Although tablets have skyrocketed in both popularity and sales, e-readers have kept their hold in the market. For users who prefer distraction-free reading, these handy devices deliver a better and more focused reading experience. While Kindle remains the top-of-the-mind e-reader, brands like Kobo offer a strong alternative to Amazon’s products. Barnes & Noble’s Nook also enjoys a strong following from avid readers. Below, we compare their best-selling models — the Kobo Libra 2, Nook Glowlight 4, and Kindle Paperwhite — to see which one suits you best.
Kobo vs Nook vs Kindle Comparison Chart
Design and Screen
Kindle’s Paperwhite is the sleekest e-reader out of the three. However, the Kobo Libra 2 offers the best ergonomics, while the Nook Glowlight 4 is the most lightweight.
Because they’re made for a single purpose, the Kobo, Nook, and Kindle e-readers have a simpler design compared to tablets. However, the Nook Glowlight 4 and Kindle Paperwhite, with their proportional form, share more in common than the Kobo Libra 2.
Still, Kindle’s best-selling e-reader appears sleeker, with its thinner side and top bezels and flush-front display. Its bottom bezel — where the logo is located — is also broader than the rest for grip. Nook’s Glowlight 4, on the other hand, is chunky throughout, making it look a bit outdated.
Meanwhile, the Kobo Libra 2 sports an asymmetrical design similar to Kindle’s Oasis model. Like Amazon’s premium e-reader, the Libra 2 features an ergonomic side bezel that protrudes for a comfortable one-hand grip. It’s also where physical page-turn buttons are located. The Kindle Paperwhite misses out on this feature, while the Nook Glowlight 4 has a pair on either of its sides.
When it comes to the screen, the Kobo Libra 2 and Kindle Paperwhite have the edge over the Nook Glowlight 4. Not only are they large, but they’re also more legible. Nonetheless, all three use an e-ink screen for immersive reading. In terms of durability, the Libra 2 and Paperwhite also wins as both are IPX8-rated. But if you want an easy-to-carry e-reader, the Glowlight 4’s lightweight form is hard to beat.
Storage and Features
The Kobo, Nook, and Kindle enjoy large storage capacity and adjustable backlighting.
The Kobo Libra 2 and Nook Glowlight 4 come with 32GB of storage. According to Kobo, this translates to about 24,000 e-books. On the Glowlight 4, the storage capacity is allocated — 29GB for Nook Store content and the rest for side-loaded content.
On the other hand, the Kindle Paperwhite comes with 8GB of storage, enough to hold thousands of books. If you want to store more, you’ll have to opt for the 32GB Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. Cloud storage is also available on the Kindle Paperwhite, similar to the Libra 2 and Glowlight 4.
All three e-readers feature adjustable backlighting. Aside from brightness, users can also adjust the color temperature. The Kobo Libra 2 and Kindle Paperwhite also support a landscape reading orientation. In contrast, the Nook Glowlight 4 is stuck in portrait mode. Lastly, the Kobo, Nook, and Kindle e-readers offer customizable page appearances as well, including font and font style.
As mentioned in the Design and Screen section, both the Libra 2 and Glowlight 4 come with physical page-turn buttons. Since the Kobo supports screen rotation, you only get a pair on its ergonomic side bezel. The Glowlight 4, on the other hand, has these buttons on the side bezels, so left-handed readers don’t have to worry about the absence of a screen rotate feature.
Supported Formats and Connectivity
Kobo and Kindle support more formats — including audiobooks — than the Nook.
The Kindle Paperwhite loads 13 file types, including Audible for audiobooks. With the Kobo Libra 2, there’s also support for audiobooks and 15 other file formats. However, like the Kindle, the Libra 2 can only play audiobooks purchased from its respective store. Nonetheless, the ecosystem for the Kobo is more open, thanks to compatibility with the more widely-supported EPUB content.
If you’re getting the Nook Glowlight 4, your choices are limited. The e-reader only supports four file formats, although it does include EPUB and PDF. Since it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, the Glowlight 4 cannot play audiobooks as well. Fortunately, it does have Wi-Fi and USB-C support just like its rivals.
Variety of content shouldn’t be an issue with the Kobo Libra 2 and Kindle Paperwhite. Both devices get the latest titles at almost the same time. Classics and older materials are also available in their respective stores. With the Glowlight 4, you also get access to an extensive catalog of Nook books but they don’t quite compare to what Kobo and Kindle offer.
Battery Life and Accessories
Kobo, Nook, and Kindle e-readers have impressive battery life. However, when it comes to accessories, you’re limited to cases.
Another advantage of e-readers over tablets is their extensive battery life. The Kobo Libra 2, for instance, can last for about seven weeks on a single charge. For average reading, the Kindle Paperwhite has a battery life of up to 10 weeks. Meanwhile, the Nook Glowlight 4 is rated to last a month on a single charge.
However, if you’re looking for accessories, these e-readers are limited to a few cases and covers. With the Kindle Paperwhite, you can get fabric or leather covers from Amazon. Kobo does things better thanks to the unique but functional Libra 2 SleepCover. If you’re looking to personalize an e-reader, Nook’s Glowlight 4 works with an impressive selection of colorful cases. Third-party suppliers also sell and customize e-reader covers, usually in more varied designs.
The Kobo Libra 2 and Kindle Paperwhite are better options than the Nook Glowlight 4.
A dedicated e-reader is a great option for those who want to read distraction-free. Unlike tablets, they enjoy a longer battery life and are usually more portable, too. That being said, the Kobo Libra 2 and Kindle Paperwhite are better purchases than the Nook Glowlight 4. While Nook’s e-reader is still a good device, it doesn’t compete well against its rivals.
For instance, the Libra 2 and Paperwhite brandish a better design than the Glowlight 4. They also have larger screens and boast waterproof ratings. Kobo and Kindle e-readers have the edge when it comes to supported formats, too. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, they can even play audiobooks. If you’re looking to buy an e-reader, we recommend these two models over the Nook.
Yes, the Nook Glowlight 4 has night mode. It can be activated manually or be set to adjust according to the sun’s natural progression throughout the day.
While tablets usually support e-reading apps, a dedicated e-reader is still a worthwhile investment. These devices tend to be smaller than tablets, making them easy to carry around. They also enjoy a longer battery life.
The Kindle Paperwhite cannot read EPUB files natively. However, you can convert EPUB files into a format the Kindle supports. You can read more about the conversion steps here.
The Kobo Libra 2 comes with a limited one-year warranty.