A Book That Lets You Write On It? - Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E Review
We know e-readers aren't for everyone; no matter how thin and light the brand makes them, some people just seem to prefer physical books. Brands know this, so they try to add more features that value-add to the e-reading experience, and the result is an e-reader that does a little bit more than display your favourite books.
The Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E is a large-screen e-reader with a 10.3-inch E Ink Carta 1200 display and a built-in stylus for note-taking features, so it's not just an e-reader but an "e-notebook" as well?
Design & Specs
10.3-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen; 227 PPI, 1404 x 1872 resolution with Dark Mode
WiFi 802.11 ac/b/g/n (dual band), Bluetooth® wireless technology, and USB-C
ComfortLight PRO – Adjustable brightness and colour temperature
TypeGenius: 12 different fonts and over 50 font styles
193 x 227 x 7.5 mm
15 file formats supported natively (EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR)
Kobo Audiobooks (Audiobooks are available only in select countries. Bluetooth® wireless headphones or speaker required.)
English, French, French (Canada), German, Spanish, Spanish (Mexico), Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Turkish, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Polish, Romanian, and Czech.
In terms of design, it's a sleek, modern-looking device that is comfortable to hold for long hours; depending on the book you read, it may even be lighter. The screen is large and clear, and the E Ink panel displays text in a manner that is sharp and easy to read for extended reading sessions. ComfortLight PRO is also a handy feature that allows you to read your favourite books in low light.
Overall, I wish the device was smaller as I find the 10.3-inch size quite limiting; most of the time, I'll find myself needing to carry a bag out for it, so maybe somewhere between six to 7-inches would be a much more palatable size for me, especially if it's going to serve as a notebook as well.
The Kobo Elipsa 2E has a built-in stylus, which can be magnetically attached to the back of the device. It's easy to take out and put away, perhaps a little too easy; the stylus doesn't hold itself quite securely, so if you don't have the SleepCover case for it, the risk of losing it is extremely high. The SleepCover case has a separate slot for holding the stylus, which is slightly more secure than attaching it to the e-reader. However, I still find that it slips out a few too many times when taken out of my bag, so do exercise prudence with the stylus.
Naturally, the existence of the stylus means that the Kobo Elipsa 2E has various note-taking features packed in its 10-inch body. You can annotate or highlight content in books or PDFs, take notes and even sketch. The notes are then stored in the My Notebooks app, which you can export as PDF, amongst other formats, via DropBox.
Do "take note", no pun intended, that content with DRM (digital rights management) limitations can't be written over; this means ebooks borrowed or bought from the Kobo store.
With the notebook app, you choose from various templates, including blank pages for freehand, just like a sketchbook or standard lines. The notebook also allows you to convert your handwriting into text and export it as a text file; with the same written-to-text detection, you can also look up your handwritten notes with the search option!
The stylus is generally responsive; latency is, of course, lower, with an E Ink display of a lower refresh rate. Still, it remains a pretty handy device for students, professionals and anyone who wants to interact with their digital content in a lightweight package, albeit with limitations.
In the past month, I've been breaking this in, consuming all kinds of Books, Mangas and Audiobooks with it. Despite my preference for smaller screens, the 10-inch display actually makes the reading experience quite enjoyable. Although I do want to put it out there that portability is a major factor for me as I'm not the kind to carry notebooks that are beyond pocket sizes, but if you prefer the larger screen, by all means.
The Kobo Elipsa 2E also has a really long battery life, which is expected of e-readers. I could easily get over two weeks of use on a single charge; both the e-reader and stylus charge via a USB-C.
Pricing & Availability
Now for the hard-to-swallow part, the Rakuten Kobo Elipsa 2E goes for S$629.90, and if you want the SleepCover as well, that will be an additional S$99.90 which brings your total to about S$729.8.
With just a little more, you can probably pick up an Android tablet or even an iPad Mini, with a second-hand Apple Pencil and a cheaper third-party case, either of which will offer you a whole lot more functionality. But it is clear that Rakuten has put a lot of thought into the e-reading experience with the Elipsa 2E, letting you read and write in an all-in-one package.
If you're looking for a large-screen e-reader with note-taking capabilities, the Kobo Elipsa 2E is a great option. While it's more expensive than other major e-readers, it's worth the extra cost if you are an avid reader who takes notes regularly and won't want to worry about charging your device.