Amazon recently released a new Kindle for reading and writing! It is called the Kindle Scribe and I’ve been using it for a few weeks now. Read on for my Kindle Scribe Review. Is it worth buying?
This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a small commission if you click on links in this post. No worries though, I only link to things that I recommend (or tell you if I don’t recommend it 😉 ). See my disclosure policy for more info.
I’ve been a huge Kindle fan since the release of Kindle version 1. Remember that weird wedge like white Kindle?
I’ve owned nearly all versions of the Kindles (minus any of the Paperwhites or regular Kindles that came out after the Kindle Voyage or Kindle Oasis). I’ve largely loved them all, but have always been interested in the idea of a larger Kindle with a lighted screen. While I loved the Kindle DX, I didn’t like that it didn’t have it’s own light.
I recently also became interested in e-ink tablets.
Though I love my iPad, I was interested in purchasing something with less distractions. I have been using the Supernote for the last 6 months or so and it has been a great addition to my productivity and journaling practice. If you’re interested in the Supernote, watch my Supernote Review over on YouTube.
Although I already have a Kindle and an e-ink tablet, I could not resist trying out the new Kindle Scribe. Read on for my thoughts on the Kindle Scribe.
What is the Kindle Scribe?
Amazon describes the Kindle Scribe as “the first Kindle for reading and writing, with a 10.2’ 300 ppi Paperwhite display.” So what does this mean? Well, it is an e-reader as well as a e-ink tablet that you can write on.
You can read ebooks on the Kindle Scribe just like on any other Kindle, except the Kindle Scribe is bigger.
Besides the size, the other key difference with other Kindles is that you can write on the screen with a special type of pen. I use the Premium pen with mine.
Kindle Scribe Features
The main features I’ll discuss in this Kindle Scribe review are general reading and note taking with the Kindle Scribe.
There are a few versions that you can choose from. These versions differ based on the amount of storage you get. The versions are 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. I think that the best one is probably the 32 GB one. That said, I bought the 64 GB Kindle Scribe just in case. I thought the ability to take notes, use digital planners, and other new features of the Scribe might make the additional storage worth it. Better to have too much than too little I guess. I did the same when purchasing my iPad.
Here are links to the options on Amazon:
64 GB version with Premium Pen (this is the one that I have)
Be sure to check out the sales page for the various discounts. Flor instance, I traded in one of my old Kindles and got a discount on my new Kindle Scribe.
You can see my review here on Youtube:
Reading on Kindle Scribe
Reading on Kindle Scribe is an absolute joy in my opinion. It is slightly smaller than my 12.9 inch iPad but quite a bit lighter. It has a nice metal back and rounded corners, making it comfortable in hand. I can also rest it on my stomach while reading in bed.
I love the amount of words on that I can have on the screen at a font that works for me. My eyes are getting old so I need to use the font 6 or 7. That gives me a decent amount to read before turning pages.
The Kindle Scribe has a wide range of brightness levels while also allowing you to adjust the level of warmth of your screen. I remember when the early versions of the Kindle came out, everyone was looking for a white screen with even backlighting. Well, this has it. I see no issues with the backlighting and it’s really consistent. The type is dark and easy to read. You can even increase the boldness of the type if you wish to do so.
The warmth and brightness of your screen can be changed manually or with a schedule so that when you read at night the Kindle Scribe gets easier on your eyes. It goes from bright white to pretty yellow. The yellow seems a little intense to me, but when I played around with it I noticed that I got used to it relatively quickly. Be sure to check out my Youtube video if you would like to see how bright and how warm the Kindle Scribe gets.
I recommend you buy the Kindle Scribe on Amazon for reading!
Note Taking on the Kindle Scribe
The reason most people will consider purchasing the Kindle Scribe is because of the new note taking functions within Kindle Scribe. There are a few things you can do:
- Create a notebook and use an included template
- Create notes in books using “sticky notes”
- Import a PDF and annotate it (including use of digital planners)
- Create folders for your notebooks (though this is pretty limited).
