If you’ve not seen it, here is the official announcement video from Amazon:
The video doesn’t show a lot of how it works, but you get a pretty good idea. It’s a big Kindle that includes a pen to write on the screen. If the software is solid, this will become one of my favorite devices.
I love my Kindle and I love my reMarkable, but they both have shortcomings that the other could fix.
- The Kindle allows me to highlight text, but not easily leave any commentary in my notes.
- The reMarkable is great for note-taking and marking up documents, but the lack of books and the lack of a backlight are rough.
In theory, the Kindle Scribe will be the perfect combination to solve those woes.
At first glance, the price seems pretty high at $339. The Kindle Paperwhite is a great reading device and it starts at just $99. That’s a big jump!
However, I think you also need to compare this device to the reMarkable and others in that genre. The reMarkable starts at $279, but that doesn’t include a pen, which is essential to the product. The pen is another $79 (or $129 for the “marker plus), making the total $358, or about $20 more than the Kindle Scribe. Plus, reMarkable essentially requires their “connect” service for some of the features you need, which is another $3/mo. It’s not much, but it’s more than the $0/mo service for the Kindle Scribe.
So, the Kindle Scribe isn’t cheap by any means, but it’s priced very well compared to the writing tablet competition.
I mentioned some of the features above, and those are really the two that I’m excited about.
I’ve been taking more and more notes as I read, but it’s difficult to do on the Kindle Paperwhite. I create a lot of highlights, but can’t easily add further thoughts to them. With the Kindle Scribe, I presumably can.
With the reMarkable, the screen is not lit at all and requires a bright room or sunlight to read. This is by design, as it allows the tip of the pen to be a tiny bit closer to the surface to help further mimic the feeling of writing on paper. It does an amazing job with that, but I think I’d be ok with a small gap there in order to get some light. I frequently find myself in my office trying to read a document on the reMarkable and struggling due to low light. With the Kindle Paperwhite (and therefore the Kindle Scribe), that is never a problem. The E ink screen works great in bright sunlight or in a dark room.
Why not an iPad?
The main pushback against the reMarkable (and will be against the Kindle Scribe) is “why not just use an iPad?”. It’s a reasonable question, and for many people I’d agree that they just should. The iPad is an amazing device and can serve many of these needs. I find benefit in the reMarkable/Scribe in four ways:
- Read it outside. E ink is fantastic outside, whereas an iPad is often unusable. It’s a world of difference.
- Related, E ink is far easier on your eyes for reading, even in ideal lighting conditions. If you’ve ever tried to read a book from an iPad and from a Kindle, you know that the Kindle is a much better experience.
- The lack of notifications. This is kind of a bogus answer, using a shortcoming as a benefit, but it’s true. As I shared a few years ago about the reMarkable, it’s great to use in church and meetings and places where an iPad might be a little less acceptable.
- Battery life. The reMarkable can last for weeks, while the iPad can last for hours. The Kindle Scribe should be close to the reMarkable in terms of battery life, which is excellent. It may be a smidge less due to the lit screen, but it’ll still be a device that doesn’t need to be plugged in every night.
Should I get it?
I can’t begin to answer that for you, but hopefully the info about gave you some solid ideas. If you’re a Kindle fan and you were intrigued by the reMarkable, this could be a great device. There are two caveats, though:
- As of now, I’ve not seen a real review of the device. I hope Amazon starts pushing a few out to reviewers soon, but nothing yet.
- This is a first-generation device. The first reMarkable was good, but the second was far better. Any first-generation device will have some odd shortcomings, and the Kindle Scribe won’t be perfect. Amazon’s history and experience with Kindle should help, but no doubt the “Kindle Scribe 2” that comes out in a few years will be much better.
The Kindle Scribe will be released on November 30, 2022. You can pre-order now if you’re interested.
I’ll share more once I get my hands on it, which I’m quite excited to do!