New 7″ Kobo Libra H2O Getting Released Soon

Kobo Libra

Kobo has announced the upcoming release of a new ebook reader called the Kobo Libra H2O and it looks like a bargain for the price, so much so that the Kindle Oasis could be in trouble.

The Kobo Libra H2O has a 7-inch 300 ppi E Ink screen, and it has an asymmetrical design similar to the Kobo Forma with the page buttons on one side and a sensor to rotate the display.

It has the same exact screen as the Kindle Oasis except it’s $80 cheaper ($100 cheaper when you consider the cost of removing Amazon’s annoying ads).

The Kobo Libra H2O has a retail price of just $169.99 USD and it will get released on September 17th. Kobo will start accepting pre-orders on September 10th.

As the name suggests, the Kobo Libra H2O is waterproof, with an IPX8 rating. It has 8GB of storage space, Wi-Fi, and a 1200 mAh battery. It also has Kobo’s ComfortLight Pro to adjust frontlight color temperature.

One thing that’s different than the Kobo Forma is it has an indented screen, and it has a typical glass-backed E Ink screen instead of the more durable plastic substrate on the Forma. As a result, it weighs about the same as the larger Kobo Forma at 192 grams. They also moved the power button to the back of the device instead of having it on the side. And unlike the Forma, the Libra is available in both black and white colors.

I don’t know why they insist on adding “H2O” to the name. It has a different screen size and design than the former Kobo Aura H2O, and they don’t have that with the Forma and it’s waterproof. From now on I’m just going to call it the Kobo Libra.

Kobo Libra

28 Responses to “New 7″ Kobo Libra H2O Getting Released Soon”

  1. does this e-reader has android ?

  2. It is a good looking option for those that like page turn buttons(I do!!). Moving the power button is probably a good idea; the Forma power button is ridiculously tight. Would have been nice if they went plastic screen and gave a 32 gig storage option. If they improve on the Forma’s lighting they will have a winner–at 169!
    Downward price pressure on the Oasis3 ??

    • Indeed. The price is excellent compared to Kindles. Even the Paperwhite 4 is $149 without ads. For only $20 more the Libra is a very intriguing option. Of course the Kindle Paperwhite often goes on sale for much less, and Kobo rarely does sales, but it’s still a nice price for a waterproof 7-inch ereader with adjustable frontlight color, page buttons, a rotation sensor, and OverDrive integration.

  3. I get that they wanted to differentiate this from the flagship by more than size, but man a recessed screen would make me sad in 2019.

    Good thing I already have a Forma and Oasis 2 then.

    • ‘S funny. I still hate flush-mount screens. I like the option of setting a device face-down on a table without scratching it to hell, and I like the tactile ridge at the edge of the screen to warn me when my grip thumb is about to wander across the line.

  4. I’m not a big fan of the design but I’m glad that kobo is stepping up to Amazon. At least it doesn’t have the cold slick metal frame of the Oasis. I’m also betting the battery life is much better. Love that price tag.

  5. The big question for me and others with eye sensitivity is “does it use the same pulse width modulation dimming that the Forma does?” Knowing my sensitivity to florescent light flicker, the reported flicker of the Forma’s front light is what sent me to the Onyx Boox Nova Pro. Hopefully Kobo learned from all the complains on the Forma and switched back to the same lighting as the Aura One.

    • Agree with you completely. The flicker is a health hazard to some of us (and maybe to everyone) even if the vast majority of people do not notice it.

      I love my old Kobo. Hope it turns out that this new one does not have flicker.

      • I think they tacked H2O to three end of the name to make sure we understood its the 3rd gen h20. The screen size is basically the same it’s not exact but it’s close. It’s also an upgrade at 300 ppi.

        I’m glad they made this. I won’t be buying it. I think the Oasis 3 has cured me of my ereader buying problem, but if it rolled out in May I’d already own it. My only gripe with the Forma is how big it is. The 7in Oasis is perfect, therefore I reason this probably is too. And I agree, for $170 it’s a steal.

      • A health hazard? At 1kHz? Can you link to a peer-reviewed, published paper to back up that claim?

        • PWM has been well studied. It is at the point where Rtings addresses PWM frequencies in all of their tv reviews (which also use high frequencies). While migraines etc. are well known in lower frequencies (fluorescent lighting) it has been shown in both research and anecdotal evidence to be a problem at higher frequencies though not to the same extent.

          Simply asking “where is your research as I specify it” is not how you carry on a conversation or even a debate. You don’t pass on forming an argument by simply asserting the need for a bibliography from the poster.

  6. I think this would more likely cannibalize sales of the Forma than imperil Oasis sales. I imagine a lot of people who buy Kindles are pretty heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem and though you can use tools like Calibre to get your books onto other devices, you loose features like Whispersync.

  7. A reviewer of the Kobo Libra wrote that it has the same lightning problem as the Kobo Forma (a black stripe at the side of the fysical buttons). Too bad, if that is true that will be a deal breaker for me. I don’t understand why Kobo doesn’t manage to make ereaders with decent lightning

    • I couldn’t find a single review that said that, but then again they also call it a backlight (rolls eyes). And all photos from the reviews do not illustrate this problem and some of those photos are done in pitch black conditions.

      It is not that I don’t believe you, it’s just that I want to see the review myself. Please provide a link to the review.

      • you can read the review here:

        the reviewer wrote: “For the most part, the Libra H2O’s backlighting is just as even as both of the Kindles, so it looks like the entire screen is illuminated. The one place it fails is the quarter-inch of space on the side of the screen next to the buttons, where the lighting is slightly dimmer. “

        • Thank you. I’ll be looking very carefully at this site, goodereader and PC mag then to see if it has the bar and the PWM flickering. Considering the issues with both Kobo launches last year, I have no intention of buying a Kobo device again if they can not learn from their mistakes and offer better quality control.

          • I will immediately purchase the first Kobo device that ships with even, uniform front lighting. The dark bands and gradients on their current models are deal breakers.

        • I would wait for other reviews. From my experience Tom’s guide is very pro-amazon and pushes toward that way in these reviews of competition. If you notice, the review brings up either Amazon, Kindle or something related almost every paragraph of the review.

  8. No microSD card slot, no sale. It’s sad that Kobo really doesn’t want my money, but Onyx products are getting pretty good.

  9. I womder – is the e-ink screen with a plastic backplate that much more expensive than the one with a glass? I hoped that with releasing Forma Kobo finally switched to plastic, but sadly I was wrong.

  10. Loved the original H2O with the IR screen, it was the best I’ve seen still to this date. Edition 2 was a massive step backwards in screen quality and perhaps the worst I’ve seen. Hopefully they go back to IR with this release.

  11. I just went to Kohl’s site. They now show SIX models to chose from-old and new. If nothing else they do offer choice.

  12. I’m really happy with the Kobo Clara. Was considering an Oasis or a refurbished Voyage, but will probably give the Libra a try when it comes out.

  13. What makes me mad is if I knew about this a few months ago I would have never bought the new Oasis I would have purchased this. It would have been better for KOBO to announce new devices before Amazon does.

  14. was planning on getting the libra but couldn’t resist the sale on oasis 9th gen.