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Old 09-20-2021, 12:15 AM   #1
eskillroy
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Interested in Forma and Oasis 3. Concerned about ergonomics and lighting.

This will be my first ereader purchase. I read quite a bit and recently I find myself fighting with the weight of the books I read, especially if they are 700+ page hardbacks where holding it in one hand when in bed is just not comfy and starts straining my wrist. Or reading paperbacks where you can never quite hold them open properly.

I narrowed it down to the Kindle Oasis 3 and the Kobo Forma. I'm NOT too concerned about the storefronts and the library because they both seem to have all 50 of the books I have on my to read list. Also considering we are in lockdown (Sydney, Australia), I don't have the luxury of going to a store and trying these things out before I buy so I have to take people's opinion before I do so.

My main concerns are around:

Ergonomics: Considering the issues I have with physical books, I want something that is super easy to hold in one hand and change pages without having to use my second hand. I read a lot in bed or on a couch or at a park/beach and I want to have something that feels effortless. I understand the Oasis 3 and Forma are basically the same weight (10gm difference) but what I would like to hear is if the ergnomics are good; is the weight distributed well making it feel lighter and easy to hold.Also considering the Oasis is aluminium and the Forma is rubbery, does that help one way or the other for ease of holding?

Lighting: I do read in the dark quite a bit so whatever I get, I want to ensure that the backlighting is decent. Also I do want to reduce eye strain and hence dont want to use any of my tablets for reading (that and battery life). I understand that the Forma and the Oasis 3 both have warm backlighting with the Oasis having better backlighting because of more LED's.Are there any issues with the Forma lighting due to consistency and is it noticeable enough where it might annoy people reading it?

Size: The Forma is bigger. Does that feel like a good benefit to have while reading? When it comes to phones and tablets I generally always get the biggest size possible but want to make sure that the benefits of a bigger screen size dont get cancelled by the ergonomics.

So really it feels like Ergonomics, weight, ease of holding, size and lighting are what are my major points of consideration to choose between the two. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:06 AM   #2
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Both devices have buttons - I reject that. because these are always in the wrong place for me.

And now the most important difference:
The Oasis can only handle books that have been bought from Amazon - the Forma can only handle books that have not been bought there.
The rest is a matter of taste and can only be tried

Since EInk is opaque, none of the devices can have a backlight - the light comes from above and is reflected by the screen

Last edited by ottischwenk; 09-20-2021 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 09-20-2021, 05:56 AM   #3
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Of course you can sideload non-Amazon books to the Oasis as much as you want.
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:17 AM   #4
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Of course you can sideload non-Amazon books to the Oasis as much as you want.
And I read all my Amazon purchased ebooks on a Kobo. Calibre converts epub to Kindle, or Kindle to epub. A separate utility may be needed if there is DRM. Gutenberg and smashwords have no DRM. Some Amazon books have no DRM if you pick Download to PC and transfer via USB, which you should do anyway to have a backup.

I find the Kobo Libra page turn buttons really good. They can be on either side (the text automatically rotates by 180) and you can set upper or lower to be Next (and vice versa). It automatically swaps the buttons when you rotate to have them on the left or the right, thus if the top button is Next, the other button which is on top after a 180 rotation, becomes the top button and is still next.

Last edited by Quoth; 09-20-2021 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:49 AM   #5
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And I read all my Amazon purchased ebooks on a Kobo. Calibre converts epub to Kindle, or Kindle to epub. A separate utility may be needed if there is DRM. Gutenberg and smashwords have no DRM. Some Amazon books have no DRM if you pick Download to PC and transfer via USB, which you should do anyway to have a backup.

I find the Kobo Libra page turn buttons really good. They can be on either side (the text automatically rotates by 180) and you can set upper or lower to be Next (and vice versa). It automatically swaps the buttons when you rotate to have them on the left or the right, thus if the top button is Next, the other button which is on top after a 180 rotation, becomes the top button and is still next.
Yep. The Oasis buttons are pretty much the same.

