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Gobii E-reader Review

Gobii is a new electronics brand sold exclusively via kalahari.com. The Gobii e-Reader offers great value for money whilst ticking all the right boxes as far as a simple e-Reader goes.

  • LED Backlit Widescreen Colour LCD screen (16:9) with antiglare treatment
  • 800 x 480 resolution
  • Supports JPG, BMP, GIF and PNG image formats
  • Built-in 4GB storage
  • Storage for up to 6000* eBooks
Price: from R 899 with R 160 FREE ebooks voucher Buy Gobii eReader

The Review – Gobii vs. Kindle

If you want to play in today’s market for e-readers, the yardstick for potential devices must surely be Amazon’s Kindle. Let’s have a quick look at how kalahari’s Gobii eReader fares against the new keyboardless Kindle.

Price from app. R 1 050 R 800 with R 160 voucher
Display eInk: no glare, reads like paper, maximizes battery life backlight LCD: potential for glare, displays colour better, decreased battery life
Storage: 2 GB internal 4 GB internal, SD card slot support up to 16GB
Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC – Note: can not display DRM ePub, which is a problem if you already have a large (non-Kindle) eBook collection Adobe DRM PDF, DRM ePub with reflow, TXT, FB2, PDB – Note: can not display Amazon Kindle books (.azw)
Connectability: 3G and WiFi None – all transfers via USB

Gobii eReader Review – In A Nutshell

Whilst the Gobii eReader compares favourably for most aspects, there are two major drawbacks.

Firstly, the Gobii eReader has no WiFi or 3G connectability – this is a major drawback, especially if you are travelling a lot or plan on using your e-reader away from your laptop/PC.

Secondly, the screen – if I want a LCD screen, I would definitely spend the additional R1k and buy an entry level tablet. Otherwise for a pure e-reader, the eInk technology simply has too many advantages.

If you already have a major collection of ebooks in DRM ePub format and are unsure of whether they will work on a Kindle, then go for the Gobii eReader. Otherwise for just R300 more you can get the latest Kindle with full Wifi, advanced eInk display and better battery life.

Or even better – how about the Kindle Touch….

66 comments to Gobii E-reader Review

  • Kar

    Nook apps are not compatible with your epub book bacuese of DRM. Nook apps can only read the DRM books purchased from the B&N bookstore. The only way to read your DRM epub file is to sideload it on an actual Nook reader using the Adobe software. +1Was this answer helpful?

  • Johan

    This review is a bit one sided. You happen to leave out that over and above ebooks the Gobii also displays Video (Very Clear Picture, supports HD at 800 x 480 res), Plays music and displays pictures etc.

    As far as I know the kindle just allows for ebooks and nothing else because of the e-ink. I prefer the Gobii due to its flexibility. The Battery live according to me is very acceptable! It lasts a long time especialy if I change the settings to show white text on a black background.

    • admin

      Hi Johan

      Thanks for your pointers – I have updated the supported media section in the review! First off, I’d like to say that the Gobii eReader is certainly not a bad device – sales on kalahari are sky high and customers are snapping them up sometimes faster than the guys can get in stock!

      The main reason the review might’ve been unusually harsh, is because it’s evaluating the Gobii as a dedicated eReader only. Whilst the the ability to play video and other media would certainly play in its favour if it compared exceptionally with the Kindle, I personally don’t think this makes up for the lack of wireless connectivity as well as the limited (as compared to Amazon) availability of eBooks.

      In addition, when this review was first published, the price difference between the entry-level Kindle and the Gobii was a lot less than it is now, so the Gobii didn’t have the unique value proposition it now holds.

      With current exchange rates – and the R 160 Free Book voucher – the Gobii is certainly a great value device!

  • Johan

    I Should also mention that there is no limit to what format ebooks you can read. Just get Calibre and you can convert between most types.

  • Daleen

    I would really appreciate it if you could assist me. I received a Gobi for Christmas but my USB point is faulty and Kalahari is not prepared to fix it. Do you know of a Company that would be prepared to replace the USB point. I cannot use the Gobi at the moment because I can’t charge it.

    I would really appreciate your help.


  • Warren

    Will the Gobii read epub and pdf without DRM protection? I.e .PDF /.Epub?

    A lot of my study guides include the normal kind of unprotected (non DRM)PDF and Epub files.

    Or does it activate some sort of control when connecting to the Kalahari e-book store for instance?

