If you like big-screened e-ink devices you can scribble on, the new Kobo Elipsa 2E is well worth considering. It takes the good bits of its predecessor, adds some genuinely useful improvements, and is a real rival to Amazon's large-screen Kindle Scribe.
As before the Elipsa 2E is a 10.3-inch e-ink touchscreen, but this time the resolution has been increased to a print-like 300dpi and it includes Kobo's ComfortLight Pro to adjust colour temperature and brightness for comfortable reading. Kobo doesn't say how long the battery lasts, but promises "weeks".
I think tablets like this are well suited to business types who need to read and comment on documents on the move, but they're pretty good options for students
although since they cost $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$629.95, they're a tough sell compared to a tablet, which can do much more. So what does the Kobo Elipsa 2E have to offer?
What's new in the Kobo Elipsa 2E?
Although the improved resolution is the most important feature here for me, there's also a faster dual-core processor for faster page turning and zooming and a new version of the Kobo Stylus. The Kobo Stylus 2 is rechargeable and 3/4 of the weight of its predecessor, has a digital eraser on the back and a dedicated highlighter button too. In addition to its book store, the Elipsa 2E supports Dropbox and will shortly sync with Google Drive too. It also works with Readwise, a (paid-for) third party service that can sync your annotations to apps such as Notion, Evernote and Roam.
In addition to the e-reader, Kobo has also announced its rival to Audible and Kindle Unlimited. The subscription-based service starts at $7.99 / £8.99 per month for ebooks or audiobooks, or you can have both kinds of books for $12.99 / £11.99. In Australia, you can't bundle both services together. Instead, you will need to pay AU$13.99p/m for the ebook-only option, or AU$12.99p/m for the audiobook option.
Kobo says there are currently over 1.3 million e-books and 100,000 audiobooks. It also works with OverDrive, so you can borrow e-books from the library.
I really like e-readers of this size: they mean less page turning, and they're much better for reading non-fiction and more graphical books. So I'm pleased to see more choice in this area, not just from Amazon and Kobo but from Remarkable and Onyx too.
However, the problem for Kindle Scribe rivals is Amazon's deep pockets: once again it's discounting the Scribe, so at the time of writing the Scribe is £284 in the UK, instead of its £329.99 RRP and the £349.99 RRP of the Kobo – and there's another 20% off Amazon's big e-reader if you trade in an existing Kindle.
I don't think Kobo can compete with Amazon on price or on the size of Amazon's content library, which also includes Audible. Few firms can. But I'd love to see the Elipsa 2E in a head to head review with the Kindle Scribe to see if it's the better tablet in terms of hardware, document handling and ease of use – because for all I really like my Scribe, its notebook features could do with a lot of improvement. So I'm looking forward to seeing my colleagues' Elipsa 2E review.
The Elipsa 2E is available from today and costs $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$629.95, with a free £25 Kobo gift card if you order before 18 April.