Sunday, March 3, 2024

Kindle Scribe review

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If you’re a bookworm who occasionally dabbles in digital note-taking, the Kindle Scribe ($329) might just be your new best friend. Amazon’s latest addition to the Kindle lineup has come a long way since its launch, and it’s shaping up to be a versatile tablet for readers and light scribblers.

I didn’t have a chance to check out the Kindle Scribe at its launch and I’m actually somewhat glad. Why, you ask? Because some of the best features were not available when it made its debut. A few software updates later and the experience has been polished up — and now comprises much of what I love about the Kindle Scribe.

Big Screen, Sharp Display

The Kindle Scribe boasts a design that’s both functional and attractive. It takes inspiration from the Kindle Oasis, with an all-metal chassis that not only looks premium but also feels sturdy in hand. The use of metal gives it a robust, durable feel, which is essential for a device meant for everyday use.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Kindle Scribe is its size. It’s undeniably large, but surprisingly, it doesn’t feel overly cumbersome. The tablet is designed to be comfortable to hold, even for extended reading sessions. Despite its size, it’s not clumsy, and you won’t find your wrists aching after holding it for a while.

The Kindle Scribe features a bezel that surrounds the display. Interestingly, the left side of the bezel is slightly larger, assuming you hold the tablet with the Amazon smile-up. If you flip it and hold the larger edge with your right hand, the Amazon logo will be upside-down but it doesn’t impact the device’s functionality. I like having a bit of extra margin to grab and it helps when reading, too.

Pen Attachment

The Kindle Scribe comes with an included pen that attaches to the tablet magnetically. However, this magnetic attachment method has its downsides. It’s not the most secure way to store the pen, and users have reported losing it when sliding the tablet in and out of backpack sleeves. While the magnet is strong-ish, it may not be foolproof. Thankfully, you can use other compatible pens if the need arises.

The stylus included with the Kindle Scribe is often referred to as the “Basic Pen.” It provides a smooth and responsive writing experience, which is one of the highlights of the device. However, it’s worth noting that the Kindle Scribe now offers more pen options compared to its initial launch. These additional options provide users with varying pen styles and thickness levels, enhancing the versatility of the device for different writing and drawing preferences.

I’ve found about one-third of the time I toss the Kindle Scribe into my bag with the stylus attached to it I need to go hunting for it in the bottom of the pouch. Or, more interesting and less explainable, it feels like it’s moved to a different spot in the bag. Perhaps it’s coming off as I slide it in and I’m unaware? Hard to say, for certain, but it happens enough to make me worry that I’m ultimately going to lose the stylus.

Premium Pen

If you have the chance (or budget) to purchase a Kindle Scribe with the Premium Pen, I suggest doing to. While the standard one works just fine, the Premium Pen features a shortcut button and a dedicated eraser at the top. This eraser function feels smooth and natural, even though it’s not as precise as the stylus nib. I left the shortcut button alone and use it more as a highlighter for my notes or markups.

Display Quality

The Kindle Scribe‘s display isn’t just large; it’s also backlit. It offers a very bright LED backlit screen that can shift from a bluish-gray tint to a blue light-free tint, making it ideal for nighttime reading. This feature adds a layer of versatility to the device, allowing you to read comfortably in various lighting conditions.

The Kindle Scribe’s design balances aesthetics, ergonomics, and functionality. While the magnetic pen attachment could be more secure, the tablet’s overall design is well-suited for reading and light writing tasks, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a larger Kindle experience.

Magazines, books, handwritten notes, you name it, it looks excellent on this display. And maybe it’s a personal preference, but I kind of like that there’s no color or otherwise distracting graphics. It helps me stay focused on the business at hand. It’s one of the reasons I like the Kindle line; singular focus and isolated tasks keep me feeling productive.

Reading and Writing

The Scribe’s built-in backlight is fantastic. It lets you read and write in dimly lit rooms, a feat the Remarkable can’t pull off. Amazon’s device opts for simplicity, which is a plus for most users who aren’t conducting high-stakes boardroom meetings. Plus, it won’t break the bank.

The Kindle Scribe’s reading experience is where it truly shines, offering readers a delightful and versatile platform to immerse themselves in books, magazines, comics, and more.

The 10-inch screen of the Kindle Scribe significantly enhances the reading experience. It allows for comfortable adjustments like increasing font size and spacing, perfect for readers who prefer larger text or use specialized fonts like Open Dyslexic. With this screen size, you won’t find yourself constantly turning pages, a common frustration when reading on smaller devices.

