Will Other eReaders Start Using Kobo Forma’s 8″ Flexible Screen?

Kobo Forma Angle

The Kobo Aura One was the first ebook reader to have a 7.8-inch 300 ppi E Ink screen, and it was also the first to have the option to use a warm frontlight.

After Kobo released it most other ereader companies started copying the warm frontlight feature and several new ebook readers were released with 7.8-inch screens soon after—Kobo started both trends.

Kobo could also start some new trends with the Kobo Forma.

As noted in an earlier article, the Kobo Forma is surprisingly nice ebook reader despite some minor faults.

It’s the first ebook reader to feature an 8-inch 300 ppi Mobius Carta E Ink screen, and it’s also one of the first ereaders under 10″ to have a flexible plastic-backed screen, which helps make it lighter and a lot more durable than typical ebook readers with glass screens.

Because of the plastic-based screen the Kobo Forma is remarkably lightweight for its size. In fact it’s lighter than some ebook readers with 6-inch glass-backed screen, like the Kindle Paperwhite 3 for example.

The Kobo Forma was released in October 2018 so there’s been plenty of time for other companies to start replicating its unique features. But will they? So far there has been no indication of any new devices getting released soon with 8-inch or smaller plastic-based screens.

Hopefully the trend of plastic-based screens catches on because lighter is better, and with a lighter screen battery sizes could be increased to improve the drop in overall battery life with the prevalence of frontlights and wireless features that come standard on most ebook readers these days.

28 Responses to “Will Other eReaders Start Using Kobo Forma’s 8″ Flexible Screen?”

  1. I believe Amazon will implement it in the Kindle but not for another 5 years. As for Kobo, i see them coming out with a new device soon, most likely another trail blazer with USB-C.

    • I keep hearing this USB-C comment, so I took a poll in my family. Of the 19 phones and tablets we own, only two use USB-C.

      I get that USB-C is gaining ground and offers compelling advantages, but it is nowhere near as ubiquitous as micro USB. And as e-readers are still a niche product, I’d expect them to stick with the most convenient (common) port.

      • Thank you. I have zero devices with usb-c. A usb-c reader would make me have to buy another new thing.

        • To each his own I guess, but all my devices use USB-C. Its the standard since about 3 years ago, aside from iPhones. And Mike you wouldn’t have to buy anything, a USB-C cable would be included with the device.

  2. Amazon seems to prefer selling the idea of premium glass over plastic on their top of the line.
    Hopefully they will finally go larger than 7″ and be pushed to go plastic. I think Kobo made a good decision on the Forma screen and body materials…very comfortable, secure to hold and lightweight.
    Kobo does not have much to improve on…more even lighting, better power button and a slightly better battery.

    • Totally agree!

      • Started with a basic 6″ Kobo with sideways lighting. It got spoiled. Switched to basic 6″ Kindle as couldnt get a good deal on Kobo. Kobo is way ahead in innovation, and attention to details. My 2013 kobo purchase had better features than a 2018 kindle purchase. Lighting, vast range of book formats, ease of connecting to desktop, can organize folders better in kobo, better display of books in library, better access, no stupidities like display of #10 before #2 in the list
        In addition, the kindle is slippery and fell twice before i wrapped black electric tape round the base to give a better grip
        Lastly, i tried to give feedback to Amazon but they are not interested. Typical leftist organization who know better than the minions they cater to!

  3. 6″ and even 7″ inch are a joke in 2019. Today smartphones are this size. It’s hard to read on such a tiny screen. I don’t know why they don’t make at least 8″ the standard.

    Another thing. The prices. 7-8″ readers will cost 250$-350$ and more. Why? For 300$ I can buy a new full fledged laptop a mid to high end smartphone! Why would a simple device like a e-reader cost so much???

  4. With respect to Mike, my favorite eReader is my Kobo Mini 5″. Not only is the text clear and dark making it easy to read, the size is much easier to manage on the subway, etc.

    Big readers are great for some uses, but a small eReader is significantly easier on the eyes than a cell phone.

    • Small readers are much better for reading in bed, which I do a lot. Anything over 7″ is basically too big. 7 is pushing it.

