At AU$189, the Kogan eBook Reader is one of the most affordable on the market, even clocking in below the new Kindle, which goes for US$189 plus postage. Unfortunately, it shows.
The Kogan sports a navy blue plastic chassis with the six-inch E Ink display situated in the middle of the front. To minimise the space needed by navigation, the button placement has been streamlined and placed on either side of the screen instead of the lower half of the facade. While these are well placed for thumb access, they're stiff to press and feel plastic-y and cheap; we can't help comparing the 12 tab buttons down the right-hand side unfavourably to the minimal rubber nav-pad on the Kobo.
The power button is discreetly tucked away on the rubberised back; since the top and bottom edges are curved, this protects it somewhat from unwanted presses. The rubberised back also houses an SDHC card slot and reset button, as well as a mini USB port for charging and computer connection and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
At just 229g, the Kogan feels light and comfortable in the hand, the rubber back smooth and pleasant; although with the included leather protective case, how often you'll be holding the device naked is up in the air.
For a basic, inexpensive device, the Kogan sure packs in a lot of features. The first is file support: it supports 17 types of ebook format (including PDF, ePub and TXT); image file formats BMP, GIF, JPD, PNG and TIF; and audio MP3 files.
Because of the 12 buttons down the left-hand side of the screen, a few options are available that aren't available on the Kobo. For example, the device integrates a search function; the buttons are assigned a few letters each, like a mobile phone's keypad, and you cycle through letters to type in words. Because of this feature, the Kogan can also use a dictionary, although this isn't included: you have to provide your own.