Review: All New Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E with stylus: surprisingly MORE than an e-reader!

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Erin Lawrence

Kobo Elipsa 2e review As tablets get smarter there still seems to be a good amount of interest in standalone e-readers. Why? Primarily because many dedicated book lovers appreciate that there’s fewer distractions on a e-reader, since many of them don’t receive text messages or emails or social media notifications. While Amazon Kindle may get all the press, Canadian company Rakuten Kobo is a major competitor, and it just launched its newest e-reader for 2023, Kobo Elipsa 2E, which has a few upgrades and differentiators over the competition. In this kobo elipsa 2e review I will try out the new tablet, test it out for reading e-books and listening to audio content too. I’ll look at its special features (you get a stylus!) And see if I can recommend this e-reader for you.

Kobo Elipsa 2e
4.5

Summary

I’m actually blown away by how enjoyable and versatile the Kobo Elipsa 2E is. There’s not a lot of major negatives with this device.

Pros

  • Great reading experience
  • Tablet is light and easy to hold
  • Clear screen
  • Adjustable light
  • Ultra-configurable to your preferences
  • Also a digital notebook
  • Stylus included
  • Nice writing experience
  • Converts handwriting to text easily
  • Battery life seems good

Cons

  • No copy/paste from books (but not Kobo’s fault)
  • Too large for some?
  • Cover with pen holder costs extra
  • Notebook has limitations

Watch it in action: my hands on video review

What’s special about Kobo Elipsa 2E?

There are several key differentiating factors that make Kobo Elipsa 2E stand out from the crowd. The first is its size; with a big 10.3 inch touchscreen with a matte, paper-like finish, it’s bigger than your average e-reader. I know the trend is towards smaller and smaller devices, but when I sit down to read something, I don’t like to squint. The size of this reader is great as far as I’m concerned, and despite its large screen size it’s ultra thin and light (just 7.5mm thick and just under 400g).

Like almost all e-readers, the screen is grayscale only.

Pen: Kobo Stylus 2

Kobo Elipsa 2e review The next special feature of this is that there is a pen included in the package, known as the Stylus 2. The stylus allows you to do things like highlight text, or make notes in the margins, or to draw, create, or otherwise scribble your thoughts into the notebook… which is our next key feature.

Notebook

With a built-in notebook feature that syncs with Dropbox and Google Docs, you can create handwritten notes, scribble thoughts, journal your days or organize notes from your books and reading materials, then sync it all to the cloud.

Price

The last key factor I will highlight here is that this e-reader is significantly more expensive than average. So far it seems like the reason for that is you’re not just getting an e-reader but you’re also getting a digital notebook too… something akin to Moleskine Smart Writing Set or Rocketbook, both of which I’ve reviewed and you can check out.

The price, for reference, is $499CAD/$399US.

Set up

Getting the device set up, was actually quite easy; with it charged up and powered on, you will either sign into or create a Kobo account then connect to your homes Wi-Fi and you’re ready to go. You can shop digital books on the reader itself, or go to Kobo’s website to choose something and it will automatically sync to your tablet. You can also borrow library books using OverDrive too.

Reading experience

I started reading on the Kobo Elipsa 2E right away and found it comfortable and easy on the eyes, and I really enjoyed the larger page size. Turning pages is as easy as swiping across the screen or tapping the edge of the page. I will note that, like some other dedicated e-readers, there is a flash-like effect when the pages turn; it lasts a split second, but is noticeable, particularly early on. I can confirm though, that after reading for a while, I stopped noticing it.

Customizable reading experience

You can choose the orientation you prefer, either vertical or horizontal, depending on how you prefer to read. It will do this for you, or you can lock the orientation too. There’s plenty of other customization options as well, including where you prefer to tap on the screen, if you’d like to adjust font size by pinching, and whether or not you’d like to see more information on the screen.

Adjustable light

Kobo Elipsa 2e review

Warm light.

The Kobo Elipsa 2E has adjustable light, which allows you to create a more comfortable reading experience, particularly at night or in the dark. You can adjust the light from warmer nighttime to cooler brighter light easily using a simple slider bar, or have the device manage this for you by turning on the Natural Light Auto feature. You can also choose your regular bedtime and the device will adapt light to that for you.

