With affordable tablets like the Nexus 7 grabbing the attention of gadget-addicts and techno-plebeians alike, the humble eReader can seem to some like a relic of a time before Androids and iPads ruled the earth. There is however still a role for monochrome companions like the Kobo mini, particularly with its low price tag of £59.99
At 5 inches it is “the worlds smallest and lightest full-featured eReader” (according to the Kobo website), this little device is an ideal pocket companion. It is not however the smallest eReader, and thankfully so. Any smaller and the screen would move from the realm of perfectly mobile to obnoxiously miniature. The Kobo Mini has a comfortable form factor and fits perfectly in your pocket.
Though the contrast is not as sharp as other eReaders of a higher price range, it is still a pleasure to read with a resolution of 800×600. The touch screen is as responsive as I have come to expect from an E Ink screen, though it does get somewhat irritating when using the devices web browser function. This is very much a secondary feature however. Reading on the Kobo mini feels natural, and the devices 134 g are barely noticeable even after hours of use. The device also boasts a battery life of 1 month with wifi off, but I have yet see if this is true.
Books and newspapers are available for the Kobo mini from the Kobo eBookstore, though newspapers don’t yet seem available for the UK, or at least that is what the bundled Kobo software has said each time I attempted to find any on its store.
File Formats and Storage
If you don’t want to use the Kobo store, the Kobo Mini does accept a wide range of file types (EPUB, PDF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, TXT, (X)HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR ) and Adobe DRM, which can be dragged and dropped into the device in Windows Explorer. I have yet to try this with Linux or OSX, but I suspect the process is just as simple. It does however only have 2GB of storage on board, and there is no option for expansion. So choose your library carefully before any long trips. If you want to organise your collection a bit better, use Calibre. It is free and automates the whole process. The Kobo Mini also syncs over wifi with the Kobo bundled software, but personally I found the software to be a pain to use, frequently freezing and being less than intuitive to use.
Over all the Kobo Mini is a tidy, comfortable and slender little eReader that will not put a massive dent in your bank account.