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Old 01-03-2019, 09:53 PM   #1
Lestrade
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Clara or Paperwhite 4

I'm planning on buying my first e-reader in the next few days. At this point, I'm considering a 6" device and I've narrowed my search down to the Kobo Clara HD or the new Paperwhite 4. I don't want to spend more than about $130. Also I'm in the US and will use these devices to check out library books. My library uses Overdrive and supports epub and Kindle downloads. Finally, I don't mind converting formats/de-DRM using Calibre.

I like some things about the Clara: more file formats, greater control of device settings, no ads, ComfortLight Pro, and with Kobo, I can more easily support non-Amazon ebook sellers. All of this makes me favor the Clara over the Paperwhite. But at the same time, I worry about the Clara's light bleed issues (and whether these issues indicate overall poor build quality/quality control) and the many reports of poor customer service from Kobo.

I also like some things about the Paperwhite: waterproof (I suspect this won't be of much use to me), excellent customer service, better dictionary (not sure how much I'll use the dictionary).

I have read through the Clara v Paperwhite posts on Mobileread and elsewhere, but I still cannot make up my mind. I thought I'd post here to try to gather some info so I can make a decision.

1) Do you know if Kobo has fixed the light bleed issue with the newest Clara models? I don't want to have to order and return multiple devices at Kobo/Walmart until I receive one without light bleed, nor do I want to tape the edges of the Clara screen on my own to block the light bleed.

2) For people who have or have used both devices: does one or the other feel more sturdy or of higher build quality? I played with the Paperwhite 4 at Best Buy and it seemed fine, but I have never owned an e-reader so I can't compare it to other devices. Unfortunately, my local Walmart does not stock the Clara, so I could not look at the Kobo in person.

3) Finally, if you strongly recommend one device over the other, please tell me why.

Thanks all!
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:25 AM   #2
Barbara1955
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Right now Kobo Clara HD

1 To water proof cheep box of Zip Lock sandwich bags work wonders!
2 Easy to use & side load e-book. Adjust & read!

3 a week ago I got the Kindle PW4... receive 2 e-mail warnings that the usb port & cable don't line up correctly. Well mine lined up BUT the port was Very Wiggly. I sent it back in less than 2 hours of having it
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:49 AM   #3
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I don't own the PW4 but I do own a PW2. I also owned a Clara hd for about a week but took it back because of bad lightbleed. This was back in October and I don't think things have changed re the Clara since then. However, some people really like the device, as you'll see if you go to the Kobo part of mobileread.
Returning it wasn't a problem at all. I bought it online from somewhere which has physical shops; when I found the lightbleed too noticeable, I just returned it to the closest nearby physical shop for a refund.

I suggest you read through the threads in the Kindle area regarding various views about the PW4. Some owners have mentioned that the text looks faded in comparison with other PWs.

I'm just telling you the downsides; there are many good things about both of them, such as the blue light reduction function of the Clara and the waterproofness of the PW4.

I think my recommendation for someone buying an ereader for the first time would be an officially (by Amazon) refurbished PW3, unless you really want waterproofing.

If you are going to de-drm and convert, you can purchase ebooks from anywhere and read them on the kindle.

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Old 01-04-2019, 02:05 AM   #4
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PW3 are crap they Freeze my was frozen for a week & Still frozen when Amazon tech got it. They were to send me a New PW3 to replace it ... just sent a Refrib one instead... it got bright light Spots on it after a few weeks
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:19 AM   #5
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I own both devices and prefer the Clara HD because of the features you mentioned, especially the ComfortLight. I only use the Kindle occasionally during the day. All my other devices have a ComfortLight and I've got used to it. It's much more pleasant to look at it than at a greyish background as on the Kindle.

I got my Clara second-hand, though, knowing that the lighting was evenly spread over the screen and with minor lightbleed which I fixed by taping the sides.

Since then, I've heard that the lightbleed has been fixed. So, I would give the Clara HD a try. If you get an evenly lit device you'll be very happy with it.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lestrade View Post
I'm planning on buying my first e-reader in the next few days. At this point, I'm considering a 6" device and I've narrowed my search down to the Kobo Clara HD or the new Paperwhite 4. I don't want to spend more than about $130. Also I'm in the US and will use these devices to check out library books. My library uses Overdrive and supports epub and Kindle downloads. Finally, I don't mind converting formats/de-DRM using Calibre.
Reading through your post, it seems like the Clara is the way you clearly want to go. Aside from customer service, the Amazon benefits you tend to discount. The Kobo benefits you don't.

