Kobo has a observe file of generating serviceable ebook readers. Past calendar year I examined the Kobo Nia, a sturdy entry-level unit, and back in 2018 reviewed the Kobo Forma, which has, until finally now, been the Kobo flagship unit and a competitor for Amazon’s Kindle Oasis. While arguably residing rather in Amazon’s shadow, Kobo has now accomplished some thing Amazon has not — released an ebook reader that can settle for handwritten notes. The Kobo Elipsa comes with a stylus and a address for a selling price of £349.ninety nine in the Uk, or $399.ninety nine in the US. 

The Kobo Elipsa has an E-Ink Carta screen, and this technological know-how has previously been employed to make gadgets that can settle for handwriting. I looked at the reMarkable 2 E-Ink pill previously this calendar year, for instance, but this is the very first time ebook reading through and observe-getting have been merged in a one unit, for the Uk market at minimum. 

Kobo has a properly-proven online bookstore, and like its major rival Amazon there are free apps for Android and Apple gadgets so you can consider your ebook reading through with you on an Android pill or telephone, and on Apple iphone or iPad, with the capacity to synchronise your location across gadgets. In contrast to Amazon’s Kindles, Kobo gadgets have built-in assistance for OverDrive, Pocket and Dropbox, and can be employed to examine ebooks borrowed from community libraries. That facility is highlighted ideal on the dwelling display screen of the Kobo software program on the Elipsa, and if you previously have the required facts and OverDrive account setup you can log in ideal absent. Alternatively check your own regional authority’s web site for enable. 


The Kobo Elipsa has a 10.three-inch E-Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen with 1404 by 1872 resolution (227ppi). It is really powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and has 32GB of storage, Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and a USB-C port. You can find no Bluetooth or three.5mm audio jack, although.

Pictures: Kobo

Due to the fact the Kobo Elipsa has been intended for observe-getting, it has to give a more substantial display screen than we are employed to in present day ebook readers. The E-Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen measures 10.three inches across the diagonal, and there are considerable bezels all around the display screen, with a person of the long-edge bezels very broad certainly at 25mm. This will make for a unit measuring 193mm broad by 227.5mm deep by 7.6mm thick. The Eipsa’s desktop footprint is very close to that of the Amazing two (187mm x 246mm), while the Elipsa is substantially thicker (7.6mm vs 4.7mm). In spite of staying thicker, the Elipsa is lighter — 383g vs the Amazing 2’s 403.5g. 


The SleepCover protects the Elipsa pill and gives a dwelling for the stylus. Each of these products are bundled in the £349.ninety nine / $399.ninety nine selling price.

Pictures: Kobo

That is not the conclusion of it, because the Elipsa has a SleepCover which is a two-piece unit comprising a bumper model foundation and a address held in location by sturdy magnets. Flip the address to the back of the Elipsa and it doubles as a minimal kickstand. You can find a stylus holder built into the SleepCover, which provides a minimal height to it, but holds the stylus securely. Place all this collectively and the Elipsa is a quite big package.  


The SleepCover in stand mode.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Elipsa alone has a plastic chassis, but feels sound in the hand the SleepCover is also (somewhat thick) plastic. The ability button, cost mild and USB-C port for charging and file transfer are all at the bottom of a person of the Elipsa’s long edges, and there are corresponding entry holes in the SleepCover. 

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The monochrome 10.three-inch display screen is great for ebook reading through, with a resolution of 1872 by 1404 pixels (227ppi). It is really sharp and distinct, and textual content is easy on the eye. The 1.8GHz quad-core processor is rapidly sufficient to deliver sleek webpage turns, and webpage refreshes are total, with no ghosting of the previously examine webpage. 

Kobo’s software program is an object lesson in relieve of use. Tap the display screen even though you are in a e-book and reading through development, search resource and chapter navigation show up at the bottom of the display screen, even though at the best there is a menu for altering a variety of settings.  


Settings and figures for ebook reading through.

Pictures: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Changes are as you would assume from an ebook reader. You can improve font measurement, line spacing, margin measurement, justification and toggle car rotation on and off, as properly as established the entrance-mild brightness. You can also see detailed in-e-book figures — how long until finally the e-book is examine, how long you need to examine to end the existing chapter and how long to examine the up coming a person, and a graphical illustration of your development through the e-book.  

