Kobo Forma Sports an 8″ Screen, Will Cost $279

When UPS told me yesterday that I was getting a shipment from Toronto some time today, I was thrilled to find out that I'd be getting the new Kobo before it launched.

Then I checked my inbox this morning.

Dammit.

Kobo's newest ereader is also its largest. The Kobo Forma has an 8" Mobius E-ink screen, and is up for pre-order on 14 October for $299 CAD ($279 USD). (Kobo announced the Forma today because they didn't want a repeat of the many Kobo Clara HD leaks.)

Kobo Forma Sports an 8" Screen, Will Cost $279 e-Reading Hardware Kobo

The Kobo Forma arrives a little over two years after the other well-known one-handed ereader, but it is well worth the wait. The Forma improves upon the Kindle Oasis's design in at least three categories; it has a larger and more damage-resistant screen, a color-changing frontlight, and it supports Epub.

The Forma is also equally waterproof, and it offers better support for library ebooks. (While US Kindle owners can send ebooks borrowed from OverDrive to their Kindles, Kobo supports OverDrive integration in Canada, US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.)

And that is really all I can tell you until my unit arrives this afternoon; all I have to go on right now is the same press release and product listing that you can see.

Do you see anything interesting?

Got any questions I should look into?

Specs

  • Screen: 8", Mobius Carta E-ink display
  • Screen resolution: 1440 × 1920, 300 PPI
  • Touchscreen: capacitive
  • Frontlight: color-changing
  • Waterproof: IPX8 (up to 60 minutess in 2 meters of water)
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Battery: 1.2 Ah
  • Connectivity: Wifi
  • Dimensions: 160 x 177.7 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight: 197 grams

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

49 Comments

  1. Susan2 October, 2018

    Nate, Kobo website says available for preorder on 10/16. Any indication or news on when they would be shipped? I am really looking forward to your first hand review. The main concern I have is how well the rocker turn page buttons are and whether they have improved on the comfort light. This is exciting!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 October, 2018

      the 29th of October

      er, it’s actually the 23rd

      Reply
  2. Javi2 October, 2018

    Interesting but I had the Kindle Oasis 2 it seemed a bit heavy. This is most big and heavier. KO2 battery very bad, will have to see this.
    I don’t like the position of the start button, I have the impression that it can be easy to touch without wanting.

    Reply
  3. Javi2 October, 2018

    by the way … will we have new kindle this year? What does your instinct tell you, Nate?

    Reply
  4. Mike Cane2 October, 2018

    Hmph. No CPU mentioned, nor RAM. Probably no microSD, either.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 October, 2018

      my review unit is here – there’s no card slot

      Reply
      1. Mike Cane3 October, 2018

        What? No unboxing video? You’re behind the times, man! And this from the man who did the Pandigital Novel videos!

        Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder3 October, 2018

      1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM

      Reply
      1. Mike Cane3 October, 2018

        Pathetic! Next!

        Reply
      2. Crawfy5 October, 2018

        Thank you for providing the specs, they seem to be too low to comfortably read graphic-heavy PDF or cbr files. However if you have read some it would be great to hear about your experience

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder5 October, 2018

          I’ve tried PDFs on previous Kobo models (same CPU and RAM, but different screen sizes). The experience was terrible, and I expect that this will be true on the Forma.

          Reply
  5. tired2 October, 2018

    Are you sure that it has a Mobius screen? Isn’t the point of that screen that it is flexible?

    Reply
    1. burgerflipper2 October, 2018

      glass substrate breaks are the number one eink reader killer. This should make it through drops and twists that’ve done in many and kindle and kobo

      Reply
    2. tired2 October, 2018

      When I looked at the product description it said Carta not Mobius. Does it have a Mobius screen?

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder3 October, 2018

        It is mentioned in the press release.

        Reply
        1. tired3 October, 2018

          Thanks! There is no difference in contrast right?

          Reply
          1. Nate Hoffelder3 October, 2018

            not that I can see.

            Reply
  6. tired2 October, 2018

    The weight of the device is lower than the Aura H2O Ed. 2 and it has a smooth back with the nice grippy texture that recent Kobos are known for. Better designed than the Oasis 2. I will be picking this up.

    Reply
  7. Steve H.2 October, 2018

    Well I thought they would go 7.8″ again…wrong but close. It looks good.
    Pushing the e-reader bar, good for all readers. Amazon will notice and come back with something…question is when, this year or next.
    I really need to learn how to convert my Kindle e-books.