Having said that, with the Clara, the light-bleed is of course the boogeyman. I do think reading the comments here on MR may make it seem like a more common issue than it is, but then again, like you it would be a niggling worry in my mind when it came time to buy it.

Amazon benefits:
  • waterproof (I suspect this won't be of much use to me)
  • excellent customer service
  • better dictionary (not sure how much I'll use the dictionary)

Kobo benefits:
  • more file formats
  • greater control of device settings
  • no ads
  • ComfortLight Pro
  • more easily support non-Amazon ebook sellers

I've never used customer service for any of my ereaders, tablets or any other electronic device, so for me, customer service isn't even a consideration.

That's just me though. I know for others it is a big deal. I don't get it, but I know it is so.

I think you should pull the trigger on the Clara. You might have to return one for light bleed. I can't guarantee you won't. But it seems like long term, it's the device that does what you want.

If it's any reassurance, ereaders now are so good, that ultimately, whether you take the Kindle or the Clara, you are bound to be happy. Both are solid devices.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:03 PM   #7
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I think the first thing you should do is realize that you're choosing between excellent devices so there is no wrong choice. Tossing a coin will work for you.

I haven't used a Clara HD although I've used several Kobos. I am considering getting a Clara HD but I haven't decided yet.

I have all the Paperwhites except the 2nd one, and I had one of those but gave it to a friend. I have 2 of the Paperwhite 4's. Please don't get the silly idea that I'm a gadget freak.

I do have a fairly strong preference for Kindles for a few reasons. First is that the firmware on the Kobos is a bit buggy. No show stoppers but things don't always work the way you hope they will. I currently only have older Kobos and I read with them more than a little bit but they aren't problem free.

Second is that I find the hardware a bit less reliable. About half the Kobo's I've used with slide switches were hard to turn on and off. One that I have now won't turn on or off so I use the sleep cover, which I'd do anyway so it isn't a problem. Over the years I've had a lot of Kobos and Kindles. I've had one Kindle battery go dead after about 3 years but no other problems. I've had small problems with a lot of the Kobos. Of course the newer Kobos no longer use slide switches.

That said, if the only reader I had was a Kobo I'd be okay with that. It wouldn't be what I'd prefer but it would be okay. There's much that's good about them too.

Kindle firmware does what you expect. The worse thing I can say about it is they overdo some of the features making me have to stop and think about them where on the Kobo I just use them thoughtlessly.

I did have one customer service issue with Kobo and it was nearly impossible to get them on the phone. It took a few weeks. I'm retired so I could try during business hours a few times a week but it was very, very difficult. Once I got them on the phone they handled my situation nicely and were eager to help.

With Kindle support they're on the phone with me in less than a minute, always. They're helpful and inventive and a pleasure to deal with.

I've never bought Kobo books or used Overdrive so I can't help with that part of it. I buy my books from Amazon and covert them to use on my Kobo. That's never given me any kind of problem. It just works. However, not all the features work on side-loaded books. Most do, most of the time. That's always been okay. The features I need always seem fine.

I'm sorry if I'm making this more difficult for you, but the only real reason to pick one over the other is personal preference. I think the Kindle has advantages but nothing very important.

By the way, even if I didn't have a Kobo I'd convert my books to epub. i want backups and epub is a good flexible backup format. I don't expect Amazon to go under tomorrow but decades ago I bought B&N's ebooks (years before the Nooks) and one day they announced they would no longer be in that business and that any books that weren't downloaded within 30 days would be lost. I downloaded my books, maybe 15 or 20 of them. A month later I bought a new computer and their reading program was no longer available so my books were lost. I'd already read them so it wasn't a tragedy but it taught me the value of backing up books.

Anyway my point is that not having to convert my Kindle books wouldn't give the Kindle an advantage for me since I'd convert them anyway.

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Old 01-04-2019, 03:12 PM   #8
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PW3 are crap they Freeze my was frozen for a week & Still frozen when Amazon tech got it. They were to send me a New PW3 to replace it ... just sent a Refrib one instead... it got bright light Spots on it after a few weeks
I currently have 2 Paperwhite 3's and I've bought maybe 3 or 4 more for my neighbors in my retirement home. I'm the one here with the internet. None have ever frozen up. All have been perfect.

I currently have Paperwhite 3's and Paperwhite 4's and I think I like the 4's better but it's a hard choice. The differences are small and they each have their advantages.

Obviously you've had bad luck with yours but that's not the normal case.

