Kobo Mini

Kobo has announced the Mini, a 5-inch e-reader that is pretty much a scaled-down version of the Touch.

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Kobo is gearing up for Christmas with a trio of new devices. First in the stable is the Mini: its pocket-sized, ultra-thin E Ink reader.

It's the smallest, lightest e-reader in the Australian market, to date, coming in at just 134 grams — not bad at all, considering the next e-reader up is the Cybook Opus at 150 grams — and, at 133.1x202.6x10.1 millimetres (hxwxd), it's a hair or two smaller than the Sony Reader Pocket Edition, which will probably be its closest competitor on the Australian market.

It's very much a scaled down Kobo Touch, one of our favourite e-readers and running on a similar interface — a simple bare-bones navigation that, nevertheless, manages to include the Kobo store, Facebook and Twitter integration, Kobo's Reading Life, a built-in dictionary, a go-to-page function and annotations.

Specs-wise, it doesn't offer much that's new; the battery life has been scaled back from four weeks to two with the Wi-Fi on, which is a little baffling, and it has a 16-level grayscale E Ink Vizplex screen — the same as the Touch.

There are two things we find most exciting about the Mini. Firstly, you can purchase interchangeable backs, so you can choose a colour to suit your mood: ruby, purple or teal.

The second is the price point: it's coming in at under AU$100, a first for one of the top e-reader brands, and we expect the Mini to take pride of place as the budget e-reader of choice. It will be available for pre-order from Collins, from the evening of 6 September 2012, and will arrive in stores in October.

Kobo has announced two other new devices, the six-inch Kobo Glo, with a front light for night-time reading, and a seven-inch LCD tablet e-reader, the Kobo Arc, which is due out in November.

Stay tuned for our full review.

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