When it comes to choosing the perfect ereader for your needs, you’ll find that it largely depends on your location and the accessibility of different brands. As the market is currently dominated by two major players, namely Amazon’s Kindles and Rakuten’s Kobo ereaders, making a decision might become easier when it’s time to choose between kobo vs kindle.
But have you ever wondered about the nuances that set these two brands apart and whether it truly matters which one you choose? Although ereaders in general share similarities, each brand offers its own unique set of features.
To ensure you make the optimal purchasing decision, we’ve crafted this handy guide specifically for you. It aims to unravel the Kindle vs Kobo ereader conundrum, ultimately helping you determine which option reigns supreme.
Rakuten vs Amazon
Amazon’s Kindle has become a household name, thanks to its association with the retail giant. On the other hand, Kobo, owned by the Japanese company Rakuten, has carved its own niche in the market. Both brands offer a range of exceptional ereaders tailored to cater to various reading preferences and budgets. However, they possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. While other contenders like Onyx Boox, Barnes & Noble’s Nook ereaders, and PocketBook exist in the market, their availability is limited globally. Importing them can also be an expensive endeavor.
Considering these factors, your primary options boil down to Kindles and Kobos. Therefore, it’s crucial to acquaint yourself with the following information before making your purchase decision.
Kindle vs Kobo Price & Models
Currently, Kobo has seven different ereaders in its lineup, with the exception of the 8-inch Forma, which is not available in the US (although refurbished Formas can still be purchased). These include:
- The basic 6-inch Kobo Nia, priced at $109.99 / £94.99 / AU$159.95.
- The 6-inch Kobo Clara 2E, priced at $139.99 / £129.99 / AU$229.95.
- The mid-range 7-inch Kobo Libra 2, priced at $189.99 / £169.99 / AU$299.99.
- The 8-inch Kobo Forma, priced at £239.99 / AU$429.95 (unavailable in the US).
- The 8-inch Kobo Sage with stylus support, priced at $269.99 / £259.99 / AU$459.95.
- The 10.3-inch stylus-toting Kobo Elipsa, priced at $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$599.95.
- The newly released 10.3-inch Kobo Elipsa 2E, priced at $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$599.95.
In the second half of 2022, Kobo quietly increased the prices of older ereaders released before that timeframe. As a result, models like the Libra 2, Sage, and Nia are slightly more expensive than their initial launch prices. Only the Kobo Forma and the older Elipsa Pack have maintained their original prices. On the other hand, the available Kindles are generally priced a bit lower. However, it’s important to note that not all Kindle models are available in all regions.
The Kindle range begins with:
- The basic 6-inch Kindle released in 2022, priced at $119.99 / £94.99 / AU$179.
- The 6-inch 2022 Kindle Kids, priced at $109.99 / £99.99 (unavailable in Australia).
- The 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite Kids, priced at $159.99 / £149.99 (unavailable in Australia).
- The 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite from 2021, priced at $139.99 / £139.99 / AU$239.
- The 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, priced at $189 / £179.99 / AU$289.
- The 7-inch Kindle Oasis, priced at $249.99 / £229.99 / AU$399.
- The 10.3-inch stylus-toting Kindle Scribe, with prices starting from $339.99 / £339.99 / AU$549.99.\
It’s worth noting that some Kindle models have slightly lower prices in the UK and the US if you don’t mind having advertisements displayed. The prices listed above are for the versions without ads.
Kindle Ereader vs Kobo Features, Design, & Display
When it comes to screen technology, you’ll find that Kobo and Kindle ereaders share many similarities. Across both brands, the newer models launched since 2021 utilize the E Ink Carta 1200 display, which enhances text sharpness and provides better screen contrast compared to the older E Ink Carta HD technology.
In terms of screen resolution, the 10th-generation Amazon Kindle had the lowest resolution at 167ppi. While it may still be available in certain markets, it has been succeeded by the 2022 11th-generation Kindle, boasting a screen resolution of 300ppi. As a result, the Kobo Nia now holds the lowest resolution at 212ppi. All current models with 6.8-inch, 7-inch, and 8-inch displays from both brands feature a 300ppi screen resolution. However, when it comes to design, every Kobo ereader has a plastic-covered screen, while Kindle offers a couple of models with a glass-covered screen, lending them a more premium appearance.
If you’re specifically interested in 8-inch models, you’ll find them exclusively available with Kobo. Both Kobo and Kindle offer IPX8 water resistance for their ereaders, except for the 10.3-inch models from both brands. Additionally, adjustable illuminated displays are available on most higher-end models, allowing for comfortable reading in the dark. Many of these models also allow you to adjust the hue or temperature of the light, transitioning from a cooler white light to a warmer yellow light for nighttime reading. However, only the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition comes equipped with a front light featuring an ambient light sensor, enabling automatic brightness adjustment. Furthermore, this device supports wireless charging, a feature not offered by Kobo at all.
One increasingly popular feature found in both Kobo and Kindle ereaders is Bluetooth connectivity. This feature is particularly useful for connecting wireless earphones, primarily for enjoying audiobooks. Similarly, both brands offer page-turn buttons on certain models with an asymmetric design, allowing for easier navigation while holding the ereader in one hand.
Storage & Connectivity
Kobo and Kindle offer a range of options for their current ereaders, catering to different storage needs. The storage capacity ranges from 8GB to 64GB, with the high-end Kindle Scribe boasting 64GB of onboard storage. In the case of Kobo, all models from the Libra 2 and higher-end versions come with a default storage capacity of 32GB. However, it’s worth noting that the significance of internal storage may not be crucial unless you have plans to store an extensive collection of audiobooks on your ereader simultaneously. For most users, the basic 8GB storage can comfortably accommodate hundreds of ebooks.
In terms of connectivity, Kobo devices offer basic Wi-Fi across their entire range, which is generally sufficient for the needs of most users. Similarly, most Kindle models also provide Wi-Fi connectivity, although the newer Paperwhite models now offer the added advantage of dual-band Wi-Fi, enhancing connectivity performance.
Previously, Amazon offered cellular connectivity to Kindle users, allowing them to download ebooks and even check email when away from Wi-Fi. However, this feature is now limited to the flagship Kindle Oasis model, providing an option for those who require cellular connectivity on their ereader.
Kobo vs Kindle: What’s Your Choice?
In conclusion, the choice between Kobo and Kindle e-readers depends on your budget, desired features, and availability in your region. Consider factors such as screen technology, resolution, design, water resistance, front light features, storage capacity, and connectivity options to determine which brand and model best suit your reading preferences.