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Kobo Nia review

Kobo Nia evaluate

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Kobo calls the Nia its friendliest eReader but, by which it presumably means most cost-effective. The primary Kobo I’ve reviewed that prices lower than £100/$100, this slots in on the backside of the corporate’s vary as its nearest rival to the fundamental Kindle.

This appears like a smart transfer. Practically all tech merchandise are chosen on the idea of value to some extent, however within the case of eReaders a finances design and options listing is sort of a advantage: chucked into suitcases, left in resort rooms and utilized in perilous proximity to swimming swimming pools and baths, they’re nearly uniquely vulnerable to catastrophe. It is smart to decide on one you possibly can afford to exchange.

Our Kobo Nia evaluate appears to be like at its design, options and tech specs, and helps you determine if that is the eReader for you. For broader shopping for recommendation, flip to our Greatest eReaders chart.


The Nia is not fairly in a position to match the 10th-gen Kindle’s headline price ticket, which fits as little as £69.99/$89.99 should you’re prepared to abdomen sponsored screensavers. However at £89.99/$99.99, the Nia is roughly the identical – bit extra within the UK, bit much less within the US – because the £79.99/$109.99 you will pay for a fundamental Kindle with out advertisements. 

Design & construct high quality

The Nia is a slim (9.2mm), light-weight (172g) and customarily moveable eReader that I discovered simple to carry in a single hand.

(I prefer to learn it with a thumb on the lefthand edge, index finger on the again, center and ring fingers on the righthand edge and little finger supporting on the backside. At 112mm huge the system is okay for such a grip in case you have average-sized arms, however these with smaller appendages might have to search out another.)

Like all of the Kobos I’ve tried the Nia has a nice, albeit budget-tinged, really feel within the hand. It is made of lifeless matt black plastic with a debossed sample of irregularly sized circles on the again that helps to cut back slippage. The designers have additionally used that outdated iPad trick of including a slight curve to the again so the perimeters are simpler to choose up when it is positioned on a flat floor.

There’s just one button – sleep/energy, on the underside edge – and a micro-USB charging port subsequent to it. The shortage of devoted page-turn buttons means you are completely depending on the touchscreen, which like most eReader shows is not lightning-quick; then again this determination does save a little bit of area and assist preserve the system’s dimension down.

Display screen

At 6in that is on the decrease finish of the Kobo display choices, which go as much as 7in on the Libra H20 and a wonderful 8in on the Forma. It is extra commonplace for Amazon, which provides 6in on each the usual and Paperwhite variations of its Kindle and (if we depart apart the bigger Fireplace tablets, that are a distinct matter) tops out at 7in on the Oasis.

As a lot as we love the Forma’s additional display area, which makes for easier-to-read textual content, or extra textual content per web page bounce, or a mix of the 2, it is easy to see why 6in is such a well-liked dimension. It is a smart compromise, enabling a still-respectable quantity of phrases on the web page whereas becoming right into a extra pocketable chassis (actually – the Nia matches in a trouser pocket with out an excessive amount of problem, though I do fear about what would occur if I sat down).

A much less pleasing compromise is the display’s sharpness, which at 212ppi (pixels per inch) is a comedown for the Kobo vary; the agency’s different three at the moment out there eReaders all supply 300ppi.

textual content on the (212ppi) Nia and (300ppi) Libra H20 aspect by aspect, you possibly can positively inform the distinction. The capital H is okay, the lower-case i and l, however look intently at any letter with a curve or a diagonal and also you instantly spy slight pixellation. That is by no means obvious on the Libra, irrespective of how a lot you screw up your eyes.

That is extra of a comparative than an goal drawback. Going from one to the opposite, I actually began to understand the Libra’s smoothness, the phantasm that I used to be a shiny printed web page; however the Nia by no means feels disagreeable to the attention.

It is value mentioning, too, that its nearest rival, the fundamental Kindle, compromises nonetheless extra, providing a pixel density of simply 167ppi. (All different Kindles are 300ppi.)

One other distinction between the Nia’s display and that of the dearer 300ppi Kobo fashions is the lack of ComfortLight PRO, a function which helps you to alter the color temperature or have it alter mechanically to account for day/evening circumstances. The Nia provides plain ComfortLight, which solely permits you to alter brightness, and appears distinctly blue subsequent to a Libra H20 in full night regalia. We’re stay awake consultants and may’t actually touch upon the medical advantages of yellower screens earlier than mattress, and possibly it is a placebo impact, however the Libra definitely feels extra restful to make use of within the night.

