Despite the prevalence of tablets like the iPad mini and smartphones with gigantic screens, there is still a thriving market for eBook readers. In fact, that market has grown considerably in the past few years, with eReaders that have actually come close to matching Android tablets in functionality. Despite those, Amazon and Kobo have continued to lean more towards the traditional side of these devices, but the new Kobo Sage and Kobo Libra 2 get pretty close to that boundary, especially a new feature that puts Kobo’s audiobooks in the limelight.
Audiobooks have been around for years, of course, and Amazon’s purchase of Audible proved how that industry sees eBooks and audiobooks as siblings. Kobo naturally has its own selection of audiobooks, and its eReaders have sported speakers and headphone jacks for that purpose. For the first time, however, the Rakuten-owned eBook company is bringing Bluetooth connectivity to its readers for more convenient listening.
Both the Kobo Sage and the Kobo Libra 2 now support Bluetooth connectivity so that you can pair your favorite wireless headset for hands-free listening. Those audiobooks, however, are available only in select countries, and Kobo is mum on whether you can add your own audio content from the Sage’s Dropbox support, for example. Neither seems to be equipped with the traditional headphone jack, and the spec sheet doesn’t mention any built-in speaker.
Both the Sage and the Libra 2 boast an IPX8 rating for worry-free use even by the pool but don’t even think about bringing them to the beach. The Kobo Sage also takes things up a notch by having support for the Kobo Stylus for taking notes on certain books, depending on whether or not they have DRM protection. Both eReaders come with staple Kobo features, including ComfortLight PRO for brightness and blue light control.
The Kobo Sage is being sold for 299.99 CAD, while the smaller Kobo Libra 2 will go for $219.99 CAD. Kobo is also launching a new Kobo Sage PowerCover that doubles as an additional battery for charging the eReader on the go.