I don't have the Forma, but I do have the Oasis and the Libra. Ergonomically the Libra is somewhat better, as the metal back of the Oasis is not comfortable to hold. I put my Oasis in a coverless silicon shell, which makes the grip better, but increases the weight a bit. OTOH the Oasis is noticeably faster than the Libra.

I don't use the store on any of my ereaders. I buy from many different stores (Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords and so on), all my books reside in Calibre and I sideload them to my readers from there.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:32 PM   #6
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I have the Oasis 3 and I love it. I previously had a Kindle Keyboard, so this is quite an improvement. I side load my books with Calibre and I convert from epub when necessary.

I love the ergonomics of the Oasis. The "bump" or bigger side, distributes the weight so that it balances in your hand for easy one handed reading. And can be flipped so that it can be used right handed or left. The buttons are placed where one hand can hold the reader and turn the page without using the off hand. Touch screen turning or swipes can be used also. Of course, some still prefer the form of the older models, but for me I love the newer form factor.

There are members who prefer Kobo over Oasis, and vice versa. You really can't go wrong with either, specially if READING is your primary goal.
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Old 09-20-2021, 02:25 PM   #7
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Given that you're in Australia, have you considered public library ebook compatibility? Kobo has Overdrive integration onboard, if your library does Overdrive; there is no Kindle borrowing in Australia (that I'm aware of).
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:26 PM   #8
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This will be my first ereader purchase. I read quite a bit and recently I find myself fighting with the weight of the books I read, especially if they are 700+ page hardbacks where holding it in one hand when in bed is just not comfy and starts straining my wrist. Or reading paperbacks where you can never quite hold them open properly.

I narrowed it down to the Kindle Oasis 3 and the Kobo Forma. I'm NOT too concerned about the storefronts and the library because they both seem to have all 50 of the books I have on my to read list. Also considering we are in lockdown (Sydney, Australia), I don't have the luxury of going to a store and trying these things out before I buy so I have to take people's opinion before I do so.

My main concerns are around:

Ergonomics: Considering the issues I have with physical books, I want something that is super easy to hold in one hand and change pages without having to use my second hand. I read a lot in bed or on a couch or at a park/beach and I want to have something that feels effortless. I understand the Oasis 3 and Forma are basically the same weight (10gm difference) but what I would like to hear is if the ergnomics are good; is the weight distributed well making it feel lighter and easy to hold.Also considering the Oasis is aluminium and the Forma is rubbery, does that help one way or the other for ease of holding?

Lighting: I do read in the dark quite a bit so whatever I get, I want to ensure that the backlighting is decent. Also I do want to reduce eye strain and hence dont want to use any of my tablets for reading (that and battery life). I understand that the Forma and the Oasis 3 both have warm backlighting with the Oasis having better backlighting because of more LED's.Are there any issues with the Forma lighting due to consistency and is it noticeable enough where it might annoy people reading it?

Size: The Forma is bigger. Does that feel like a good benefit to have while reading? When it comes to phones and tablets I generally always get the biggest size possible but want to make sure that the benefits of a bigger screen size dont get cancelled by the ergonomics.

So really it feels like Ergonomics, weight, ease of holding, size and lighting are what are my major points of consideration to choose between the two. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
There's also the Kobo Libra, which has the form factor of the Forma, but has a screen the same size as the Oasis 3. it also has a side benefit of being cheaper than the Forma or the Oasis.
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Old 09-20-2021, 04:40 PM   #9
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Ergonomics: Considering the issues I have with physical books, I want something that is super easy to hold in one hand and change pages without having to use my second hand. I read a lot in bed or on a couch or at a park/beach and I want to have something that feels effortless. I understand the Oasis 3 and Forma are basically the same weight (10gm difference) but what I would like to hear is if the ergnomics are good; is the weight distributed well making it feel lighter and easy to hold.Also considering the Oasis is aluminium and the Forma is rubbery, does that help one way or the other for ease of holding?
I have not handled either in person. To my eyes, the Oasis seems like it would be more comfortable as the flat front and rounded back seem like they conform to the shape of the hand better.

