Kobo Mini Review: Great Deal For Price Just Not Storage Or Battery Life

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Kobo is perhaps the least widely-known of the major eReader competitors, but that hasn’t stopped it from keeping pace and developing new products on a schedule that matches the industry big boys.

With the latest wave of eReaders just being released, there are three new Kobo products available. These are the Kobo Glo, the Kobo Mini and the Kobo Arc. Aside from pretty names, they also each have their own distinct place in the market. The Kobo Mini’s place is in the ultraportable niche. So is it worth buying, or should you stick to one of the more mainstream reading devices?

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Key Specs For The Kobo Mini

Average Price: $79

Release Year: 2012

Screen Size: 5 inches

Screen Type: E-Ink

Weight: 4.73 oz

Storage Size: 2GB

Internet: Wi-Fi

Main eBook Format: ePub

Kobo Mini: The Pros

Size: The most important feature of the Kobo Mini is its size. Most eReaders are at least 6” in screen size – certainly those among the Kindle and Nook ranges are. This is one part of the market which Kobo now has to itself more or less. The only rivals are much older eReader devices, which offer much less than this one.

Because the screen of the Kobo Mini is only 5”, it can truly be called pocket sized. OK, it doesn’t fit completely into the palm of your hand like a cell phone, but it’s not far off, and can comfortably slip into a jeans pocket or coat pocket. That makes it much more portable than any of the other eReaders on the market – a massive selling point, especially for those who don’t have a bag to carry a larger eReader around in.

Weight: Along with the tiny size of the Kobo Mini, it’s also one of the lightest eReaders on the market. Of the current generation of eReader products, it undercuts its nearest rival’s weight by around 20%. This makes a noticeable difference which adds greatly to the portability of the device.

If you’re the sort of person who really notices the weight of an eReader when carrying it with you, then you’ll be delighted by this product.

Touch Screen: Even though it’s tiny, the Kobo Mini still offers a touch screen. This is a really nice feature that gives the device a really current feel which will appeal to all those fans of tablets and smart phones.

Price: Another major plus point for the Kobo Mini is the price. At around $80 it’s only $10 more than the Kindle with ads. The Kobo Mini is an ad-free experience however, and with the additional portability it’s a serious rival to the basic Kindle device.

Interchangeable Back Covers: A nice touch with all the products in the new Kobo range are the interchangeable back covers. These covers come in several colors, with even more options expected at a later date. This allows you to give your Kobo a personal touch and is also very useful for a family that owns more than one Kobo as it helps to distinguish whose is whose without having to look on the device itself.

Customizable Reading Experience: One of the best things about Kobo devices has always been the ability to customize the reading experience. You can choose from 12 different font types and 24 different font sizes, as well as adjusting how dark or light the text appears to be and more besides. This allows you to make the experience of reading on a Kobo just right for you.

No Buttons: Like the Kobo Glo, the Kobo Mini has opted to remove all buttons from the face of the device. This gives a clean and minimal look that adds to the stylish appeal of the Kobo Mini.

Kobo Reading Life And Pulse: Reading Life and Pulse have been two of Kobo’s most unique features for a while now. Reading Life lets you automatically post highlighted passages in your books to Facebook as well as sharing your reading statistics with friends. Pulse is a feature that allows you to chat with other people reading the same book as you, and gives you the option to avoid spoilers by only chatting with others who are at the same point in the book as you are.

Kobo Mini: The Cons

2GB Storage: 2GB of storage is fairly standard right now for entry-level eReaders, but it would still be nice to see this improved, especially as you really only have 1GB for personal storage with the other half devoted to the operating system.

No Expandable Storage: This is a real shortcoming for the Kobo Mini. Not only does it have a limited on-board storage of 2GB, but it’s not possible to expand this either.

Small Size: The small size is fantastic for portability, but for those who like to read in large font sizes it will make a big difference, as the page size on this device is a far bit smaller than standard. This means you can fit much less text on the screen at one time.

Battery Life: The battery life of the Kobo Mini is shorter than all of the rival products on the market. It’ll last for around 2 weeks with Wi-Fi off, whereas alternatives last a minimum of 4 weeks. That’s a noticeable difference.

No Sound: Because it’s such a small device there’s no room for any kind of speakers. Although sound isn’t that important for most eReader users, it’s still a shame that it couldn’t be included. There are plenty of people who like having text to voice features, and they won’t be able to.

Not E Ink Pearl Display: The display on this device is actually an older piece of technology than any of the rival eReaders (including the other Kobos) use now. Instead of the standard E Ink Pearl display, the Kobo Mini uses a Vizplex V110 – a display which generally doesn’t produce such great image quality. Kobo insist that at this screen size, the quality difference isn’t noticeable, and this looks to be true in reality, but those who are picky about details may pick up on some differences and feel dissatisfied.

Is The Kobo Mini Worth Buying?

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The Kobo Mini is definitely worth buying if you’re looking for a really portable eReader. There’s no other current generation eReader on the market right now that can match this on that front. However, if you need lots of storage, or find battery life to be a big factor in your buying decisions, then you might not be satisfied with this product. You may also prefer to have a larger screen if portability isn’t a major factor in your choice. However, this is a good product that shouldn’t be dismissed.

Naturally, the best deal you’ll get is at Amazon for this one and you can check out their sales on them here.

For all tablets, we’ve also reviewed the Kindle Fire HD 8.9Kindle Fire HDSamsung Galaxy Tab 2Asus Google Nexus 7Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc, and the Sony Reader. We also did a side by side comparison of the Kindle Fire HD versus the Apple iPad to give you an idea of the choices you have. It’s a big market out there for buyers now…just choose wisely and figure out exactly what you want your tablet to do for you.
kobo mini fits in your palm images

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