Kindle Review Scribe, the first you can write on by hand

Kindle Review Scribe, the first you can write on by hand

Kindle Review Scribe

Kindle Scribe is Amazon's first 10.2-inch e-book reader that allows handwriting. And it is almost a double astonishment with (bitter) surprise because first one is stunned by the size – even the historic Kindle Dx of 2009 stopped at 9.7 inches, then one is exalted in writing and finally one discovers that the practice of amanuensis hybridized with digital has great limits.

The "scribe" (from scribe ) is undoubtedly a niche product but the price of 399.99 euros (16 GB) is quite in line with the direct competitor Remarkable 2 or the Kobo Elipsa. In reality, there are many other competing models, but in Italy they are not very common: they are mostly discovered by relentlessly on Google.

Kindle Scribe is still an ebook reader with a 10 paper e-ink panel, 2 inches, 300 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution, 16-level grayscale and front light system; like a larger Kindle Paperwhite, to which obviously we must add the hardware component that allows fluidity and writing.

Kindle Scribe looks like a tablet, in shape

Scribe is in tungsten gray and resembles a premium-end tablet if you consider that it is made of aluminum and plastic, and has dimensions of 196 x 229 x 5.8 mm, as well as a weight of 433 grams. The design is reminiscent of the Apple iPad series, even if the e-ink screen has an asymmetrical bezel that favors the grip. This last detail is important because the surface of the panel, unlike common tablets, is silky instead of smooth. In short, on the one hand it doesn't slip, on the other you can begin to understand that the writing experience will be different from that offered by the iPad and other models.

Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Scribe

After which it maintains the classic components of a reader and in fact supports wi-fi 5, you can choose between the 16, 32 and 64 GB versions, it recharges via the usb-c port (about 2.5 hours with a 9W power supply) and promises an autonomy of 12 weeks of reading and up to three weeks of writing.

As far as the pen is concerned, it should be considered that it does not need power or configuration, and is magnetically attached to the device laterally. It weighs about 13 grams, while the second generation Apple Pencil 16 g and the first generation 20 g. It really feels like holding a pen in your hand, complete with a flat notch where you can rest your forefinger or thumb. The interchangeable tip – there are five in the package – recalls the roughness of pencil graphite. It is a somewhat anonymous but functional object. The premium version also features an "eraser", which is actually a push cap for erasing, and a side key with a customizable function – you can match it with a highlighter, eraser, pen or note.

Kindle Scribe for reading

Reading e-books on a reader of this type is obviously a more satisfying experience than a classic LCD tablet, if only because you don't have a lamp that shoots light in the face. The e-ink technology offers a fruition similar to that of a book and thanks to the lighting (not frontal but diffused on the surfaces) by playing between 24 levels of intensity and colour, it is possible to imitate the effect of paper. The options include an automatic mode that varies the two parameters in relation to the ambient brightness and the time of day – you can even set a time for the warmest colours.

Kindle Scribe, 24 intensity levels for brightness and color

The peculiarity of the Scribe is that it uses 35 perimeter LEDs in the frame, against 25 for the Oasis and 17 for the Paperwhite; the difference is due to the surface obviously. In summary, reading is very pleasant, the screen size is enjoyable, the text orientation is automatic, but the usability of the smaller Kindles remains superior. It's really big and then there's a micro-detail that could make purists turn up their noses: the 300 ppi resolution is excellent but the yield on the smaller diagonal models is better. It's a bit like watching a high-resolution film on a 32-inch and then a 42-inch television: the former has an advantage if the distance is the same. A subtlety indeed, but it is noticeable. Obviously, as always, it is possible to adjust the font size, line spacing, margin width and other parameters.

Finally, it should be remembered that it supports Kindle 8 (azw3), Kindle (azw), Txt, Pdf, Mobi unprotected, Prc natively; Pdf, Docx, Doc, Html, Epub , Txt, Rtf, Jpeg, Gif, Png and Bmp through conversion.

Kindle Scribe for writing

The writing chapter is intriguing. First of all, closing your eyes and sliding the pen over the panel, you have a sensation of resistance reminiscent of paper and then also the noise is that of a pencil on a notebook. On the iPad, however, everything flows more smoothly, the rubberized tip of the Pencil slips away quickly and is silent; even putting an ad hoc film the feeling is far away. Only the Moleskine Smart line does better than the Scribe, but there you actually write on paper.

The refresh time of the Kindle is very good, but increasing the thickness of the line a slight slowdown is evident. However, writing and even drawing are rewarding experiences. Kids go crazy drawing on it because it looks just like a sheet of paper. And the professionals? Forget the Scribe; iPad Air and Pro with Pencil 2 travel to another dimension: we must not forget that the Apple system also reads touch pressure.

Kindle Scribe, a handwritten post on an ebook

The notebook application tools package provides a pen and highlighter with 5 thickness levels, a customizable eraser and page turning tools. All very basic, however, with the possibility of choosing from 18 different types of sheets: lines, squares, lists, scores, dotted, etc. There is also the option of sharing via email.

Ok, but what about this handwriting? In principle it can be an alternative to what you would do on a notebook or paper notebook. Difficult to understand why since there is no handwriting recognition. Furthermore, in the sharing phase a Pdf is actually sent and at least for now it is not possible to choose alternatives. In summary, to search among your written notes, you either go exactly to the book or document or you can scroll them visually in a special section that organizes them (only) in chronological order. Maybe someone really likes it that way - refrain masochists the sadist would say.

Kindle Scribe, the score

On the other hand, the possibility of attaching notes to the documents or books you read is useful. In practice, the classic notes function that historically allows you to use the virtual keyboard of the Kindle to attach thoughts, considerations or other now also has the handwriting mode. Simply touch the pen (actually even with a finger) on a specific icon, or touch a term or delimit a sentence to activate the sticky note and write. On pdf and other documents you can write directly without the need to attach notes and posts; it could be a viable option for proofreading or contracts. And again one might wonder why not use an iOS or Android tablet considering all the sharing and customization apps and functions.

Kindle Scribe, the vertically scrolling post organizer

During the test, another small limitation emerged. Handwriting does not work with Mobi ebooks, which until a few months ago the platform fully supported 100%. Now you can open them and then you can proceed with reading but they are not compatible with handwritten notes.

Amazon confirms that you can import and create handwritten sticky notes in Microsoft Word (DOCX, DOC), Pdf, Html, Epub, Txt, Rtf, Jpeg, Gif, Png and Bmp documents. A software update will arrive at the beginning of 2023 which will allow you to send Word files to Scribe directly from Microsoft Word. Files can be imported via app, via cable and via email (Send-to-Kindle).


The Kindle Scribe is a beautiful object, engineering well done, which conveys the sense of build quality. The large panel is fulfilling, especially at home; on the road it is honestly a bit bulky. Autonomy, use under sunlight and writing pleasure are undeniable. But it's a great shame that this model doesn't allow you to convert handwritten notes into digital text, as some competing models do. It is not a product for managers or professionals who collect notes during meetings or carry out complex activities dedicated to projects: even Notes on the iPad alone has dozens more functions for managing and sharing information. The hope is that Amazon will patch it with a software update. After that the price is quite high and brings the competition with tablets back into play - which in any case offer less restful reading. Let's say the ending is open and opinion remains open. A bit like the novella Bartleby the scribe: a history of Wall Street by Herman Melville, which once read will leave you reflecting on the hypothetical fate of the protagonist for a long time.

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