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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….

36 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

  • 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.

  • 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?



  • 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

  • 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*

  • 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.


  • 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????

  • 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?

  • 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!

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