Remember the time when smartphones with 4-inch screens were a commonplace? Times have changed quite a bit as phones with larger 6-inch screens come as standard with phones approaching 7 inches counting as flagship. It looks like the e-reader space is going through a similar renaissance as people simply want larger canvases for both reading and writing. Today’s modern tablets are excellent for media consumption but battery life and document reading remain the top weaknesses.
E-readers will always be around to serve those needs but two of the top brands, Kindle and Kobo never offered any large options until recently. Kobo’s big swing to the 10-inch weight class started in June 2021 with its Kobo Elipsa and Amazon followed more than a year later with its Kindle Scribe. Kobo, not sitting still, then developed a successor called the Kobo Elipsa 2E. It’s only natural to pit these two head to head and figure out which is best for your hard-earned $490+ CAD.
Kobo deserves some credit for using recycled plastics for manufacturing each and every Elipsa 2E product. The company also managed to recycle abandoned plastic waste in oceans in making the product. The rear of the Elipsa 2E has a rubberized feel while the front feels like glass. If you are after something more premium feeling, the Kindle Scribe will sway you over with its gunmetal aluminum body and sleek overall feel. Unlike the usual entry-level e-readers, both companies decided to go for a wider bezel on one of the sides to ensure you can hold it with one hand without obscuring the screen.
Dimensions & Weight
The Kobo Elipsa 2E and Kindle Scribe are neck and neck with the e-reader and screen dimensions. Both tablets measure close to 9 × 7.7 inches and have 10-inch displays with the Kobo Elipsa 2E being 0.1 inches larger. The Kindle Scribe has a noticeably thinner 0.22-inch thickness compared to the Elipsa 2E’s 0.29-inch thickness. However, the Elipsa 2E 13.8 ounces which is about 1.5 ounces lighter than the Kindle Scribe. Every little bit of weight savings counts, especially if you plan on holding the device one-handed for longer reading sessions.
Writing & Note Taking Experience
Both Amazon and Kobo took interesting routes to meet the needs of their note-taking audiences. On a mere technical level, the Kindle Scribe pen is vastly superior as it is powered by Wacom tech which means you will never have to charge it. The latency of the Amazon pens are a little bit better too.
Unfortunately, Amazon dropped the ball on the software side of things. At the time of writing, you cannot write or jot down notes directly on the book. You have to highlight a word and attach a sticky note on it. The Amazon Scribe does organize the notes but then once you use the Kobo Elipsa 2E, you’ll find the writing experience to be a lot more freeing. Not only can you jot down notes on a book but you can also do more things on the note-taking app. For instance, you can write a math equation and double tap it to transform it into text form complete with an answer. The Kobo also has more note-taking templates than the Kindle and you can make your own custom templates too! Although the USB-C rechargeable pen is a clear negative compared to the Scribe’s Premium Pen, I’ll have to give Kobo the victory here for offering more note-taking freedom.
The Kindle Scribe scores an easy victory here when it comes to readability thanks to its 300 ppi display. Text just appears sharper and the blacks look blacker compared to the Elipsa. That being said, if you just use Elipsa on its own, I’d wager you wouldn’t have many complaints because you are working with 10-inch screens after all. Books just look far better on a huge display. If you are transitioning from a more traditional tablet, understand that e-ink displays work sluggishly in general and have low refresh rate.
The only thing you really need to know about both e-readers is that they can normally last a couple of weeks before you need to charge them. Using them more often and relying on the backlight more will obviously lessen the average battery life but the e-ink technology in general just screams portability and can easily be charged via USB-C when needed. The Kindle Scribe does last a bit longer and it’s likely due to its internal 3,000 mAh battery. The Elipsa 2E has a slightly smaller 2,400 mAh battery.
I had to save the most important comparison for last because it almost voids every other comparison and highlights the importance of understanding the platforms before diving into the technical aspects. To keep it simple, the Kindle Scribe is the one to consider if you have a vast library of Kindle books or you simply like the Kindle Store’s selection. Yes, you can open PDF files and send Word documents and ePub files from PC to e-reader but the process isn’t very straightforward.
The Kobo Elipsa 2E goes in the opposite direction offering support for many other document file formats including HTML, TXT, RTF and MOBI. Even comic book and image formats can be opened with the Elipsa 2E.
There’s no clean winner here even if you consider all of the key strengths the Elipsa 2E has, Kobo’s option is more expensive at close to $500 CAD for the 32 GB model. If you think 32 GB is overkill, you can save quite a bit by going for the 16 GB Kindle Scribe which costs $459 CAD or $429 CAD if you don’t mind having a basic stylus that lacks a physical eraser. Just understand the proprietary limitations of the Kindle Scribe and the choice becomes a bit easier. As for note-taking, the Elipsa 2E is an easy recommendation but you might need to do extra research to see if the Kindle Scribe is making any big moves on the update front because superior software can always turn things around!
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