    Your help would be appreciated!

    • admin

      Hi Warren

      Unlike the Kindle, the Gobii does not connect to a Kalahari ebook store as such, i.e. there’s no account linked to the device. I’ve never had any issues displaying pdf or epub files on the Gobii, but I would give kalahari a ring to confirm…

  • Bolinka

    I am having a problem, i switched my gobii on and then all of a sudden it went off and nothing is happening. when I charge it, it is showing blue, am i doing something wrong, is there maybe a reset button….

    Please help!

  • Raj

    Hi, does the Gobii have a dictionary ?

  • Bob Prentice

    I dont know if I am at the correct place but my ereader is fully charched but i cannot get it to switch on can anyone help

    • Carina Starkey

      My Gobii ereader is fully charged but will not switch on. Can anyone help?

    • Anja

      Press the power button and hold it for a while. It ought to turn on then. Just be careful though, because if you hold it too long, it will think that you are putting on its sleep function, causing the screen to go black again. If this occurs, press the power button very lightly for only a second.

      Because i almost put it to sleep every time, i’ve found that if you want to turn it on, press and hold the power button for a few seconds and then let the buton go. This ought to turn it on too.

      Good luck

  • Francois

    Would like to find out iff we can buy a charger to charge the gobii from the wall socket?? ( ac charging )

  • Lee Park

    I think that this product is the most user unfriendly thing on the market!

    I fail to see why I need three different accounts. I get mysterious programs and url’s and I still cannot open the file for the e-book I’ve purchased. Interestingly I have an Amazon Kindle as well. That works beautifully. The process is done in under a minute. I’m not this technically challenged. I find the Gobi extremely user unfriendly. Worse is that I’m trying to set this up for my mum, who is not technically, or mentally capable. If I can’t do this easily how the hell will she cope. I’ll definitely be returning this product and buying a Kindle for her. What a load of S..t!!!

  • carol bloom

    I have purchased a gobii e reader and love it….Just 1 question How do you turn the rotate pages off???

  • carol bloom

    ok found it!!!

  • Dayle

    Hi, I am going to be homeschooling my 12 yr old son this year as we live on a farm and petrol is just way too expensive. I would like to get him either a Gobii or Kindle, he is NOT an avid reader, in fact I think he has only read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he is however very computer literate and has his own pc, PS2, PS3, PSP and Wii, I am hoping that an e-reader will spark his interest in reading as its electronic. Do either of these reader’s have an option to explain what a word is, ie define a word, if he comes across a word he does not understand, can he highlight it and choose “dictionary” or something, and (I am really grasping at straws here) is there an app that will read the word to him, if he does not know how to pronounce it. Its not because I am too lazy to tell him what a word means but it will make it easier for him to read on his own, outside of “school hours”.
    Looking forward to your replies.
    Thank you.

  • Willem

    We bought 4 gobii’s for xmas. I love it- except that it goes off quite often while you are busy reading. It then loses your place where you are. It does not even remember the book that you are reading. Now if you have a lot of books, you can actualy not remember the name of the book you are reading at the time when the gobii looses your place completely. One also dont usually remember the page you are on, for incase the gobii bombs out at any given time. The technical guys from kalahari probarbly never used a gobbi ever, since there remark is that “we must be carefull as the on/off button can accidently be pressed”. The on/off button is pressed 10 times a day intentionally when you start and stop reading. Every time the gobbii goes back to the place you were previously. This problem is something completely different.

    • Anja

      Have you turned its sleep fuction off? It might solve the problem.

      Press the menu button-settings -device standby- disabled.

      I think this ought to work.

      When the manual said about accidentally pressing the power button they meant not only is does it turn it on/off, it also puts it to sleep. If it happens, press the power button very gently for only a second and it ought to awake at the place where it was put to sleep.

      I hope this is of any help
      Good luck

  • Gloria Ward

    I think the Gobii eReader is rubbish, I returned the 1st one because it wouldn’t switch on, received another one (I think) which – turns off when it feels like it, when it comes back on you’ve lost the page you were on and have to start from scratch, the wall charger was faulty it just fell out of the eReader, I sent emails complaining and no one answers, I battle to download books, what they said would only take a minute usually ends with my having to contact Kalahari helpline and takes from 1 to 2 hours!!!!!!! The girl helping me said its not my fault. If I could afford to I would throw it in the rubbish bin. I’m forced to buy eBooks from Kalahari other than that I will never buy from them again.

