Kobo Nia Evaluate: Stable eReader At An Engaging Worth

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Kobo calls the Nia its friendliest eReader but, by which it presumably means least expensive. 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 essential Kindle.

This seems like a wise transfer. Practically all tech merchandise are chosen on the idea of value to some extent, however within the case of eReaders a price range design and options checklist is sort of a advantage: chucked into suitcases, left in lodge rooms and utilized in perilous proximity to swimming swimming pools and baths, they’re virtually uniquely susceptible to catastrophe. It is sensible to decide on one you possibly can afford to interchange.

Our Kobo Nia assessment seems to be at its design, options and tech specs, and helps you resolve if that is the eReader for you. For broader shopping for recommendation, flip to our Finest 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 for those who’re keen 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 usually moveable eReader that I discovered simple to carry in a single hand.

(I wish 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 large the machine is ok for such a grip in case you have average-sized fingers, however these with smaller appendages could 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 scale back slippage. The designers have additionally used that previous iPad trick of including a slight curve to the again so the perimeters are simpler to select up when it is positioned on a flat floor.

There’s just one {hardware} button – sleep/energy, on the underside edge – and a micro-USB charging port subsequent to it. The dearth of devoted page-turn buttons means you are totally 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 machine’s measurement down.

Display screen

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

As a lot as we love the Forma’s additional display screen area, which makes for easier-to-read textual content, or extra textual content per web page soar, or a mix of the 2, it is easy to see why 6in is such a preferred measurement. It is a wise compromise, enabling a still-respectable quantity of phrases on the web page whereas becoming right into a extra pocketable chassis (actually – the Nia suits 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 screen’s sharpness, which at 212ppi (pixels per inch) is a comedown for the Kobo vary; the agency’s different three at the moment accessible eReaders all provide 300ppi.

Taking a look at textual content on the (212ppi) Nia and (300ppi) Libra H20 aspect by aspect, you possibly can positively inform the distinction. The capital H is ok, the lower-case i and l, however look carefully 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, regardless 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 taking a look at a shiny printed web page; however the Nia by no means feels disagreeable to the attention.

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

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

Pace & responsiveness

Whereas we’re speaking screens, and as I discussed above, the Nia’s touchscreen is just not 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 machine obeys.

I bought used to this, and would say it is pretty typical for an eReader, and notably for an eReader at this value, however you might discover it irritating.

It is possible, actually, that the Nia’s gentle sluggishness is a reminiscence reasonably 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 Gentle’s second chapter, which is nicely 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 mistaken. There was no such challenge after I repeated the take a look at with a ebook that had shorter chapters.

Getting your eBooks

A doubtlessly deal-breaking facet of the Kobo’s providing is its related Kobo Retailer, from the place you might be more likely to get most of your books. We have regarded on the qualities and weaknesses of this retailer, and the way they evaluate 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 inferior to presenting and recommending them to informal browsers. If you understand the books you need, you are superb; for those who do not, the shop is just not going to be super-helpful.

The official retailer, nevertheless, is just not the one choice. As ordinary for a Kobo, for instance, the Nia helps the OverDrive library-lending service. It is a good choice in concept, enabling you to ‘borrow’ eBooks free of charge, however my very own expertise with OverDrive is underwhelming; libraries close to me had only a few interesting eBooks on provide.

A last and extra sensible different is the machine’s help for the ePub file format, which implies you’ll load public-domain works from Undertaking Gutenberg and comparable providers on to the Nia very simply. (Kindles, maybe understandably given their maker’s bookselling historical past, do not help ePub natively. It is pretty easy 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 accessible on higher-end fashions. We have already mentioned its decrease display screen pixel density and lack of display screen 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 more likely 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 screen means fewer pixels are being powered, so maybe the distinction won’t be a lot. And battery life wasn’t a fear in our testing.

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


It is a stable eReader at an interesting value. However when deciding if it is the proper mannequin for you, there are two separate choices to contemplate: do you have to be spending extra on a better-equipped different (very possible 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. In case you may 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 screen, devoted page-turn buttons and wonderful water resistance. Do you want all these issues? Maybe not at that value.

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

For us, and for anybody who plans to often learn near water (notably whereas sipping cocktails), the Libra seems like a greater decide, because you solely have to lose one in every of these to the ocean for the value benefit to be worn out. However we perceive that many potential consumers are searching for the bottom value, and in that market it is a worthy challenger to the essential Kindle.

Kobo Nia: Specs

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


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