Kobo Releases the Elipsa 2E to Rival the Kindle Scribe

Kobo's second-generation Elipsa features a redesigned stylus and costs $399.

Sarah Lord Writer
Sarah Lord covers TVs and home entertainment. Prior to joining CNET, Sarah served as the tech and electronic reviews fellow at Insider, where she wrote about everything from smart watches and wearables to tablets and e-readers. She began her career by writing laptop reviews as an intern and subsequent freelancer at Tom's Hardware. She is also a professional actor with many credits in theater, film and television.
Expertise TVs, Home Entertainment, Streaming, Computers Credentials
  • Member of Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association
Sarah Lord
2 min read
Kobo Elipsa

The Kobo Elipsa 2E comes with an updated sylus. 

Sarah Lord/CNET

Kobo is improving the Elipsa, its flagship E Ink tablet. The Amazon Kindle rival launched the Kobo Elipsa 2E, the second generation of E Ink tablet that lets its users write directly on Kobo books, as well as PDFs and ePubs. The Kobo Elipsa 2E costs $399 and is available for preorder starting Wednesday and will be released on April 19.

The Elipsa 2E retains many of the features of its predecessor – such as its 10.3-inch E Ink display with adjustable warm and cool lights, as well as its 32GB of storage – but adds a redesigned stylus to improve the handwriting experience. The new stylus on the Elipsa 2E is also now rechargeable, comes with an eraser on the back and connects magnetically to the Elipsa 2E.

The original Elipsa will still be available and will also cost $399, though it will include both the stylus and a case. The case for the Elipsa 2E is sold separately for $70.

This news comes on the heels of the new Kobo Plus ebook subscription in the US, a rival to the all-in-one Kindle Unlimited subscription plan. 

While Kobo Plus offers an almost identical service to Kindle Unlimited, the Kobo Elipsa offers a feature that the Amazon Kindle Scribe lack: the ability to handwrite notes directly on the page of an ebook.

That's because Kobo is currently the only company that lets its users write directly on all ebooks in the Kobo library. Elipsa owners can mark up any page of a Kobo book or library book just as if they were writing in the margins of their books at home. 

This is in stark contrast to Amazon's treatment of its vast ebook library, where this practice is not allowed. Instead, users have to open a sticky note application to jot down their thoughts. The notes are aggregated in the Notes and Highlights section and do not appear on the page as you read. 

"We understand that, for many of our valued customers, reading is more than words on a page. It is about engaging with ideas. Marking up, highlighting, capturing inspiration in infinite notebooks of almost magical capability using a versatile, intuitively-designed stylus – these are essential for capturing the thoughts and ideas that reading inspires," Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo, said in a press release on Wednesday.

While the original Elipsa was great for annotating books, its notebook functionality was limited. When comparing the top E Ink tablets, CNET found that the stylus experienced some lag when handwriting notes and we wished there were more note-taking templates. Kobo has yet to announce any additional notebook functionality, so we'll have to wait to see if the new device addresses some of our initial complaints.