When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

Is the entry-level Kobo Nia e-reader worth your money?

If you're an avid reader like me, it is a very real possibility that you either own an e-reader or plan to buy one at some point in your life. As a person who has way too many books on my to-read list and not enough storage space at home, an electronic device serves as the perfect solution. Sure, bibliophiles across the world will unanimously agree that there's nothing that can truly replace the feel of paper - or the smell of it even - but it just isn't feasible for the vast majority of bookworms.

So the conclusive answer for many book lovers of today is to buy an e-reader that suits their needs and caters to their tastes. Currently, there are many different ranges of reading devices sold by various brands at different price tiers. Two of the biggest names in the e-reader marketplace that have been competing in a tight race are Amazon and Kobo.

In July 2020, Kobo released the Kobo Nia, an entry-level e-reader that targets budget shoppers. The specs of the device are very similar to Amazon's inexpensive Kindle Basic priced at $89.99 with ads and $109.99 without ads. Today, we will discuss whether the Kobo Nia is worth spending $99.99 on. For the purpose of providing context, this article will use the Kindle Basic as a base comparison.


Display 6-inch 212 PPI Carta E Ink display, 1024 × 758
Weight 172g
Connectivity WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Micro USB
Battery 1,000mAh
Storage 8GB
Front-light ComfortLight, one-colour with adjustable brightness
Languages English, French, French (Canada), German, Spanish, Spanish (Mexico), Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Turkish, Japanese, Traditional Chinese

Reading experience

When analysing the bang for buck value of the Kobo Nia, the utmost important factor would be the usability and features the e-reader offers. First off, the reading experience is extremely customizable with 12 fonts, more than 50 font styles, and options like font weight and sharpness settings. There are also options that can be invoked after selecting text such as highlighting, saving a note, or initiating a web search.

The glare-free 6-inch Carta E Ink display may be small but it makes for a comfortable reading experience. Reading at night is made easy with the addition of a front-light and easily adjustable brightness through the settings bar or by swiping the left corner of the screen.

There isn't much weight to the budget e-reader from Kobo, which simulates the slight heaviness of an actual book at times. Notably, the Nia is free of advertisements, unlike the cheaper version of its similarly-priced competitor from Amazon. Another nifty feature exclusive to the Kobo device is the availability of reading stats such as average speed, reading progress, and other such data.

It is also easy to move e-books from a computer to the Kobo Nia. The total storage on the e-reader is 8GB which translates to about 6,000 books according to the Kobo website. Of course, some of the chunkier files such as comics or PDF files will definitely take more space and therefore reduce that figure.

Supported formats

Kobo's entry-level reading device supports a total of 15 assorted file formats. These include generic ones such as ePub, PDF, and MOBI as well as uncommon ones such as CBZ and CBR which are typical formats for storing digital comic books. In comparison, the more popular Kindle Basic does not offer support for the latter file formats or even ePub files.

E-book selection

One of the biggest considerations when choosing an e-reader brand is definitely the range of books that will be available on the device. Kobo provides a great selection of books that can be bought straight from the Nia without any hassle. The Kobo e-book store offers a variety of genres and carries titles from all major publications like Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Scholastic Press.

Performance and battery life

As is to be expected from such an affordable piece of gadgetry, the performance is a bit slow and prone to lag. Considering the sole purpose of an e-reader though, this isn't as big of a problem if one is patient enough. Basic functions such as browsing books, flipping through pages, and toggling settings work well enough.

Kobo opted for a 1,000mAh battery in the basic e-reader which is supposed to last for 'weeks'. This, of course, is entirely subjective to the user's reading habits. Needless to say, if you're a regular reader the battery will need charging at least once in three or four days. The charge time is average, taking up about one hour to go from zero to full juice.

Final verdict

After considering all the main features, specifications, and highlights of the Kobo Nia, the time has now come to pass judgment. Is the entry-level Kobo Nia e-reader worth your money? Well, factoring in the lack of ads, excellent book selection, support for a wide array of file formats, and reading stats, the answer is yes. Sure, you may have to trade-off performance for affordability. But overall, it is definitely a decent reading device that provides great value for its $99.99 price tag.

As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Report a problem with article
Next Article

Images of Samsung's supposed Galaxy S21 Ultra case with S Pen housing leak

Previous Article

Save 95% off this Master CompTIA Training Bundle

Join the conversation!

Login or Sign Up to read and post a comment.

7 Comments - Add comment