In a market like e-books, dominated by a giant the size of Amazon, it is by no means easy to gain a foothold: it’s not just that its products are good, but that its ecosystem is also huge. However, proposals like Rakuten’s with Kobo Sage they manage to remember that the gardens outside this empire also flourish and that those who want to give up the Kindle do not have to give up everything it has to offer.
The bet, in any case, is risky and perhaps that is why Kobo has avoided the category in which it is most difficult to compete with Amazon. Thus, the Sage, with its 289.99 euros, he goes straight for the high-end and forgets a battlefield where Jeff Bezos’s minus double-digit missiles are unbeatable. Who is going to spend more, the company seems to think, looking for the best, not the most comfortable. And they can offer it to you.
The 240.8 grams of the device give it a robust body -but lightweight- that does not get to bother in prolonged reading sessions unless posture is forced. The screen, of 8 inches, is sharp, bright and warm, as well as adjustable, so that everyone can find the perfect setting for every situation. Inside, the 32 GB of storage provides space for Alejandra’s pocket library (or rather a backpack: it is a terminal closer to the tabletism).
Despite not having noble materials, the body of the Kobo Sage reflects its high range. The plastic is of quality and the construction too, which avoids looking like just another reader. Even the finish of the buttons is careful – they do not dance and respond to perfection – and the rough design of its back makes it easy to hold it with one hand without slipping. Perhaps the 290 euros it costs are too much for many, but those who pay they will not have the feeling that it is not worth them.
The back with a striped design helps to hold the device – it is not heavy, it is blunt – and gives it a touch of personality. Unfortunately, fingerprints are easily marked unless one of its many accessories is used: the extra battery case.
Thanks to this portable tank, which costs 79.99 euros, the Sage can go a couple of weeks in operation with almost no blinking. I could get through the holidays without a charger, but luckily, has a USB-C, so most likely you share cable with the mobile phone. Here Kobo marks an important point compared to the Kindle models that still have a prehistoric micro USB.
In the peripherals section, we must also highlight the smart pencil that allows you to make annotations or scribble on the books. Like the case, it is sold separately (39.99 euros) and can live in it: magnets hold it in place. Of course, the battery is not used to charge it, since it works with batteries.
The pencil also makes it possible for Sage to act as an electronic notebook and convert what is written on it to text. Not to be its main function, the tool responds with considerable precision and gives you many additional possibilities, although anyone looking for a specific device for this should look in that category.
Another function that seeks to add is the Bluetooth with which, through headphones, the Sage can play audiobooks. Again, it is an addition that adds, but does not multiply: the absence of a headphone jack or speakers considerably limits its potential.
The decision to leave the Amazon universe entails going to another galaxy and abandoning its huge catalog and facilities. Rakuten, with its alliance with Fnac, makes there are also stars in this firmament and, in any case, its compatibility with 15 formats (namely: EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR) avoid falling into a black hole of reading. In this sense, he also puts an asterisk on the idea of leaving the e-commerce giant on principle.
In a world where there was no Kindle, the Kobo Sage could be the Kindle. If you are not the best e-book reader, you are close by and, in addition, you have one of the giants of the sector behind you. In this reality, what is, without a doubt, is an alternative that allows one to escape to that parallel universe.