Kobo Nia takes on Amazon's entry-level Kindle with a sharper screen

Kobo Nia
(Image credit: Kobo)

Kobo is giving Amazon a lot of competition – the company's Clara HD can go toe-to-toe with the Kindle Paperwhite, while last year's Libra H2O is a more affordable alternative to the premium Kindle Oasis

Now, Kobo is giving the entry-level ereader market a stab, announcing the new Nia to take on the basic Kindle. The Nia replaces the now-discontinued Kobo Aura, the company's former entry-level ereader, and shares some of the latter's key specs. 

Like the Aura, the Kobo Nia features a 6-inch display with a screen resolution of 1024 x 758 pixels, which translates to 212 pixels per inch (ppi). That puts it ahead of the Kindle's 167ppi 6-inch display, giving Kobo an edge over its Amazon rival.

Light reading

The latest E Ink technology and a brand-new 1GHz processor means the Nia gets a massive performance boost over its predecessor. It also doubles up on internal storage with 8GB of space (as compared to the Aura's 4GB) that will hold a library of about 6,000 ebooks. In some markets, like in the US, the Kindle comes with just 4GB of internal storage (although in Australia it's only available in the 8GB flavor), which gives the Nia another edge over the Amazon alternative.

Kobo's patented ComfortLight technology has made its way to the Nia, offering a front-lit screen whose brightness can be adjusted by just swiping along the left edge of the device. There's also a 1,000mAh battery that, Kobo promises, will offer weeks of reading per charge. 

All of Kobo's ereaders – the Nia included – come with baked-in OverDrive support, meaning users in Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore will be able to borrow ebooks from their local library – a great money-saving tool.

The Nia is also very portable, with similar dimensions to the Kindle and the Clara HD. It measures 112.4mm wide, 159.3mm long and has a thickness of 9.2 mm, and weighs just 172g. 

The Kobo Nia is available now in select countries directly from the Kobo Store or from major retailers for $99.99 / £89.99 / AU$149.95. That's a little higher than the 10th-generation Kindle's price tag of $89.99 / £69.99 / AU$139, but you are getting a higher resolution screen.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.