A few observations in no particular order:

After two days’ heavy use — dozens of miscellaneous documents (RTF, PDF, TXT and EPUB) and over 250 pages of one work-related book, the battery is down to 3/4 of its charge. This is better than expected and suggests a recharge once a week should do the trick for any reader who keeps the Wifi off except when really needed.

It *usually* lets me “turn” pages with a finger-tap but often doesn’t respond to my fingers otherwise. This is odd since I have small hands and imagine people with large ones would risk inadvertently tapping two icons instead of one. I can only guess my fingers are too hot or too dry to suit the touchscreen.

A tap in the middle of the page brings up toolbars at the top (Home, book title, wifi status, battery level and ome settings) and the bottom
(% read, book settings, navigation, font settings, page-turning/refresh settings) but it would have been really nice if there had been at least a slip of paper in the box to explain how to get there and what the settings which icons lead to.

Another tap mid-page dismisses the toolbars…when they don’t vanish by themselves before I can use them. In all fairness, this may be my fault but I haven’t figured out why it happens. Nor why the Kobo seems to decide I need words like “and” or “central” defined and pops up its dictionary, which I find annoying since I sometimes need three tries to dismiss the little pop-up and then get rid of the strange icon it puts on the word when it goes.

Changing the font and size is useful but not all fonts accommodate accented or non-Roman characters, and that’s essential for me. The OpenDyslexic font may be helpful to some but I find it harder to read than most of the others.

Bookmarking a page is as simple as a tap in the upper right corner. The little book icon hides the Search option as well as the useful Annotations option which brings up a tiny QWERTY keyboard. I particularly like the fact that you can see a list of your bookmarks and notes and navigate with a tap.

I assume habitual texters will find the onscreen keyboard easier than I do: I’ve been touch-typing so long it annoys me to resort to hunt-and-peck…but I dare say I’ll get used to it.

The Kobo Mini is not ideal for dealing with PDFs, especially scans of older documents. Scaling up a page so as to make it legible with the little slider is unsatisfactory: I can read the middle of the page but can’t get to the top or bottom that gets cut off and have to shift the page to the left to be able to tap to get to the next page. The user guide I downloaded glosses over this problem.

The ideal solution would be to be able to see the document in “landscape” view and get a whole half-page at a time. If that’s possible, I haven’t figured out how to do it.

I have become a real fan of eInk for reading — even contrast and sharpness are adjustable, which is wonderfully helpful with eyestrain —
but it’s not ideal for reading tiny print on maps or seeing fine detail in illustrations.

Most users would probably prefer one of the larger and newer e-readers that can handle graphic formats better and will accommodate the audio and video now being added to “enhanced e-books.” For me, the Mini is a good option despite its limitations. The small size and light weight make it easier to handle and transport than most books I want to read, and it even lets me take notes on research materials.

I wouldn’t want to write a novel on it but suspect it might do for a quick e-mail from a wifi cafe…if I could only remember which icon led to Extras and thus to the browser.

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