Friday, April 19, 2024

Color Kobo E-readers

Sheena Vasani (Hacker News):

Rakuten Kobo is launching its first color e-readers, the Kobo Libra Colour and the Kobo Clara Colour. Both use E Ink’s latest Kaledio color screen technology, which has subtle, pastel-like hues and drops from a 300ppi grayscale resolution to 150ppi when you view content in color.


The seven-inch Kobo Libra 2 is my favorite e-reader outside of Amazon’s ecosystem, offering the Kindle Paperwhite’s IPX8 waterproof design but with extras like physical page-turning buttons, no lockscreen ads, and more storage.

The $219.99 Kobo Libra Colour retains all of those features but is also now compatible with the Kobo Stylus 2, just like the Kobo Elipsa 2E.


E Ink’s color “Kaleido” screen technology has been around for several years, but it’s gone through three generations now and devices that use the latest Kaleido 3 screens just started coming out last year.


Color E Ink supports 4096 colors, which might sound like a lot but it’s actually far lower than a typical LCD screen. Colors tend to look softer and more subdued with E Ink, and color accuracy isn’t great, especially with certain colors, and it has more of a printed newspaper look.


The main drawback with color E Ink screens is they look darker than regular B&W screens because of a color filter layer that is applied over the top of the screen, which makes the contrast appear lower. Kaleido color screens are really just regular black and white E Ink Carta screens with a fancy passive filter over the top (that’s why color resolution is lower than black and white resolution).


Afterimage effects are more noticeable on color E Ink screens, where you can see a faint impression of the previous page. Color content may require more full page refreshes and flashes to look clear.


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Not in the market right now, but very intrigued. I feel like Kobo is one of the best hardware platform right now, from afar admittedly, given they seem to release a lot of compelling devices, even compared to the other two main American competitors in Amazon and Barnes and Noble. However, I'm guessing market lock-in will largely keep Amazon in the lead, which is a shame honestly. Then again, I haven't used a modern Kindle nor Kobo to compare store, app, and syncing experiences. So that could be key too. Still, I love the competition.

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