Kobo Mini eReader Review

2/15/2013 9:14:19 AM

The pocket size may be appealing but Kobo Mini can’t compete with larger devices, with a reference to quality.

Most of eReaders we have seen have 6in E Ink displays. However, Kobo Mini is different as it has a 5in screen, aiming at a pocket size and compactness.

Description: Kobo Mini

Kobo Mini

With size/weight of 102x133x10mm/134g, Kobo Mini fits palm as well as pocket easily. It is well designed and comfortable for handle thanks to the rear soft panel.

Kobo Mini’s 5in E Ink touchscreen is a Vizplex V110. It features 800x600pixel resolution, like most 6in devices do. Unfortunately, its quality is not as good as those we had seen, and although it appears sharp, contrast is not good and texts seem greyish. Compared with the new Kindle Fire, Mini’s texts don’t share the same sharpness or darkness.

Kobo set the screen to refresh after 6 pages by default, which is designed to boost page turns and save runtime. It is a popular feature that most eReaders use, but we think it can’t do as well as here. After 3 page turns, shadows from previous texts were visible. After the fifth page turn, some texts were really illegible and texts lost sharpness. Luckily, Kobo Mini allows you to change the number of page turn before a total refresh (from 1 to 6 pages).

Like Kobo Glo’s UI, Mini’s UI was interesting as the touchscreen was fast. You can quickly choose a book from the device’s front page then tap to open it. You also can purchase books directly from the device, as long as it is connected with a Wi-Fi network.

In Discover tab, a carousel of books may interest you. However, E Ink displays take a lot of time to refresh so it was not easy to navigate.

Like Glo, Mini offers access to Kobo store via a simple search box, which misses Amazon’s trick of letting you view the list and browse through everything. Once again, to buy e-books from Kobo’s website and make them easily distributed to your device. Most of Amazon’s top-selling books are available from Kobo.

Description: Kobo Mini offers access to Kobo store via a simple search box

Kobo Mini offers access to Kobo store via a simple search box

When reading, you can turn page by 2 ways – like you could with other Kobo’s eReaders: tapping (left/right for back/forth) or sliding (right-to-left/left-to-right for forth/back). Page-turning appeared fast and smooth. Tapping the screen once revealed an option menu, including navigation tools to search documents, find words and bring out table of index. You also can adjust each book’s appearance with 9 fonts.

Kobo quoted a runtime of 1 month for Mini with Wi-Fi turned off. This seems quite standard for an eReader that has no built-in light and means that you won’t need to charge it regularly.

One essential reason for buying Kobo is format support, resulting in that you won’t be bound with any store. While buying books from Kobo store is the handiest option, you can purchase them from any place (except for Amazon), as well as load encrypted PDF and ePUB files into your device via a USB connection or Adobe Digital Editions. If you don’t want to be stuck with Amazon, Kobo’s devices are excellent options.

However, Kobo Mini’s PDF support is not great. You are able to zoom and use fingers to move around it, but it is slow on the update and appears fussy on Mini’s small display. We tried to make the device view our PDFs properly, so it’s best to use ePUB files whose texts can be easily aligned.

Kobo Mini has 2GB storage at default. This model has no micro-SD slot, but the memory can save up to 1000 books. Such a huge amount! There’s no 3G version for Kobo Mini yet it is equipped with 802.11n wireless connectivity.

It’s good to see some changes and Mini’s small size, apparently, offers you another option if mobility is your first priority. Plus, the price is great for such a touch device but its display’s low quality is annoying. We prefer spending more to buy Amazon Kindle. Unless you want to be bound with Amazon store, you can buy Kobo’s excellent 6in Touch, which is available for $120. On the other hand, to have overall good quality, Kobo Glo and Kindle Paperwhite are 2 excellent options.


·         RRP: $90

·         Website:


Technical specifications

·         Display: 5in mono touchscreen

·         Storage: 2048MB

·         Memory card support: N/A

·         E-book format: ePub, PDF,HTML, RTF, Mobi, Txt

·         Image format: BMP, TIFF, JPEG

·         Size/weight: 102x133x10mm/134g

·         Warranty: RTB 1 year



·         The pocket size may be appealing but Kobo Mini can’t compete with larger devices, with a reference to quality.

·         Ratings: 3/5


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