Ebook readers have been a part of my life since 2007. At one point, I even considered Kindle DX to get that big screen reading experience. Naturally, I was interested when my co-worker bought a Amazing 2 and showed me all the possibilities of reading and taking notes on the tablet. But when I was about to check, Amazon unveiled the Kindle Scribe, the first of its kind to support in-display writing with a large 10.2-inch display.
For the past 10 days, I have tried the Amazon Kindle Scribeand while it’s not perfect, it makes paper and pen notes obsolete — a big step toward a paperless and more sustainable life.
The tablet starting at $339 for the basic pen and 16GB storage bundle and up to $419 if you buy it with maximum memory capacity (64GB) and premium pen on Amazon. More accessories and features below.
|exudation||10.2-inch Paperwhite, 300 ppi, 16-level gray scale|
|RECORDING||16GB/32GB, or 64GB|
|front light||35 LEDs|
|Battery life||Read up to 12 weeks, write up to 3 weeks|
|relationship||Wi-Fi and Bluetooth|
|Supported formats||Kindle, TXT, PDF, DOCX, DOC, HTML, EPUB, RTF, JPEG, GIF PNG, BMP, Audible|
|Dimensions||196 x 230 x 5.8mm|
Still a Kindle for e-reading
Kindle Scribe is Amazon’s largest ebook reader and is the culmination of all the optimizations and capabilities added to the Kindle ebook reading experience over the past 15 years. Like most Kindles, buying one of Amazon’s new tablets comes with a free trial of its Unlimited service, which allows you to borrow digital books to read at your leisure. I found this service practical enough to be satisfied even after the trial ended.
Also: How to get free Kindle e-books
Kindle Scribe also supports Audible, as long as you’re connected to a Bluetooth headset for audio playback. Battery life will obviously be affected by Audible books more than typical e-ink experiences, but it’s nice to be able to enjoy Amazon’s audio service even with the larger Scribe.
The higher brightness level, glare-free Paperwhite display, heat controls, and 10.2-inch screen make for an awesome reading experience. I just wish there were hardware buttons like my Oasis to open pages easily. This is an important feature to have, especially when handling a tablet of this size. The left side bezel is a bit wide, in my opinion, but it makes it easier to hold the tablet with my left hand and write with my right. The funny part is that you can rotate the Scribe 180 degrees and have a wide bezel on the right side with a pen in your left hand, making it an ambidextrous tablet.
See also: Kindle Scribe vs ReMarkable 2 Tablet: Digitize your notes
It should be noted that the Scribe does not have an IP rating for water resistance. Over the years, I’ve used my Kindle Oasis at the beach, by the pool, and even in the bathtub because that reader has IPX8 water resistance, so it’s unfortunate that Amazon’s more expensive and modern offering doesn’t .
How the Scribe replaced pen and paper
I’ll confess: I have drawers full of notebooks filled with my scribblings and sketches throughout the year. As each book fills up, I store it in one of my storage drawers, and eventually take it out for recycling. My desire to find something that does not waste paper and also provides the ability to preserve and share my notes was met with the Amazon Kindle Scribe.
My colleague Jason Cipriani has done a great job providing ZDNET readers with a variety of ways to take notes on Amazon Kindle Scribe so I won’t be able to cover too many of them in this review. The big takeaway is that there is great support for capturing content in Kindle Scribe, making notes on it, and then sharing that content with others.
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One important function I would add is the way I can quickly and easily erase my handwritten notes by ‘brushing’ the eraser part of the $59 Premium Pen. This is an optional accessory for Scribe, but one that I recommend getting if you want the full note-taking experience. If you order the Kindle Scribe without a case, you’ll find that the pen magnetically attaches to the side with narrower bezels – and it’s done securely. I mount the premium pen in this position 90% of the time with no problem. The Scribe is also thin at 5.8mm so it’s easy to hold without a case.
Also, I like that I can highlight text, make notes, and even sign documents with a signature unlike a two-year-old with Scribe. Amazon has stated that you will be able to send Scribe documents directly through Microsoft Word in early 2023, so stay tuned for more functionality in that area. Currently, you can view your notebooks created with Scribe on other tablets, smartphones, and computers through the Amazon Kindle app. They just can’t be edited.
While I have various tablets, I have never found a pair that is natural, both in hardware and software, and always rarely use the stylus they support. An e-ink tablet like the Kindle Scribe solves that issue.
Should you buy the folio cover?
The folio case options that Amazon is promoting with the Scribe provide protection for the front and back of the tablet, while also putting it into sleep mode when the cover is placed over the display. If you’re not comfortable attaching your pen magnetically, the case has a loop to secure it — and I have to say, it leads to less worry about losing the accessory.
The Kindle Scribe closes the folio cover with magnets that, I admit, usually remain intact when you carry the device in your hand or a backpack. But if you drop it or try to get the Scribe on the front flap of the case, then be prepared to catch the falling Kindle.
Overall, I would recommend the folio cover if you want to protect the front of the Scribe and a more secure slot for your pen. Otherwise, I’d wait for more third-party cases to appear on the market so you can find your ideal function(s) and design.
A note on Amazon: What can be improved
Amazon Kindle Scribe has achieved the goal of replacing pen and paper, but modern technology gives Amazon the ability to continue it and provide a better experience for more people. Some of these suggestions will be possible with software updates to existing Kindle Scribe, while others will require later hardware versions. Here’s what I want to see from Amazon.
- Easily switch between reading books and notebooks: It’s quick and easy to add notes inside the books you’re reading, but sometimes I have a thought that I want to write down in one of my notebooks. Currently, users return from the reading experience and navigate to the Notebooks section to write a word or two. By adding a shortcut, the duality of the two parts becomes more seamless.
- Basic file management: Unfortunately, you can’t reorganize notes in Scribe, which is something I need as I accumulate documents over time. It’s great to be able to cut and paste, insert pages, and share parts of your notes with others.
- Export notes to other formats: This time, you can easily and quickly send your handwritten notes as a PDF in an email. I wish there was an option to send it as a text file, OneNote file, or Word document so I could do more with notes.
- Hand writing text: ReMarkable 2 supports converting your handwriting to text, making notes highly searchable. It is not in the Scribe.
- Import the content of the notes: Nice to be able to import other text, images, and visual content into a note document. At this time, notes only support what you write on the display with the pen.
- Forms: While graph paper is one of the note templates offered, it is still difficult to create straight ink lines. I like to see support for basic shapes like squares, rectangles, circles, and even lines when I need to sketch designs and engineering mock-ups.
- Colored pens: Even if color e-ink is not used in the display, it is good to have access to different colors and highlighters so that when it is exported, the receiver can better visualize your input.
When I first considered the Amazing 2, I’m not looking for a tablet for media consumption, graphic designing, or other functions that are best performed on an iPad, Surface Pro, or Samsung Galaxy tablet. I’m just looking for a good digital tablet that replicates my traditional pen-and-paper experience.
With Amazon Kindle Scribe, I get the best of ReMarkable 2 along with Amazon’s strong ecosystem of digital services. Scribe provides that distraction-free experience we love from Kindle with a portable pen and writing surface that now helps preserve handwritten notes. This is a fantastic first model from Amazon and even replaced mine Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 for long form note taking.
In its current form, the new Kindle barely scratches my itch for a digital notepad, but I hope that future revisions will address the areas of improvement that I suggested above.
Alternatives to consider
If you’re on the fence about Amazon Kindle Scribe, these are the best alternatives you should consider: