A sized-up e-reading companion with clever note taking – TechCrunch

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Kobo’s Elipsa is the newest within the Amazon rival’s e-reading line, and it’s a giant one. The 10.3-inch e-paper display 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 brief on versatility.

Kobo has been creeping upmarket for a number of years now, and although the cheaper Clara HD continues to be the choose of the litter for my part, the Forma and Libra H2O are worthy opponents to the Kindle traces. The $400 Elipsa represents a giant step up in measurement, perform, and price, and it does justify itself — although there are a number of necessary caveats.

The device is effectively designed however lacks any prospers. The tilted “aspect chin” of the Forma and Libra is flattened out right into a easy large bezel on the fitting aspect. The lopsided look doesn’t hassle me a lot, and far of the competitors has it as effectively. (Although my favourite is Boox’s ultra-compact, flush-fronted Poke 3)

The 10.3″ screen has a decision of 1404 x 1872, giving it 227 pixels per inch. That’s effectively beneath the 300 PPI of the Clara and Forma, and the typography suffers from noticeably extra aliasing when you look carefully. In fact, you gained’t be trying that carefully, since as a bigger device you’ll in all probability be giving the Elipsa a bit extra distance and maybe utilizing a bigger sort measurement. I discovered it completely snug to learn on — 227 PPI isn’t unhealthy, simply not the best.

There's a frontlight, which is definitely adjustable by sliding your finger up and down the left aspect of the screen, however in contrast to different Kobo gadgets there is no such thing as a method to change the colour temperature. I’ve been spoiled by different gadgets and now the default cool gray I lived with for years doesn’t really feel proper, particularly with a hotter mild shining on your environment. The necessary half is that it's constant throughout the complete display and adjustable right down to a faint glow, one thing my eyes have thanked me for a lot of instances.

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

It’s onerous to contemplate the Elipsa impartial from the equipment it’s bundled with, and in reality there’s no means 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 regular iPad is heavier and bigger as soon as you place its case on and stash the surprisingly weighty stylus on the prime.

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

The quilt is properly designed, if a bit stiff, and will certainly defend your device from hurt. The quilt, secured by magnets on the backside, flips off like a sheet on a authorized pad and folds flat behind the device, attaching itself with the identical magnets from the opposite route. A couple folds in it additionally stiffen up with additional magnetic association into a pleasant, sturdy little stand. The surface is a grippy fake leather-based and the within is delicate microfiber.

You possibly can wake and switch off the device by opening and shutting the quilt, however the entire thing comes with a small catch: it's a must to have the power button, charging port, and massive bezel on the fitting. 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 place it within the case, you’re locked in to a semi-right-handed mode. This may occasionally or might not hassle folks nevertheless it’s value mentioning.

The Elipsa, middle, with the Forma and reMarkable 2 to its left and proper.

The studying expertise is in any other case similar to that on Kobo’s different gadgets. A comparatively clear interface that surfaces your most not too long ago accessed content material and a not overwhelming however nonetheless unwelcome quantity of promotional stuff (“Discover your subsequent nice learn”). Ebooks free and paid for display effectively, although it’s by no means been my desire to learn on a big screen like this. I really want one among these massive e-readers would make a panorama mode with facing pages. Isn’t that extra booklike?

Articles from the online, synced by way of Pocket, look nice and are a pleasure to learn on this format. It feels extra like {a magazine} web page, which is nice whenever you’re studying an online version 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'll be able to create notebooks for scribbling down lists, doodles, notes after all, and customarily use the stylus.

The writing expertise is satisfactory. Right here I'm spoiled by the reMarkable 2, which boasts extraordinarily low lag and high 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 positive. 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 model to a highlighter or eraser, the place you've gotten stroke-deleting or brush modes. The traditional notebooks have the same old gridded, dotted, lined and clean kinds, and limitless pages, however you'll be able to’t zoom in or out (not so good for artists).

Then there are the “superior” notebooks, which you need to use if you need handwriting recognition and different features. These have indelible traces on which you'll write, and a double faucet captures your phrases into sort in a short time. You can even put in drawings and equations in their very own sections.

Handwriting is shown on the Elipsa tablet before and after conversion to typed text.

Shut sufficient. Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

The handwriting recognition is quick and adequate for tough notes, however don’t count on to ship these on to your crew with none modifying. Likewise the diagram instrument 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 clever shortcuts and gestures so as to add or subtract areas and different widespread duties, one thing you’ll in all probability get used to pretty fast when you use the Elipsa often.

The pocket book interface is snappy sufficient going from web page to web page or up and down on the “smart” notebooks however nothing just like the fluidity of a design program or an art-focused one on an iPad. However it’s additionally unobtrusive, has good palm blocking, and feels good in action. 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 just a little sloppy.

A sketched diagram is turned into a real one by the Elipsa.

Picture Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

You can even mark up ebooks, which is good for highlights however in the end not that a lot better than merely deciding on the textual content. And there’s no means you’re writing within the margins with the restrictions of this stylus.

Exporting notepads might be achieved by way of 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 reside syncing means you don’t ever have to fret about what version 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 neater platform for on a regular basis studying, so when you’re on the lookout for a device that focuses on that and has the option of doodling or note-taking on the aspect, it’s a a lot better deal. However, these simply on the lookout for an enchancment to that stylus-focused pill ought to look elsewhere — writing and sketching nonetheless feels means higher on a reMarkable than virtually something on the market. And in contrast with one thing like a Boox pill, the Elipsa is extra easy and centered, however doesn’t permit the chance of including Android apps and games.

At $400 — although this features a case and stylus — the Elipsa is a substantial funding and comparably priced to an iPad, which is definitely a extra versatile device. However I don’t notably get pleasure from studying articles or books on my iPad, and the simplicity of an e-reader generally helps me focus after I’m making notes on a paper or one thing. It’s a special device for a special goal, however not for everybody.

It's nevertheless in all probability the best means proper now to step into the shallow finish of the “large e-reader” pool, with extra complicated or costly options accessible must you want them.

Source : TechCrunch