But I have repeatedly asked people that have both and they reliably say that the Forma/Libra is actually more comfortable to hold. Here's a sample post. Granted, it is from the Kobo section of this board, but it is from a person who has both:

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Originally Posted by Camellia View Post
...That's to say nothing of the ergonomics! The Kindle Oasis always hurt my hands with that strange ledge, but the Kobo Forma has a form factor that fits to my hands much better, the buttons are less "intrusive" to my reading experience, and way the Sleep Cover folds into a little stand is perfect for catching a couple of pages between boss fights in my favourite video games...
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Old 09-20-2021, 08:32 PM   #10
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Thank you for all the replies all. It looks like I might be happy if I go with the Forma. I think screen size at this point seems to be a major differentiating factor.

Most of the books that I am looking to read are available on both bookstores. Someone also mentioned about Overdrive and I haven't even looked into that so it might be a bonus with the Forma.


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Given that you're in Australia, have you considered public library ebook compatibility? Kobo has Overdrive integration onboard, if your library does Overdrive; there is no Kindle borrowing in Australia (that I'm aware of).
Do I need to go into a library and register with them to be able to use overdrive? As in go in person?
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Old 09-20-2021, 09:15 PM   #11
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Do I need to go into a library and register with them to be able to use overdrive? As in go in person?
Going by the libraries in my area of Canada, you'll have to contact and ask. Due to Covid-19, some of the libraries in my area that used to require you to come in person are now allowing on-line registration while others still require you to come in in person.
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:11 PM   #12
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Do I need to go into a library and register with them to be able to use overdrive? As in go in person?
It will depend on the library. For mine, I was able to register on-line and start borrowing books immediately. But, I needed to go in finalise it. I think they allowed three months to do that. That was several years ago. I suspect that has changed recently.

As to the ergonomics, I found the Forma to be excellent. Holding it one-handed while waiting for a train was completely natural. My thumb was able to reach the button to turn the page with no problems. The device was well balanced in my hands. My wife now has it (it was bought for her but I used it for a couple of weeks before handing it over). She has much smaller hands than me, and some arthritis, but also has no problems with it.

I'm now splitting my reading between a 6" Clara HD and the 7" Libra H2O as I don't really like the size of the Libra H2O. The device is probably as good as the Forma, but, I just don't like it as much. I think it is that the extra screen space does not makes up for the extra bulk. I found the same with the 6.8" Aura H2O, and went to a Glo HD. I was surprised how much I liked the 7.8" Aura ONE and later the Forma.

I haven't tried the Oasis outside of OfficeWorks. Unfortunately, they have them in a mount that doesn't let you pick it up. If you can get into one (I think they were exempt from the shutdown order in NSW), they might unlock it for you to try. They look good, but, I never like the UI on Kindles. I don't know how much of that is because of the interface or because I am so used to the Kobo UI that I'm just using it wrong.
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Old 09-21-2021, 12:31 PM   #13
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Do I need to go into a library and register with them to be able to use overdrive? As in go in person?
Ring and ask, if the library is staffed at the moment. In WA I was able to sign up for a State Library card from home, using my local library card number, with the help of a helpful librarian. I would have thought Sydney would have made arrangements for people to not need to attend in person.

When is retail fully open again? If you're vaxed and able to get to a JB store, it's worth getting hands-on with a Forma and Libra before deciding, I think.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:27 PM   #14
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I hadn't posted before now, because I didn't think my new Forma would be here before the end of the month according to the tracking info I received. And I figured you might have already made a decision and bought by then.

However, my Forma arrived today, along with the official Kobo sleepcover.

