Kobo Mini: Best $40 bucks I’ve spent in a long time

I’m a nerd. In this particular instance, I’m referring to being a book nerd. I like to read. ALOT. So much so that it’s the sole reason for me needing glassess.

From the age of 10, I used to read long past my bed time after my mom told me to go to sleep. I would turn the dimmer really low and read in the almost dark. This ended up ruining my eyes and making me need glasses in a prescription higher than my entire family combined and doubled years later.

(If your kid likes reading, make sure they read in good light, so they don’t end up needing glasses and becoming as blind as a bat I was. I got laser eye surgery a few years back. I’ll post about that later).

Anyhoo, my love affair with books and reading has been going strong for decades. My favourite thing about being in school when I was a kid was staying up late to read a book in the summer or over Christmas or March Break. Yeah, I know I’m a gigantic nerd…with a big sexy….brain which is that kind of milkshake which brings all the boys to the yard :(

I have been known to be a book hoarder. I guess I take after my dad in that way. In some sense I guess we were Amish that way, with an aversion to technology regarding books, even though we both love technology.  I was fairly resistant to the whole Ebook thing because I liked the feel of a book in my hands…BUT I didn’t love lugging some big fat books around because I commute.  I also didn’t like the fact that hoarding isn’t cool anymore and just makes you look crazy and is a potential fire hazard.  (But in reality, I like that I could get rid of a lot of books and have them virtually on this device).

So in the fall 2011 I decided to buy a Blackberry Playbook when there was a fire sale and Blackberry was trying to salvage their failed attempt into the tablet market. I liked that it was smaller than an iPad and had other multimedia capabilities.

I bought it, read a handful of books and then a few months later it started collecting dust. The Playbook was great, but I got tired of lugging that around. It’s surprisingly sturdy in construction, but weighs quite a bit when lugging it around in a purse. It was the lightest of tablets when it came out…but it just got annoying for me even at 0.94 pounds (0.41 kg).

Fast forward to last week, Bestbuy, Future Shop and Walmart were blowing the Kobo Mini out at about $38. I saw that the Kobo Mini got released last fall and they were retailing at about $59.99. Around Christmas they were on sale for about $10 less.

I wasn’t so sure about blowing $50-60+tax for one of these babies. But I don’t mind at the price of $38+tax. I guess I felt I wouldn’t feel so guilty if it became a dust collector at about $43.

I picked one up for my Dad for a Father’s Day present and I picked one up for myself.

White one for me.  Black one for my Dad.

White one for me. Black one for my Dad.

To my delight, My Dad loved it. I wasn’t sure if he would based on the size and the fact that he’s an old-fashioned book in hand kind of guy.  But he was pleased, even at the small size of it for portability.  It feels so light, as in it’s 4.7 oz (134 g)…like a noticeable difference from my iPhone…even though they are pretty close in weight with the iphone 4s coming in at 4.94 oz (140g).

So tiny, it fits into pockets.  So light, you forget it's there.

So tiny, it fits into pockets. So light, you’ll forget it’s there.

I wasn’t sure I’d love the small screen, but I honestly don’t notice it when reading. Most of the time I’m so into the book, I don’t realize I’m tapping maybe slightly more often to turn the page than compared to a bigger ereader.

Though the Kobo Mini doesn’t have a back light, I kind of like that about it. I find it strains my eyes less. The screen is a slightly off white, kind of like the colour of newsprint paper which paperback books are often printed in and is Semi-Matte finish that doesn’t cause glare when reading in direct light.

There is 2GB worth of storage, which may not seem like alot, but I’ve got about 45 books on mine presently which is only using about 300MB of space.  There are hacks to increase the memory by installing a bigger memory card, but I don’t see it being an issue unless you want every book you have ever read to be on that device.  The Kobo mini also comes loaded with Chess Sudoku, a sketch pad, and a Web browser.  The browser isn’t great….but if you don’t have anything else (like a smartphone on hand), it does it’s job of letting you surf the interwebs when you’re connected to wifi.

The book is better than the show, my friends.  (this is me trying to turn YOU into a book nerd too).

The book is better than the show, my friends. (this is me trying to turn YOU into a book nerd too).

The back of the Kobo Mini is a ‘Snapback’. The white one has a silver slightly metallic hard plastic. The black is a flat, matte black. It’s not really grippy or rubbery, but that’s not a problem since the size of the unit is easy for adult hand to grip comfortably and firmly.

Please note: The 'White' Kobo Mini has a silver snapback.  At first I thought the sales associate handed me the wrong colour.

Please note: The ‘White’ Kobo Mini has a silver snapback. At first I thought the sales associate handed me the wrong box even though I asked for ‘White’.

They do have other Snapbacks in blue, purple and pink that can be purchased separately (or they sometimes throw them in with a Promo). I’ve been actually thinking of painting one…but I probably never get around to it.

It should be noted, there aren’t alot of accessories for the Kobo Mini.  There are magnetic Book style cases that put the unit to sleep when you close the cover.  There are some other sleeve style cases on Etsy.  There are even decal skins available (join their mailing list for a 10% discount).

But if you don’t really want bulk of case and am too impatient for shipping, you can just make your own.   I decided to do just that.  I made a no sew one with some felt (for the inside) and satin on the outside in about 45 min with some Heat’n’Bond because my sewing machine is broken.  It’s not great in terms of Craftsmanship, but it does the job of not letting my beloved Kobo Mini get scratched up and not bad for making it at midnight yesterday.  I’ll probably make more later, since I want to make one for my dad too.

first attempt at a sleeve for my Kobo Mini.

first attempt at a sleeve for my Kobo Mini.

All safe and sound in my purse now....safe from my keys and other such objects.

All safe and sound in my purse now….safe from my keys and other such objects.

All in All, I love the Kobo Mini. It’s comfy to hold, small and light for portability and someone on the go. I like that I can have many books on the go incase I get bored of reading one or just finished another. I like that it helps discourage book hoarding or letting people know:  A) how smart (or not smart) you are (by browsing your book titles) or B) bought 50 shades of Grey (I did not).  You can even borrow books from the library with the assistance of Adobe Digital Editions program.

My 9 year old nephew even liked it, so I bought one for his birthday because I’d rather spend money on this than toys. Like the title of my post, it’s the best $40 bucks I’ve spent in a long time. So much I had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend it to any fellow book lover.

*Disclaimer: This nerd DIGS it /nerds Unite!


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