Highlight and annotate books

I chose to do some professional reading for work, and decided to use the experience to create notes and thoughts about the book I was reading using the stylus.

It has a great tactile pen-on-paper feel to it which I liked a lot. Plus it’s got pressure sensitivity like a ballpoint pen, so you can press harder for thicker, darker results. You can also adjust pen type, shade, line size and eraser size that suits your style.

Kobo Elipsa 2e review I was hoping to be able to copy and paste certain passages into my notebook. I wasn’t able to see that there is a way to do this.

View your notes & highlights at a glance

By tapping a small page icon on the bottom of the screen I was able to see all my notes, both the highlighted passages and my handwriting on one page which was really cool. But what I really wanted was to migrate all my notes and highlights onto a notepage. Turns out that’s not so intuitive.

Copying notes & passages from books is banned

Kobo doesn’t allow you to copy and paste any highlighted passages from your e-book into your notebook. I was confused about why so I reached out to ask. Turns out this is a layer of copyright protection.

Now I actually think this is a bit ridiculous, but sadly this is also the case with other reading tablets including Apple Books on an iPad. Copying small passages for personal notes isn’t like copying a whole book and publishing it under my name—it’s not like plagiarism, so why am I being prevented from that? Particularly since there are myriad other ways to copy and paste from books, like taking a photo with an iPhone, then grabbing the text. I guess my beef here is with publishers, not the tech companies, and I digress.

Copy/create notes and notebooks

Your Kobo will help you keep your thoughts and notes organized using what’s called the notebooks feature. You can keep notebooks organized into folders, or simply create one large notebook with everything you want.

Creating a new notebook is easy, and you can write on the screen, type, or have the Kobo Elipsa 2E convert your handwriting to text if you want.

Kobo Elipsa 2e review In my tests the notebook was really great at converting even messy handwriting accurately and I was quite impressed.

Your notebooks save automatically on the device and Kobo.com, or you can sync your notebooks to Dropbox or Google Drive (coming soon, says Kobo). It also works with Readwise which allows you to sync your annotations to tools like Notion, Roam, Evernote, and more.

Web browser… sort of

If you want to look things up on the web, the Kobo Elipsa 2E has a web browser, but it’s a Beta feature so not “officially” supported by Kobo. I did try going to a website referenced in one block but couldn’t get it to load. Hopefully this will become a full-fledged feature in the future.

Listening to audio books

You can download and listen to audiobooks on this device, but to do that you will need a pair of Bluetooth headphones to connect to the reader. You can access the connection settings in your settings menu. Pair your headphones to the tablet by putting them in pairing mode and turning on the Kobo’s Bluetooth, and then you’re ready to go. I had my earbuds paired in seconds.

Kobo Elipsa 2e review Battery life & charging

Frustratingly, Kobo elipsa 2e battery life is not mentioned . That’s a bit of a cop out if you ask me; since it’s possible to disclose the battery size and give a range for users. All I can tell you is that in my experience I used the reader for about one week and it didn’t make a major dent in the battery.

Extra accessories are pricey

One final note: you can also purchase a special sleep cover that will protect your e-reader. It is actually quite handy as it also has a place for you to tuck your pen safely inside so it doesn’t get lost. But while convenient and a bit of an insurance policy, at $80CAD/$69US it’s not an insignificant add-on.

Overall kobo elipsa 2e review

Overall, I’m actually blown away by how enjoyable and versatile the Kobo Elipsa 2E is. On the pro side it’s got a big, easy to read screen while still being thin and light. The reading experience is relaxing, but at the same time I can use the Elipsa 2E to make notes which can then be exported to the cloud. The reader is also a handy digital notebook that’s adept at letting your handwriting show, or converting to text. The stylus is a handy addition for making notes if you don’t want to just use your fingers on the touch screen.

On the con side, there’s not a lot of major negatives with this device. Most of my personal complaints have to do with my own productivity needs and not with anything glaringly wrong with this e-reader. If you feel this e-reader is too large, that can be remedied by choosing a more compact Kobo model.

In short I really liked my Kobo Elipsa 2E experience. I think it’s a great option for readers who want to do more with their content, or for folks looking into digital notebooks. I can definitely recommend it to you.

It sells for $499CAD/$399US and you can get it from Kobo’s website.

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