So, once it is charged and synced (which it is doing now), I can give an initial impression of ergonomics vs. a Kindle Oasis 2 if you like. I believe the Kindle Oasis 2 is pretty similar to the Oasis 3 in terms of form factor, weight and size.

I'll want to read on it a bit, but hopefully by tomorrow I can post something, unless I get too busy.

Initial impression as I held the device to sign in to Kobo was good, the device feels very light! But I don't yet have it in the case, so my impression there could change.

Ergonomics are quite important for me, as several years ago, I broke both wrists in a fall. Some several decades ago, I also had a work-related repetitive stress injury to my right wrist and I am right-handed.

The touchscreen is definitely better than the Aura One, sign-in went smoothly.
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Old 09-30-2021, 01:21 AM   #15
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OK, after several days switching back and forth between my Kindle Oasis 2 and my new Kobo Forma, I think you'd be happy with EITHER device.

Initially, the Kobo Forma felt a bit large because of the more square format. But in practice, holding it has been just fine.

Over the past decade, I've owned a LOT of different reader devices in different sizes. Nook, Sony, Kobo and Kindle, more than one model each for the last three brands. Only ONE was a poor ergonomic experience for me. (Kindle Keyboard) But ergonomics differ a lot depending on the individual, so it's hard to predict another's experience.


If you've been wrangling 700 page hardbacks, ANY premium e-reader is likely to delight you!

For fun, I took all three of my current readers, Kobo Aura One (7.8" screen), Kindle Oasis 2 (7" screen) and the Kobo Forma (8" screen) and put ALL THREE, in their official covers on my kitchen scale at once. Weighed together they came in at roughly 1013g, give or take.

I then took a hardcover of approximately 700 pages (694 exactly) and weighed it. 1114g.

So, you will cut the weight your hand has to hold by over a third of what you are used to! More if you don't use a cover.

Holding to Read
Kobo Forma (no cover) vs. Kindle Oasis 2 (no cover): Kobo won for me, because the metal on the Oasis feels slippery. And cold.

Kobo Forma (Kobo cover) vs. Kindle Oasis (Kindle cover): About equal for me, the size of the Forma perhaps felt a smidge harder to hold.

Page Turn Buttons Kindle won hands down. The Oasis 2 buttons are spaced just right for easy forward and back paging. The Forma buttons are more widely spaced and paging back felt awkward with the buttons to me. YMMV.

Lighting
Kindle wins, but both were pretty even.

I can detect, in some lighting situations, though not all, slight shadows around all four edges of the Forma screen. Also, the light on the side with the buttons is slightly lighter and slightly more blue. I believe this is where the Forma LEDs are located. While I've seen pictures of early Formas that had a very distinct line, mine is not that way, it's diffuse and in most lighting situations I read in, this lighter area is completely invisible.

Anyway, I'd call my Oasis 2 about 98-99% even, maybe 96-98% for the Forma. Pretty much a wash, both are pleasant to read on.

Screen size
I love, love, love the 8" screen! I'm in my 60s, need a bit larger font these days, but even without that, it's just more immersive to have more text on the screen. I have the Kindle for testing epub conversions and reading inexpensive Kindle books, but the reader that is in my hands the most is either my Aura One, or now my Forma.

For reference, I read a LOT. In the 100+ books per year category.

If you don't need to read at a larger font size, it may be moot as to whether the larger screen is necessary. It feels more like reading an actual book to me, which I like. You have a bit more discretion in margin size selection. Large chapter headings or ornaments are less likely to leave you with that annoying one or two lines at the bottom of the first page of a chapter. And if your book has illustrations, bigger is nicer. As long as the publisher has done their job in providing quality images...

If you read in bed and sometimes fall asleep, the Forma may have an advantage because of the Mobius screen. It shouldn't break if you fall asleep and knock it off the bed.

Hope that helps and happy reading!
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