The third generation Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s flagship e-reader and the recently announced Kobo Libra H2O can be considered their midrange edition. Both of these ebook readers feature the same asymmetrical design and have manual page turn buttons, although the Oasis are indented on the side of the screen, taking a capacitive touchscreen approach, whereas Kobo has raised ones. This comparison video will give you a sense on what both of these products bring to the table. We will take a look at the hardware, software, UI, shopping experience and what it is like reading ebooks and PDF files. If you like to read at night, we will also evaluate the front-lit display and color temperature system.
The Kindle Oasis 3 features a 7 inch E Ink Carta HD capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1680 x 1264 and 300 PPI. The screen is made of glass and the body is made of high grade aluminum and there are capacitive touchscreen page turn buttons on the side of the screen. The Libra also features a 7 inch E Ink Carta HD display with a resolution of 1,680 x 1,264 and 300 PPI. The screen is not flush with the bezel, instead it has a small recess. The design is a hardened plastic, this is one of the ways Kobo has cut costs. The Kobo page turn buttons are raised and have torque when you press down.
The Oasis 3 is the first Amazon Kindle that has both a front-lit display and a color temperature system to mute the bright white screen. It has 25 LED lights total, 12 white and 13 amber. The Kobo has 19 LED lights, 10 white, 9 amber. The Kindle provides a better lighting system because the glass screen contains all of the LED lights, resulting in more even light distribution. I have noticed that glass screens normally provide a better front-lit experience.
The Oasis employs a Freescale/NXP IMX7 dual core 1 GHZ processor, 512 MB of RAM. There are two storage models, 8GB and 32GB, in addition to WIFI only or WIFI and LTE internet access. The Libra is packing a Freescale Solo Lite 1GHZ processor, 8GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM. There are no extra storage options for the Libra, but the Forma has the same as the Kindle.
The Libra H2O, is waterproof. Rakuten says its HZO Protection gives the Kobo Libra H2O water resistance an IPX8 rating, the Oasis has the exact same waterproofing system. These devices are about even in this department.
The Oasis has the advantage in the software experience. The UI is better designed and has system wide dark mode. It also has GoodReads as a navigation option, so you can partake in a social community centered around books. Amazon also has a larger store and more content, although a lot of it is from indie authors, whose ebooks are questionable at best. Kindle Freetime and Unlimited are also two subscription based platforms and Prime Reading provides a number of free ebooks per month. If you live in the US, you can send library ebooks directly to the Kindle.
Kobo is a more traditional book retailer, they just sell ebooks, and have less titles written by indie authors, resulting in a more fluid experience. You tend to find better quality books, although the platform does not have audiobooks, like the Kindle does. Kobo has Pocket integration, so you can deliver blog articles and news to read later. They also have Overdrive built right in, so you can attach a library card in the settings menu and browse your local branches collection and then read the ebook right on the Libra. Amazon does it a bit differently, you have to visit your local branches website and send to Kindle and it delivers it via Whispersync.
The Kindle Oasis is the flagship e-reader and you will spend a few hundred dollars for the 8GB, Special Offers version. You will spend over $300 for the 32gB and LTE model. There are also fewer dedicated cases, only three really exist. The Libra only costs $169 USD, making it a better value, it also has a series of cases and sleep covers that come in a myriad of colors.
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.