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Kobo Mini review

David Ludlow
27 Oct 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
60
inc VAT

It's great to see a small eReader and the price is great, but the quality of the touchscreen lets it down

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Pretty much every single eReader we've seen has a 6in E Ink screen, but the Kobo Mini is something a little different, as it has a smaller 5in screen. The idea is that this eReader is pocket-sized and that little bit easier to carry around. We've seen something similar before, with the 5in Sony Reader PRS-350 Pocket Edition, but that was two years ago.

SIZE AND WEIGHT

Kobo Mini side

It's very small and light, so slipping the Mini into a coat pocket won't be a problem

The obvious benefit of using a smaller screen is that the device is that much smaller. Measuring 102x133x10mm and weighing just 134g, it's a diminutive reader that fits easily in the hand. It's small enough to put comfortably in a decent-sized inside pocket, too. It feels well-built and is comfortable to hold thanks to Kobo's quilted soft-touch back cover.

Kobo Mini

It's small, but the Kobo Mini fits perfectly in the hand and is incredibly easy to carry around

SCREEN

Kobo has used a 5in touchscreen E Ink Vizplex V110 display for the Mini. It has an 800x600 resolution screen, which is the same resolution as that used on most 6in devices. Unfortunately, quality isn’t as good as we’re used to and, although text was sharp, contrast wasn’t as good and text looked a little grey. In particular, next to the new Kindle, we noticed that the Mini's text just doesn’t have the same sharpness and darkness.

Kobo has set the default so that the screen only performs a full refresh after six pages, which is designed to speed up page turns and save battery life. It's a common feature used by most eReaders, but we don't think it works that well here.

Kobo Mini

The screen quality isn't as good as we've seen on other devices and text doesn't always look very sharp

After three page turns, the ghosting of previous text became very noticeable; by the time we'd got to the fifth page turn, we found that some text was actually quite hard to read and letters had lost their sharpness.

The good news is that the Kobo Mini lets you choose the number of page turns you want before a full refresh, with a range between one and six pages - we recommend two or three pages to maintain the best image quality.

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