I’ll describe each below but I’ll tell you the short version is that I strongly prefer using my Supernote to the Kindle Scribe for note taking. Kindle Scribe is very basic for note taking and currently lacks organization functions. To me it is no different than just using a pad of paper or a bunch of sticky notes. If I want to use a digital device for note taking, I expect at least some ability to organize my notes. (Amazon claims this is coming in a future update on this sales page).
Kindle Scribe Templates
When in your Kindle Scribe you can create a new Notebook by clicking on the create notebook icon at the top right of your screen. When you click on that icon, a popup comes up allowing you to choose a template. There are a variety of templates available, including graph paper, dotted paper, lines of various sizes, music paper, and more. They even have a template that gives you lines that allow you to write in landscape mode, which is a bonus.
I personally do not like any of the templates (other than maybe the blank page one). I usually use dotted paper when journaling; however, the dotted template on the Kindle Scribe has very dark and thick dots, which I find too distracting. The only other template I have used is the one with the “college ruled” lines, but again, I think the lines are a bit dark and ugly. Watch my Youtube video to see the templates.
I tend to do my notes on the blank page template.
Unfortunately when using templates, you can only use one type per notebook. This means you can’t have a notebook with different templates on different pages. Although you can change the template while working in your notebook, it will change the template for the entire notebook, not just the one page.
Organizing Notes on the Kindle Scribe
The Kindle Scribe has only basic organization functions. Kindle Scribe allows you to create folders for your notebooks but these are only at one level. I can have a work folder and a personal folder, but I cannot have separate folders within those folders.
That is the only level of organization that I can find within the Kindle Scribe so I consider this to be very basic. You can’t organize within a notebook. You cannot move things around, insert pages, or anything else. As mentioned, you can’t put uploaded digital planners in the notebook section of your Scribe.
Taking Notes in Books with Kindle Scribe Sticky Notes
You can create a note within a Kindle book by choosing to create a sticky note. This means you can’t write directly on the page of the book but instead you can insert a note. When you do this, you will not see the note unless you click on the little icon that’s created for the note (or if you choose to review all of your notes for a book).
The sticky note function gives you a box that is about a third of the size of the screen in which to take handwritten notes. You can create several of these; however, as far as I can tell you cannot expand the box to be larger. As noted, you can select the icon within the page to review that note or you can look at all of your notes at once for a book. You can also send a document with all of your notes (in little boxes) to your email.
I think it would be cool if you could actually write on the Kindle books, kind of like if you were to put notes in the margin of a book; however, Amazon chose not to do this.
Import and Annotate PDFs on Your Kindle Scribe
You can import a PDF into your Kindle Scribe and annotate right on the PDF. This means that you can use Digital planners. The links even work in Kindle Scribe. Unfortunately these are not kept in the notebook section on the Kindle Scribe and instead are kept in your regular library. I think this is somewhat unfortunate since I’d much rather keep my notebooks and notes together. I can see these documents getting lost in my large book library; however, there is a possibility of filtering by “Documents.”
In general, Kindle does not have a great organization system so this isn’t surprising.
You can upload linked PDFs such as digital planners to the Kindle Scribe. The links work and you can write on your planner. The limitations are pretty large here though. Many digital planner makers assume that you will be able to duplicate and add pages to your planner; however, Kindle Scribe does not have the ability to do this.
I was working on updating my Reading Journal for Kindle Scribe but the lack of flexibility at this point makes it feel like it isn’t worth having the journal in a linked PDF/digital planner format. Instead I will probably offer the pages individually for the Kindle Scribe.
How to Upload a PDF Document to Kindle Scribe
I’ve found two ways of uploading documents that work for me. The first is by using the share function on my iPhone or on my iPad and then sharing to Kindle. I’m guessing there is a size limit when doing this, but I have not run into it yet even when testing out my digital planners.