Velocity & responsiveness

Whereas we’re speaking screens, and as I discussed above, the Nia’s touchscreen shouldn’t be particularly responsive. Generally you need to press pretty closely to carry up the choices menu, for instance, and tapping to show the web page brings a delay of maybe half a second earlier than the system obeys.

I bought used to this, and would say it is pretty typical for an eReader, and significantly for an eReader at this value, however chances are you’ll discover it irritating.

It is seemingly, the truth is, that the Nia’s gentle sluggishness is a reminiscence slightly than a screen-tech challenge, as a result of it is a lot worse when turning the web page to a very massive new chapter (The Mirror and the Mild‘s second chapter, which is effectively over 100 pages lengthy). At this level, evidently having to load the brand new part in a mass, the Nia took extra like four seconds to do its factor and I wasn’t certain if one thing had gone improper. There was no such challenge once I repeated the check with a ebook that had shorter chapters.

Getting your eBooks

A probably deal-breaking facet of the Kobo’s providing is its related Kobo Retailer, from the place you might be prone to get most of your books. We have appeared on the qualities and weaknesses of this retailer, and the way they examine to Amazon’s equal, in additional element in our Kindle Retailer vs Kobo Retailer article, however there are two key takeaways: the Kobo Retailer is simply nearly as good for ebook availability, nevertheless it’s not so good as presenting and recommending them to informal browsers. If you already know the books you need, you are positive; should you do not, the shop shouldn’t be going to be super-helpful.

The official retailer, nonetheless, shouldn’t be the one choice. As traditional for a Kobo, for instance, the Nia helps the OverDrive library-lending service. It is a good choice in idea, enabling you to ‘borrow’ eBooks without spending a dime, however my very own expertise with OverDrive is underwhelming; libraries close to me had only a few interesting eBooks on supply.

A closing and extra sensible various is the system’s assist for the ePub file format, which implies you can load public-domain works from Venture Gutenberg and comparable providers on to the Nia very simply. (Kindles, maybe understandably given their maker’s bookselling historical past, do not assist ePub natively. It is pretty simple to transform ePubs right into a supported format earlier than loading, however it’s an additional step.)

Tech specs & options

That is Kobo’s most budget-focused eReader and it is subsequently unsurprising that the Nia options few of the top-line specs and options out there on higher-end fashions. We have already mentioned its decrease display pixel density and lack of display temperature management; the 2 different areas the place it is noticeably fundamental are battery and water resistance.

The maker makes the ultra-vague declare that you’ll get pleasure from “weeks of battery life” with the Nia, identical because it does for all 4 present Kobo fashions. However the weeks are prone to be fewer in quantity, as its battery has a capability of simply 1000mAh, in comparison with 1200mAh on the Forma and Libra and 1500mAh on the (solely barely costlier) Clara HD.

Admittedly the lower-res display means fewer pixels are being powered, so maybe the distinction is not going to be a lot. And battery life wasn’t a fear in our testing.

As for water resistance… effectively, Kobo would not make any claims in that division in any respect, so attempt to preserve it away from liquids. Kobo provides an IP68 score solely on its dearer Libra and Forma fashions, a lot as Amazon retains it for the Paperwhite and Oasis. The usual Kindle would not supply water resistance.


It is a stable eReader at an interesting value. However when deciding if it is the fitting mannequin for you, there are two separate selections to contemplate: do you have to be spending extra on a better-equipped various (very seemingly Kobo’s personal Libra H20, or an Amazon Paperwhite); or do you have to be spending roughly the identical on a fundamental Amazon Kindle?

You are making various compromises to hit this price ticket. If you happen to might stretch to the Libra’s £149.99/$169.99 – and we respect that is not far off twice the value – you will get a much bigger, noticeably sharper and temperature-adjustable display, devoted page-turn buttons and wonderful water resistance. Do you want all these issues? Maybe not at that value.

Going for the fundamental Kindle, in the meantime, does provide you with entry to the better-curated Kindle Retailer, however its display is much less sharp once more and also you get half the storage. Keep in mind, too, you can get ebook suggestions elsewhere and seek for eBooks immediately; Kobo has a wonderful vary, even when it is not good at displaying this.

For us, and for anybody who plans to recurrently learn near water (significantly whereas sipping cocktails), the Libra appears like a greater choose, because you solely have to lose one among these to the ocean for the value benefit to be worn out. However we perceive that many potential patrons are on the lookout for the bottom value, and in that market it is a worthy challenger to the fundamental Kindle.


Kobo Nia: Specs

  • 6in 212ppi Carta E Ink ComfortLight display (1024 × 758)
  • 8GB storage
  • 1000 mAh battery
  • 12 fonts and greater than 50 font types
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Micro USB
  • 112.four x 159.three x 9.2 mm
  • 172g

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