  • Sarie

    I would like to know if there is any way to download and read Barnes and Noble nook books on my Gobii? Gobii claims to be able to read any Adobe DRM epub, but I want confirmation before I open an account with B&N

  • retha terblanche


    how do I create collections for my different genre e books

    Please HELP – I have about 2500 books in calibre, I want to upload them into 6 collections on my Gobii – is this possible?



    • Anja

      Unfortunately, you will have to manually create folders on your computer (eg, thriller, action, adventure.) Then, you will have to manually put the books into the correct files.

      Copy the books back to the gobii

      After disconnecting, press the menu button- go down and press on the “file explorer” button.
      You will see that a new screen will appear. Now you can simply “scroll” around with its directional buttons. (You will see that you will have to press the down button quite a few time before it seems to react- don’t worry about it) Once the grey text becomes black, you will know that the folder is selected. Press the “enter” button (the button which is surrounded by the directional buttons) This will cause that the selected folder is opened.

      If you want to get out of the folder, simply press the return button(the little backward arrow) until you are where you are where you want to be.

      Once turned off and on again, you will have to go to “file explorer again to see the folders you have created again.

      I know it is a tedious job, but I have also done it by sorting my books by author, not one day has gone by that i have regret filing my books this way

      Good luck

  • Alan Berger

    Hi All,
    I bought a Gobi e-reader and just love it, no problems, I even downloaded movies and music, Get yourself a 16 gig memory card, it makes it all the difference. I am not a book reader, but with Gobi, I love it. Kalahari people are brilliant in helping you if you have any questians or seek technical advice. Sure the kindle may have all the gadgets for reading, but my opinion ,,Gobi is no 1. Great features and value for money.

  • Danuta Mieleck

    Can I download photos directly to GOBI via SD card or need to get them to laptop first?

  • Yolanda

    I’m having a huge problem with my gobii. When i plug it into my laptop, it doesnt connect so I can’t charge it and I can’t upload books either. Also the battery doesn’t last anything near 8 hours. More like 5 & 1/2.

  • Brett Rowe

    Where can I get a new screen for my Gobii, can it be replaced.
    I am in Durban.

  • Chrisna

    My Gobii freezes from time to time…I then have to leave it for the battery to go flat and can start again after it switched off (several hours later

    • Anja

      Press and hold the power button until it turns off. Mine has done it too and i have found that it is struggling with the format of the book.

      Use Calibre converter(freeware) and convert it. Load it back onto the Gobii and try it again.

      I didn’t have any problems after doing this.

      Good luck

  • Savannah

    Okay, I’ve had my E-reader for a good few months now!! So quite irritated that all of a sudden the screen doesn’t switch on at all, but the blue light shows when its plugged in to charge or connected to the PC, but also doesn’t give the data option !! Hope somebody can help soon !!
    Thanx ahead*

  • JJ

    is it possible to highlight text, i’d like to use if for reading my study material but wouldn’t make sense if it can’t highlight specific text.

  • Sandi

    Please can you give some advice, have a Gobii that I also need to have someone give me a quote to repair. Mine to id fully charged but wont switch on. Where can I take my Gobii to be checked and fixed. I stay in Gauteng.


  • Linda Lyons

    please could anyone assist me. I have a samsung tablet that i use ebook reading. I recieved a gobii as a gift, but my tablet would not accept the connection via the usb cable. Inorder for toload me ebooks please assist me. Linda

  • Pierre

    My daughter has had a Gobii since December and has had no problems. Today it just flashes couplers and black and white squares. Can someone assist in getting this fixed.


  • louise

    My gobii’s screen does’nt want to come on!!!i was watching a movie while the movie was playing its like it froze!!now my screen is dead but when i plug the charger in the blue light comes on but thats all!!!please help i have had my gobii foe only 1month now.can it just break like that????

    • i also have the same problem i really dont know what to do with it now its soo ANNOYING

    • Anja

      try hard-restarting it.

      Press and hold the power button.(your description isn’t very clear, so i’m not sure if it was tuned off by means of battery issues or if it was put to sleep.)

      If the screen is black, press and hold the power button until it turns on.

      What colour is the light of the gobii when it is charging? If it is like mine, the light will be blue when charging, and when the light turns off, it is full.

