E Reader, Kobo, Kobo Forma, rakuten, Tech

Kobo Forma is a durable, larger take on Kindle Oasis

Rakuten’s Kobo has, for years, been launching e-readers that offer just a little more than Amazon’s Kindle devices. 

The company’s latest e-reader, Kobo Forma, follows a similar formula. Its design is similar to the Kindle Oasis, but Forma matches it on most features and offers a bigger screen (8 vs. 7 inches) and resistance to drops, bends and twists. 

Even though the last version of Oasis has been out nearly a year, the Forma is directly comparable to it in so many ways that the best way to describe it is to note the similarities (and the differences) between the two devices. 

First, the design. It’s obvious that Kobo took cues from the Oasis, as both devices have a handle on one side (instead of the traditional book-like look). Both devices can be used vertically and horizontally. And, on both the Forma and the Oasis, the handle hosts page turn buttons. 

But take a look at the specs, and you’ll see that the Forma offers a bit more in many department. Just like the Oasis, it has 8/32GB of memory, and is waterproof to IPX8 specifications. But it has a larger, 8-inch touchscreen, and it’s also resistant to drops (from up to 2 meter of heights) and other forms of abuse. 

Note that the Forma is marginally heavier than the Oasis (197 vs 194 grams) and, at 160×177.7×8.5mm, a bit larger. 

Some other important tidbits: Kobo boasts up to 6 weeks of battery life for the Forma. Its screen has a 300 ppi resolution, is visible in direct sunlight, and has built-in lighting that can be adjusted for an optimal reading experience in all conditions. But the Oasis has those exact same features as well. 

Software-wise, Kobo Forma supports pretty much every format out there, except Kindle’s AZW. Note that, unlike the Oasis, Forma doesn’t support audiobooks. 

And while Amazon’s e-readers come with the retail giant’s vast library of titles, Kobo isn’t bad in this department either, with access to over 6 million titles. 

Kobo Forma starts at $279.99 in the U.S. (279.99 euros in the EU and 239.99 pounds in the UK), which is a bit more than what Amazon’s asking for the Oasis right now ($249.99). The device will become available for pre-order on Oct. 16; it will arrive in U.S. stores on Oct. 23. The 32GB variant will be available in Japan on Oct. 23, and will be introduced to other markets at a later date. 

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