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Kobo Nia Overview: A Good Kindle Alternate

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Long immediately after the relaxation of my loved ones is in bed, I tear through New England seashore romance novels about people today with names like Passion or Hard cash, who get their hearts damaged, try to eat truffle breadsticks, and dry their whale shorts on clotheslines. Luckily, these textbooks are free—I’ve been downloading 1 each and every number of days from my nearby library on the Kobo Nia, a new e-book reader.

Kobo, which is owned by the Japanese company Rakuten, demands to exist. Competitiveness pushes innovation forward. Arguably, options like waterproofing on Amazon’s Kindles wouldn’t exist if the Kobo did not insert it first. It is also the most handy ebook reader if you study absolutely free guides. It supports a broader wide range of file formats and is built-in with OverDrive, the digital platform that operates with most libraries and colleges all over the world.

That in itself will not make the Nia a good invest in. As a competitor to the entry-stage Kindle, it isn’t going to help Bluetooth or audiobooks, and it is really a little bit additional high priced. But if you vote with your pounds, it really is most likely worth a minor a lot more to escape Amazon’s stranglehold on media. I almost certainly saved additional than $10 on library guides this 7 days by yourself.

Totally free Time

Photograph: Kobo

The rationale you get a Kobo is to study absolutely free ebooks. Rakuten purchased OverDrive in 2015 and then bought it in 2019, but it’s even now properly built-in into the Kobo system.

It’s not tough to down load a guide on a Kindle: I log into my library, pick the structure, go to Amazon’s web site, send out it to the Kindle, and obtain the guide there. But as uncomplicated as that is, discovering guides on OverDrive is so substantially less difficult. When I look for for books on the Nia, I decide on OverDrive, and then faucet Borrow. Which is it. And since there’s sufficient storage on the Nia for 6,000 textbooks, I can examine a ebook a working day … or a good deal much more.

It’s unclear how considerably for a longer period this will be the case—a whole lot sooner if men and women stop acquiring Kobos!—but for the second, my library procedure in Portland, Oregon, gives a lot of a lot more textbooks in OverDrive than in Kindle, specifically beach front reads. I took edge of briefly obtaining a Kobo to obtain a lot of them.

PDFs on the Kobo are also a breeze to entry. Just plug the Kobo into a laptop computer, then drag and fall downloaded PDFs into the Kobo folder. It is significantly less complicated to use than Amazon’s Send out to Kindle feature. (Though it’s worth noting that you can drag and fall documents with a plugged-in Kindle as well. Send to Kindle is just awful).

As well as, the display screen is also better-resolution than the entry-amount Kindle, at 212 pixels per inch as an alternative of 167. A sharper display screen is nicer on the eyes. And the recessed, 6-inch grayscale E-Ink Carta screen has an adjustable entrance gentle that performs well as I study by way of the lifeless of evening.

The Gradual Zone

The Kobo Nia appears to be like a great deal like the entry-level Kindle. There are only marginal variances in dimension and body weight. Like the Kindle, it is also quick to keep and flip via internet pages with just one hand.

It doesn’t have a particularly quick processor, and truthfully, I wasn’t anticipating that to be a difficulty. Flipping as a result of electronic internet pages is not particularly a intricate operation. But typing on the Nia’s touchscreen and ready for it to connect with up textbooks is noticeably slower and clunkier than on the Kindle.

Practically nothing can make you sense like far more of a diva than to be driven to the ragged edge of madness by the duration of time it usually takes to log into an e-reader. When I checked my enjoy afterward, it experienced taken much less than 15 minutes. And you do only have to do it the moment. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that you could invest some time patiently waiting around for each individual letter to display up in the research bar immediately after you tap at the monitor, and then a couple further minutes muttering, “No, N! Not M!” to yourself.

Photograph: Kobo

Kobo does warn that you have to make the machine go to slumber to save battery existence. If you don’t use a SleepCover—which is also pretty adorable, gentle, and brightly colored—you have to simply click the button at the bottom of the Nia to make it go to snooze. Even with this precaution, battery lifetime is only so-so. I can go months without recharging the entry-stage Kindle, but after studying all over 2 hrs a working day in my late-evening binges, the Nia interrupted me and claimed it was time to recharge.

No cost to Be You and Me

Evaluating solutions just isn’t as uncomplicated as placing a single set of specs against yet another. The Nia does price marginally more than the entry-stage Kindle. But the experience is just a minimal little bit worse. And you get less options, which could make a distinction if you listen to audiobooks on your e-reader as an alternative of on your smartphone, like a regular human being.

But we will not shop in a vacuum. $100 just isn’t an exorbitant price, and the extra cost would be more than justified if your neighborhood library procedure makes use of OverDrive, as it most likely does. And as WIRED senior editor Michael Calore has pointed out, OverDrive isn’t the only way you can get free of charge ebooks. You can also score PDFs of older books from Job Gutenberg.

If you were being waiting around for an entry-amount Kobo, this is it. It is really not terrible, and you also get the capability to adhere it to Amazon. If you want a lot more functions, like waterproofing and extended battery existence, and you however don’t want a Kindle, search to the rest of Kobo’s lineup, which also goes on sale regularly.

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