Kobo Elipsa 2E review ereader
Source: Alice Clarke

Kobo Elipsa 2E review: the best note-taking eReader available

It’s been a while since I last saw an eReader with wow factor. By and large, most eReaders are the same: an e-ink screen with a small amount of storage in various screen sizes. Once e-ink became easier to read and backlighting became more standard, there really wasn’t much more to add. And yet, the Kobo Elipsa 2E is an eReader worth being excited about. Though, at this price, it does almost make more sense to just buy an iPad.

Details: Kobo Elipsa 2E

Australian websiteKobo Australia
Price (RRP)$629.95
WarrantyOne-year Standard Limited Warranty
OtherRead more tablet reviews on GadgetGuy

First Impressions: Kobo Elipsa 2E

Kobo is not trying to reinvent anything here with the design of the Kobo Elipsa 2E; it’s a black rectangle. It’s a nice, angular black rectangle. But it’s just a black rectangle. There’s some texture on there, though, so it’s not as slippery as other eReaders, and the fact that it’s marginally thicker than some competitors means it’s a bit more comfortable to hold.

The ‘E’ in the 2E seems to stand from environment, because there’s some recycled plastic included in the build, which is a nice gesture.

Kobo Elipsa 2E pen
Its included pen is a nice touch. Source: Alice Clarke

It’s also nice that the fancy pen comes in the box. Other competitors include a basic pen and then get you to pay extra for any fancy features, but I love this pen. Different pressures will give you slightly different kinds of brush strokes, and the eraser on the top is both adorable and practical. Having the button on the side to highlight is also a really nice touch. This is a pen designed with keen knowledge of how people want to use it, which is again not standard across the note-taking eReader world.

Screen

The 10.3” e-ink screen is gorgeous. Its refresh is quick enough, the backlighting goes bright enough to be read in a variety of lighting conditions. The slight texture on the screen pulls quadruple duty in making it a bit more comfortable to read, more interesting to hold, less reflective (for reading outdoors) and more pleasant to write on.

Compared directly to my Kindle Scribe, the Elipsa 2E screen is much nicer. The Scribe’s screen looks oddly sunken and a bit cheap, while the Elipsa 2E appears to be a bit more premium.

Libraries

One thing that I love about Kobo eReaders over Amazon Kindles is that Kobo eReaders are designed for reading, whereas Kindles are designed to sell you books. Kindles will display ads unless you pay for premium subscriptions, and you’re severely limited in the file types you can upload, markup, and which kinds of books you can access easily. This is a concern, given the issues with how Amazon pays authors.

Kobo Elipsa 2E | eReader | 10.3” Glare-Free Touchscreen with ComfortLight PRO | Includes Kobo Stylus 2 | Adjustable Brightness | Wi-Fi | Carta E Ink Technology | 32GB of Storage
  • 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗗 𝗨𝗣. 𝗪𝗥𝗜𝗧𝗘 𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗡. 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗞 𝗕𝗜𝗚. – Made for big thinkers and bundled with Kobo Stylus 2, the new upgraded Kobo Elipsa 2E is designed to help you focus and organize your thoughts. With an exterior made of recycled plastic and ocean-bound plastic, the eco-conscious Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader is designed to capture all your big thinking. An excellent choice for anyone who loves to read and wants a lightweight eBook reader that’s easy to use and take with them on the go!
  • 𝗚𝗟𝗔𝗥𝗘-𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 𝗘 𝗜𝗡𝗞 𝗧𝗘𝗖𝗛𝗡𝗢𝗟𝗢𝗚𝗬 – Kobo Elipsa 2E has a 10.3” high-resolution E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen with ComfortLight PRO providing a glare-free reading experience including adjustable brightness and colour temperature – so you can reduce blue light and write without your eReader keeping you awake longer than you’d like
  • 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗗 & 𝗠𝗔𝗥𝗞 𝗨𝗣 𝗘𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗦 & 𝗗𝗢𝗖𝗨𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦 – Write directly on your eBooks and PDFs with Kobo Elipsa 2E’s improved note-taking experience with the included ergonomically redesigned and rechargeable Kobo Stylus 2. As ideas come to mind, you can easily make highlights, underline, or write in the margins with your eReader with stylus compatibility. With Kobo’s patented markup technology, you’ll always see your annotations, even if you change your font size. Stay in the moment, without any ads or distractions
  • 𝟯𝟮𝗚𝗕 𝗢𝗙 𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗥𝗔𝗚𝗘, 𝗨𝗣 𝗧𝗢 𝟮𝟰,𝟬𝟬𝟬 𝗘𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗦 – With 32GB of storage, carry your entire library and all your notes wherever you go. You can store up to 24,000 eBooks or connect to Wi-Fi and access millions of eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines through the Kobo Store. With up to several weeks of battery life on a single charge, you can focus on your reading instead of being tethered to a power outlet
  • 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗙𝗔𝗩𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗜𝗧𝗘 𝗟𝗢𝗖𝗔𝗟 𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗦𝗛𝗢𝗣, 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗙𝗘𝗖𝗧𝗘𝗗 –

