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7.3/10
Informr score
The Kobo Elipsa currently has an Informr score of 7.3 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 9 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

While it's definitely an e-reader first and a digital notepad second, the Kobo Elipsa does quite well for Kobo's first foray into active stylus support. It's a big e-reader though, so we don't recommend it for on-the-go use or bedside reading.

What's good

  • Stylus support
  • Documents and books look great
  • Good handwriting recognition

What's bad

  • Heavy
  • No amber lighting
  • Writing is restricted

Kobo aims for the Elipsa to be a research-friendly note-taking e-reader. That’s quite a specific mold for a single device to fit one device. Does it work? Or does it try to do too much and, in doing so, do nothing particularly well? Let’s look at what reviewers think!

Design

Reviewers were clear here: the design is excellent, but the weight is not.

The screen is flush with the bezels instead of recessed, providing a clean aesthetic and paperlike appeal. But it’s pretty unwieldy when compared with other e-readers and digital notepads.

Reviewers noted it was not very friendly for one-handed use. The stylus, however, was responsive and comfortable to use.

Screen

The 10.3-inch e-ink display is one of the nicest currently available, according to reviewers. It has a 20% faster response time, making page flips and note-taking smooth and responsive with minimal visual artifacts. The display also offers improved contrast over previous models, making it perfect for viewing and reading comics and manga.

However, they also felt that not adding the amber LEDs for night viewing was a mistake. So if you’re using this e-reader at night, be prepared for a blast of blue light.

Storage

The Kobo Elipsa offers 32GB of internal storage. This is a fair bit of storage compared to other e-readers and should be more than enough room unless you plan to carry around a vast number of heavily formatted PDFs.

Battery Life

Battery life on e-readers varies considerably based on whether you use Wi-Fi often and how bright you prefer to keep your backlight. However, reviewers could get nearly a month on a single charge reading a few hours a day with moderate backlight settings and minimal Wi-Fi usage.

Software & File Format Support

As with most Kobo readers, the reader runs Linux. This means you can read many file formats, including EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, RFT, CBZ and CBR. However, you will not be able to Amazon’s Kindle formats unless you want to convert the files manually.

Extra Features

The stylus is a new edition to the Kobo lineup, looking to take on the likes of the reMarkable 2.

The stylus operates on a single AAA battery. Reviewers said that it has a nice feel to it. Because the screen is textured, it feels remarkably similar to writing on paper.

However, exporting notes from the device was a bit cumbersome with limited file format options available. It's definitely more of an e-reader than a digital notepad, but reviewers agree that it's more than acceptable for light notetaking or marking up the occasional document. 

More to the point, reviewers agree that any shortcomings are things Kobo can quickly address with software updates in the future.

Specs at a Glance

  • Aluminum chassis
  • 10.3-inch, 227ppi e-ink display
  • Front lighting, no amber filter
  • 32GB of storage
  • 2,400mAh battery
  • EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, RFT, CBZ and CBR support
  • Stylus

Bottom Line

The Kobo Elipsa holds up to most of its promises, though its price point can cause some disappointment. The lack of amber lighting was a surprise to many reviewers. This is a standard feature on virtually all e-readers in 2021. It’s large and heavy as well, making it less suited to cramped quarters like public transit or laying in bed reading with one hand.

Tech Radar says, “The Kobo Elipsa, however, is an ereader [sic] first – one that can multitask. The Kobo Stylus, while not quite real-time responsive, is fast enough to make writing an enjoyable experience, and the device’s ability to recognize handwriting to convert to text is remarkable.”

Tech Crunch states, “Compared to the reMarkable, the Kobo is really just an easier platform for everyday reading, so if you’re looking for a device that focuses on that and has the option of doodling or note taking [sic] on the side, it’s a much better deal. On the other hand, those just looking for an improvement to that stylus-focused tablet should look elsewhere.”


Screen Size
10.3"
Storage
32 GB
3G
No
Reading Time
-


What the Critics Are Saying...


Ausdroid

It is extremely easy to get content onto the device – simply link your Dropbox account and transfer the files. The Elipsa supports 15 different file types natively – EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR. (I had to look the last two up – turns out they a...

- Jo Tann, Ausdroid
TechCrunch

The Elipsa is a considerable investment and comparably priced to an iPad, which is certainly a more versatile device. But I don’t particularly enjoy reading articles or books on my iPad, and the simplicity of an e-reader in general helps me focus when I’m making notes on a paper or something. It’s a...

- Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch
Input

This is not to say the Elipsa isn’t worth $399 — it’s just that the casual reader has no good reason to pay for the luxury afforded by this particular e-reader. A college student or professor, on the other hand (or anyone who writes and reads seriously) will make much more use of the note-taking ext...

- Matt Wille, Input
ZDNet

The Elipsa employs the clean, user-friendly and navigable interface of other Kobo ebook readers. Its versatility is great – it's as easy to read loaned library books as those bought from the Kobo store, file format support is good, and simply making a wired connection is enough to transfer locally s...

- Sandra Vogel, ZDNet
Mobile Syrup

On its own, the Elipsa is a really great device. It features solid build quality and works well. However, whenever you compare it to other devices, it’s not worth its $500 price tag...

- Brad Bennett, Mobile Syrup


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Quick view

Screen Size
10.3"

The Kobo Elipsa's screen size is 10.3 inches with 1404 x 1872 pixels resolution.

Backlight
Yes

There is a built-in backlight for reading in the dark.

Storage
32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

3G
No

This model has no 3G wireless capabilities.

Reading Time
-

The e-reader is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2400 mAh battery.

Kobo Elipsa Specs

Overview
Release date June 24, 2021
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Networks
No
SIM card size No
Operating System Custom

Compare Custom Smartphones

Processor Unknown Quad-core 1.8 GHz
Internal Storage 32 GB
RAM 1 GB
ROM No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable, Stylus
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2400 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time Unknown
Reading Time Unknown
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors Midnight Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 19.3 x 22.75 x 0.76 cm (7.6 x 9 x 0.3 in)
Weight 383 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Grayscale
Technology E-ink
Colors No
Resolution 1404 x 1872 pixels
Pixel density 227 pixels
Size 10.3 inches
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Unknown
Screen Orientation Lock Unknown
Multi-Touch No
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Anti Glare Yes
Additional Display Features
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Page Turn Key No
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech Unknown
Screen Reader Unknown
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles No
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
Audio / Video
Audio Playback No
Video Playback No
Streaming Video No
External Speakers No
Headset Jack No
Vibration Alert No
Content Formats Supported
Content Formats Supported BMP, CBR, CBZ, EPUB, EPUB3, GIF, HTML, JPEG, MOBI, PDF, PNG, RTF, TIFF, TXT
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