selection of best e-reader It is not easy. Go for the Kindle from market leader Amazon, and if so, what is it? best kindle? Or try another brand, like Kobo (which has also been around for a long time, since 2010)? Both Amazon and Kobo sell ebooks and audiobooks, as well as their stable of e-readers, but it’s the Kobo Libra 2 and the latest Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) these are the most popular.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Kobo Libra 2 and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021, including how they compare and which one is best for you.
Kobo Libra 2 vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) e-reader prices
These e-readers were both launched in September 2021. The Kobo Libra 2 costs $179 / £160 / AU$279 and has 32GB of storage. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) costs $139.99 / £129.99 / AU$199.99 and has 8GB of storage. In addition to the standard Paperwhite, however, there’s also the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021), which retails for $189.99 / £179.99 / AU$289 and has 32GB of storage, wireless charging and an auto-adjusting front light .
Kobo Libra 2 vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) design and display
Both e-readers have large displays, with the Libra 2 offering a 7-inch screen versus the Paperwhite’s 6.8-inch screen. At 144.6 x 161.6 x 9mm and weighing 215g, the Libra 2 is slightly heavier but has a smaller footprint. The Paperwhite measures 174.2 x 124.6 x 8.1mm and weighs 205g. The Libra 2 has a plastic screen while the Paperwhite is made of glass.
Something else to think about when choosing between the Libra 2 and the Paperwhite is capacity. The Libra 2 offers 32GB as standard, which is good for thousands of e-books or around 140 audiobooks. That will be overkill for many. The standard Paperwhite offers 8GB – a respectable 35 audiobooks – while the expanded Paperwhite Signature Edition offers the same 32GB as the Libra 2.
On displays, it’s a fair fight. With an HD E Ink Carta 1200 screen with a resolution of 1264 x 1680 (approx. 2.1 megapixels), the Libra 2 offers ComfortLight PRO with adjustable brightness and color temperature. Although there is no automatic adjustment option, adjusting as you read is very easy.
Amazon doesn’t specify which display is in the Paperwhite, but we do know that both displays are 300dpi, so look very similar in detail. The Paperwhite also has a front light that is manually adjustable in both brightness and color.
Both e-readers have a “dark mode” where white text appears on a black background. Both are identical when it comes to handling water. Both are IPX8 rated, which means they can withstand submersion in up to two meters of fresh water for 60 minutes. This is helpful if you enjoy reading in a bath/hot tub/pool. They can also handle 25 cm of seawater for up to three minutes.
The Libra 2 is available in either black or white, while the Paperwhite is only sold in black.
Kobo Libra 2 vs. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) e-reader connectivity and battery life
As you’d expect, both eReaders have a USB-C port for charging and syncing files. They are also equipped with Bluetooth, so wireless headphones can be connected for listening to audio books. No wireless charging (unless you opt for the Paperwhite Signature Edition).
Elsewhere in connectivity, the Libra 2 has Wi-Fi, while the Paperwhite offers dual-band 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz Wi-Fi. That’s just a detail. It’s the first Paperwhite model not available with cellular connectivity (if you want to download ebooks off Wi-Fi, try the 2019 Kindle Oasis).
It’s difficult to judge the battery life of the Libra 2 and Paperwhite, as the former has a 1,500mAh battery – a slight improvement over previous e-readers – and the latter claims an ambitious-sounding 10 weeks if you read 30 minutes each day. Both will last at least a week or two, which is enough to neutralize this potential problem.
Kobo Libra 2 vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) e-reader software and performance
The Paperwhite has an all-new processor and the Libra 2 doesn’t, so the former is slightly faster when it comes to turning pages. However, only the Libra 2 has dedicated page turning buttons and a large rim, meaning it’s easier to hold in one hand.
These two e-readers are most easily separated by their stores. The Paperwhite has access to over five million books through the Kindle Store and offers unlimited reading for Prime members. It mainly supports Kindle Format 8 (AZW3) and Kindle (AZW), and while it’s possible to convert and transfer to other formats, it’s a time-consuming process.
The Paperwhite also has some comprehensive digital note-taking capabilities. Kobo’s eBookstore has over 7.5 million titles and supports all types of file formats from EPUB and MOBI to PDF and CBZ and CBR comic book formats. For the Libra 2, there’s an optional Kobo stylus ($39.99/£39.99/AU$129) for writing and drawing on the page while reading.
Kobo Libra 2 vs. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) portable e-reader
Both e-readers are upgrades from the mid-range e-readers they replace, but which one is the best? Both have front lights, both are waterproof and both have a “dark mode”. The Libra 2 offers good value for money without confusing options, more storage as standard and a better ergonomic design. It also has a slightly larger display.
The Paperwhite might lack page-turn buttons, but it has a glass front and a faster processor – if you opt for the pricier Paperwhite Signature Edition, you’ll also get wireless charging and an auto-adjusting display.