When Amazon informed me it was announcing a new Kindle,was not what I expected. But look, Amazon has released a large format 10.2-inch E Ink e-reader with a stylus. You could say it’s the spiritual successor to the defunct Kindle DX, which had a 9.7-inch screen. It’s available to pre-order now for $340 with a standard stylus or $370 with a premium stylus and will arrive “before the holidays,” Amazon says.
A handful of competingthat double as digital notepads are available from other companies, including Kobo and ReMarkable. But Amazon says the Kindle Scribe is the only 10.2-inch front-facing e-reader with a high-resolution 300 ppi (pixels per inch) E ink display.
The device is only 5.8 mm thin (0.22 inch) and weighs 433 grams. In comparison: theweighs 205 grams and the new improved baseline 158 grams. The Kindle Scribe’s front light scheme consists of 35 LEDs. That compares to 25 LEDs for the Kindle Oasis, 17 LEDs for the Kindle Paperwhite, and four LEDs for the entry-level 2022 Kindle.
I haven’t played with the Kindle Scribe yet, but Kevin Keith, Amazon’s vice president of devices, demonstrated some of its key features for me in a video call, showing how little latency there is when taking notes. Both the standard stylus and the premium stylus require no power or Bluetooth connectivity and use electromagnetic resonance technology. The premium stylus has an erase function and a programmable button for $30 more. Both attach magnetically to the side of the e-reader.
The Kindle Scribe is made from recycled aluminum and charges via USB-C (a cable but no power adapter is included, and using a 9-watt adapter or higher will speed up charging). Like the Oasis, it can be used left or right handed – you just turn it 180 degrees in one direction or the other – and Amazon will sell a few different folio covers for it that convert into a stand and allow you to suggest to support the device.
You can get up to three months of battery life if you only use the Scribe as an e-reader (based on 30 minutes of reading per day), but taking notes consumes more energy and reduces battery life significantly. However, depending on usage, you can last for weeks while taking notes and scribbling.
You can optionally import different file formats and document types for marking. They include Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC native and HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PMP via conversion. As with other recent Kindles, you can also listen to Audible audio format (AAX) or text-to-speech audio with Bluetooth headphones or speakers. In addition, Amazon says it is working with Microsoft to allow you to export a Word document directly from a computer to your Kindle Scribe within that Word document. That feature will come in 2023, Amazon says.
The Scribe runs on the same Mediatek system on a chip that runs the Paperwhite. It’s capable of running at up to 2GHz, but only does so for certain applications that require higher performance, Amazon said. As for storage, the base model has 16 GB, but 32 GB and 64 GB configurations are available for more money. The Scribe is a Wi-Fi-only Kindle, with no cellular option.
I asked Keith why Amazon decided to make a 10.2-inch e-reader at this point after moving away from large e-readers a few years ago and discontinuing the Kindle DX in 2014. That model had a limited but loyal following who particularly valued a large-screen e-reader that can display text in larger font sizes with enough words per line. Keith said the technology, especially screen technology, eventually got to the point where the user experience was up to Amazon’s high standards. Amazon could have released a similar product without a headlamp for a few years, he explained, but that didn’t add up.
Amazon hasn’t said exactly when the Kindle Scribe will ship, but the product page says it will be “released” on November 30. We look forward to testing it out and will post a full review shortly before it ships.