Amazon's brand new Kindle Scribe is the Kindle many users have been waiting for: it's a big-screened e-reader that you can also use to write on, for example by annotating books and documents or by creating brand new illustrations. It's the same size as an iPad, but it's a very different device – and it's very similarly priced.
Here are three reasons why the iPad is probably a better buy, and one reason why it might not be.
1. The iPad is a proper tablet
The Kindle Scribe is still an e-reader, with all the compromises that entails. It has a very slowly refreshing screen, because e-ink is much slower than normal displays (which is why the battery lasts so long). It's only black and white. And it only runs a handful of applications: Kindle books, Audible audiobooks, the Scribe's own pen software and the incoming document editing support. An iPad on the other hand can do pretty much anything: Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Fruit Ninja, dJay, Apple Home... you get the idea.
2. The iPad is a better note taker
Adding an Apple Pencil makes the iPad slightly more expensive than the Scribe, but what a pencil: it's a brilliant drawing tool in illustration apps (I use mine a lot in Sketchbook, and my kids do the same in animation apps and drawing apps) and feels fast and fluid as you're drawing. I haven't had the chance to try the Scribe yet but I suspect it's going to feel very laggy by comparison.
The other thing the iPad can do brilliantly is combine different kinds of notes, so for example with the right apps – many of which are either free or very cheap – you can record lectures or meetings and scribble as you record, add tags, export in various formats, convert handwriting to editable and searchable text and so on. There's much more choice.
3. You can't watch TV on a Kindle
Kindles are brilliant for books, but there's a really good Kindle iPad app too – and your Kindle can't show you Amazon Prime Video shows, Netflix shows, Disney+, YouTube or any of the other streaming media services you might subscribe to.
That said, there are still some important benefits to a Kindle Scribe over an iPad. I think this one is the biggest of all:
4. The Kindle Scribe battery lasts forever and won't hurt your eyes
Or as close to forever as current battery tech currently delivers. Compared to e-ink, the iPad's all-day battery life is rubbish: Kindles last for days and days before needing recharged. It's also much easier on the eyes because the screen isn't refreshing dozens of times per second.