Kobo Vs Kindle: The Best eReader In Australia For 2020

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E-readers are a great way to have access to lots of books anytime, anywhere without needing to carry any heavy paperbacks around. They are lightweight, portable and cover all the needs of book lovers. In fact, the screen of an ebook reader offers a clean, crisp text that doesn’t look too different from a print book.

When it comes to e-readers there are two brands in the running: Amazon Kindle and Rakuten Kobo. Let’s take a look at the options and review the key differences between Kobo and Kindle so you can discover which offers the best eReader for you.


1. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – Best Overall


Kindle Paperwhite – Now Waterproof with twice the Storage (8GB)

Or pick for the best overall eReader is the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. This is an affordable, thin and lightweight reader that is perfectly suited to travelling and taking your favourite books with you wherever you go.

The display on the Paperwhite is a glare-free 300 ppi that replicates real paper and can be adjusted to suit the situation you are in. This Kindle is also waterproof so you can read by the pool, at the beach or in the bath without worrying.

The 8GB storage holds thousands of books and the battery lasts weeks on a single charge so this ebook reader is always ready to be used. This reader offers excellent value for money, is high-quality and ensures you have a great reading experience.


What We Like:

Waterproof
Lightweight
Large memory

What We Don’t Like:

Does not support Audible book playback


2. Kobo Clara HD – Runner Up


Kobo Clara HD 6" Carta E Ink Touchscreen E-Reader

The Kobo Clara HD comes a close second as it offers a print-quality reading experience and is comfortable to use and hold. This reader is perfect for all book lovers and it supports a wide range of native book formats which is ideal for opening and downloading books and documents found online.

The Clara HD includes Comfort Light PRO which ensures you have the best light for the time of day and it also helps prevent eye strain by gradually reducing the blue light exposure for nighttime reading.

The 8GB memory can store up to 6,000 books and you can get weeks of battery life on a single charge. This Kobo e-reader brings all the key features to one compact, quality package.


What We Like:

Adjusting front light
Reduced blue light exposure for nighttime reading
Native file format support

What We Don’t Like:

Not waterproof


3. Kindle Oasis – Upgrade Pick (Kindle)


All-new Kindle Oasis - Now with adjustable warm light - Wi-Fi (32 GB) - Graphite

The Kindle Oasis is a premium ebook reader that brings high quality, impressive backlighting and a more luxurious reading experience. There is a lot to love with this model, it makes the perfect upgrade from older ebook readers.

This model uses the latest e ink technology to ensure it reads like real paper. For ease of use, there are page-turn buttons and the build quality is excellent. Amazons Kindle Oasis is fully waterproof and although there is no headphone jack you can connect Bluetooth headphones to enjoy your favourite music or audio books.

An adjustable warm light means you can change the screen shade from white to a much warmer amber colour. The brightness is also adjustable and the Oasis gives you access to a range of different fonts and font sizes so you can enjoy the best reading experience for you, wherever you are.


What We Like:

E ink technology to read like real paper
Page turn buttons
Adjustable backlighting and display

What We Don’t Like:

High price


4. Kobo Forma – Upgrade Pick (Kobo)


The Kobo Forma is the top-of-the-line Kobo ereader that is high-quality, lightweight and comfortable to hold. The Forma offers a large screen, excellent clarity and a print-quality reading experience.

The ComfortLifePRO filters out blue light and the display brightness is adjustable to suit the situation. The back of the Kobo e-reader is textured which makes it easier to grip with one hand, the screen can be used in right-handed portrait, left-handed portrait or landscape mode. The Kobo Forma is also waterproof and is designed to be extra durable.

The Forma also features physical page-turn buttons and if preferred, the pages can be turned using the touch screen too. This ebook reader has a large, spacious display that is particularly well suited to reading using large font sizes and enjoying Manga. Although this option is not quite as luxurious as the Kindle Oasis it is not too far behind either.


What We Like:

Waterproof and durable
Lightweight and comfortable to hold
Large screen size

What We Don’t Like:

More expensive than other options


5. Amazon Kindle – Best budget option


Our budget pick is the Amazon Kindle, this classic reader is a perfect blend of low-cost and high-quality. It’s ideal when you are looking for a simple to use reader without all of the extra frills.

The adjustable front light on the Amazon Kindle allows you to read easily whether it is day or night, or you are indoors or outdoors. Although an entry-level e-reader, the Kindle allows you to highlight passages, adjust text size, look up definitions and translate words without having to leave the page you are on.

The design is similar to other Amazon Kindle readers so is familiar, easy to operate and comfortable to hold. Another good thing about this Kindle is the battery, it can hold its charge for weeks giving you plenty of time for reading before the next charge is needed.


What We Like:

Adjustable front light
Thin and lightweight
Long battery life

What We Don’t Like:

Not waterproof


Kobo vs Kindle Buyer’s Guide


Using an e-reader is incredibly popular thanks to their convenience, portability and ease of use. They give you the flexibility to read anywhere and they can store thousands of books while being thinner than a paperback. There are so many reasons you may be thinking about buying an e-reader, the real choice is which brand and model to go for.

