light – Black
$139.99
  • Kindle Paperwhite – Now with a 6.8” display and thinner borders, adjustable warm light, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns.
  • Purpose-built for reading – With a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.
  • More books in more places – Store thousands of titles, then take them all with you. A single charge via USB-C last weeks, not hours.
  • Easy on the eyes – Now with adjustable warm light to shift screen shade from white to amber.
  • Waterproof reading – Built to withstand accidental immersion in water, so you’re good from the beach to the bath.
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02/03/2023 04:17 pm GMT
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (32 GB) – With a 6.8" display, wireless charging, and auto-adjusting front light – Without Lockscreen Ads – Black
$189.99
  • Get more with Signature Edition – Everything in the Kindle Paperwhite, plus wireless charging, auto-adjusting front light, and 32 GB storage.
  • Purpose-built for reading – With a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.
  • More reading time – A single charge via USB-C or compatible Qi wireless charger (sold separately) now lasts up to 10 weeks.
  • Adjustable screen – Now with adjustable warm light and auto-adjusting front light for a personalized reading experience, day or night.
  • More books in more places – Store thousands of titles, then take them all with you.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/03/2023 04:17 pm GMT
Kobo Libra 2 | eReader | 7” Glare Free Touchscreen | Waterproof | Adjustable Brightness and Color Temperature | Blue Light Reduction | eBooks | WiFi | 32GB of Storage | Carta E Ink Technology | Blac...
$169.99
  • 𝗚𝗟𝗔𝗥𝗘 𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 & 𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗗 𝗦𝗖𝗥𝗘𝗘𝗡 - Kobo Libra 2's improved 7" HD E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen delivers a faster display, quicker page...
  • 𝗔𝗦 𝗔𝗗𝗔𝗣𝗧𝗔𝗕𝗟𝗘 𝗔𝗦 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗔𝗥𝗘 - Kobo Libra 2's ergonomic design feels good in your hands. Keep the story moving by swiping the touchscreen, or use...
  • 𝗟𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗡 𝗔𝗧 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗟𝗘𝗜𝗦𝗨𝗥𝗘 - Kobo Libra 2 supports Kobo Audiobooks with Bluetooth wireless technology. Think of it as a hands-free reading option,...
  • 𝗙𝗨𝗟𝗟𝗬 𝗪𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗥𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗢𝗙* - You can take your story to the park, the beach, the tub, or even out in the rain. Life happens, rain or shine, now your reading life...
  • 𝗙𝗨𝗟𝗟 𝗢𝗙 𝗣𝗢𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗕𝗜𝗟𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗘𝗦 - 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗨𝗣 𝗧𝗢 𝟮𝟰,𝟬𝟬𝟬 𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗦 - Kobo Libra 2 comes with 32GB of storage,...
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02/03/2023 04:27 pm GMT
Kobo Clara HD | eReader | 6" Glare Free Touchscreen | Adjustable Brightness & Colour Temperature | WiFi | 8GB of Storage | Carta E Ink Technology (Clara HD)
$98.95
  • 𝗔𝗗𝗝𝗨𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗕𝗟𝗘 𝗕𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧𝗡𝗘𝗦𝗦 & 𝗕𝗟𝗨𝗘 𝗟𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗧𝗥𝗢𝗟 – The Kobo Clara HD has ComfortLight PRO to...
  • 𝗚𝗟𝗔𝗥𝗘-𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 𝗧𝗢𝗨𝗖𝗛𝗦𝗖𝗥𝗘𝗘𝗡 – It has a natural, print-like reading experience on its 6" high-definition 300PPI screen. Unlike your tablet or...
  • 𝗖𝗔𝗥𝗥𝗬 𝗨𝗣 𝗧𝗢 𝟲𝟬𝟬𝟬 𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗦 – With 8GB of storage take your entire book collection everywhere you go. Browse over 6 million titles at any time, on...
  • 𝗔 𝗖𝗨𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗠𝗜𝗭𝗘𝗗 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗗𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗘𝗫𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗘𝗜𝗡𝗖𝗘 – Easily customizable features help you read the way you want to. Choose from over...
  • 𝗟𝗢𝗡𝗚 𝗟𝗔𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗕𝗔𝗧𝗧𝗘𝗥𝗬 𝗟𝗜𝗙𝗘 – The Kobo Clara HD eReader has a battery life that lasts for weeks*, so you can experience uninterrupted...
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02/03/2023 04:27 pm GMT

You can purchase the Kindle Paperwhite through Amazon in a variety of configurations. That includes a model with lock-screen advertisements, which has a price tag of $139.99. The Paperwhite without ads is $159.99. A variant of the reader is also available with the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. It’s essentially the same device, but with 32GB of storage, an auto-adjusting light, and wireless charging.

Kobo’s e-reader is available through Amazon, the company’s official site, and a variety of other retailers at a price of $119. It’s cheaper, and the Kobo Libra 2 is comparable to the Signature Edition with a larger display, landscape reading mode, Bluetooth, and more storage. The Kobo Clara HD and Libra 2 are both cheaper than Amazon’s e-readers.    

Kobo vs. Kindle: Which is Better?

What do you want from an e-reader? Are you looking for a device you can take on vacations or use for audiobooks? If so, the answer is easy, as the Kindle Paperwhite is the best choice. Bluetooth and IPX8 certification are major advantages over the Clara HD, even if the specifications are largely the same.

Both devices are easy to use and allow you to read in direct sunlight while giving them access to massive catalogs of e-books. Which is better may come down to the format you’re already invested in. Amazon has a much larger selection, making it a no-brainer if you already own titles from the company. Kobo is easier to use with libraries and opens to a few more formats.

While we feel both e-readers are excellent choices, the Kindle Paperwhite 11 is the winner in our eyes. It’s not much more expensive than the Clara HD, but has a larger ecosystem, Bluetooth, and can handle a spilled drink or a quick dunk in the pool.

Up Next…

Interested in similar comparisons? Click on the links below:

  • Nook vs Kindle: Which E-Reader Is Best? They’ve both been around for over a decade, and they present an excellent means of taking your books with you everywhere. How do they measure up against each other? Read this article to find out.
  • Scribd vs Kindle Unlimited: Which One Should You Buy?   One is known as the “Netflix” of books. The other is the most popular e-reader on the globe. Which is the better option for you? And what other differences set them apart? Discover the answers in this article.
  • Kindle vs iPad: Which is best for you? Which is more affordable? Which is more convenient to use? Which is more versatile? Find out which is the better option between Apple’s tablet and the most popular e-reader on the plane

Kobo vs. Kindle: Which e-Reader is Best? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does the Clara HD run Android?

Kobo uses a customized version of Linux for the Clara HD.

Can you remove ads from the Kindle Paperwhite?

Yes, you can unsubscribe by making a one-time payment through Amazon which removes the ads.

Is there a monthly fee for Kobo?

Only if you decide to use the company’s eBook subscription service.

Does Kobo have any e-readers with auto-rotation?

You can find that feature on the Kobo Libra 2 and other premium versions of the company’s e-reader.

How long does a Kindle last?

A variety of factors affect the lifespan of a Kindle, but we’ve found that most can last around 4-6 years, while e-ink versions typically have a longer lifespan.

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