While Amazon offers cases with multiple standing heights, I opted for a third-party case that suits my preferences better. This flexibility in choosing a case allows you to find the perfect viewing angle, making long reading sessions even more comfortable. All of this applies, too, for just holding it in your hands at angle angle or orientation.

The Kindle Scribe boasts an impressive battery life that can last for days on a single charge. This exceptional battery endurance provides peace of mind, especially for forgetful readers like me, who often forget to charge their devices. Knowing that the Kindle Scribe doesn’t require frequent charging adds an extra layer of convenience to the reading experience.

With that said, I am a creature of habit and like to charge my devices up on a semi-regular basis. I’ve had to tell myself to not charge the Scribe because I wanted to see how much life I get from the battery. Let’s just say that I’ve never had to charge it, and only that I chose to charge it twice over a month’s time.

The Kindle Scribe’s Bluetooth feature makes it easy to enjoy audiobooks alongside your e-reading. During my time, I spent a couple of hours listening to Stephen King’s latest audiobook, “Holly,” via Bluetooth. The device seamlessly blends e-reading with audiobook listening, enhancing the overall reading experience.

For comic and magazine enthusiasts, the larger 10-inch screen is a game-changer. Reading them digitally on the Kindle Scribe is a vastly improved experience compared to smaller e-readers like the Paperwhite. The screen size even surpasses that of physical manga, offering more convenience.

A common gripe at its launch was the inability to write in the margins of books. Amazon’s got you covered now with ‘write on’ books in the Kindle store. It’s a small but growing selection, featuring pre-filled journaling pages and even crossword puzzles. More possibilities await, and we hope to see Amazon foster some self-publishing in this ‘write on’ zone.

When it comes to replacing a traditional notebook, the Kindle Scribe offers a compelling alternative that brings digital convenience to the realm of pen and paper.

One of the immediate advantages of the Kindle Scribe as a notebook is that you never run out of paper or ink, and there’s no need to worry about sharpening pencils. It’s a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for those who value reducing waste.

Amazon’s palm rejection technology works exceptionally well, with only occasional issues when dragging the palm across the screen. This minor inconvenience is easily manageable, and users quickly adapt to resting their palms on the display without accidentally turning pages.

The Kindle Scribe impresses with its near-zero latency, offering an almost instant response when the stylus nib touches the screen. The matte finish and responsive nature of the screen make drawing and writing feel as natural as using traditional pen and paper.

Erasing mistakes on the Kindle Scribe is a breeze. There’s no need to deal with eraser dust, and you won’t end up with ink or lead stains on your hands.

The screen’s response to erasing creates a satisfying fade effect. When erasing content, it gradually fades away before the screen refreshes, which can be slightly jarring. It’s a small quirk but worth noting. I find that sometimes it’s easier to swipe to the next page or previous page to more or less finish erasing everything.

The Kindle Scribe, like physical notebooks, has limitations. You can’t edit your notes on a phone or laptop after writing them, as Amazon syncs them as image files to the Kindle app. While you can export them as PDFs and use third-party editors for modifications, this process is less efficient than using dedicated note-taking apps like Evernote or Google Keep.

The Kindle Scribe shines for personal use, especially for creating lists, organizing tasks, and jotting down thoughts. You can start notebooks with various background patterns, such as lined paper or checkboxes, which are handy for tasks and shopping lists. It promotes productivity and organization and I’ve literally tossed about five different notepads back in my office drawer.

Conclusion

In the world of large-screen Kindles, the Scribe is a solid choice for book lovers. Its price may seem steep, but the expansive display and sharp text make it worth considering. For those who want to dabble in digital note-taking, it’s more than a viable option, but there are more feature-rich alternatives at a similar price point.

One of the reasons I didn’t love the Fire Max 11 was that it endeavored to do too much with its own ecosystem’s limitations. Whereas the original Kindle Fire models were great at keeping me in a Google-free silo, the 2-in-1 approach to productivity and business-like capabilities of the Fire Max 11 left me wanting more. I needed a few more apps to make me feel like it was the one device solution for travel and remote work.

The Kindle Scribe lands on the other side of that, leaving me wanting for just a smidge more in the area of sharing and importing/exporting. Here, I would appreciate being able to more easily pull in a list or document for markup; I’d love to be able to send off to Google Keep or upload to Airtable. But that’s just when talking about the notes.

As for everything else that the Kindle Scribe sells itself as doing, I love it. I’ve long been an Audible user having moved to audiobooks and podcasts some time back. Lately, though, I’ve gotten the itch to go back to digital books so that I can mark them up, add my notes, and make them feel like “mine”. In the meantime, however, I do like that I can use the Kindle Scribe to play my Audible titles to a paired set of Bluetooth earbuds.

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