The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictThe biggest thing the Kobo Sage has going for itself is the ability to write on it and the stylus support. Those elements work and are innovative, but the battery life just lets the rest down.
- Stylus support
- Bluetooth for audiobooks
- Responsive interface
- Bright screen with excellent contrast
- Poor battery life
- Cannot export handwritten notes
Kobo is a leading company for eReaders despite stiff competition from Amazon. The Kobo Sage offers stylus support and Bluetooth, both highly innovative approaches to an eReader platform, but does it hit all the other marks of a top-tier eReader?.
The design is a bit different from other eReaders.
It’s on the bigger side which unfortunately means it’s not something you can just shove in your pocket. Reviewers stated that it’s also heavy and even more so when using the optional leather case.
However, it offers physical page-turning buttons and that made reviewers happy.
The screen is bright and very responsive.
The 8-inch E Ink Carta 1200 display is the same as other competitors and offers faster page-turning and a more evenly colored grey background.
Reviewers liked the color-changing background lighting options, from blue tint to yellow and anywhere in between, and the ability to assign each of these to a timer throughout the day for less eye strain.
One of the biggest complaints amongst eReaders is the lack of space. The Kobo Sage won't be in that group. It houses a massive 32GB of space, enough for any documents or books and formats you might want.
Most eReaders offer phenomenal battery life, but sadly, the Kobo Sage isn’t one of these.
Reviewers said that they suspect the ability to use a stylus might be a part of that. When tested without using a stylus or Bluetooth and just reading, the Kobo Sage only lasted about 15 hours.
Software & File Format Support
The Kobo Sage runs on Linux, offering a well-crafted interface that highlights books you’ve been reading on the home screen and some recommendations based on your library.
The eReader can natively read EPUB, EPUB3, KEPUB, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RFT, CBZ, and CBR files. This means that you can easily read comics and manga on it.
However, it’s important to note that your Amazon library won’t be compatible with this eReader without some additional work.
Reviewers were happy to see things such as wide-file format support from the Kobo Sage and the ability to log into Adobe Digital Editions. Overdrive has been a much-needed addition allowing for those with a library card to borrow books digitally. And the ability to sync articles via the Pocket read it later service.
Specs at a Glance
- Plastic chassis
- 300PPI E Ink Carta 1200 display
- Color-changing backlight
- 32GB of storage
- 1200mAh battery
- Bluetooth support for audiobooks
- BMP, CBR, CBZ, EPUB, EPUB3, GIF, HTML, JPEG, MOBI, PDF, PNG, RTF, TIFF, TXT
- Stylus support
Kobo always seems to do right by eReader fans, and the Kobo Sage is no different. With a wide range of options in file formats and the ability to use Overdrive, there’s almost nothing that you can't read on it. The addition of Bluetooth support and stylus support puts Sage high up on the list of great leaders, but the battery life ultimately fails it.
Good eReader states, “I would recommend the Sage to anyone who has a Kobo e-reader that is more than 4 years old. It is faster and more responsive than the Kobo Libra 2, thanks to the quadcore processor. I find overall, it feels like a premium device, and I have to wonder if the Forma will be discontinued and the Sage will take its place?”
Tech Radar says, “True to form, the Kobo Sage is yet another excellent eReader from a company that makes our favourite models. It's feature packed, including stylus support, Bluetooth connectivity for audiobooks and a whopping 32GB of storage. The writing experience on that high-contrast screen is excellent, but its battery life lets the Sage down.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Leigh :) Stark, Pickr
For around the $500 mark in Australia, Rakuten’s Kobo Sage with stylus provides something a little bit different in the e-reading landscape: a lagniappe of literary longings. It’s that little bit extra you didn’t expect an eReader could possibly have, and that could make it all the more worthwhile....
- Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge
The Sage, despite having stylus support, is still an e-reader first; and while the digital paper features are a nice bonus, I wouldn’t buy one to use as a digital notebook.
- Matt Wille, Input
The Sage is a stellar e-reader. The problem, as I see it, is that Kobo’s Libra 2 is nearly as good. The only real reason to choose the Sage over the Libra 2 is the stylus support — but that also means shelling out more cash on top of the base price and dealing with never having a place to set it dow...
- Sascha Segan, PC Magazine
The 8-inch Kobo Sage helps you relive the experience of making margin notes in a book, but it's a bit awkward to handle compared with 7-inch and 10-inch ebook readers.
- Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch
The most visible new feature is the screen, which is the latest Carta 1200 E Ink display. Both readers have 300 ppi, which is more than enough to make the text look sharp. Comparing the older Forma to the Sage (as they have very similar builds) I was surprised to find that the new screen really does...
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