The Kobo Sage is the most premium ebook reader from Kobo at the time of this writing. I decided to get it because I noticed that I was making good use of my Kobo Nia and I was running up against its limitations.
Specifically, the touch on the Nia was terrible: slow to respond and the highlighting was just impossible to do. Since the Nia did not have physical buttons, I had to touch or swipe to turn pages and that required moving my hand over the display for this common operation.
Details of the Sage:
- I ordered on Amazon and paid $259 (before tax).
- Setup was straightforward - I logged in using my Google account.
- The reader downloaded and updated its firmware as soon as it was able to access the internet.
- The physical buttons were nice to flip pages, though they still did not click 100% of the time. I think they really need to nail the buttons, so that their click is 100% reliable.
- The display is 8-inch large and gorgeous compared to my Nia. It is very comfortable on the eyes to read.
- It is waterproof, so it can be used without any worry around kids, at the bathtub or the beach.
- This reader supports its Kobo Stylus for taking notes in the notebook and annotations in epub and PDF files. I could not try this since all the styluses I had home would not work with it. Apparently, only Microsoft Surface compatible styluses work with it.
- The battery life was atrocious. It was at 50% when it arrived and by the end of the day it had run down to 5% with just a few hours of reading at 10% screen brightness. Its battery is smaller than the Libra 2 and its display with write support sucks power.
- The weight of this device is 240.8g. This is much heavier than the Nia, but I still found it to be quite comfortable to hold for long durations in my hand while reading.
- In addition to the software features of Nia, it also supports Dropbox and audiobooks, neither of which I could not try.
In the end I decided to return the Sage because:
- The battery life was just atrocious. It was obvious that Kobo would refresh this model quickly with a bigger battery.
- The writing ability puts a $100 cost on top of the Libra 2. But the writing annotations only work on epub and PDF files. They don’t work on Pocket articles, so it is limiting for me.
- If I want to read PDFs on this, I really need the colors and it might be best to wait for a larger screen color ebook reader.
I might end up getting the Libra 2, since it does not have the above limitations and seems like a good choice until color ebook readers are mainstream.