Kobo Elipsa: the stylus-toting ereader that wants to take on the iPad

Kobo Elipsa
(Image credit: Kobo)

Ereaders that double up as digital note-takers aren't new – the Onyx Boox tablets are a good example – but they aren't broadly available. For ereader maker Kobo, though, a digital note-taking device is very much new.

For the first time, Kobo has added a stylus-toting device to its ereader range. Called the Kobo Elipsa, the device boasts a 10.3-inch E Ink Carta glare-free display and a whopping 32GB of storage (another first for Kobo).

The stylus can be used to take notes or add diagrams to ebooks and PDFs, or just doodle and jot down to-do lists as if you were writing on a blank piece of paper. Your handwritten notes can be converted to typed text with single tap and stored in the My Notebooks section of the ereader which, in turn, can be organized as you see fit.

Notes, lists and drawings can then be exported as documents straight to the cloud (or documents imported), thanks to Kobo's Dropbox integration.

Choose your style

Where earlier you had to select text with a long press on older Kobo ereaders to highlight or annotate, there's a button on the stylus that will highlight text for you as you draw it along the page. Think you've made a mistake? Kobo's got you covered with another button on the stylus that will erase any mistake you may have made. 

Kobo also says that the sylus can be customized to your personal preferences. While it promises to feel like a ballpoint pen, you'll be able to choose "pen type, shade, line size and eraser size to suit your needs".

With a 10.3-inch screen, the Kobo Elipsa is not an ordinary ereader. It's on par with tablets like the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and Samsung's Tab S series devices. While still portable, it's not quite the fit-in-any-bag size that we're used to with the current crop of Kobo ereaders (the biggest is the Forma at 8 inches) and Kindles. And then there's the stylus support, which is also in line with the newer iPads and Tab S tablets. While you can use Apple and Samsung tablets to jot down notes and read ebooks, you can't annotate in the margins while reading on a dedicated app like Kindle or Kobo.

While devices like the reMarkable 2 (also with a 10.3-inch screen) are touted as being more a note-taking tablet than an ereader, Kobo is pitching the Elipsa as a more versatile device.

For your reading pleasure

That said, the Elipsa is, first and foremost, an ereader. And to ensure you're reading in comfort, Kobo's brought its built-in ComfortLight technology to the Elipsa as well. The brightness can be adjusted, and even set to change automatically from cooler white hues to warmer yellow light depending on the time of day in your location – as can currently be done some of the more premium Kobo devices.

Kobo says the Elipsa uses the latest in E Ink technology – a Carta 1200 screen – that promises to be faster and more responsive than before, with deeper contrast to make text appear sharper. For the first time on a Kobo device, there's even a Dark Mode that switches to white text on a black background.

The usual Kobo features are here as well – OverDrive support for borrowing library books (available in select countries) and Pocket integration for reading long-form web articles.

Kobo is selling its new ereader as a kit – called the Kobo Elipsa Pack, it includes the ereader, the Kobo Stylus and the Kobo Elipsa sleepcover for $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$599.95 / €399.99.

The Kobo Elipsa is already available to pre-order at the Kobo Store and will begin shipping on June 24. That's also when the Elipsa Pack will be available to buy at stores in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Turkey.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.