Last year, Kobo released the first in its new eco-conscious eReader range, the Clara 2E. Now, the brand has extended its sustainability focus to one of its higher-end models, the Kobo Elipsa 2E, while also making some much-needed improvements to its eReader and notetaker.
As a reader, I actually swing in the other direction when it comes to annotating my books. I don’t want all my doodles and mad scribblings to devalue the condition of my book. To me, it looks messy. But I can see why plenty of other book lovers love to highlight their favourite quotes, write in the margins or have colourful sticky tabs poke out from the edges of each page.
Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, the Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader appeals to both parties. You can mark up your books as much as you like and find things much easier using the search tool. This eReader even allows you to import your work and study documents, as well as create notebooks, so you can have the entire annotation experience.
Spicks and specs
- Dimensions: 193 x 227 x 7.5mm
- Weight: 390g
- Display: 10.3-inch E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen
- Resolution: 277PPI
- Storage: 32GB
- CPU: 2GHz
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB-C
- Features: Audiobook compatibility
- Supported formats: EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR
A new design
The Kobo Elipsa 2E has a slightly improved design, with its most notable feature being its 85 per cent recycled plastic exterior. As touched on earlier, it’s not the first eReader to put the emphasis on sustainability, but it’s still an important aspect to note.
There are smaller, but more beneficial design updates, such as the addition of four little bumps on the Sleep button, a texturised back that doesn’t show as many grubby fingerprints and a stylus without a ballpoint whose opposite end resembles an eraser, simulating that pen on paper vibe even more.
Overall, it’s very lightweight (even with its SleepCover on) and the wider bezel on one side is comfortable to grip for both left and right-handers. For some, the larger screen is very much warranted, but there are times when it can feel awkward to hold and it doesn’t fit as perfectly in my bag due to its wider shape.
A tidy display
The Kobo Elipsa 2E sports a generous 10.3-inch E-Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen with up to 277 PPI.
While the photos don’t quite do it justice, the words on the Paperwhite are blurrier when compared to how it looks on the Elipsa 2E. Even though both are set to the same temperature setting and brightness, you can’t observe much granular detail in the Paperwhite (despite its higher PPI of 300) from the illustrated map. The shading is much more proficient in the Elipsa and not as smudgy.
Now, this isn’t too big of a deal for those with the Paperwhite, since it’s exclusively designed for reading. But it’s important for those who plan to use the Elipsa for reading documents or comic books and making general mark-ups to know, since you’ll get a clearer rendering of any illustrations that appear on screen. It’s safe to say you’re in better hands with the Kobo Elipsa 2E.
Otherwise, the Elipsa 2E’s display is crisp, clean and easy on the eyes. You’re able to adjust the colour temperature of the page and its brightness to a range that won’t keep you up at night.
A better processor
When I reviewed the Kobo Clara 2E, I was pretty disappointed by its slow processor when the Kindle Paperwhite was just that extra bit faster.
Well, it appears Kobo’s been holding out on me, although I’m not sure how I feel about having to spend $400 more to enjoy smoother page turns.
Nevertheless, the processor is much cleaner and more efficient in the Elipsa 2E. When you turn the page, there’s no black flash present, which is much more reminiscent of an iPad in this regard.
In comparison, the Clara 2E takes an extra 1.5 seconds and a brief “glitch” when turning the page. If you’ve ever navigated a Paperwhite, you’ll notice it’s faster, but shares the same disruptive black flash with the Clara 2E. It’s a jarring effect that I don’t miss with the Elipsa 2E, but it seems an expensive plus.
I’ve played around with a few eReaders now and it can be disheartening to find out the hard way how laggy some styluses can be. You want an eReader that best mimics the sensation of scribbling on paper, while also allowing you to take notes instantly.
If you are someone who plans to use an eReader as a notetaker in class or at work, it’s pretty important that it doesn’t take one to two seconds for each letter you draw to appear.
In this regard, that’s where the Kobo Elipsa 2E excels. There’s no delay (as you can see in the video above), and the stylus avoids making your handwriting look like chicken scratch. Most notably for me, as a left-hander, I was impressed to see that my palm didn’t accidentally trigger random dashes across the screen, which can happen with some tablets and even monitors while writing or drawing.
One thing I appreciated in the Elipsa 2E was the My Notebooks tab, where you could create your own little notepad to write in. It allows you to choose a basic notebook that’s blank and lets you write anywhere, or an advanced notebook that will convert your handwriting into type, and add diagrams and equations.
Its handwriting-to-type feature is perhaps its most useful one, allowing you to turn hasty scribbles into clean text. The only problem is that you will need to write reasonably clearly, as the eReader will mistake some of your letters for symbols or different words. Sometimes, the eReader takes a moment to register the touch commands before translating it for you as well.
However, it’s not a perfect feature and heavily relies on your own precision to accurately convert anything you put to paper into clean lines or values. Hand-drawn graphs can become wonky and uneven, but its equation box works a treat for the simple mathematical calculations I need.
The stylus itself works efficiently, however, its eraser on the opposite end can be hit and miss. While it ultimately does its job and is reminiscent of an actual pencil, it can be a little finicky to use. When you choose to remove anything, you can simply tap it with the eraser (or rub at it if you want) to turn it transparent and in about one to two seconds the screen will flash and erase your doodle. It works, but there are moments when it fails to recognise the action.
The only thing really missing in this regard is the lack of colour options. The Elipsa 2E uses an E-Ink display, which sticks to a black-and-white colour scheme. It takes away a lot of the personalisation that some annotators enjoy using when marking up their books, making it difficult if you like to colour-coordinate certain quotes or aspects of your current read.
Final thoughts on the Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader
The Kobo Elipsa 2E is a great all-in-one eReader that lets you read, listen to audiobooks, import your files and documents and mark-up changes or create annotations on the fly.
It’s a tough eReader to fault, yet for its price, I do question why it asks for such a jump in cost when there are some features it sacrifices. Less expensive models, such as the Clara 2E, have a higher resolution, but also feature audiobook compatibility, a recycled body and possess the same display settings. The Elipsa 2E isn’t even waterproof, but it does boast a speedy processor, double the internal storage and offers Cloud/Dropbox support.
While both were designed with different purposes in mind, as Kobo’s most expensive eReader, it gives a lot but it’s also asking for a lot. If you do choose to go for this model, look at it as an investment, something you’ll ideally use for at least four years.
That said, the Kobo Elipsa 2E shines in its endless possibilities as a study tool. Handwriting flows effortlessly onto digital pages and its compatibility with Dropbox and Cloud-based services makes it a versatile notetaker for the university student or businessperson on the go. Once you’ve experienced the Elipsa 2E, there’s no going back.