Kobo Libra 2 Review: I’m an E-Reader Convert Thanks to This Convenient Device
The Kobo Libra 2 completely changed my mind about e-readers. Here's why I don't go anywhere without it.
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I always swore I would never buy an e-reader. The experience of holding, flipping through and writing in a physical paperback or hardcover was always the more enticing option. And besides, why splurge on an e-reader when you can get unlimited physical books at the library for free? Or so I thought. Well, after using the Kobo Libra 2 for about a month, I can honestly say I am an e-reader convert.
In 2021, I read a total of 15 books. That number has decreased significantly since then and I’ve been eager to read more books this year. But with work, wedding planning and life in general, I find it difficult to make it to the library (and return books on time) and splurge on physical copies. Thankfully, the e-reader solved all those issues and more.
What is the Kobo Libra 2?
The Kobo Libra 2 is just one of the e-readers under the Rakuten Kobo name. Choose from the Kobo Sage, Kobo Clara 2E, Kobo Elipsa 2E, Kobo Nia, Kobo Elipsa Pack, and my tried and true, the Kobo Libra 2. Search, buy, borrow and download books straight to any of the various tablets with just a WiFi connection.
With 32GB of storage, the Kobo Libra 2 holds up to 24,000 e-books or 150 Kobo audiobooks. Kobo has a huge database of books for purchase and it’s also easy to transfer any .epub files to the device. Kobo Plus, a subscription plan, starts at $7.99 a month. You can also sync your local library’s OverDrive to check out books with your library card.
Appearance-wise, the Kobo Libra 2 mirrors the Amazon Kindle tablets. A black or white frame surrounds a seven-inch HD E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen. The bezel juts out about two inches and is equipped with two buttons for one-handed access. In bed, the buttons really help me find a comfortable reading position, especially when I’m laying sideways.
Kobo Libra 2 features
When I first received the Kobo, I dove into the box and quickly peeled off the protective plastic from the screen. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t require charging out of the box. With half of its 21-hour battery lift still intact, I explored its features.
The matte e-reader is compatible with Bluetooth wireless headphones or speakers for a full audiobook experience. Adjust the screen temperature to your liking with blue light reduction letting you read into the night. Switching to Dark Mode swaps the usual black text and white background to a black background with white text. You can also change the screen’s orientation from portrait to landscape to upside down (or lock it in place for no movement).
It’s also super light at 0.37 grams and small enough to stow in a purse or backpack. Reading in the tub or at the pool? The e-reader is fully waterproof for up to 60 minutes in up to two meters of water. Amazon and Etsy also carry protective cases.
How I tested it
On the home screen is a series of buckets to find your next read. I shifted between “Recommended” and “Related Reads” before remembering I could sync up my library card to OverDrive. I scrolled hundreds of titles between dozens of interesting categories like “Mental Health Awareness,” “Short Reads for a Long Weekend” and “Great Reads Without The Wait” before settling on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
For my second read of the year (I know, disgraceful), it was a long one. But all 1,800 pages just compress into 0.37 grams. Kobo also gives you an entire statistical analysis of the book. I could see how many pages were left, what percentage of the book I’d read, how many minutes until the next chapter and how many hours of reading left of the book. I found myself racing that estimated time as if it was the GPS ETA in my car.
Kobo also lets you change the font and font size, line spacing and margins while you read. I’m the type of reader who likes to underline impactful sentences and I worried I couldn’t do that on my e-reader. But annotating is relatively easy: just hold down a word and drag until a highlight appears. It’s a little wonky and lags, so patience is key.
Turn the pages by tapping on the screen’s edge or by pressing the up/down buttons on the bezel. Another thing I love about the Kobo Libra 2 is that I can instantly get a word’s definition. A dictionary entry pops up by holding down a word, a feature that doesn’t even require WiFi (great for on-the-go!).
