Kobo’s new Clara 2E eReader is made from 85% recycled plastic, and the company says all its future devices will incorporate recycled materials.
“That’s our intention, to roll it out with future devices, as long as we’re able to keep the quality where it is,” Erin Ierullo, senior manager, global communications at Kobo told Tech Advisor at IFA 2022 in Berlin.
Of that recycled plastic, Kobo says 10% was ocean-bound, and that building the Clara 2E will keep 200,000 plastic water bottles from the world’s oceans – a figure arrived at by estimating how many units of the eReader will be manufactured this year.
Many tech companies are becoming more outwardly eco-minded. Fairphone only sells sustainability built smartphones, and HMD just announced a new subscription plan that encourages people to hold onto their phones for longer.
“It’s our first foray into that, because we didn’t want to do it unless we could make sure the devices kept the standard for Kobo that we really value,” Ierullo said of the eco move.
“It’s not special now, it’s the standard, you have to be doing it.”
“Customer feedback is one of the biggest things we keep an ear out for,” Kobo senior manager Victoria Cacioppo said. “It’s something we’ve heard in the past and the voices are getting louder.”
The Clara range is a step above the budget Nia in Kobo’s line-up. The new $129.99/£129.99/€149.99 Clara 2E has the same design as the last generation model but has added full waterproofing and audiobook support, features until now only found on higher end Kobos such as the Libra 2 and Sage.
Cacioppo said the company also provides long term software support to much older devices to discourage people from upgrading. She also said future Kobo products will have improved repairability.
The Clara 2E looks like a great competitor to the latest Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, a product that gained a rare five star review from Tech Advisor.
I much prefer Kobo’s software, which is less cluttered than Amazon’s. Other touches like sliding up or down on the left of the screen while reading a book to adjust the backlight are also clever and intuitive, and mean you don’t have to tap into several menus.
Despite the Clara 2E’s new features, Ierullo insisted Kobo wants to keep its products free of distractions, with certainly no email support or push notifications planned any time soon.
“When you’re reading it’s undistracted reading, we don’t want to do too much to it … reading is the core of what Kobo does so we like to stay close to that.”
You can pre-order the Kobo Clara 2E from Kobo now. It goes on sale on 22 September.