Kobo refreshes e-reader line with Sage and Libra 2, including Bluetooth and stylus help – TechCrunch

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A pair of latest e-readers from Kobo iterate on the corporate’s high-end choices, including Bluetooth audiobook and stylus help to the now acquainted asymmetrical design of its bigger gadgets. The Sage and Libra 2 additionally acquire a brand new charging cowl so that you solely must plug the system in each few months slightly than each few weeks.

The Sage is the higher-end of the 2 fashions, being an evolution of the Forma, which I reviewed right here. The superb 8″, 300 PPI display and color-adjustable display gentle are the identical, so relaxation assured the studying expertise will proceed to be nice. Likewise the Libra 2 is the sequel to the Libra H2O (they’re dropping the H2O, but it surely’s nonetheless waterproof), with the identical kind of show and lightweight at 7″ as an alternative. (If you would like smaller, the Clara remains to be the most effective transfer.)

New in each the readers is Bluetooth audio that can be utilized solely for sending Kobo audiobooks to your wi-fi headset of selection. Whereas it’s at all times good to have new capabilities, it’s just a little shocking that Kobo determined to restrict this to its personal service. The corporate has usually been very open to completely different codecs and providers, letting you load no matter doc codecs you need on its readers — so it’s shocking that the strategy right here is extra restricted. It’s doable that tie-ins with different providers (just like the gadgets’ stable Pocket integration) are merely forthcoming. Each readers include 32 gigs of storage inbuilt to accommodate this new space-hogging function.

A man sitting on a couch reading on a Libra e-reader.

Picture Credit: Kobo

Solely the Sage will get help for Kobo’s new stylus, nonetheless, which was first put to make use of on the new, large-type Ellipsa. It was helpful there however primarily because of the bigger format permitting the required area for sketching and jotting down notes. Whether or not that utility makes the soar to the smaller (however nonetheless on the big facet for an e-reader) Sage is hard to foretell — however we should always be capable of consider that after we evaluation it.

The shape issue of the gadgets has, sadly, gained considerably in dimension and weight. The Forma and Libra H2O had been notable for what you may name their “facet chin,” a wedge-shaped bezel you would use to carry and function the e-reader one-handed. Though as a rule I favor symmetrical issues, the shape issue (pioneered, it have to be stated, by Amazon with the Oasis) has grown on me, partly as a result of the display a part of the system is so skinny that it feels slightly futuristic and naturally takes up little or no area.

Side view of the Sage (top) and Forma (bottom). Truly the differences seem smaller than I made them out to be.

Facet view of the Sage (high) and Forma (backside). Really the variations appear smaller than I made them out to be.

The brand new Sage and Libra 2 are positively chunkier, with no extra-thin display half, as an alternative being as thick as thickest part all through. It’s a clear design in some methods and for all I do know it could even be extra snug to carry, but it surely’s already robust sufficient to discover a pocket the Forma suits in. And it doesn’t assist that each are about 20 % heavier. Whereas technically that solely quantities to some dozen grams and three or 4 millimeters, a part of the draw of e-readers to start with is that they’re skinny and lightweight.

Anyway it may not matter as soon as you set a case on these items — there’s a brand new evolution of the SleepCover, which robotically turns the system on or off whenever you open it, within the PowerCover, which additionally fees the system it protects. In fact that’ll in all probability add one other few hundred grams too…

Although I grouse about these small adjustments to design and dimensions, the display and frontlight are nonetheless class-leading and Kobo’s software program is nice and simple for studying. We’ll see how these new gadgets stack as much as the outdated ones as quickly as we now have the prospect to evaluation them.

The Kobo Sage will value $260, and the Libra 2 will value $180 after they ship on October 19. You may pre-order them now if you happen to’re feeling fortunate.

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