Kobo has just announced the Forma e-reader and this device features a giant 8 inch screen and manual page turn buttons. Ebooks can be read in both landscape and portrait mode and it even has built-in Overdrive library functionality.
The Forma has an E-Ink Mobius display, which is flexible and made of plastic. It is 15% lighter than the Kobo Aura One and weighs 197g. Kobo has disclosed that this their most durable eReader ever and should withstand drops of more than 2 meters, as well as more bends, twists, full handbags, and overloaded backpacks than any previous eReader.
The spec sheet for the Forma mentions that it uses both Mobius and Carta HD. Like most display technologies, E Ink displays use an active matrix thin film transistor (TFT) backplane. The TFT backplane is an array of transistors that are typically deposited on a piece of glass. These transistors control each pixel on the display. The layer on top of the TFT backplane determines the actual display type (e.g. E Ink, LCD, OLED, etc.). In the case of E Ink, this layer contains the actual ink particles that creates the image. The Carta technology is the latest version of this layer and determines the optical properties, such as contrast ratio. The Mobius technology replaces the glass TFT backplane with a flexible plastic TFT backplane. This plastic backplane is thinner, lighter and stronger than glass backplanes. This in turn enables Kobo Forma’s lightweight and ergonomic design.
The 8 inch display 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.
This device has a front-lit display and also a Comfortlight color temperature system, so you will be able to read at night. It will have both white and red LEDS, it looks like it has 17 lights total for even light distribution across the screen. It is also waterproof with an IPX8 rating, so you will be able to use it at the beach in the bathtub and it can be completely submerged for up to 60 minutes.
Many people have stated that Kobo has borrowed heavily from the Kindle Oasis from a design perspective, but I think Kobo is doing something far more interesting. The back of this e-reader is completely flat and can be held with one hand. Whereas the Kindle Oasis has a small hump, where the battery is. The Forma also has a far superior battery, which should last around three weeks on a single charge. The Kindle Oasis 2 has a 1,000 mAh and the new Kobo Forma has a 1,200 mAh battery.
“Our top customers spend an average of three hours per day on our eReaders. In fact, tens of thousands of our top customers read 7 to 8 hours per day, and that is exactly why we continue to innovate to make our devices beautiful and comfortable for full-time readers. These booklovers put reading ahead of all other forms of entertainment, and with Kobo Forma, they can comfortably read for as many hours as they desire. It’s the latest big step in our quest for the perfect reading device,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo.
“Kobo’s team of reading scientists and designers worked relentlessly to perfect the most comfortable digital reading experience for booklovers. We investigated what readers want in an eReader and focused on its weight, shape, size, and materials to ensure Kobo Forma feels perfect in their hands,” said Ramesh Mantha, VP, Product, Devices.
Kobo Forma, with 8GB of storage, will be available in black and will retail for $299.99 CAD, $279.99 USD, 279.99 Euro and 239.99 GBP at select retailers and at www.kobo.com. Pre-orders begin October 16, and as of October 23, Kobo Forma will be available in stores and online in Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Japan, and Spain; and as of October 30 in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, and Turkey; early 2019 in Mexico. Kobo Forma with 32GB of storage will be available in Japan October 23, and will be available in other countries at a later date.
Good e-Reader has the Kobo Forma in our studio and currently in the process of conducting an unboxing and review video. They should be available on the Good e-Reader YouTube Channel this weekend. A full and comprehensive written review will be available on Friday or Saturday.
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 CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.