When it first debuted back in 2021, our biggest complaint about Kobo’s first digital notepad, the Elipsa, was a lack of color temperature adjustments for its electronic paper screen. With the new Elipsa 2E, Kobo has remedied that, but are minor improvements to its e-note enough to help it take on both reMarkable and Amazon now that the competition has stepped up?
Although the original Elipsa didn’t offer quite as polished a pen-on-paper experience as the reMarkable 2, it had a few advantages over the reMarkable, which remains one of our favorite picks for the best e-note. The Elipsa’s screen lighting may have only offered a single cooler color temperature (which potentially meant that using it to read or write late into the night could affect a user’s sleep schedule), but the reMarkable tablets still don’t offer any screen lighting at all. The Kobo Elipsa also came with access to Kobo’s extensive ebook store, available right on the device, where as the reMarkable 2 requires any additional content to all be side-loaded.
Choosing between the reMarkable 2 and the Kobo Elipsa came down to what users needed from an e-note device, and how they planned to use it. But two years later, the Elipsa now faces even more competition in the form of the Amazon Kindle Scribe, which includes access to Amazon’s online book store and features one of the nicest screens available on e-notes today.
Unfortunately, while the inclusion of Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO technology, which will automatically adjust the color temperature of the device’s screen from cool to warm temperatures throughout the day, is a welcome upgrade for the Elipsa 2E, the Kindle Scribe’s 10.2-inch, 300 PPI E Ink screen is apparently still an Amazon exclusive. The Elipsa 2E is using the same 10.3-inch, 227 PPI E Ink Carta 1200 screen as the original Elipsa, and while text and graphics should still look very sharp and crisp on it, it now feels like it’s lagging behind Amazon’s e-note.
There are a few more subtle design improvements the 2e makes to the Kobo Elipsa 2, including the addition of a textured pattern on the back of the tablet that makes it easier to grip and hold. But the other big update is the introduction of the Kobo Stylus 2. The original Kobo Stylus featured a pair of shortcut buttons near the tip for quickly accessing highlighter and eraser functions, and was powered by a thin AAAA battery inside, which can keep the stylus running for a few months. The new Kobo Stylus 2 uses a rechargeable battery instead, charged through an integrated USB-C port, and while it keeps the shortcut button for switching to highlighter mode, the eraser button has been moved to the end of the stylus, where it functions more like an eraser on a real pencil, requiring users to flip the stylus over to use it.
Two years later, Kobo has managed to keep the price of the Elipsa 2E the same as the original. It’s available for pre-order starting today for $400, but should show up in stores starting on April 19.
The company is also using today’s Elipsa 2E news to announce that its Kobo Plus subscription service is finally launching in the United States. Previously only available in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and France, Kobo Plus offers three different subscription plans. For $8/month, users can either get access to over 1.3 million ebooks with Kobo Plus Read, or they can opt for Kobo Plus Listen, which provides access to over 100,000 audiobooks for the same price. Kobo Plus Read & Listen offers access to the libraries of both services at the same time, and costs $10/month.