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Kobo Mini 5″ eReader on Sale – $49


If you like your ereaders small then I have some good news for you. Kobo has quietly brought back the Kobo Mini, and is currently selling it for $49 (with a free case).

Launched in fall 2012, the Mini features a 5″ Pearl E-ink screen. It has 2GB internal storage (but no microSD card slot), and Wifi.

It doesn’t have a frontlight, but the 5″ screen has a screen resolution of 800 x 600 (*), for a density of 200ppi. That is not nearly as impressive now as it was 3 years ago, when the Mini debuted, but when it comes to 5″ ereaders that is the best you can get at this time.

Kobo is selling the Mini on its website in a four day sale for $49, making it (for a short time) the cheapest mainstream ereader on the market. That’s an incredibly appealing price, especially when we recall that Mini owners on MobileRead say that you can install Kobo’s latest firmware on the Mini.

It’s not clear whether they’re running a limited time sale or testing the market to see interest for a new model, but I hope for the latter. It would be exciting to see something other than a 6″ ereader on the market.

P.S. The screen resolution is not stated in the listing, so I assumed that the old spec remained unchanged. I am seeking confirmation from Kobo at this time. Kobo has confirmed the screen resolution.


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Anne November 3, 2015 um 10:16 am

Nate, if you are in communication with Kobo over this product, perhaps you can ask them if these are new production models (with fresh batteries), and does that explain why the back is different?

Nate Hoffelder November 3, 2015 um 10:26 am

I’ve asked for more info. I’ll report back.

Nate Hoffelder November 3, 2015 um 12:30 pm

No word yet from Kobo, but I do want to draw your attention to a detail about the screen. According to the specs, this Mini has a Pearl screen. The older model had a Vizplex screen.

That was enough for me to talk myself into buying one. I’m hoping it means this is a completely new build.

JC November 3, 2015 um 12:42 pm

While I like the idea of a smaller ereader (because it’s a pain to read on my iPod Touch), I can see this has the same screen real estate wasting, too big upper and lower margin problem I hate. Also, I’m never buying another Kobo ereader after my Kobo Aura’s screen died after just a year of extremely light and careful usage. And by 'died' I mean half the screen looks faded/washed out, making it unreadable. Kobo customer service was extremely useless and unhelpful.

Compare that with my Paperwhite that’s 3 years old, and which I still use almost daily… When this finally dies, I’m replacing it with another Kindle.

Anne November 3, 2015 um 12:48 pm

I didn’t notice until you mentioned it, that it has a Pearl screen. I ordered. $7 shipping.

di November 3, 2015 um 1:35 pm

Illuminated Kobo mini HD with Carta-class display, SD card slot and WiFi+BT would be, what I’d want to buy. I doubt, the Pearl screen will be significantly different from the older model’s, should that "older" model actually be one. I, for one, couldn’t find that much of a difference between a number of Kobo Minis and Pocketbook Minis I’ve looked at. Not sure, what to make of that. It could mean, some of Kobo’s devices uses Pearl back than already, or some of Pocketbook’s devices used Vizplex instead of the advertised Pearl. Or maybe I’ve looked at some upper end Vizplex and lower end Pearl displays.

In any case, a Carta display should make it into a 5″ device nowadays. Unfortunately, a premium 5″ device has never been available, i. e., one as good as the best 6″ devices available at the same time. Even today, the best 5″ display still seems to be an E-Ink Pearl one. A pity.

rgdbf November 3, 2015 um 1:51 pm

Do you have some pictures of the new device? Kobo’s web site says, the back is different and non-exchangeable. There’s now picture on the page, and one I enable JavaScript, I’m redirected to a completely different regional Kobo landing site (the offer is apparently only available in the US).

Nate Hoffelder November 3, 2015 um 1:55 pm

I just have the product photos, sorry.

rgdbf November 3, 2015 um 2:12 pm

Do the product pictures you have look different from the old Kobo mini? Reading my earlier post again, it has some bad misspellings. It should have read (with previously misspelled words uppercased): "There’s NO picture on the page, and ONCE I enable JavaScript, …"

Nate Hoffelder November 3, 2015 um 2:35 pm

They look functionally identical.

Name (Required) November 3, 2015 um 2:31 pm

"Unfortunately, a premium 5? device has never been available, i. e., one as good as the best 6? devices available at the same time."

PocketBook 360° was a premium device with better features than the majority of other devices available at the market at that time.

Frank November 3, 2015 um 4:18 pm

The Kobo Mini could be modified to function as a flight computer for paragliders.

DavidW November 3, 2015 um 9:33 pm

Thanks! This is a great find. This is perfect for traveling since it should fit in my pocket easily. I thought I had completely missed out on my chance to buy a mini, and now they’re back!!

Nate Hoffelder November 4, 2015 um 9:44 am


beth November 4, 2015 um 11:01 am

You can install the latest Kobo firmware on the Mini. I did a clean install and it works fine, but it slows down the os quite a bit, although the page turns seem to be the same.

Nate Hoffelder November 4, 2015 um 11:08 am


~B November 5, 2015 um 11:08 am

Now showing as Sold Out.

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