      If your gobii is like mine, charge it until it is full and try turning it on by pressing and holding the power button.

      if it doesn’t work, connect the gobii to a computer and copy all your files to the computer. When done try to format it. When format is complete, try to turn it on.

      Good luck in trying to fix your gobii!

  • james

    I have two Gobii units, mine remebers the last page that was read and returns there after I switch it on and select the book, My wife’s one does not want to remember and you have to page to the last page where you where (if you can remeber where you where. How do I change the settings in order for her unit to work like mine and remember the last page?

    • Anja

      Back up your books and disconnect it from the computer.

      After disconnecting it,press the menu button-settings, format memmory- confirm.

      After format is completed, put the backups back on the gobii.

      Open a book and wait for a while. Then press the return(the little arrow button) and see whether the block at the top of the screen is displaying the cover of your book. Select it and press the “enter” the button between the directional buttons.

      Mine has done it too and formatting it has solved my problem. I hope it solves yours too.

      Good luck

  • Jill

    I have a Gobi tablet with a cracked screen. Where can i get it fixed??

  • Chris.jonck

    I am very impressed with the speedy delivery. Order placed Pretoria Thursday 11am, received Friday 8am.
    I am a Apple fan, because of Gobii price and popularity I decided to buy the smartphone for my whife. Setting it up for her! I must add I am verry impressed with it.
    My point of veiw 5 star rating is justified.

  • Linda Botha

    I can not switch on or off my Gobii reader, it is stuck on, on! What can I do the battery
    is full!

  • Brian

    I’ve noticed that ‘admin’ doesn’t reply to the people with faulty Gobii’s.
    I wouldn’t advise my enemy to buy a Gobii ereader.
    My daughter and I both bought one from Kalahari. Com.

    They started out being a good buy, but the you can say goodbye. The battery begins to give problems and then it won’t turn on even when fully charged. Once again Chinese rubbish.

    I will warn many people not to buy this rubbish!!

  • Nyeleti

    Hi I am having trouble with my gobii. When I charge it it has a tendency to stop charing even when the battery is not full. This is worrying me as this might cause serious damage to the battery. Please help

  • Lindie Pretorius

    Please help! someone gave me a gobii ereader for my daughters birthday.
    Everything loaded etc. on computer, and transferred to gobii.
    but when I try to open the book on the e-reader it says “ereader file protected”
    what does it mean and how can I fix the problem?

  • Paige Anderson

    I was reading on my Gobii and it switched itself off. I thought the battery was dead so I charged it and the blue light came on, but now it won’t switch on. Is there a reset button or is it a problem with the screen. I see a lot of people have left comments with the same sort of problem, but no replies as to what is wrong or how to fix it.

  • Janine

    My gobii does not come on. Tried to charge it and nothing. Whe I try to put it on all I get is a a empty battery with a red streak in the middle of the battery. I’m really getting frustrated because I’ve barel used it.

  • Michelle S

    good day, my gobii e-reader wont switch on. I have tried everything. Even tried to connect it up to my computer and its not showing. Any ideas on how to fix it?

  • Diona

    my gobii worked fine until now, it is fully charged but does not want to switch on, pls help

  • Alison

    Blue light on when charging but cannot get screen to come on
    Where can I get a repair quote for Gobii e reader

  • piet

    I need a new battery to be put in my gobii

  • Celesté

    Hi. I bought a Gobii last year June. Very satisfied with it. I have just noticed that the battery life is not that long anymore. I would just like to know if a person can replace the battery and how do you go about changing it(opening it and so forth)Thanks

  • Ronel Pretorius

    Hi please assist, my Gobii charge but don’t want to switch on. Where can I take it to too see what is wrong?

  • Desiree


    I charge my Gobi in the evening and after using it for about 2 hours during the day, the battery show half full and then suddenly the battery show low and die.

    Please assist.


  • Anja

    Press and hold the power button until the screen turns black

    Good luck

  • Elizabeth De wit

    I have a Gobi
    e reader which I can’t charge where can I go to have it sorted out.

  • At Grobbelaar

    A friend of mine has had a Gobii e-reader for approx 1.5 years and now the battery has swollen and popped open the whole assembly. The electronics seem to be undamaged. Where can I have her reading companion repaired or something. pse help!!!

  • Elizabeth De wit

    Is it possible to buy a new battery for my reader.

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