Kobo Mini Review

Think Twice

The Mini from Kobo has a few shortcomings, such as text that appears to be a shade lighter than black. The lack of a memory card slot is a letdown and some users say it occasionally lags.

Kobo makes a variety of ereaders, and the Kobo Mini is its cheapest. But reviews consistently identify weak spots that might deter potential buyers. A Kobo Mini review at CNET assigns it an overall average rating, with higher marks for the compact size and responsive E Ink Pearl touch display and lower marks for the resolution and price (before recent price cuts, that is). The comparatively small, five-inch display wins over reviewers, including one at TechHive who says the Kobo Mini looks "adorable" and fits easily in a pocket. The user-friendly interface and acceptable page-turn speed (albeit a half-step slower than our top picks) with a choice of how often to refresh, also attract positive notice. What weighs the Kobo Mini down, according to some reviews, are fonts that appear dark gray rather than black (some fiddling with the customization options seems to darken them up.) Also, the rechargeable battery isn't quite as powerful as those found in competitors' devices, lasting up to one month between charges compared with their two-month runs. The online Kobo library, meanwhile, gets dinged by one expert who finds browsing and downloading an exercise in frustration.

The Kobo Mini (starting at $59, Amazon) is smaller and lighter than most ereaders, weighing in at a mere 4.73 ounces, and very comfortable for one-handed reading. It offers Wi-Fi connectivity, and, like most ereaders, 2GB of storage, with 1GB available to users. Text options abound, with a choice of eight fonts and 24 font sizes and settings for font weight and sharpness, all of which make the Kobo Mini far more adjustable than other ereader devices. The Mini supports several formats, including EPUB, PDF, TXT, HTML, RTF, JPEG, GIF, and PNG.

The smaller size of the Kobo Mini may appeal to users who have smaller hands or who desire a reader that's even more portable than most others. But the Mini has its share of shortcomings, which its bargain-basement starting price can't quite overcome.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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