      • To each his/her own…that’s what manufacturers need to get. I like bigger than 7″, you like small. We are both right. It would be good if Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo would do a limited run of 5″ readers; It would also be good if Amazon would make something bigger than 7″.

        • The ideal thing would be for Amazon to cater to every party and release a 6, 7, and 8 inch Kindle. That way everybody is satisfied and everybody wins. This would be the smart thing to do which is probably why Amazon won’t do it. If they do, it probably won’t be for at least another two years once the hype of the Oasis 3 loses ground. I can see an 8 inch Kindle, USB-C and a $500 starting price tag (with special offers of course, and still no wall charger included).

        • You know, I’m honestly surprised that I’ve never seen someone try a two-size product line and advertise the two sizes as “paperback” and “hardback”.

  5. The Paperwhite 4 has a plastic screen. It is just not Mobius but Amazon’s own proprietary invention.

    Also this can be confusing. The screen on the Forma is a plastic TFT but it is still covered with glass.

    The Paperwhite 4 has a plastic TFT screen and is also covered with plastic. This is why the PW4 has slightly lower contrast and is a finger print magnet as compared to the Forma. The plastic cover is not as transparent and doesn’t have the oleophic coating.

    Both the Oasis and the Forma feel light due to using a relatively small battery and placing it right where the hand grips the reader, which reduces torque. Even though the Mobius screen in the Forma helps it is insignificant.

    I think the weights from greatest to smallest would be: the battery, the casing, the circuit board and dead last the screen itself. If you’ve ever taken apart an ereader (which I’ve done) the screen is surprisingly thin and light weight.

    • Wrong. The Kindle Paperwhite 4 has a glass-backed screen with a plastic layer over the front. Amazon even says it has an E Ink Carta screen in the description. If it had a plastic-based screen it would be much lighter and Amazon would surely advertise it as being more durable. The Wexler Flex One is the only 6-inch ereader to have had a plastic-based screen and the device only weighed a little over 100 grams—that’s far lighter than the Paperwhite, which isn’t even close to the lightest 6-inch model currently available. And I would wager good money that the Kobo Forma has a plastic front based on this twist test. The glass-based screens weigh a lot more than you would think. Take the 9.7″ Onyx Note S, for example. It weighs 400 grams with the glass screen. Compare that to the original 10.3″ Note with a larger plastic-based screen and a larger battery (4100mAh vs 3000mAh) and it’s still 70 grams lighter.

  6. A smaller limited run Kindle…the size of the Kobo mini…now that would be amazing. I loved my little Kobo mini. So useful for reading on the bus and train and fit in any pocket.

  7. I would not want a larger screen for reading books the kindle is an ideal size not too heavy. I almost bought the kobo mini from a charity shop as it’s a cool size, if kindle did a mini I would buy it. But typical alt right organisation they don’t 😉

  8. I’m a Kindle guy myself, but the Forma is not heavy. It actually feels very light when you are using it. I just like to do a lot of reading in bed and hold the device close to my face due to poor eyesight. Reading that way on an 8 inch device is like sitting in the front row of a movie theater. I even shrink the margins on the Oasis. During the day though, I use it with normal margins because I’m wearing my glasses and holding it farther away.

  9. Does the plastic screen on the Forma not get scatched easily? Also, that large side bezel seems like it would be annoying to hold – yes or no?

    • I own a Oasis and a Forma…the screen is just as durable on the Forma; the body on the Forma seems to resist scratches better than the Oasis.
      To me the Forma is very comfortable and secure. If you hold it by the corner, the larger, rounded corners don’t dig into your palm as much as the Oasis.
      The Forma does not get cold or hot to hold as easily as the Oasis.

      • Even though I prefer the Oasis, I must agree on the corners. My phone has similar edges but it’s beveled smoother. Amazon could have do the same and I don’t understand why they didn’t. I hoped the Oasis 3 would be better in that regard, but it’s not.

  10. You’re suppose to hold it by the large bezel. It’s not that bad. Better than the Oasis in my opinion.

  11. After snapping 2 ereader screens without even knowing it (Kobo Aura and Aura One both in protective covers), I was about to give up on Kobo but decided to give them one last chance and I bought a Forma. No sign of any screen problems in 6 months…thumbs up