by james | 6:30 am

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.

 

Kobo Forma

An Impressive Wide Display To Make Reading Even More Enjoyable

Special Features

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.

 

It’s Waterproof

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.

 

Kobo Forma

Your Books Can Also Be Easily Arranged Into Collections

 

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.

 

The Design

I thought the best way to let you get a feel for the design is to share with you Kobo’s overview video.

 

The Screen

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.

 

Physical Buttons

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.

 

Build Quality

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.

Kobo Forma

An Impressive Resolution Means It’s Even Suitable For Graphic Novels

The Price

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
Weight 197g 194g 217g 230g
Display 300 PPI 300 PPI 300 PPI 300 PPI
Colours available Black Black Black/White Black

 

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

 

Conclusion

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

Cheers

James

Comments

Linda

I had never heard of Kobo befre, until now. It does not sound good by what I just read. I assume it is a Kindle competitor; am I correct? I am probably not, so please correct me. I believe it is so unfortunate to know that a shape of something can make such difference and such a negative impact as well. What a shame. It is alarming. 

Jan 09.2019 | 06:47 am

    james

    Hi Linda,

    It is indeed a competitor against Amazon. I’m curious as to what features you didn’t like compared to an Amazon device? Indeed the shape can make a major difference to your reading experience. Happy to answer further questions if you have any.

    Cheers

    James

    Jan 21.2019 | 07:21 am

Darren

I’m not really one for e-readers as I prefer to read from a real book. I did have a kindle once but just couldn’t get on with it.

Now saying that the Korba Forma does sound rather intriguing with regards to the voice of landscape or portrait advantages. I think the square shape instead of rectangle sounds very interesting and one that would be appealing to me.

Jan 09.2019 | 06:51 am

    james

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for your comment. Fair enough on the book front. Personally I use both as they’ve got their pros and cons. Yes the mode of reading is an interesting twist that most of the other competitors haven’t changed really. If you do change your mind, happy to answer further questions.

    Cheers

    James

    Jan 21.2019 | 07:24 am

Tarun

hi

very detailed article. the Kobo forma sounds fantastic! It’s larger and lighter than the other Ereaders

What I really like about it is that its waterproof and adaptive lighting which is key when you get carried away with the novel

Can you let me know how does it compare against the iPad? 

Also, would this be a good gift for a 6-year-old or do you have an alternative

Thanks

Jan 09.2019 | 06:59 am

    james

    Hi Tarun,

    Glad you liked the post. In terms of comparing it to the IPad the key differences are around the IPad has the potential to cause eyestrain after prolonged use due to the screen they’ve implemented. Also The IPad’s a lot more customisable compared to the Kobo Forma but you have a hefty price tag to pay for it.

    In terms of a gift for a 6 year old. It might be worth taking a look at the new Kindle Paperwhite as it has a lot of features to encourage kids to read. You can check out my review here:

    https://bestereadersonthemarke

    Any questions let me know

    Cheers

    James

    Feb 02.2019 | 07:41 am

mzakapon

Hi James,

Excellent review of Kobo Forma Ebook reader. I like the feature and it’s color. I have a plan for buying two products for my daughters. I have to check out their price. Is there any warranty and how is there service? I am going to discuss about this with my wife. Thanks for sharing this helpful information.  

Jan 09.2019 | 10:48 am

    james

    Hi Mzakapon,

    Thanks for your comment and glad to hear you like the sound of the Kobo Forma. In terms of warranty I think the product comes with the standard 12 months guarantee which you cannot extend.

    Happy shopping and hope your purchases go well!

    Cheers

    James

    Feb 02.2019 | 07:43 am

Sujandar Mahesan

This seams like a real deal breaker for Amazon and of course a great competitor. KOBO FORMA sounds really fun with loaded technology for all the EReaders out there. I especially like the waterproof material where the reader can be dunked 2 meters for 60 minutes. That is just awesome.

Thank you so much for sharing this article with us.