There is no doubt that the top two ereader brands are Kobo and Kindle, but which one is best? It’s not an easy question to answer but below we compare the core elements of the two to find out which really offers the best e-reading experience.

Look and feel

The Kindle and Kobo readers are very similar in their physical characteristics. The most notable difference between them is screen size. Kobo offers a wider selection of screen sizes which means they are usually larger (and can sometimes be considered slightly bulkier) than the Kindle range.

Most of the Kindle range is made from plastic and has a slightly matte-feel finish while the Kobo range have rubberised pads on the back for extra grip and they have rear-mounted power buttons for ease of use. Both brands can be held comfortably in one hand and they both offer waterproof options if that is an important factor for you.

Screen quality

Although the screen resolution varies depending on the model you choose, the standard tends to be 300ppi with the entry-level readers offering less resolution at 167 PPI for the Amazon Kindle and 265 PPI for the Kobo Aura H20. No matter which reader you select the text will be sharp and easy to read.

An extra feature seen in most Kobo readers is ComfortLight PRO which reduces blue light exposure and eye strain. This is a great feature for when you are spending a lot of time reading in the evening and at night.

Size and weight

When it comes to the size and weight of ebook readers, Kobo models tend to be slightly larger and marginally heavier although there is not a lot in it. The kindle is generally the preferred option if you want a compact, lightweight reader.

Storage

The majority of Kindle models offer 4GB of storage as standard and the Kindle Oasis offers an optional 32GB. On the other hand, most of Kobo’s models offer 8GB as standard with more storage space available on a couple of their e-readers.

Some of the Kobo models allow external storage support in the form of an SD card reader, this means you can insert an SD card to increase storage as needed. Amazon models do not have an SD card reader or any other form of external storage so the amount of storage space the chosen model has cannot be increased. This shouldn’t be an issue if you read text-heavy books but if you enjoy magazines, PDF documents, comics or Manga the storage space may get filled up quickly and a Kobo may be the preferred option thanks to their standard 8GB storage.

Battery Life

Both Kobo and Kindle say their ebook readers have a battery life of “weeks”. This means both options are great even for avid readers. The screen brightness and usage will impact the battery life but both Kobo and Kindle batteries perform very well.

Library/borrowing books

If you are a fan of library books and want to continue borrowing from the public library and other sources then Kobo is the way to go. Kobo uses OverDrive to give you access to library books, you just need your library card or login details. Unfortunately, Kindle devices cannot access standard ePub formats, which is needed to borrow books from libraries.

File support

Both brands differ in the types of files they are able to support:

  • Kobo readers support many file types including ePub, Mobi, PDF, Comic formats (CBZ/CBR) and DRM protected content from public libraries. This gives users access to a huge range of files.
  • Kindle only supports a couple of file formats, primarily Mobi and PDF.

This difference will only matter or make a difference to you if you like to buy or access material from places other than the company’s own marketplaces. If you are primarily using the Kindle store or the Kobo store this won’t impact you much at all. However, if you frequently access multiple sources and formats then Kobo is definitely the e-book reader to choose.

Reading Interface

  • Kobo offers more customization of the reading interface as you can adjust the letter spacing, line spacing, typeface, font size and presentation options. You can also access the dictionary and take notes on Kobos.
  • Kindle offers basic customization options as well as a range of smart options. They offer the standard dictionary and note-taking just as Kobo does but they also offer the ability to look up words and phrases on Wikipedia and readers can find out additional information about the book they are reading via the Amazon X-ray feature.

Connectivity Options

You can connect both brands to your computer via a USB cable but there is a clear difference between the two when it comes to wireless connectivity:

  • Amazon offers the WhisperSync service which gives you access to the Amazon Store and gives you the ability to transfer books to your e-reader wherever you are using 3G/ 4G. The WhisperSync 3G/ 4G coverage works in over 100 countries and it does not cost anything to use. The Amazon devices also offer Wi-Fi connectivity as standard.
  • Each Kobo e reader only offers Wi-Fi connectivity without any 3G or 4G options so if you are not connected to Wi-Fi you will not be able to load new books onto your device.

Verdict

The best e-reader largely depends on your personal preferences and where you like to access your books. Both brands offer similar devices at similar price points but there are a couple of key features that should really separate one option from the other for you. To help make the decision, consider the following:

  1. If you already have a Kindle library (or you don’t mind being tied to Amazon/ kindle content in the future) then it makes sense to go with Kindle but if you enjoy borrowing books from libraries and you access books from lots of sources in lots of file formats then Kobo is definitely the way to go.
  2. Another big difference between the two brands is the storage size offered, with Kobo offering more storage size as standard and offering the ability to further the storage by using an SD card.
  3. Finally, consider if 3G/4G connection is important to you. Only Amazon Kindle currently offers this feature so if this is vital for you to download your books then choose Kindle.

With these 3 factors in mind, you should be able to choose one brand over the other. Either way, you will be getting a great ebook experience. Happy reading!