Additional complete reading through settings are accessed by using the cog resource on this menu. Kobo even will make a sensible stab at acquiring around the ebook reader problem of staying not able to flick back and forth as you may with a printed e-book: long-pressing the bottom still left and ideal corners to pace-webpage forwards and backwards offers a passable approximation of skimming a paper e-book. 

SEE: Engineering in instruction: The most up-to-date items and tendencies (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

There are two notable absences. Just one is the capacity to improve the color temperature to make reading through at evening a lot easier on the eye. This has been these a typical characteristic of ebook readers for so long that its absence below is shocking. A halfway dwelling, most likely, is the capacity to flip from the standard dim textual content on a mild background to the reverse. The other absentee is Bluetooth, or a three.5mm headset jack for listening to audio textbooks.  

I experienced no trouble reading through ebooks, and loads of file formats are supported for aspect-loaded paperwork — EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ and CBR. 

That explained, the Elipsa is more substantial and heavier than any ebook reader I at present use (and I use readers from the two Kobo and Amazon consistently). I discovered it rather unwieldy when lounging on a couch or reading through in bed, and a little bit hefty for extended periods of a person-handed use. 


You can produce notes into freeform notebooks (with a smaller selection of styles) or into a lined notebook ready for conversion to editable textual content.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The stylus opens up the observe-getting functions of the Elipsa. It is powered by a one AAAA battery, and comes with a person suggestion. Further recommendations charge £/$9.ninety nine for a pack of 5. When reading through a e-book, you can press the decreased of the two stylus buttons to spotlight a section, and the higher button to erase highlights. Even so, the true utility of the stylus comes in building notes. 

Picking My Notebooks from the menu row at the bottom of the dwelling display screen opens up the location for getting notes. Individual notes are saved in notebooks, of which there are two varieties: a person is freeform, even though the other will transform handwriting to textual content that is editable off-unit, even though also accommodating freeform drawing. 

The creating procedure is difficult at very first, as you should wait for the display screen to catch up with the nib, but it didn’t consider me long to acclimatise. Conversion to editable textual content was outstanding — faultless at my very first endeavor, and the accuracy level was definitely value the short wait for processing to consider location. 

When creating for conversion you have to produce together pre-configured strains on the display screen, but in the freeform notebooks a pair of ‘paper’ styles are out there. It is really a disgrace there usually are not far more styles — the Amazing pill has a enormous array. Hopefully Kobo will insert far more styles by using software program updates. 

Individual internet pages and completed notebooks can be sent to Dropbox or simply just exported by using a USB-C connection as DOCX, basic textual content or HTML. You have to go through the procedure of selecting to export, deciding upon a file format and converting on the Elipsa alone. Making use of the cable strategy, exports are neatly filed in an Exported Notebooks folder that displays up when the Elipsa and computer system are linked. Wi-fi transfer would be a good addition, but the wired technique worked efficiently.  

The Kobo Elipsa has 32GB of inside storage and a battery that will present ‘weeks’ of usage, ‘dependent on particular person usage’ — there is absolutely nothing like hedging your bets, Kobo. I discovered, as with all ebook readers I’ve employed from Kobo in the earlier, that I was equipped to get to charging services often sufficient to best up with no staying caught small. As you would assume, toggling Wi-Fi off conserves battery ability. 

There are handful of bells and whistles as significantly as pen-based mostly input is anxious, handwriting-to-textual content conversion is a little bit slow, and there is a absence of templates for non-convertible observe getting. But the basic principles are all included, like a conversion technique that understands the variance in between text and photographs. I discovered handwriting conversion impressively exact, and even though the SleepCover is most likely a minimal unwieldy it does, at minimum, present defense and stylus storage. 


The Elipsa employs the clean up, user-friendly and navigable interface of other Kobo ebook readers. Its versatility is great – it is really as easy to examine loaned library textbooks as these purchased from the Kobo retail outlet, file format assistance is very good, and simply just building a wired connection is sufficient to transfer regionally saved paperwork to a computer system. The handwriting functions are basic but properly implemented, and conversion to editable textual content is impressively exact. For a very first-generation hybrid ebook reader/notetaker, the Elipsa is a very very good unit. 

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