The launch of the Kindle Scribe was a big moment for Amazon’s eReaders, but it was far from the first E Ink tablet designed for notetaking.
ReMarkable, Huawei and Boox have all launches similar devices in the past, although Kobo’s Elipsa is the most obvious alternative to the Scribe. The new Elipsa 2E is an upgraded version of 2021’s original, yet maintains the same $399.99/£349.99 starting price.
Its premise is simple: a large 10.3in, 1404×1872-pixel E Ink tablet which allows you to read, take notes or annotate books and other documents. Most of this is made possible by the updated Kobo Stylus 2 pen, which is included in the box.
I had a few minutes to try it out, and it’s smooth and responsive to use, yet precise enough to select very specific areas of the screen.
The Elipsa 2E’s plastic exterior is made from 85% recycled plastic, 10% of which would otherwise end up in landfill or the ocean. It doesn’t feel particularly premium, but helps the device remain nice and light at 390g.
Even with the magnetic SleepCover attached (an extra $69.99/£69.99), it can easily be carried around wherever you travel. But unlike some other Kobo eReaders, there’s no waterproofing.
Performance comes from an unnamed 2GHz processor, and in my hands-on time, the device was fast and responsive. Kobo claims “weeks of battery life” from the 2400mAh cell, although using the stylus will deplete it much more quickly than reading. Charging is via USB-C, but don’t expect anything particularly fast, and only the cable is included in the box.
However, it’s the software experience that sets the Elipsa 2E apart from other E Ink devices. It supports a wide range of file formats, such as EPUB, MOBI, PDF and JPEG and HTML. You can take notes directly onto any of these, a key advantage over the Kindle Scribe.
Plenty of choice can be found in Kobo’s eBook Store, which includes both text-based books and audiobooks. There are no speakers, but the Elipsa 2E can connect to headphones or speakers via Bluetooth.
Like all Kobo eReaders, the Elipsa 2E has OverDrive integration. This means you can link your library card and borrow books rather than having to buy them, just like you would in a physical library.
Importing and exporting documents is possible via Dropbox (with Google Drive coming soon). Pocket integration lets you easily read online articles you’ve saved from any of your devices.
There’s also Readwise support, so highlights and annotations can be moved to various third-party notetaking apps if you pay for a subscription (from $4.49/approx. £3.60 per month).
Another subscription you might have heard about is Kobo Plus, which offers unlimited access to 1.3 million eBooks and more than 100,000 audiobooks. It’s previously been available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Italy, France and the Netherlands, but has now arrived in the US and UK.
After a 30-day free trial, Kobo Plus costs $7.99/£8.99 per month for either eBooks or audiobooks, or $9.99/£11.99 per month for both.
Pre-orders for the Kobo Elipsa 2E are live now on Kobo’s website, where purchases until 18 April include a free £25 gift card for eBooks and audiobooks in the UK. It’ll then be released in the UK, US and many other countries around the world on 19 April.