With the new 8-inch Kobo Forma now available, it’s time to compare it with the 7-inch Kindle Oasis.
Both are each company’s premium model (meaning they can charge a lot more for no real reason) and they share a lot of the same features, not to mention a similar design.
Both are waterproof, they have 300 ppi E Ink Carta displays with frontlights, both have 8GB of storage space (with the option for 32GB), and they weigh almost exactly the same.
The Kindle Oasis doesn’t have adjustable frontlight color like the Kobo Forma, and the screen tone is a bit different between the two, as you can see in the video below, but there’s not a noticeable difference in overall contrast or clarity.
Keep in mind the Kobo Forma was just released earlier this week so I haven’t had nearly as much time with it as the Oasis, and it’s impossible to determine things like battery life comparisons at this point.
Stay tuned for the full review of the Kobo Forma next week for more details, and here’s the link to the Kindle Oasis review for more information about it.
Here’s a list of the main differences between the Kindle Oasis and Kobo Forma.
Kindle Oasis Differences
7-inch E Ink Carta screen.
Aluminum body, available in graphite gray and champagne gold.
The back has a thicker area with a contoured edge to hold onto with your fingers.
Frontlight can be set to automatically adjust to surrounding light.
Supports Audible audiobooks.
VoiceView accessibility feature speaks screen content aloud, and can be used for text-to-speech.
Has Bluetooth to connect headphones or speakers to listen to audiobooks or use VoiceView.
Inverted mode for white text on a black background.
You can send ebooks and documents to the Kindle Oasis wirelessly with send-to-Kindle.
Option to disable touchscreen.
Optional 4G model.
The Kindle supports AZW3, AZW, KFX, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, and these formats through Amazon’s free conversion service: HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP. They’ll also convert DRM-free ePubs if you change the file extension to .png.
Dimensions: 159 x 141 x 8.3-3.4 mm; weighs 194 grams.
Price: The Kindle Oasis starts at $249 in the US for the 8GB model (with ads) and $279 for 32GB.
Kobo Forma Differences
8-inch E Ink Mobius Carta screen with plastic backplane instead of glass for lower weight and increased durability.
Unlike the Oasis, the back is flat. Instead it tapers down to a thinner edge and the side with the buttons sits up at an angle.
Frontlight has adjustable color temperature from cool blue to warm yellow, and can be set to automatically adjust color by the time of day.
Has OverDrive built-in to search and download library ebooks directly.
Can automatically rotate screen to landscape mode.
More font sizes and more line-spacing and margin settings, and better estimated reading time feature. Plus the software offers settings for tap zones and page refresh rate, and there are more filter and sorting options in the library.
The Kobo Forma supports the following formats: EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR.
Dimensions: 160 x 177.7 x 8.5-4.2 mm; weighs 197 grams.
Price: The Kobo Forma sells for $279 in the US for the 8GB model; no word on pricing yet for the upcoming 32GB version.
The Kindle Oasis has more of a higher-end look with the aluminum casing, but I’ve never been a fan of having cold, slick metal on an ebook reader. The Forma has a slightly rubbery coating and a textured back that feels more comfortable in-hand. But I’m not sold on the asymmetrical design of either. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. I’d rather have the page buttons below the screen like Sony’s older ereaders.
The Oasis is faster and more responsive for most things, but the Forma isn’t slow and it has a fast page turn feature that the Kindle lacks.
The one thing I don’t like about the Kobo Forma (aside from the hard power button and having to swipe the screen to turn it on, but those are minor annoyances) is the frontlight is slightly brighter on one side of the screen than the other, which is highlighted by a dark strip that runs down the side of the screen with the buttons. The effect is subtle but it’s enough to be distracting while reading.
I’ve never seen a perfect frontlight, however, and the Kindle Oasis is no exception. With the light turned all the way up there are some areas along the side and bottom that are slightly brighter, but at lower brightness levels it’s too subtle to catch my eye while reading. Overall it’s one of the best frontlights I’ve seen.
At the end of the day I’d rather read on the Kobo Forma because I like the larger screen and the overall design better, but unfortunately the frontlight gradient is too distracting to me so if I had to chose only one it would be the Kindle Oasis. However, frontlights are so unpredictable that you never really know what you’re going to get. With two different Kobos and Kindles the frontlights might be completely different.