Within the last few weeks Kobo have released their new flagship product, the Kobo Forma. Boasting features such as an 8 inch display, being waterproof and durability technology, Kobo have pulled all the stops to meet their competitors head on. Let’s jump into the detail and see what all the hype is about.
Flexible Portrait And Landscape Mode
So the first thing that sticks out when looking at the Kobo Forma is its shape. Because they’ve make the device square rather than rectangular. This enables you to read comfortably in portrait and landscape mode. You can either chose to lock the EReader into portrait or landscape or leave the setting on auto rotation. It’s nice to see Kobo breaking the mould here and giving users more flexibility around how they wish to read.
Kobo have also created a cover which enables you to read hands free both in portrait and landscape mode. However, this is not included which I personally think is a bit stingy given the device isn’t that cheap to buy already.
I’m seeing this becoming the norm now for the latest range of EReaders and the Kobo Forma is no exception. This EReader can be dunked in 2 meters of water for up to 60 minutes with no side effects which is pretty amazing. This level of protection also covers any accidental splashes that could occur while you’re at the pool on holiday sipping your favourite cocktail.
A word of warning though. The EReader doesn’t float so if you somehow drop it in the pool, you’ll need to dive in pretty quickly before it reaches the bottom. Another word of warning, make sure the USB port is covered otherwise water can seep into the device accidentally.
Adaptive Lighting Features
The Kobo Forma has an interesting feature called Adaptive Lighting Pro. This involves the screen changing colour as time passes which is great for those night time readers. Typically devices such as your mobile phone will emit Blue light which is more likely to keep you awake. This EReader gradually changes colour to a warm Orange glow which is ideal just before you go to bed.
This feature also doesn’t require additional battery life as it relies on the current time set on the EReader. Simply set the time you want to go to bed and the Kobo Forma will take care of the rest.
It’s great to see EReader manufacturers taking users reading habits seriously and adding extra features to ensure they have the most enjoyable experience possible.
Seamless Integration With Other Applications
Kobo have outdone themselves when we take a look at the level of seamless integration they have provided. Typically Amazon are the king at this but I think in this particular instance, Kobo have taken the crown.
From the EReader itself you’ve got access to the store, library borrowing, Pocket ™ Integration and search which I’ll go into more detail about how each of these work and how they have outclassed Amazon in this respect
From the store, not only can you purchase EBooks based on Kobo’s recommendations but you can also try before you buy by renting the book from the Library first. This is using a feature call Overdrive. You can also take your new EReader physical libraries too and borrow books using the Overdrive service. Below is all the libraries you can visit in London and borrow books from.
Kobo have also continued their trend of Pocket ™ Integration with their latest EReader. For those who are unfamiliar with this technology, it basically allows you to share stored articles from the web onto your EReader. You can reach more information on their website.
The final point to touch on here is the search integration. The search function not allows you to search through your EBooks but also find relevant titles through the Kobo store as well as via the local library (Overdrive)
Decent Format Support
So although the Kobo Forma doesn’t support EBooks purchased from the Amazon store, it does allow you to reach a whole range of other formats straight out of the box. Most of your purchases will be through the KOBO store but there is support for the following formats including ((EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR). In my opinion, this does make it more flexible than some of the EReaders that Amazon produces.
I thought the best way to let you get a feel for the design is to share with you Kobo’s overview video.
So let’s take a look at the display. Kobo have gone big here and gone for an inch beautiful looking display. As Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis has a 7 inch display, I do wonder whether or not the in Kobo’s boardroom they just decided to outshine Amazon here by going for that extra inch. Initially when I heard that Kobo have gone for an 8 inch display, I did think it was going to be too much, but because the design is more square than rectangular, it doesn’t seem as imposing.
They’ve also introduced some clever tech here which makes the display slightly bendable. Kobo have done this to increase the durability of the product (in case you accidently drop it). Be warned though, it’s not like you can fold the device in half.
The final point to touch on here is that you hold your finger on the screen (long press) for some additional functionality. If long press on one of your EBooks you can:
- Read Now
- View Details
- Add To A Collection
- Mark As Read/Unread
- Remove The Ebook
A nice bonus which makes it feel more like a phone than a traditional EReader.
Kobo have have gone down a similar route here as the Kindle voyage and introduced physical page turning buttons. The key difference here is that it’s more like a rocker than two buttons. You can rest your thumb in the middle and apply pressure up or down to turn pages rather than physically pressing a page up or page down button. Holding the pressure here allows for fast page scrolling with no long which is a nice addition. Also the page up and down functions can be inverted.
Personally I’m not convinced in the way that they’ve implemented the ‘button’ to be honest. As it’s not too separate buttons, it never feels quite right when using the rocker. Also whilst this mechanism allows for fast page scrolling, it’s something I would rarely use.
Let’s talk build quality. So Kobo here have kept things traditional and gone with the standard plastic and rubber casing approach like many other EReaders. Given the price, I do think this does fall short when I compare this to the sleek aluminum frame that the new Kindle Oasis boasts. The main benefit of their approach is that it keeps the weight down of the EReader.
So speaking of weight, the Kobo Forma comes in at 197g. This is just slightly over the Kindle Oasis but considerably lighter than Amazon’s more basic products such as the Kindle Paperwhite. Given its weight, this does mean you can comfortably hold it in one hand over an extended period of time.
So i’ve mentioned price a couple of times throughout this article so I wanted to provide some more info here. The summary is that with all these features, the Kobo Forma isn’t cheap. Although the prices are fluctuating month to month, it’s basically the same cost as a Kindle Oasis which is at the top end of the EReader market. Although it is pricey, you are getting a lot of features which seems fair.
Some Specs To Compare Against
I’ve included a summary of some of the specs that I feel are personally important to consider when looking at getting a new EReader.
|Kobo Forma||Kindle Oasis||Kindle Paperwhite||Kobo Aura One|
|Size||8 Inches||7 Inches||6 Inches||7.69 Inches|
|Display||300 PPI||300 PPI||300 PPI||300 PPI|
What I Like
I’m a big fan of the 8 inch display and that fact you can use the EReader both in portrait and landscape mode. I also like the fact that they have kept up with the times and made the Kobo Forma waterproof. The seamless library integration for me is excellent and the best I’ve seen so far on EReaders.
What I Don’t Like
I touched on this early but it is a shame that the hands free doesn’t come as standard with the purchase when customers have already paid a fair amount of money for this EReader already. I would have like to have seen some audiobook integration too similar to the Kindle Oasis. The final minor point here to touch on is that I think it would look better with a metallic casing as opposed to the rubber and plastic feel but this isn’t a deal breaker for me
So that’s my review of the new Kobo Forma. An Ereader packed full of features for those who are prepared to pay a little more for their next device. They are giving Amazon some stiff competition and I’m looking forward to how the battle between these two tech giants play out.
Until next time