The Kobo mini is a traditional e-Ink grey-scale ebook reader with a 5” touchscreen and built-in WiFi for easy access to Kobo’s bookstore.
As with most such devices, the mini uses e-Ink’s Pearl screen which offers high-contrast, easy to read text while reducing glare from sunlight and overhead electric lightning.
The key selling point of the mini is its screen which is 1” smaller than Kobo’s other readers and products from rivals Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Kobo claims readers can use the mini with “no compromise” so my testing of the review unit centred on putting that claim to the test.
The personal standard template on my Mac’s Pages word processor displays text at font size 14, the size I find most comfortable to read from a small distance.
To achieve the same sort of comfort on the mini I increased the font size to a little over the half-way mark in the settings panel, this reduced the number of words on a single ‘page’ to around 60. On its big brother – the Koboglo – the same font setting gave me around 70 words per page.
In both cases the exact number varied depending on the length of words and paragraph breaks but, despite my initial expectations, the mini didn’t offer significantly fewer words per page or need a noticeably higher number of page turns than its larger counterpart.
So from a reading experience point of view, I’m happy to endorse Kobo’s “no compromise” claim.
Its smaller size will suit those looking to read while on the move without weighing themselves down with a bag or, I guess, ladies who favour smaller bags unsuitable for carrying larger readers in.
But it should be noted that beyond its size the mini is a pretty entry-level device – unlike the Kobo glo or NOOK Glowlight, it lacks a lit screen meaning you’ll need a lamp or other light source to read in the dark.
The £59.99 asking price makes this an instantly affordable device that finally takes ebook readers into the realm of impulse purchases and an ideal first reader for those looking to try out digital reading without committing too much cash upfront.