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Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Review: Amazon Kindle Scribe

 Eva was telling me that she really liked her Remarkable tablet. The price for that one was $400, but I saw that Amazon had a competitor, the Kindle Scribe. The thing about Amazon is that they have a great trade-in program, so I traded-in an ancient Kindle for $5 credit and a 20% off coupon in anticipation of an Amazon sale.

Sure enough, 2 weeks after I got my credit, the Kindle Scribe 64GB Essentials bundle went on sale for $326. Together with the trade-in, the entire bill of goods came out to $285 after tax. The bundle comes with a leather folio cover and an OEM charger.

When the scribe arrived, I was delighted to discover that it also came with the premium pen and a bundle of replacement tips for the pen. I'm not terribly impressed by the folio cover: it attaches to the kindle purely with magnets instead of a physical snap-fit, which means that it's possible to push the kindle out of the case with finger pressure or mishandling.  Nevertheless, the folding feature makes it possible to read the book easily by tilting the screen with respect to the horizontal, perfect for breakfast.

Typically, I wait to live with a product for a while before reviewing it, but within a couple of days of using the Kindle Scribe I knew I was going to keep it. I never owned the previous large size Kindle DX, but a large screen kindle is so nice that I was going to keep it even without the note-taking feature. First, it makes each kindle page turn correspond (at my preferred font size) to a page in a typical book. That's awesome! Secondly, the book is perfect for Japanese Manga. Kindle Unlimited had several volumes of Attack on Titan, and it's so great to be able to read manga directly without zooming in. The only way this would be better for comics was if the Scribe had color e-ink.

Third, the Kindle Scribe is appreciably faster on download and page turns! I didn't think it would make a big different but it does. As such, when I'm at home, I find myself using it instead of my paperwhite.

The note-taking feature works. I can create notes and write them and it syncs to the cloud. The kids use it more than I do! The writing works as well as paper does, but there are not advanced features --- no handwriting recognition, OCR, shape correction. If I was an artist or mathematician this would be great for note-taking, but alas, I probably won't use this feature much.

The other bad thing about this is that the Scribe is not waterproof. And it being so thin, it feels a bit fragile --- I'm not sure I would travel with it, even though traveling is precisely when I would want to have it around for note-taking. It certainly wouldn't fit well in a saddlebag on a bike tour, and on a sailing trip you would worry about water.

Nevertheless, at the price I paid, the entire package is a good value and it could be that over time, it might save a lot of paper the kids might otherwise waste!

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