I should mention that a couple of those I bought for my neighbors were certified refurbished. They've been fine, too.

Barry
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:44 PM   #9
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I'm sorry if I'm making this more difficult for you, but the only real reason to pick one over the other is personal preference.
With the Paperwhite 4 vs. Clara HD, each has a feature the other doesn't. Waterproofing vs. color-changing light. I like both, but have learned if I can only have one of the two I prefer waterproofing.

The OP seems to prefer orange light, which is why I recommend the Clara.

Or wait for the Clara 2 and Paperwhite 5 which will both have both features! (I can dream, can't I?)
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:05 PM   #10
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I also like some things about the Paperwhite: waterproof (I suspect this won't be of much use to me), excellent customer service, better dictionary (not sure how much I'll use the dictionary).
It's not always just a feature to feature comparison. Sometimes you have to compare how well each feature is implemented. I like and use both Kobos and Kindles and the Kindle has some advantages not mentioned. Not only does it have X-Ray and a better dictionary (more important to me than most, I gather) it's also has a more responsive touchscreen, which makes highlighting, page turning and note taking much easier. Also, while its true that the Kobo is easier to customize, there's also more of a need to customize. I think it got better with the last update, but unpatched Kobos have traditionally had issues with using the whole page — often leaving a big empty space at the bottom. Kindles have traditionally just — automatically — used the whole page. (At least it's better for top and bottom margins, left and right margins — without jail breaking, which is much harder than patching — are, in my opinion, too wide.)

At any rate, just a couple more things to consider. I don't think I would have any problem with either a Clara HD or a Kindle 4, the ComfortLight PRO feature would probably be more important to me than the waterproofing.
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:38 PM   #11
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Wow. Thanks for all of the great advice.

As ZodWallop inferred, I was (am?) leaning toward the Kobo for all of the reasons I noted in my original post. But after reading this thread and various other MR posts, I still cannot decide which I'd prefer. It's comforting to learn that most of you think the Clara and PW are both solid e-readers. Sounds like either will be a good reading device. In the end, I think I'm going to order a Clara and a PW (and hope that neither device has the light bleed/misaligned usb port issues), try them out at home, and return one of them after I decide which I like best. If I still can't decide once I have the e-readers in my hands, I'll flip a coin as Barry suggested!

And ZodWallop: I definitely considered waiting for the Clara 2 or Paperwhite 5 with the hope that they'd be waterproof and have the color-changing light. Not willing to wait for them to be produced though.

Thanks again. I really appreciate all of your suggestions.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:59 PM   #12
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Also, while its true that the Kobo is easier to customize, there's also more of a need to customize. I think it got better with the last update, but unpatched Kobos have traditionally had issues with using the whole page — often leaving a big empty space at the bottom. Kindles have traditionally just — automatically — used the whole page. (At least it's better for top and bottom margins, left and right margins — without jail breaking, which is much harder than patching — are, in my opinion, too wide.)
I don't know that that's fair or true. There's plenty of ways Kindle would benefit from some Kobo-like patching: ease of creating collections, and ability to display series in your library for instance.

Also, it wasn't that long ago that Kindles couldn't auto-hyphenate words and had very poor typography. They are better now. Maybe better than Kobo. But if page layout is your marker, I think Nook beats both. (To be fair, I don't have handy access to a Kindle, so if there were recent firmware updates, I can't easily compare).
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:00 PM   #13
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I think it got better with the last update, but unpatched Kobos have traditionally had issues with using the whole page — often leaving a big empty space at the bottom.
This is what my Aura H2O2 looks like with the most recent firmware and no margin patches applied (I do have the advanced font controls patch applied). At this line spacing, there's room for at most one extra line top and bottom, which doesn't seem excessive to me.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:16 AM   #14
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This is what my Aura H2O2 looks like with the most recent firmware and no margin patches applied (I do have the advanced font controls patch applied). At this line spacing, there's room for at most one extra line top and bottom, which doesn't seem excessive to me.
Yep. Definitely better than it was. But sometimes I'll have a few pages in a row that look like this one and then the next page (or two) will have a bigger blank space at the bottom. For better or worse, I've never run into that on Kindles. It's a pretty small deal now, but it was a lot bigger deal a couple firmware releases back.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:47 AM   #15
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Yep. Definitely better than it was. But sometimes I'll have a few pages in a row that look like this one and then the next page (or two) will have a bigger blank space at the bottom...
On Kobo do you use ePub or kepub? I'm asking because I've never seen that, but I only use kepub on my Kobo.
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