I’ve taken my e-reader on road trips, to the beach, to the pool and on a camping trip. The battery lasts weeks between charges and a full charge takes just a few hours. My inner child is thrilled to read in the dark again, except this time I have no need for a flashlight or reading light under the covers. The Libra 2’s screen lights up enough for me to read into the night and I can adjust it to my liking.
The audiobooks are also a nice feature for audio-bibliophiles, but it’s only compatible with Kobo audiobooks. Change the narration speed, keep listening if the screen is off and use your headphones’ buttons to play and pause. I don’t see myself using the audiobook feature (I’m much more visual than auditory anyway), but if I did, I’d rather listen on my phone.
Another note is the Libra 2’s sleep mode. When turned off, the screen says “Sleeping” with the option to display the cover of whichever book I’m reading, along with the percentage read and how many hours to go. At night the screen dims significantly, but I wish there was a way to turn off the screen completely.
- High-quality e-reader with tons of features
- Mid-range price
- Battery lasts up to 21 hours
- No glare
- Available in black or white
- 32 GB of storage
- Waterproof up to 60 minutes
- Compatible with OverDrive
- Bluetooth capacity
- Screen doesn’t completely turn off
- The Kobo store books are just as pricey as physical books
- Highlighting isn’t the smoothest
What is the difference between the Kobo Libra H2O and Libra 2?
Before the Libra 2, there was the Libra H2O. The sizes are very similar, but the Libra 2 has three times the storage, a USB-C connector and Bluetooth capacity.
Can you read Amazon books on Kobo Libra 2?
Nope. Just like Amazon Kindles have the Amazon bookstore, Kobo has its own store to buy books. You can, however, convert Amazon’s DRM book format to EPUB format and transfer the files with a USB that way. Here’s another guide on sharing Kindle books.
Can you read library books on Kobo Libra 2?
Yes! Sync your library card to the OverDrive database to download an unlimited number of books. OK, up to 24,000 books.
What other reviewers had to say
Being that most of the Kobo Libra 2 reviews are from avid readers, the reviews for the e-reader are comprehensive to say the least. Here’s what some of them had to say.
“Really glad I bought this,” writes five-star reviewer Alex Hoffman. “I read a lot more than I used to with only physical books. The screen is easy on the eyes and the battery life is tremendously long. Putting .epub files on it is easy, so if you already have books in a digital format, it’s not difficult to transfer them.”
Verified purchaser Katherin Marquez loves her Kobo. “The Kobo is amazing, the text is pristine and crisp and it’s so comfortable to hold,” she says. “The buttons are very convenient, too, especially knowing that other brands that offer them do it for a lot more money. I think the Kobo is currently the best option when it comes to e-readers, so it’s worth every penny.”
“Great e-reader,” writes reviewer J. Lorenzo Borras, who switched from their Nook to Kobo. “So far this Kobo is way better. It’s not only that it has an extra inch in size, but it is easier to handle and to turn the pages. Very pleased so far.”
Kobo Libra 2 is a worthy competitor to the Amazon Kindle series. Comparably, the Libra 2 has way more storage space than most Kindles at 32GB and no ads. Books are about the same price on both.
The Libra 2 ($190) is also more expensive than the original Kindle ($100), Kindle Paperwhite ($140), Kindle Kids ($120) and Kindle Paperwhite Kids ($160). It is, however, cheaper than the Kindle Oasis ($250) and comparable to the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition ($190). Check out these best Amazon Kindles.
I never thought I’d be an e-reader girl. I love physical books and my overflowing bookcase is a testament to that. But I simply can’t deny the convenience and portability of the Kobo Libra 2. I’ve finished two books in three weeks and feel that I can finally get back on track with my reading records. Plus, no trips to the library or bookstore are necessary before starting the next read. (My local librarians are probably happy that I’m not still returning books late.)
While I can’t lend my friends my book recommendations anymore after I’m done with them, the digital convenience of the e-reader is a worthy trade-off. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get back into reading.
Where to buy the Kobo Libra 2
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