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Hands-on review: Rakuten Kobo Nia
Wed, 13th Dec 2023

The Rakuten Kobo Nia is described by Kobo as “our friendliest e-reader yet” on their website. Accompany me on my journey, and we’ll see if it lives up to this encouraging statement. 

The Kobo Nia comes with a six-inch screen and 8 Gigabytes of storage. Kobo tells me that this means you will be able to carry up to 6000 e-books with you. That promises to keep you occupied over the summer holidays. Another selling point is the glare-free screen, which means a much better reading experience that using any of your mobile devices, which don’t tend to like the summer sun too much. For those night-owls, the Kobo also features a built-in comfort light that you can adjust so that your significant other can sleep undisturbed. 

The first impression I noted when reading a book was the clarity of the type. The six-inch screen provides a clarity, which is the equal of any high-quality printed page. Serial readers will also be pleased with the promise of several weeks of uninterrupted reading between charges. Charging is done with the provided micro-USB cable.

6” 212 PPI E ink touchscreen with 1024 x 758 resolution
8 GB Storage 
900 MHz Processor
Comfortlight- adjustable brightness setting with the touch of a finger.
112.4 x 159.3 x 9.2 mm dimensions
172G Weight

This is one lightweight device, and I happily held it in one hand without noticing any discomfort. The cover allows you to slide the reader in and close it just like you would a book, without the need to fold the page over or insert a bookmark. 

The reading experience is top-notch. I note that the 212PPI screen is not Kobo’s brightest, but I found it incredibly comfortable in a variety of reading conditions. My book of choice was N.T. Wright’s Into the Heart of Romans is a must-read for anyone wanting to get to grips with the teachings and theology of St Paul. I found the clarity of the text and the simple controls made reading easy, even when I switched to my other book, Star Wars, Lost Tribe of the Sith #1 by John Jackson Miller. Swiping from one page to the next is a breeze, and adjusting the brightness was just as simple. 

The Kobo selection of books is as eclectic as my own reading tastes. Sneaking a peek at other reviews, I noticed one comment that Kobo means not being tied down to the Amazon platform as with Kindle. I hadn’t considered that an issue, but it may be for some. I noticed a slight price difference between Kindle and Kobo, with Kobo coming in a few dollars cheaper for my book on Romans. If you want, you can also purchase a monthly subscription, but I didn’t actually stop to see what the benefits of that may be. It will most likely be of benefit to serial readers who go through books the way I go through salted crackers. 

Using the Kobo App on my devices was a simple affair, opening up at the page I was on in the Kobo Nia. I even used my laptop to make a purchase, and synching with the Kobo Nia was as simple as entering a confirmation code. 

I wondered how much of a hassle it would be to find the six-inch screen, being a fairly speedy reader. However, the screen holds plenty of content in one easy to read place, with no need for scrolling. Those who are frequently moving backwards and forwards will find the scrolling function at the bottom a handy resource. Those of you who like to read ahead will know what I’m talking about.

You may notice that I mentioned switching between devices. I only found one issue with the Kobo Nia. Sometimes it didn’t like where I placed my fingers, with a tendency to think I had pressed the key just to the left. It was a minor annoyance, except when entering email addresses and passwords.  

A quick visit to Price Spy showed that many NZ retailers are selling the Kobo Nia for NZ$185, slightly lower than the price on Kobobooks website. For someone who wants a reader with a small footprint, the Kobo Nia is a perfect choice. Kobo features larger readers if you require more screen real estate or higher resolutions. The crisp, clean look of the typefaces (and you can choose from several fonts if you’re particularly fussy) and the lightweight, compact size are sure to be the perfect solution for all you summertime readers.