Kobo’s Elipsa is the most recent within the Amazon rival’s e-reading line, and it’s a giant one. The 10.Three-inch e-paper show brings it as much as iPad dimensions and places it in direct competitors with the reMarkable and Boox’s e-reader tablets. It excels on studying expertise, will get by on note-taking and drawing, however falls a bit quick on versatility.
Kobo has been creeping upmarket for a number of years now, and although the cheaper Clara HD continues to be the decide of the litter for my part, the Forma and Libra H2O are worthy rivals to the Kindle strains. The $400 Elipsa represents a giant step up in measurement, operate, and value, and it does justify itself — although there are a number of vital caveats.
The system is effectively designed however lacks any prospers. The tilted “aspect chin” of the Forma and Libra is flattened out right into a easy huge bezel on the proper aspect. The lopsided look doesn’t trouble me a lot, and far of the competitors has it as effectively. (Although my favourite is Boox’s ultra-compact, flush-fronted Poke Three)
The 10.Three″ display has a decision of 1404 x 1872, giving it 227 pixels per inch. That’s effectively under the 300 PPI of the Clara and Forma, and the typography suffers from noticeably extra aliasing when you look intently. In fact, you received’t be trying that intently, since as a bigger system you’ll most likely be giving the Elipsa a bit extra distance and maybe utilizing a bigger sort measurement. I discovered it completely comfy to learn on — 227 PPI isn’t unhealthy, simply not the perfect.
There’s a frontlight, which is definitely adjustable by sliding your finger up and down the left aspect of the display, however in contrast to different Kobo units there is no such thing as a approach to change the colour temperature. I’ve been spoiled by different units and now the default cool gray I lived with for years doesn’t really feel proper, particularly with a hotter mild shining in your environment. The vital half is that it’s constant throughout the total show and adjustable right down to a faint glow, one thing my eyes have thanked me for a lot of instances.
It’s exhausting to think about the Elipsa unbiased from the equipment it’s bundled with, and actually there’s no approach to purchase one proper now with out the “sleep cowl” and stylus. The reality is that they actually full the bundle, although they do add significantly to its weight and bulk. What when bare is lighter and feels smaller than a normal iPad is heavier and bigger as soon as you set its case on and stash the surprisingly weighty stylus on the prime.
The duvet is properly designed, if a bit stiff, and will certainly shield your system from hurt. The duvet, secured by magnets on the backside, flips off like a sheet on a authorized pad and folds flat behind the system, attaching itself with the identical magnets from the opposite path. A pair folds in it additionally stiffen up with additional magnetic association into a pleasant, sturdy little stand. The skin is a grippy fake leather-based and the within is gentle microfiber.
You possibly can wake and switch off the system by opening and shutting the quilt, however the entire thing comes with a small catch: you must have the ability button, charging port, and large bezel on the proper. When out of its case the Elipsa can, just like the others of its lopsided sort, be inverted and your content material immediately flips. However as soon as you set it within the case, you’re locked in to a semi-right-handed mode. This will or could not trouble folks but it surely’s price mentioning.
The studying expertise is in any other case similar to that on Kobo’s different units. A comparatively clear interface that surfaces your most lately accessed content material and a not overwhelming however nonetheless unwelcome quantity of promotional stuff (“Discover your subsequent nice learn”). Ebooks free and paid for show effectively, although it’s by no means been my choice to learn on a big display like this. I really want considered one of these massive e-readers would make a panorama mode with going through pages. Isn’t that extra booklike?
Articles from the net, synced through Pocket, look nice and are a pleasure to learn on this format. It feels extra like a magazine web page, which is nice if you’re studying an internet model of 1. It’s merely, foolproof and effectively built-in.
Kobo’s new note-taking prowess
What’s new on the underside row, although, is “Notebooks,” the place unsurprisingly you may create notebooks for scribbling down lists, doodles, notes after all, and customarily use the stylus.
The writing expertise is sufficient. Right here I’m spoiled by the reMarkable 2, which boasts extraordinarily low lag and excessive accuracy, in addition to way more expression within the line. Kobo doesn’t strategy that, and the writing expertise is pretty primary, with a noticeable quantity of lag, however admirable accuracy.
There are 5 pen suggestions, 5 line widths, and 5 line shades, and so they’re all fantastic. The stylus has a pleasant heft to it, although I’d like a grippier materials. Two buttons on it allow you to shortly swap from the present pen fashion to a highlighter or eraser, the place you could have stroke-deleting or brush modes. The traditional notebooks have the same old gridded, dotted, lined and clean kinds, and limitless pages, however you may’t zoom in or out (not so good for artists).
Then there are the “superior” notebooks, which it’s essential to use in order for you handwriting recognition and different options. These have indelible strains on which you’ll write, and a double faucet captures your phrases into sort in a short time. It’s also possible to put in drawings and equations in their very own sections.
The handwriting recognition is quick and ok for tough notes, however don’t anticipate to ship these on to your group with none enhancing. Likewise the diagram device that turns gestural sketches of shapes and labels into finalized flowcharts and the like — higher than the unique wobbly artwork however nonetheless a tough draft. There are a number of intelligent shortcuts and gestures so as to add or subtract areas and different frequent duties, one thing you’ll most likely get used to pretty fast when you use the Elipsa repeatedly.
The pocket book interface is snappy sufficient going from web page to web page or up and down on the “good” notebooks however nothing just like the fluidity of a design program or an art-focused one on an iPad. Nevertheless it’s additionally unobtrusive, has good palm blocking, and feels good in motion. The lag on the road is unquestionably a con, however one thing you may get used to when you don’t thoughts the ensuing product being slightly sloppy.
It’s also possible to mark up ebooks, which is good for highlights however finally not that significantly better than merely choosing the textual content. And there’s no approach you’re writing within the margins with the restrictions of this stylus.
Exporting notepads could be finished through a linked Dropbox account or over USB connection. Once more the reMarkable has a leg up right here, for even when its app is a bit restrictive, the stay syncing means you don’t ever have to fret about what model of what’s the place, so long as it’s within the system. On the Kobo it’s extra conventional.
In comparison with the reMarkable, the Kobo is de facto simply a better platform for on a regular basis studying, so when you’re searching for a tool that focuses on that and has the choice of doodling or note-taking on the aspect, it’s a significantly better deal. However, these simply searching for an enchancment to that stylus-focused pill ought to look elsewhere — writing and sketching nonetheless feels approach higher on a reMarkable than nearly something available on the market. And in contrast with one thing like a Boox pill, the Elipsa is extra easy and targeted, however doesn’t permit the chance of including Android apps and video games.
At $400 — although this features a case and stylus — the Elipsa is a substantial funding and comparably priced to an iPad, which is actually a extra versatile system. However I don’t notably get pleasure from studying articles or books on my iPad, and the simplicity of an e-reader usually helps me focus after I’m making notes on a paper or one thing. It’s a special system for a special goal, however not for everybody.
It’s nevertheless most likely one of the best ways proper now to step into the shallow finish of the “large e-reader” pool, with extra advanced or costly choices accessible do you have to want them.