Kobo Mini Review: Does Size Matter?

I adore my Kindle and find it the perfect size for reading the science fiction I’m addicted too. I love the weight, how it feels in my hands and the crisp page turns. Sure, there are a few tweaks I’d make if I was granted access to Amazon’s labs, but scaling down the screen size has never really been one of those options. How would I fare with the Kobo Mini? The self proclaimed ‘worlds smallest eBook reader.’  Would the 5 inch cute factor make up for lack of screen space?

Here Are My First Impressions of the Kobo Mini:

      1. Wow, this is small!
      2. No, actually this is really small. 5 inches small to be exact.
      3. Is the screen bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S3? Yes, good.
      4. How about my Galaxy Nexus? Well, just about…
      5. How does it fare next to the Kindle? It looks like it has been placed in a hot wash for too long…
      6. Actually, it’s kinda cool that I can hold it between my thumb and finger.
      7. Will I ever need to hold it like so? Hmm. It’s only 134 grams though, I could do this for a while.
      8. It really is small enough to fit in a pocket but I never wear anything with pockets. Skinny jeans+ bulging eBook, just not a good look.
      9. The display is pretty crisp and I like how the words look on the screen.
      10. Pretty cool that there are so many options to change the font size and the type (7 font style and 24 font sizes in all).
      11. But if I make the font too large,  I literally get a few lines before I need to turn the page. Annoying.
      12. With the font slightly too small I get enough words on a page.
      13. My this is small and thin! Yes, I keep coming back to this. 0.39 inches thin to be exact (0.3 inches bigger than the Kindle Paper White, but doesn’t feel like it).
      14. The Mini is pretty easy to use, and simple to setup. It syncs well with the computer and has a nice way of displaying content on the screen.
      15. Extra features such as Reading Life, which tells you how far you’ve read is kinda cute – and it lets you Tweet/Facebook that stat from within the pages.
      16. Slight lag at page refreshing every few page turns.
      17. Have to be pretty accurate when turning pages. Swiping in the wrong place brings up different menus and have gone back to home screen/ dictionary a few times accidentally.
      18. Having to be so careful with swiping starts to make it a two handed read.
      19. Battery life is pretty good with WiFi off. So far 3 weeks and counting. When I forgot to turn WiFi off, it did drain within a few days though.
      20. I like that I can change the color of the casing. Various options on the Kobo website for color choices are ruby, purple and teal.
      21. Wait, no SD card slot? OK, I’ll live with the 2GB included, that’s still a pretty large number of books. Like a few 1000.
      22. Feels pretty nice to hold and the rubbery bezel is comfortable for long periods of time, and the quilted back is consistent with the rest of the Kobo product line.
      23. 16 shades of grayscale gives pretty nice contrast for reading on. Text is sharp and crisp.
      24. Frustrating that so many of the controls are on the edges of the screen. I keep pressing wrong buttons when trying to navigate around dictionary.
      25. Multiple file formats work- EPUB, Mobi, PDF for books, plus JPEG, GIF, PNG, TXT and more.

Conclusion So Far

The reading experience on the Kobo Mini is similar to that of a large cellphone or if you have the Galaxy Note, exactly the same (sizewise at least). Despite this, I do enjoy reading more longform pieces on an e-Ink screen as it does feel more accessible, easier on the eyes and lets me get engrossed for longer without getting too distracted and opening links or webpage’s. Reading on the Kobo is pretty comfortable, and though the screen is a little small for my liking , people with a slower reading pace might not have any issue with this (Disclaimer: Speed reader here) . Text is sharp and additions like the dictionary and options to quote text via social media is a nice addition. In terms of eBooks overall, I’d find it difficult to recommend this to someone over a larger sized e-reader. However, in contrast, pricewise, the cheapest Kindle is $69 (with advertisements, $89 without) and doesn’t feature a touchscreen. To get a touchscreen Kindle you’d be paying a minimum $119- which is $40 more than the $79.99 Kobo Mini.

The Good: A great price for an eBook reader. Small and portable. WiFi enabled and touchscreen on a budget. Crisp display with easy to read clean type.

The Bad: Sluggish page turns can make reading a frustrating experience. Screen size allows for less words and hampers a quick reader. Touch controls a little frustrating as have to be very precise. No expandable memory.

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