Kobo has a new e-reader out, the Libra H20, which looks to join the existing Kobo Forma in taking on Amazon’s luxury Kindle Oasis, with a similar one-handed design. But where the Forma stumbled by upping the screen size to an 8-inch panel, resulting in a device that was somewhat unwieldy to hold, the new Libra H20 matches Amazon’s e-reader exactly with a 7-inch size that’s much easier to manage.
Crucially, though, unlike the Forma, which start at $279.99 — even more than the Oasis, which starts at $249.99, despite it’s more premium metal design — the Libra H20 will cost $169.99, making it the cheapest option around for an asymmetrical, Oasis-style e-reader.
Aside from with the smaller display and lower price point, the new Libra H20 largely resembles the Forma: it’s IPX8 waterproof, offers an integrated backlight and adjustable color temperature, features a high-resolution 300ppi e-Ink display (the same as the Forma as well as Amazon’s Oasis and Paperwhite models), and offers the same deep Overdrive library and Pocket integrations that the product line is known for.
Kobo is also debuting a new book navigation interface with the Libra H20 (which will also be available on the rest of Kobo’s current product lineup), which adds some welcome features. Now, you can scrub through an entire book, instead of just the current chapter, with page previews that will appear while scrubbing. Updated headers show what chapter you’re currently reading and how many pages you have left in it, while a new footer shows what page you’re currently on in the book overall. They’re welcome improvements, given that software has been one of Kobo’s weaker areas when compared to their Amazon counterparts.
The Kobo Libra H20 will cost $169.99 in the US when it goes on sale on September 17th. Preorders will begin on September 10th.