The new Amazon Kindles. The even newer Barnes and Noble Nook HD. And the upcoming iPad Mini and the refreshed Google Nexus 7 line – these are all contenders for your money if you’re looking to read ebooks on a small, current generation device.
So after looking at all of the above choices, I bought … a Kobo Mini. Wait, what?
Available in black or white, with a replaceable back cover in a choice of three additional colors, the Kobo Mini comes with just the basics and very few frills.
It’s an extremely compact touchscreen unit that has WiFi and a respectable, if somewhat underpowered 800mhz processor driving a Vizplex V110 display with 16 (not 50) shades of grey. Onboard storage is 2GB, though with no provision for external card expansion, and battery life can supposedly run anywhere between a month (!) to two months (!!) depending on your WiFi usage. I won’t bother to test this claim out – I’ll just take their word for it. But talk about the perfect rainy weather / power failure companion – just add a candle or flashlight and you’re set.
But here are the three main things that attracted me to the Kobo Mini:
In day-to-day use the Kobo Mini has been great, though it feels a bit weird to once again have to turn on a bedside lamp to read. Not totally flawless, however: I have experienced the occasional lag or stutter during a page turn, and even a freezeup or two requiring a total reboot. Generally, though, the overall experience has been very good.
The Kobo also has a bunch of very good fonts to choose from and allows you to tweak not just size, but sharpness, weight, and other attributes. An internal dictionary feature is also well implemented and easy to use. Aside from its built in bookstore, it even comes with social features that lets you share passages or post updates about your reading list – haven’t tried those yet. It even comes with a basic web browser and a Sudoku game that I swear I will never, ever play.
That’s because as Jason, Adel and other fellow ebook junkies can attest: the best part about using a dedicated e-book reader (versus, say, an iPad) is that it makes you feel precisely that: dedicated. No Twitter feeds, chat messages, Facebook status updates or email notifications to disturb your reading and break your flow. No more breaking away during slow parts in the book to sneak in just one more game of Letterpress or Words With Friends.
In the past three days I’ve already churned through two and a half books (well above my usual book-a-week pace) and I’m looking forward to the rest of my reading queue. The Kobo Mini is one of those devices that just does the job, gets out of the way and enables you to enjoy the content and the experience, and at a price that won’t break the bank.
US SRP: $80. Purchased at Chapters / Indigo in Toronto. We’ll update you on Philippine availability.
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