I've attempted to distill my thoughts around the new Amazon Kindle Scribe to help those looking to purchase make an informed decision.
From the first Remarkable tablet to the Onyx Boox series, I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried try my hand at a range of different e-ink note taking devices to assist me in my day-to-day business tasks.
I was also an avid Amazon Kindle user, sampling most of their models from the Oasis 2019, Paperwhite Signature 2022 Edition to now the Kindle Scribe. I feel that I struggled to find a device that struck the perfect balance between a good notetaker and an effective e-reader. My backpack would typically house 2 different e-ink devices, which led to not only a cumbersome note taking process, but an inconvenient and disjointed workflow.
I found it hard to really engage and immerse myself with the content I was reading whist I was actively trying to take notes. This was due to native reading apps on these notetakers not being built for purpose, which always resulted in glitchy, underwhelming user experiences. So, as you can imagine, a device with good pen functionality and a great reading experience was something that I was genuinely looking forward to.
From the software, materials, screen resolution to the overall writing experience. I hope to give you all an extensive overview of the Scribe and if it is best suited for your workflow. To add, I purchased this device with my own cash, which means that this review is truly unbiased. For those of you that are interested, I purchased the 64GB model with the premium pen, fast charger and case which came to around the £460 mark.
Personally, I loved the design of my old Kindle Oasis, more so than the Paperwhite, so I was pleased with its resemblance. I remember unboxing the unit and being blown away by the look and feel of the device. The rounded corners, the cold to the touch casing and the extremely thin bezel made it feel as if it was truly a premium product which met the standards Amazon had set. I opted for the official black fabric folio case which does the job in protecting the device. It’s magnetic and clips onto the back of the device. However, I must say that for what it is, it simply isn’t worth the money for its bare-bones functionality. I’m sure potential buyers can source much better cases if they were inclined to look.
Strangely enough, the device is not waterproof which wasn’t the biggest deal breaker for me but seemed to be an odd design decision, only on the basis that their less-premium models made these considerations. The device sits at around 10.2 inches, making the device considerably larger to their current line of e-readers. I did eventually get used to reading on a larger device, but it is not nearly as convenient as the Signature or Oasis. There’s something truly intuitive and effortless about reading on those earlier models. With that being said, I completely understood the compromises that had to be made to pave the way for an effective note taking experience.
The screen resolution sits at 300 DPI, which is the same as the previous generations, however it takes nothing away from the stunning experience given to the Scribe user. The 35 LED bulbs allows for the device to enter different modes of cool and warm lighting, perfect for those opting to read at night or have certain eye conditions. The refresh rate is lightening quick in comparison to other e-readers and the inclusion of the dark mode from their existing UI is a nice touch for those that are sensitive to lighter screens.
When the Kindle Scribe was announced I was ecstatic and was ready to hit the pre-order. But I decided to hold tight to see if the writing experience was as good as it had been made out to be. At the time I was some-what happy with my Boox Note Air 2 but did feel the need for a writing experience with a backlight that was like the Remarkable series. Upon launch, the reviews started flooding in, with most of them criticising the pen feel and function. I was disappointed, so I decided to hold off on grabbing a unit. A few months down the line I heard of an update to the Scribe, which was designed to correct a lot the frustrations as well as its writing experience. This re-kindled my interest and led to the purchasing of the device.
As an artist and designer, I would have to say that this has been one of the best writing experiences I have had on an e-ink device. The device has a coated texture applied to the screen which truly gives it a paper like feel. The latency on the pen is almost non-existent and the pressure sensitivity allows for a wide range of depth across each stroke made. There are two pen options. I opted for the premium one, but I don’t think it makes much of a difference apart from the added ability to use the back of the pen as an eraser. I did find that the pen nibs ran out quite quickly due to the texture of the screen so you will have to factor the additional cost of maintaining these into your decision. I was able to find a pack of 10 at £12.99 but you should be able to find alternatives for a cheaper price.
The Kindle interface remains largely unchanged, with the ability to purchase books directly off the Kindle store whilst having the option to port your collection to other devices. The added notepad feature provides an extensive set of page layouts and templates whilst offering a range of brushes to suit your writing style. The pencil brush truly felt as if I was writing on paper where as the fountain pen has some streamlining already applied to it to correct handwriting clarity.
One of the drawbacks with this device is that there is no option to create different layers inside the notebooks. There is also no option to zoom in and out of your notes making it harder for you to achieve intricate details in your sketches. Perhaps, e-ink manufacturers and developers should consider making native drawing applications to help facilitate these requests from artists. I also came across a few software crashes and lapses, but these proved to be minor and very rare.
I do have to commend Kindle for listening and refining their user experience. They recently introduced an option to read in a two-column view, which allows you to read in a landscape orientation. I personally prefer the portrait viewing angle, but some other users have suggested that it gives a more natural reading experience, similar to that of a book.
I would have to say that the Amazon Kindle Scribe has become of my favourite purchases of this year. I feel a sense of un-interrupted productivity and connivence that shines throughout that I haven’t been able to receive from other devices. It is not perfect, but it has the potential to grow into a stronger product through every software iteration. I also hope to see a typeface cover that other respective e-ink devices are offering to make it a complete end-to-end e-paper device.
I would happily give this device a
If you want me to review any other devices or you have any feedback, feel free to get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org