Kobos aren’t perfect, there is now also a premium subscription service, and this move to subscriptions is tiresome. But, in addition to the Kobo store and a wide variety of file types you can upload through a variety of methods, you can also access library apps like Overdrive. Crucially, the range in the Overdrive app on Kobo is a bit smaller, because it appears you only have access to books that are both available in the library’s database and the Kobo store. But that’s still access to thousands of books for free through your eReader as long as you’re a member of your local library (and you should be, libraries are wonderful and free).

Note-taking

Note-taking is really easy with the fancy Kobo Stylus 2. There are four things to the stylus: a USB-C port (because the stylus will need charging infrequently), a nib (for the traditional writing part), an eraser head (for erasing) and a button (used to highlight stuff).

One thing that annoyed me about the Kindle Scribe is that I was very limited in the kinds of books I could make notes in. So far, on the Elipsa 2E, I haven’t found any such restrictions. Perhaps some DRM-protected PDFs? But I could take notes in books from the library, the Kobo store, my own PDFs, and random .epub files from Archive Of Our Own. It’s also really easy to export notebook pages in PDF or JPEG, so any notes you make during class or an interview can be exported to wherever you need them.

Kobo Elipsa 2E notebook
Source: Alice Clarke

The stylus isn’t precise enough for drawing or detail work. Every now and then the screen would miss a line I made, or a letter would come out more squished than it would have otherwise. This is fine for most simple note-taking, but important to keep in mind if you want it for more than that.

Would I buy it?

Absolutely. This is what I wanted the Kindle Scribe to be. If my budget could stretch that far, and I needed an eReader I could take notes on, this would be the one I would buy.

Now, that said, there are a couple of caveats:

Firstly, most people do not actually need to be able to take notes on their eReader. This is great for students, academics, writers, journalists, and nerds in general. But if you just need an eReader, this is way overkill. A different Kobo would be a better pick.

Kobo Elipsa 2E closed
Source: Alice Clarke

Secondly, this is almost $100 more than an entry-level iPad. You can also read books on an iPad, and take notes using an Apple Pencil (which would bring the whole package up to $708). An iPad can do more things than just let you read books and take notes on them. At pure dollar-for-dollar value, the iPad is a much, much better buy.

However, an iPad is a whole other device. Sometimes you want a focused device that you can’t get distracted on, but don’t want the heft of a bunch of paper books. I currently use an iPad, a Kindle Scribe and a laptop in my day-to-day. These devices have a lot of crossover, but are for different purposes. It just depends on what your budget is and what you need.

But, in short, yes. The Kobo Elipsa 2E is a truly excellent eReader and I want one.

GadgetGuy occasionally uses affiliate links and may receive a small commission from purchased products.

Kobo Elipsa 2E
Simply put, the Kobo Elipsa 2E is the best note-taking eReader available.
Features
9
Value for money
7.5
Performance
9
Ease of use
9.5
Design
8.5
Positives
Easy to use
Best eReader note-taking experience I’ve ever used
Access to libraries
Negatives
Expensive
Pen is a bit inconsistent and imprecise
8.7