These two e-readers have a fair bit in common. The Onyx Boox Nova and Kobo Forma basically have the same screen size and you get a good ebook experience with 300 PPI. There is no SD card on either of the two devices, so you have to make do. The Forma has two different storage options: 8GB and 32GB, while the Nova just has a 32GB version. What e-reader is better? Read on to find out.
The Kobo Forma has a giant 8 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1440 × 1920 and 300 PPI. Many e-readers are using Carta HD or Mobius for the screens, but Kobo is using both. Now you might be wondering, how is this e-reader using two different screen technologies at the same time? 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. Kobo claims that by using Mobius the e-reader is 15% lighter than the Kobo Aura One and weighs 197g.
Underneath the hood is a Freescale/NXP IMX6 Solo Lite 1 GHZ processor. It has 512MB of RAM and has two different storage options, 8GB and 32GB. The 32GB version initially will only be available in Japan, but it should have wider availability in more markets next year. Choosing the right storage option is important, because the Forma does not have expandable storage via an SD card. It also has a power button and USB port for charging.
The Onyx Boox Nova feature a giant 7.8 inch E-Ink Carta HD screen with a resolution of 1872×1404 and 300PPI. It has a color temperature system so you can read in the dark. The display is not as good as the Kobo Forma, but the hardware is more powerful.
Underneath the hood is a 1.6GHZ quad core processor and there is 2GB of RAM, so in conjunction with the processor it will handle most apps with ease. Speaking of apps, the Nova is running Android 6.0, so it is compatible with almost every major app out there, such as Goodreads, Overdrive or Kindle. Meanwhile the Forma is running Linux.
The major selling points of the Forma is that it has Overdrive built right in and you can borrow library books with ease. It also has a great bookstore, so you can buy ebooks right on the device. The Nova is running Android, so you will have to find your own ecosystem to buy books, but this is an advantage because you can deal with multiple retailers, instead of only one.
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.