Has Kobo's latest eReader one-upped Kindle with its colour capabilities?

Kimmy Jo By Kimmy Jo - May 29th, 2024
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As if there wasn’t enough to love about eReaders, Kobo has unveiled two new devices that elevate the digital reading experience even further: the Kobo Libra Colour and the Kobo Clara Colour. As their names imply, these devices introduce a world of colour, providing the ability to read, write*, highlight, and annotate* in colour. (* Available on the Libra Colour).

Last year, Kobo and Kindle were head to head as they both introduced new note-taking capabilities on their eReaders, the Kobo Elipse 2E and the Kindle Scribe. With the Kobo Libra Colour taking it one step further by adding a splash of colour, we had to ask, has Kobo taken the lead with offering the best features and capabilities? Let’s take a closer look!

What’s so great about colour e-ink?

The new colour eReaders will bring your books to life, displaying your book covers, illustrations, and notes in a spectrum of hues. It’s a prime choice for graphic novels, allowing readers to enjoy the illustrations how they were meant to be seen. Additionally, being able to annotate and highlight in different colours will aid comprehension and memory retention - ideal for those who enjoy reading non-fiction or educational texts.

"For Kobo, colour is a way of deepening and enriching the reading experience, while keeping the daylight readability and battery longevity that E Ink screens deliver so well,” says Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo. “It’s everything you love about print, with all the benefits of eReading.”

Like the Kobo Sage and Kobo Elipsa 2E, the Libra Colour includes notebooks, ebook annotations, and brings Dropbox and Google Drive support to Kobo's 7-inch devices for the first time. The new colour E Ink Kaleido™ 3 display, compatible with Kobo Stylus 2 (sold separately), allows you to annotate ebooks, organise thoughts with colourful notes, and highlight inspiring passages, all in colour.

Kobo Libra Colour vs. Kindle Scribe

So, has Kobo managed to one-up Kindle? Seeing as Kindle has yet to release a colour eReader, Kobo is certainly a step ahead there. Whether the Kobo Libra eReader reigns supreme comes down to what you’re looking for in an eReader. Keep in mind, a closer comparison would be the Scribe vs. Kobo’s Elipsa 2E, but for the sake of those who are thinking of adding colour to their ebooks, here’s our quick comparison of the Kindle Scribe vs. Kobo Libra Colour.

Display & Writing Experience

The Kindle Scribe features a large 10.2” matte display with a resolution of 300 PPI. The Kobo Libra Colour features a smaller 7” display with a resolution of 300 PPI for B&W and 150 PPI for colour. The Scribe features Amazon’s Paperwhite Display technology (which doesn’t support colour) while the Libra Colour features the E Ink Kaleido (which supports colour). The colour layer on eReader screens do tend to make the native contrast a bit lacklustre in comparison, but this can be resolved simply by turning the backlight on.

Those who like to take notes (i.e. will use the notebook feature) and annotate a lot may appreciate the larger 10.2” screen on the Kindle Scribe. The matte display also provides a nice texture to write on that may offer more resemblance to writing on paper. However, the Kobo Libra Colour allows you to markup, write and annotate directly onto the ebook which is a feature that wins many people over. To top it off, you can do this all in colour for better retention!

Making annotations and highlights with Kobo Libra Colour
Kobo Libra Colour lets you markup and write directly onto pages, now in colour!
Writing notes with Amazon Kindle Scribe
The Kindle Scribe offers a different experience using sticky notes instead.

Performance & Hardware

Both the Kobo Libra Colour and Kindle Scribe use a 2Ghz CPU. As for storage, the Libra Colour offers up to 32GB of storage. Seeing as most eBooks are 1-2MB, this means it can hold over 24,000 books! The Kindle Scribe has a 16GB option, 32GB and 64GB option. While 16-32GB will easily be enough for most people, if you're someone who enjoys listening to audiobooks (and you want to use your eReader to do it), you may benefit from choosing a higher storage Scribe device.

The Scribe leads in the battery department with 3000mAh - this is necessary seeing as perks such as audiobooks can quickly eat this up. The Libra Colour comes in at 2400mAh. Even at the smaller battery size, it’s still respectable, offering up to 40 days of life on a single charge. Let’s not forget the styluses - the Kobo Stylus 2 needs to be re-charged via USB-C. The Scribe Stylus on the other hand doesn’t use batteries so is always ready to go. 

