Monday, December 3, 2012

Kobo Mini Review

I purchased a Kobo Mini on sale during the Black Friday weekend sale last week and I've been using it for a few days (enough so that I can write a review about the product). Even though I use my various tablets (Android tablet, Acer Iconia Tab A100 Android tablet, & HP TouchPad) and my various phones to read my PDF documents/books, I heard good things about the dedicated e-readers so I decided to purchase the Kobo Mini when it went on sale.

Since I had a lot of PDF documents/books, I wanted to be sure that whatever e-reader that I purchased would accommodate the PDF file format. The Kobo Mini specifications mention that it does support PDF.

After charging my Kobo Mini, when I turned it on, the first thing that it asked me is what language I wanted. It then asked me whether I wanted to configure it using a computer or whether I wanted to configure it using the wireless connection. I opted for the wireless connection. It then asked me to configure the date/time/timezone and then prompted me to connect to my wireless network. Because of the added security of my wireless network, I did have some problems with connecting to my wireless router but most people won't have an issue. The one thing that I did find difficult was typing my password on the Kobo Mini touchscreen. The touchscreen is not particularly sensitive (not as sensitive as on any of my smartphones or my tablets) and it sometimes required pressing the screen multiple times for a single letter.

After connecting to my wireless network, it automatically detected that there was an update available and it proceeded to download the update and update my device. The entire update process took ~15 minutes. Once it finished updating, my Kobo Mini rebooted and I was prompted again for whether I wanted to configure the device using the wireless connection on via a direct connection to my computer. I opted again for the wireless connection and I had to re-enter my wireless connection password. Although I only had 2 books available to me on my Kobo account, I then connected to my Kobo account and the 2 books downloaded via wireless to my Kobo Mini.

In order to transfer my PDF documents/books to my Kobo Mini, I connected my Kobo Mini to my computer. The Kobo Mini then appeared on my computer (similar to an external hard drive) and I dragged/dropped my PDF documents/books onto my Kobo Mini (without placing them into any subdirectory). After doing that, I "ejected" the Kobo USB device from my computer and removed the USB cable from my computer as well as from my Kobo Mini. The Kobo Mini then processed the files that I dropped onto it and within a few seconds I saw my PDF documents/books on my Kobo Mini's home screen.

The Kobo Mini displays the 2 Kobo ePub books from my Kobo account very well. The font is large enough to be readable. However, I find that because of the size of the Kobo Mini, it doesn't really do that great of a job with my PDF documents/books. The font size is extremely small. Even though I can still read it without magnifying the font/page (which the Kobo Mini does allow you to do), I prefer reading the PDF documents/books on my HP TouchPad because of the larger size or on my Acer Iconia A100 Android Tablet.

In proper lighting (similar to the amount of light you would need to read any real book), the Kobo ePub books are extremely easy to read and easy on the eyes because of the e-ink.

I find the speed at which the pages turn on the Kobo Mini to be somewhat slow. It is faster with the Kobo ePub books than with my PDF documents/books but I still find it to be somewhat slow with both.

The Kobo Mini also has 3 applications in the "Extra" menu within Settings (a sudoku game, a sketch pad, and an extremely limited web browser). I can't really recommend any of these. The browser is extremely slow and limited to the point of being frustrating since for example, it required me to entire the URL for my blog about 10 times before it finally went to my blog. The sketch pad will allow you to draw/doodle on the Kobo Mini's touchscreen and save what you've done but once saved, the only way of deleting the PNG image is to connect the Mini to your computer and then manually delete the file using your computer. I can't really comment on the sudoku game since I don't play sudoku.

All in all, I would say that the Kobo Mini is okay for the Black Friday sale price that I paid for it. I would not purchase the device at its regular price of ~$80+taxes. The 5" screen is too small for reading of PDF documents/books but fine for the Kobo books that I've previewed. The Kobo Mini is extremely light (obviously lighter than my ~10" screen-size of my HP TouchPad or the ~7" screen-size of my Acer Iconia A100 tablet). It is also lighter (or feels lighter) than any of my smartphones. The battery life is also very good. The 2 things that I find lacking is the speed of the device and the responsiveness of the touchscreen when using the virtual on-screen keyboard.

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