Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Kobo connects eBooks, notepad for a reader you can write on

An eReader like the Kindle or Kobo is meant for reading, but what if you could scribble notes using the same gadget? The latest Kobo has that in mind.

There’s no shortage of tablets out there, and it’s even pretty easy to find a eBook readers, too, but finding a way to blend the two categories typically means changing what you want.

If you want to read books, you can choose any one of the eReaders out there, but if you’re after a tablet that lets you draw, scribble, and also read books, there’s a good chance you’re going to look at an iPad or an iPad Pro, or maybe one of the Android equivalents, such as something from the Samsung Galaxy Tab range. There is another choice, but it’s not easily found in Australia, with the ReMarkable Tablet offering a middle ground option, but it’s not the only one.

This week, Rakuten’s Kobo brand of eReaders has waded into the middle ground offerings, announcing an eBook reader that also works as a sort of digital notebook, blending the concepts into something else.

The idea arrives in the Kobo Elipsa, a device that much like an eBook reader uses an electronic ink touchscreen, but also manages to go further and allow you to take notes and draw on that eInk screen using the included Kobo Stylus.

It means Kobo has effectively built an eBook reader you can take notes with, and not just take notes on digital paper, but also take notes on the books you’re reading. Literally on them, with the digital eBooks on Kobo allowing you to write in the margins, to take notes, to highlight and scribble and do some of the things you can do with a real book, except in a digital way.

Designed with a 10.3 inch screen in mind, the Kobo Elipsa isn’t your ordinary 4 or 5 or 6 inch eBook reader. Rather, it’s a little more like an iPad, using a big screen to let you scribble on, and take notes as you read.

However because it’s a bigger eReader than normal, it also means books may feel like a trade paper or a textbook, potentially offering more text on the page or even larger type, both of which are possible given the size of that screen.

Those notes can even be exported using Dropbox, so you’ll be able to take notes as if the book was real, and check and edit them later using a computer. You can even pull it off in the dark, because while there’s a light built into the screen, the Kobo Elipsa supports a dark mode to invert the colours and let you read white text on a black page, something a printed book might not offer.

“When looking at what should come next for Kobo eReaders, we always go back to our customers, to the people who read everyday, to learn how we can make their reading lives better,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo.

“With Kobo Elipsa, we meet the needs of people who don’t just want to read a book; they want to engage with it—mark it up, highlight, write in the margins, or in a notebook of their own, because that is how they get the most out of the books, articles and documents they read,” he said. “With this new eReader, we merged the bookstore, book and notebook together so people can capture all the ideas that spring from books and writing.”

Locally, though, the price of the Kobo Elipsa may surprise, with an Australian recommended retail price of $599.95, making it priced near to that of an iPad or another tablet. It’s worth noting that the Kobo Elipsa is modelled off an eReader, even if it is a much larger eReader than you usually get. As such, it’s essentially for notes and books more than anything else, because that eInk screen is unlikely to handle photos or videos, especially since it’s monochrome only.

However the Kobo Elipsa could prove to be a popular option for folks who can’t quite make the jump form physical book to digital edition simply because they can’t write in the margins and draw all over their books, because this gadget actually makes that possible.

Rakuten’s Kobo Elipsa launche in Australia from June 24, arriving with the stylus and a cover for $599.95 locally.

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