Storefront & Books

The Kindle storefront on Amazon offers access to millions of ebooks. Kobo’s storefront also has a pretty extensive selection of books to choose from, with the only downside being that ebooks can sometimes be more expensive here. In addition to eBook support, the Kindle Scribe supports both audiobooks and podcasts, while the Kobo Libra Colour supports only audio books. This is great for the audiobook fanatics out there who enjoy a combination of reading and listening to their books. 

A major perk from Kobo, however, is the OverDrive library which enables you to borrow ebooks from local libraries free of charge! Better yet, any highlights or notes that you make while borrowing these ebooks are saved, and will be downloaded to your device if you end up buying the ebook or borrowing the book again in the future. So while you may occasionally spend a bit more on ebooks via the Kobo storefront, you can easily make up for those costs by borrowing the rest of your books from the library.

Waterproof & Pricing

If you’re someone who likes to read by the poolside or in the bath, keep in mind that the Kindle Scribe is not waterproof. The Kobo Libra Colour, however, has an IPX8 rating which means it is fully waterproof. The Libra Colour also has physical buttons for turning the page which can make bath time reading that little bit better too.

Pricewise, the Kobo Libra Colour is cheaper, coming in at less than $400 at the time of this article. However, it doesn’t include the Kobo Stylus 2 which is roughly an extra $140. The Kindle Scribe will cost you between $600-$700 depending on what storage option you choose, and whether you go for the Basic Pen or Premium Pen.

Taking notes on Kindle Scribe
Kindle Scribe offers a large canvas for notetaking.
Taking notes on Kobo Libra Colour
Kobo Libra Colour lets you take notes in colours.

Kobo Libra Colour

Pros Cons
  • Direct Annotation - Write in margins, markup, and annotate directly onto the pages of your ebooks.
  • Stylus Not Included - The Kobo Stylus 2 is sold seperately so you'll need to spend extra on that.
  • Colour Capabilities - You can read, write, markup, and highlight in colour thanks to the E Ink Kaleido display.


  • Portable Size - The 7-inch screen and light weight (200g) makes it perfect to slip into your bag and take on the go!


  • Kobo OverDrive Library - Borrow eBooks for free from your local library using Kobo OverDrive.


  • More Affordable - The Libra Colour costs less than the Scribe, even after you add the Kobo Stylus 2.


Kindle Scribe

Pros Cons
  • Large Display - A large display makes it easier to read and write notes.
  • Annotation Limitations - You can't mark up and annotate directly onto ebook pages and can only add stick notes.
  • Cheaper eBooks - The Amazon Kindle store often has cheaper eBooks than the Kobo store.
  • Premium Price - On the expensive side. Close in price to better tablets.
  • Pen Included - The stylus is included with the device. Additionally, it's not battery-operated meaning you never have to charge it.


  • Larger Battery - The Scribe has a larger battery of 3000mAh (a life of up to 10 weeks compared to 40 days).



As we weigh up the pros and cons of each, it's a pretty close finish. Specs are largely comparable, and each device boasts unique benefits. However, the Kobo Libra Colour shines in its annotation and, of course, the groundbreaking colour capabilities. Feature-wise, Kobo takes the lead here. But remember, the Libra Colour might not be the ultimate choice for all readers.

Kobo Libra Colour takes the spotlight for those who crave an enhanced reading experience with colourful book covers, annotations, and highlights - all directly on your ebooks! Its portability makes it a perfect on-the-go companion. Additionally, the OverDrive library offers free library borrowing so you can spend significantly less on books (or read for free!). 

For readers who prioritise extensive note-taking and journaling, the Kindle Scribe shines with its larger canvas. This expansive real estate will let your ideas flow freely. Plus, the larger battery life will keep things powered up for longer, and podcast support lets you switch between books and enlightening conversations - all on one device.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your priorities: an immersive, colourful reading experience and OverDrive with Kobo, or a larger note-taking canvas and a longer battery life with Kindle (plus potentially lower ebook costs).

Written By

Kimmy Jo

Waiting for the day I can download food.

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