Jan 09.2019 | 02:24 pm

    james

    Hi Sujander,

    thanks for the comment and glad you liked the post. I was pretty impressed with the water resistance too. Tech like this was just unthinkable a few years back.

    let me know if you have any further questions

    cheers

    James

    Feb 03.2019 | 08:39 am

Helen

James, I am a Kobo lover. My current one is the second edition H2O and I love it. As I haven’t needed a new one, your article here is the first I have read on the Forma. From what I can see these two have many of the same features with, as I would expect, some additional improvements. The portrait and landscape options are very interesting. I read a lot pre going to sleep and my eReader is constantly being position shifted.

One thing that was also surprising was, Amazon sells the Forma covers. Maybe one day Amazon and Kobo will reach an agreement about being able to download books from one to the other. One author I really like used to sell via Kobo. Now he seems to have disappeared from there and gone to Amazon. The result, I can’t download his books.

I also had one person interested in buying a Kobo eReader (this Forma looks like it would suit her admirably) but she started with Kindle and has hundreds of books that can’t be switched over. This is a shame. If the two companies co-ordinated I believe both would benefit!

Kobo has certainly led the way with waterproof eReaders. I read the newest Kindle is the first waterproof Amazon one. Previously the waterproofing was done via the covers. Our first Kobo with waterproofing was three years ago. Kobo set the trend here.

One think I was disappointed with, is that Kobo used to have a few games. These were great little breaks during long books and they also put me to sleep when I couldn’t get there myself!

A cute little story about out first H2O. Every time our puss sits on it, a message says ‘water on page’. And she hasn’t even had an accident!

Great review.

CiaoHelen

Jan 09.2019 | 11:36 pm

    james

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks very much for you comment. I always love reading posts from people that have had similar EReaders in the past and learning from their experiences.

    I would love to see the day when there is a bit more collaboration between the two companies both in terms of flexibility of their book services and their accessories. Until that day I think there are some workarounds in terms of converting books from one format to another but it does require some technical knowhow and a lot of time investment in the case of the hundreds of book example you raised.

    It is a shame to see EReaders generally moving away from the game front. Sometimes you need that small distraction before jumping into the next chapter. The only exception to this are Onyx where you can download additional Android apps (which include games)

    Thanks for sharing the personal story. Love it!

    If you have any further questions, please let me know

    Cheers

    James

    Feb 04.2019 | 01:56 am

Todd McKeever

Nice post. I must admit that I feel a little behind due to this is the first I have heard of the Kobo.

I like the shape of the square that you mentioned it has been designed in. The lighting change is attractive to me as well. I do wok dee how this Kobo compares to getting am iPad Mini now that the price is creeping up there a litle? 

You made mention it doesn’t support books from Amazon but from its own store. How big is that store?

Again.thanks for your review. 

Jan 10.2019 | 05:13 am

    james

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks very much for the comment. I too like the fact that Kobo are trying something a little different here in terms of their design. Who knows, perhaps it will become new standard. 

    So the key differences here when comparing to the IPad are around the type of light the device emits and the flexibility of the device. IPad’s emit blue light which is intended to keep you awake longer whereas the Kobo is emitting a more natural form of light that adjusts as time goes by so that you’re not awake at night after you’ve finished a chapter. With the IPad you can install apps whereas with the Kobo, the number of apps is fixed.

    Kobo’s store is pretty massive too, though not the size of Amazon’s. Either way it still has a lifetime of books available for you to read.

    If you have any further questions, please let me know

    Cheers

    James 

    Feb 05.2019 | 08:24 am

Shui Hyen

Hey James,

Thank you for your thorough review of the new Kobo Forma. I was planning to buy one for wife’s birthday, so l headed over to Amazon but there some negative feedbacks especially the poor screen quality, uneven screen color and yellowish, plus right-hand size got a white strip.  The Kobo Forma Cover is also of poor and whimsy quality. Furthermore, this Kobo Forma is a bit pricey.

Instead, would you recommend an IPad Pro and what is the between them.

Best wishes

Jan 10.2019 | 06:09 am

    james

    Hi Shui,

    Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately it can be down to the luck of the draw whether or not you receive a product that needs to be sent back because it has an issue. The majority of customers will have no issues but there will always be some. The is also the case for Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite too. The good thing is that if something is defective you have a 12m warranty to get it replaced. 

    At this stage I wouldn’t recommend the IPad pro over the other as it depends what you’re looking for. 

    If you have any further questions, please let me know

    Cheers

    James

    Feb 05.2019 | 08:28 am

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