The other, likely more reliable method is to upload your document using send to Kindle. The address for that is amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle. I used this today and my document was on my Kindle within about five minutes. Creating Folders to Organize Your Notebooks
The Writing Experience on the Kindle Scribe
The writing experience on the Kindle Scribe is pretty nice. I haven’t noticed much lag when writing. The screen has a bit of a tooth to it, making it feel a bit like writing on paper. I really love the Premium Pen and find it to be one of my favorite pens for writing on my Supernote as well. It is similar in size to an Apple Pencil but quite a bit lighter. It also has a button on the side that you can use for either erasing or highlighting.
Does Kindle Scribe Come in Color?
Kindle Scribe is an e-ink tablet which means that it is only in black and white. One of the things I’ve always liked the most about using Kindle is that the reading experience is much like a book, with black writing on a whitish background. Although there are some adjustments you can make such as warming up or cooling down the light or inverting your screen so that the background is black and the text is white, there is no color on the Kindle Scribe?
What about highlighting while writing? The “marker” on the Kindle Scribe has different levels of grey, so you can highlight in your notes on Kindle Scribe by simply choosing to use a tone that’s lighter than the one you chose for your handwriting.
Kindle Scribe Accessories
You can purchase a few different accessories for Kindle Scribe right now, thought the options are somewhat limited. When I preordered my Kindle Scribe, I ordered the fabric cover in Rose. I don’t like it though so am sending it back. The edges are kind of sharp and make the Scribe uncomfortable to hold. It is also a cat hair magnet! Some other people describe it as unsafe for your scribe sine the scribe is only held in by a magnet, but I didn’t see any problems with this. I guess I”m used to that since I used a Magic Keyboard case for my iPad for a long time.
The Kindle Scribe Premium Pen is AMAZING. In fact, I’d say it is my favorite pen for writing on my Supernote! It is very similar in shape to the Apple Pencil 2 but much lighter. It is comfortable to hold and to write with. There is a programmable button allowing you to use the button to either highlight or erase within your notes. It is a little annoying at first because you’ll probably press the button accidentally a lot, but once you get used to it, you’ll love it. The Premium Pen also has an eraser on the back end so you can flip your pencil to erase just like you would with a regular eraser (note that the back eraser doesn’t work very well on the Supernote). I love this pen.
The Kindle Scribe Leather case is another option for the Kindle Scribe. I haven’t used that one so I can’t comment on it much. It looks similar to the fabric case so I figured I won’t like it. I ended up ordering a new Kindle Scribe case on Etsy. Although I like the case, it’s a little awkward since it has to be open to charge. It’s also made of fabric so it is collecting cat hair like crazy and I’m not sure how I would clean it if I set it down on something gross.
My Opinion (Kindle Scribe Review)
Kindle Scribe is an amazing e-reader. I love reading with the Kindle Scribe and would buy it just for that. The screen is very uniform, no more blotchy lighting on this. The text is dark and easy to read. It is a perfect size for reading without getting distracted by having to turn pages all the time. I absolutely love it for reading and recommend you buy the Kindle Scribe on Amazon if you’re in the market for a great e-reader.
I feel less confident in recommending it as a note taker, mainly because I strongly prefer my Supernote for note taking. The Kindle Scribe is VERY basic when it comes to note taking. It lacks functions like cut and paste, folder organization, or even the ability to change templates within one notebook. You can’t rearrange pages or insert pages between pages of your notebook.
If you want to use it similar to how you would use a regular paper notebook, it gives you a nice writing experience. However, if you want to use it as a way to collect all of your notes and to organize those notes in any useful way, then I don’t recommend the Kindle Scribe yet.
The Amazon sales page states that they plan to add more writing tools, new brush types, copy/paste, and additional organization options in the coming months so it is possible that my opinion on the Kindle Scribe for note taking will change. For now I cannot recommend it for note taking.
When I first took it out of the box and used it I thought about returning it because the note taking functionality is so limited; however, I spent some time with it on the couch taking some notes for a class and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked writing on it. It has potential. I’ll admit though that since that day I’ve taken my Kindle Scribe upstairs and it lives by my bed and is now my main reader. I jotted down some thoughts last night before going to sleep and it was nice for that purpose (perhaps for journaling before bed?) But I cannot use it for anything that I would like to organize or refer back to.