The Amazon Kindle Oasis 2 and Kobo Forma are two flagship e-readers that cost hundreds of dollars to purchase, but are brimming with features to captivate people who want to read ebooks.Which of these two e-readers are better?
The new Kindle Oasis features a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with resolution of 1680 x 1264 and 300 PPI. The front-lit display is powered by 12 LEDs for uniform lighting across the screen and allows you to read in the dark. The Kindle Voyage was the first Kindle with an ambient light sensors that adjusts the brightness as you move from room to room, or from outdoors to indoors and the all new Oasis has the same functionality. The Kindle Oasis has a IPX8 rating which means it can stay completely submerged in two meters of freshwater for up to sixty minutes, the Kobo Forma has the same certification. This means that if you use either of these two e-readers in the bathtub or the beach they can be submerged for up to 60 minutes.
The Kindle Oasis utilizes a brand new Freescale dual-core 1GHz processor, which is the only e-reader that is using it. It has 512MB of RAM, Bluetooth, WIFi and access to the Audible audiobook store, so you can listen to audiobooks via wireless headphones or speakers. Kobo does not offer Bluetooth or audiobook functionality.
The Kobo Forma has an 8 inch display E INK Mobius and Carta HD screen, making it more flexible than the Oasis. It has a resolution of 1440 × 1920 and 300 PPI. It is powered by a Freescale IMX6 Solo Lite 1 GHZ processor. It has 512MB of RAM and has two different storage options, 8GB and 32GB. It does not have an SD card.
The Forma lighting system is better than the Kindle because it employs a color temperature system. This device has 17 LED lights, half of them are white and the others are red. This provides even light distribution, but you can mute the bright white lights with various degrees of orange, to produce a candlelight effect. The warm light system is totally configurable with slider bars or can be totally disabled.
The Oasis and Forma both have manual page turn buttons, which is good for for people who do not want to rely exclusively on the touchscreen. The Oasis has automatic orientation that switches from landscape to portrait mode, but the Forma has 360 degree orientation via a gyroscope and there is an option to lock the orientation once you find a mode you like.
One of the big advantages of the Forma is that you can borrow ebooks directly from your local library, if they do business with Overdrive. You can save hundreds of dollars borrowing content from the library instead of buying it. The Oasis has a more complicated version of Overdrive support via WhisperNet, but it only available with an internet browser and is only for US customers. The Forma also has a color temperature system and more LED lights than the Oasis. This results in more even light distribution and you can mute the bright white screen with various degrees of orange. It basically gives you a candlelight effect, which is good if you are reading in bed at night next to your partner.
When it comes to the overall ebook experience, Amazon has a deeper ecosystem of ebooks, thanks to the success of the Kindle Direct Publishing system where millions of authors submit their own content. This is sometimes a double-edged sword, as there is a definite lack of quality, but the cream always rises to the top. Kobo is no slouch when it comes to their ebook store and they organize it really well, it is easier to find big name authors and content from major publishers. Their bestseller lists and featured lists are better than Amazon. Amazon and Kobo both have extensive manga selections, I think Manga looks better on the Forma, thanks to the larger screen and rapid page turn engine.
Reading on both of these devices are really good. Kobo has a bit of an advantage because you can sideload in your own fonts and it has more advanced options to control the font size, font weight and others via slider bars. Amazon is a little more basic, but more appealing to new users.
The video below is our full comparison video where you can visually get a sense of the hardware and software experience. Peter walks you through the reading experience with both ebooks and manga, the shopping and some of the software based features like Kobo Awards and X-Ray.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.