    Reply
  8. Disgusting Dude2 October, 2018

    The button looks to be a rocker bar rather than two separate switches.
    Confirm?

    Reply
    1. Chris Meadows4 October, 2018

      It’s actually two separate switches. The connector between the buttons is just cosmetic.

      Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder4 October, 2018

      It’s not a rocker.

      Reply
  9. Apparition2 October, 2018

    This will be mine, oh yes.

    Reply
  10. gbm2 October, 2018

    It looks ill designed to be used with a case/cover. Without the ability to use a cover or wrist strap no-go.

    Reply
  11. Angela Korra'ti2 October, 2018

    Dammit, Kobo, where were you people with this when I was buying an Oasis this last spring? 😉

    Interesting to me that Kobo’s screenshots on their official page are a) using text from The Fall of Gondolin, I wonder how pretty a penny they had to pay to the Tolkien estate for that, and b) showing the device orienting horizontally as well as vertically. Given that this thing is larger than the Oasis, that’s a good call.

    Reply
  12. Christopher Daley2 October, 2018

    I am a little shocked that it appears the text will orient in only two directions as opposed to any direction you want to hold it.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 October, 2018

      No, it’s every direction – I’m using it left-handed.

      Reply
      1. Steve H.2 October, 2018

        Nate…what is your first impression…Is it all that it seems??

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder2 October, 2018

          I like it – I have to keep tearing myself away so I can get caught up on emails and other work.

          Reply
  13. Christopher Daley2 October, 2018

    So you can flip it and use the buttons on the left side?

    Reply
    1. Apparition2 October, 2018

      Yes. It can be used in four different directions. Left, right, top, bottom.

      Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder2 October, 2018

      that’s what I am doing, yes

      Reply
  14. Name2 October, 2018

    What CPU does it use? Is it as slow as the Aura ONE? Since there’s no outside SD card slot, is there an internal one?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder3 October, 2018

      same as on previous Kobos – a single-core Freescale 1GHz CPU

      Reply
  15. David B Huber2 October, 2018

    No microSD card slot equals epic fail for what should have been a contender. I don’t suppose it supports host mode for USB memory stick expansion?

    Bluetooth keyboard support?

    Reply
    1. Name2 October, 2018

      No BT. That alone is a fail already. Too bad, that those Chinese contenders seem to fail at caring for stable software on their devices

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder3 October, 2018

        What would Kobo do with BT when they don’t have the software to support extra features in the first place?

        Reply
        1. David B Huber3 October, 2018

          Surely they offer audiobook support? If not over BT speakers, then how?

          Reply
          1. Chris Meadows4 October, 2018

            Actually, Kobo isn’t interested in adding audiobooks to its e-readers. In a Q&A they did with Teleread’s David Rothman, they said that their focus is on the avid reader.

            Reply
        2. Angela Korra'ti4 October, 2018

          Given how Kobo has been making a push lately to sell audiobooks, and given how the Oasis 2 DOES do Bluetooth, it seems like a mistake to me that the Forma doesn’t. This wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me in particular, but for folks that do prefer their books in audio form, I could definitely see this being a problem.

          (That said: if they’re not planning on having users do audiobooks on the Forma, not having a 32GB storage option seems a bit less problematic)

          Reply
  16. Void2 October, 2018

    Why no SD slot? For such a pricey reader I don’t want to be worrying about space.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.2 October, 2018

      They will come out with a 32 gig variant eventually(why not on launch?..Japan will get 32 option)

      Reply
  17. Susan2 October, 2018

    Nate, what is the true size/dimensions of the whole device?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 October, 2018

      6.5″ by 7″

      Reply
  18. Susan2 October, 2018

    Thank you. So – shorter than the Aura One but wider. I am wondering if there is enough of a difference between the Forma and Oasis to make someone who absolutely hates the Oasis want to buy and like the Forma.

    Reply
  19. Steve H.3 October, 2018

    Surely E ink would have tried to sell Amazon on Mobius tech, maybe even hinted/leaked that others would put out a product this year. What do you think the odds are that Kindle something similar/one ups this year??

    Reply
  20. robert6 October, 2018

    30% bigger screen and only 5g heavier than the Kindle Oasis 2? Yes please!

    Reply
  21. Name12 October, 2018

    Does it have the same shell material as the Clara HD? I suspect the Clara HD to sport the same hard material as the Tolino Shine 3, i.e., not the soft-grip one which was used on the first Aura or the Glo HD. I prefer the hard material, as it doesn’t feel as sticky on the fingers.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder12 October, 2018

      Yes.

      Reply

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