Barnes and Noble and Kobo have both released new e-readers this year. They are the Nook Glowlight 4e and the Kobo Clara 2e. On a fundamental level that both have access to the same digital books from major publishers. You will be able to read books from small presses too. The main difference is the quality of text when reading, the Clara has a 300 PPI screen, whereas the Nook 4e only has 212 PPI. This doesn’t make a huge difference if you are a casual reader, but if you read every day, or multiple times a week, razer sharp fonts are always better for the eyes.
The Nook Glowlight 4e features a 6 inch E INK Carta HD display with a resolution of 1024×758 and 212 PPI. It has as sunken screen and bezel design, which makes text really pop. The Kobo Clara 2e features a six-inch E INK Carta 1200 e-paper display panel, which increases page turn speed and overall responsiveness by 25%. The overall resolution of the new Clara is 1448×1072 and has 300 PPI. It also has a sunken screen, with exposed e-paper. The Nook only has a front-lit display with white LED lights, while the Clara has both warm and cool lighting.
Underneath the hood of the Nook is an Allwinner B300 quadcore 1.5 GHZ CPU processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. You will be able to charge the reader with a USB-C cable, It has Bluetooth 5.1 and WIFI 802.11 b/g/n to connect to the online bookstore, to purchase and download ebooks. Barnes and Noble has hotspots in all of their bookstores, which you can also connect to free of charge.
Meanwhile the Kobo employs a 1 GHZ dual core processor and 512MB of RAM. There is 16GB to house ebooks and audiobooks. You will be able to connect to the internet via WiFi 802.11 ac/b/g/n. This is the first Clara model to have Bluetooth for listening to audiobooks, which are purchasable from the Kobo Bookstore, however you cannot sideload in your own audiobooks. What is most exciting is that it has a USB-C port. It has a protective film inside of the device, which is coated with waterproof material. This will give users the ability to read it in the bathtub or the beach. It is rated IPX8. Both e-readers have about the same size battery and similar dimensions.
On a pure hardware level, the Kobo is the better device, it can listen to audiobooks, is waterproof and made of recycled plastics. It is using a better E INK panel and has better resolution. The Nook, has a faster processor and more RAM, this is because it is running an Android OS, so it needs the extra performance, however Kobo runs Linux, which needs less hardware power.
Nook has a few software advantages. Their store is better to browse and Nook Readouts gives you access to free books and interviews with your favorite author. Kobo has the better reading experience, their is plenty of simplified and advanced settings. Kobo also has an internet browser to access the web, the Nook doesn’t have one. All things being equal, Kobo has a greater international presence and can be purchased from most major countries. The Nook is only primarily sold in the US, however you can order it from Good e-Reader.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.