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Kobo Nia review

Priced at $160.

CHOICE Expert Rating

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CHOICE Expert Rating

This is the product's overall performance score, based on key tests conducted by our industry experts in the CHOICE labs.

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Good points

The product's best features and benefits

Bad points

Drawbacks or issues you need to know about
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Device type View more details.

An e-ink display contains millions of microscopic spheres including positively charged white ink particles and negatively charged black ones that use much less power compared to the backlit screen you'd find on a tablet.

Recommended View more details.

We recommend e-readers with an overall score of at least 80%.

CHOICE Expert Rating View more details.

This overall score is made up of readability based on indoor lighting, outdoor lighting, and night lighting (50%), online purchasing/lending experience (25%), user interface (20%), and ease of holding (5%).

User interface score View more details.

Our tester looks at how easy it is to turn on the e-reader and access a title and the overall ergonomics of the e-reader compared to a paper-based book. They also carry out common tasks such as page turning and general navigation within an ebook.

Online ebook purchasing score View more details.

Our tester buys at least two titles from each dedicated service, e.g. Amazon, Kobo Books, etc. The tester checks whether ebooks can be loaned to another person. Lending that entails the sharing of userID and password with another person does not qualify. The tester also researches the availability and ease of access to completely free book titles.

Indoor readability score View more details.

Our tester reads an ebook under normal indoor lighting conditions.

Outdoor readability score View more details.

Our tester reads an ebook and assesses the quality under outdoor lighting conditions. This test can be challenging when reading tablet devices due to reflective glare and back-lighting.

Bedroom (low light) readability score View more details.

We look at how well the e-reader performs in a low light environment using the available lighting on the device.

Ease of holding score View more details.

The tester considers each model for comfort when holding the e-reader in seated, standing and reclined positions.

Shop Ethical rating View more details.

Shop Ethical rates the environmental and social impact of the company (not the product) using independent sources. This rating is not included in our total score. N/A means there is no rating for that company.

Country of origin View more details.

Where the E-reader was manufactured, though parts may have been sourced from other places.

Availability View more details.

'Tested model' means you should be able to find this in stores or online. 'Discontinued model' means you may find the e-reader in a second-hand store or on a site like eBay. We check product availability every time we test.

Tested model
Price View more details.

Recommended retail price at the time of testing.

Waterproof View more details.

All the e-readers marked as waterproof have an an IPX8 durability rating which means the e-reader can be dunked in up to two metres of water for up to 60 minutes.

Bluetooth support View more details.

Bluetooth support for speakers and headphones can be handy for audiobooks, particularly with the lack of headphone jacks in the latest range of e-readers. However, Australian Amazon customers won't have the same access to Audible books as Amazon users in other countries.

USB connection View more details.

All e-readers are charged via the USB connection with the older micro USB option being replaced by USB-C, allowing faster charging and the ability to operate USB-C headphones. 

Claimed screen size (inches)
Claimed screen size (cm)
Screen type View more details.

An e-reader with e-ink doesn't need a backlight (although some of the latest models do have a backlight if required) and can last for weeks on a single charge, compared to a tablet device using an In Plane Switching (IPS) LCD screen which operates in a similar way to a laptop computer.

e-ink Carta
Stylus support View more details.

Stylus support allows you to easily mark up documents as well as note anything on a story you want to share.

Stylus included View more details.

A stylus can be an expensive option so consider this before you purchase.

Stated battery life View more details.

You should have no trouble using your e-reader device for a couple of weeks before recharging compared to a tablet which may lose its charge after a day or so.

Multiple weeks
Weight (g)
Dimensions (mm, HxWxD)
160 x 113 x 10
Resolution (px)
1024 x 758
Internal storage (GB)
OverDrive library support View more details.

Some e-readers, notably Kobo e-readers, allow the user to enter their library card number into the OverDrive app to borrow ebooks from their local library. Kindle does support this feature, but it isn't available for Kindle Australia users. 

Audiobook support View more details.

Some e-readers, notably Kobo e-readers, allow the user to play audiobooks through Bluetooth headphones or speakers. While most Kindles support this feature it isn't enabled for Kindle Australia users.

Adaptive lighting View more details.

Adaptive lighting automatically adjusts the e-reader lighting to suit the ambient lighting of the environment. Other features include the ability to reduce blue light exposure to help improve your sleep quality.

Multiple fonts types View more details.

A model with multiple font types lets you change the typeface.

Landscape/portrait mode
Text to speech View more details.

The introduction of Bluetooth support for speakers and wireless headphones combined with support for Audible allows some of the latest e-readers to play audiobooks on an e-reader.

Wireless View more details.

Wi-Fi support lets you wirelessly connect to the internet or an online bookstore. Every device we tested (that's currently available) can connect to the internet using Wi-Fi.

Built-in speakers View more details.

None of the currently available e-readers using e-ink have speakers except for the Onyx Boox Air C.

Headphone jack View more details.

Headphone jacks are becoming increasingly rare on e-ink e-readers.

Web browser
EPUB file format View more details.

The most common format is the electronic publication file (EPUB). Also check if the file is locked with digital rights management (DRM).

AZW file format View more details.

Amazon's proprietary file format. It's only supported on Kindle e-readers, but the Amazon Kindle application is available on PC, Mac (OSX/iOS) and Android devices.

MOBI file format View more details.

A DRM-free file format.

RTF file format
DOC file format
PDF file format
Removable storage (microSD)
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