Kindle Scribe review: not enough of what we want

Kindle Scribe review: not enough of what we want

Amazon Kindle Scribe e ink writing tablet

The Kindle Scribe is a return to large-screen Kindles, with a pen included. We wish the pen added more value and came with many more writing features, but the Scribe is still an excellent Kindle ereader, which means you get fantastic battery life; a sharp, bright screen; and full access to the Amazon Kindle library of books and Audible audiobooks you already own.

Good price for a stylus-toting E Ink tablet

Finally, a large Kindle screen for reading

Few writing features for journaling and doodles

You can’t write in the margins of books

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  • Price and availability
  • Design
  • Using it
  • Connectivity
  • Should I buy?
  • Also consider

One-minute review

Finally, a Kindle you can write on… said who, exactly? If you’re a student or academic, you’ll be disappointed by the limitations on how you can annotate books. If you’re trying to be productive, this is far from a productivity tool. If you’re into journaling, there are better options for writing tablets, though admittedly nothing handles reading ebooks quite like the best Kindle ereaders.

That’s the bottom line – the Kindle Scribe is a great, big Kindle, and Amazon doesn’t try to take the device much further than adding a few basic writing features; less than you’ll find on any competing E Ink tablet with a pen, like the Kobo Elipsa or the Onyx Boox Note Air2 series. For a dedicated note-taking E Ink tablet, it’s perhaps the reMarkable 2 that stands out as having more writing templates and more robust pen options. And with the Onyx Boox running Android 11, it can even convert text to type as you write.

The Kindle Scribe has its advantages though. The base model has plenty of storage (although the Kobo Elipsa comes with more) and amazing battery life, and it’s one of the cheaper writing tablets when you factor the cost of the pen. Speaking of which, the way the stylus glides over the screen is hands down the best writing experience we’ve had on an E Ink tablet.

Like other high-end ereaders, the Scribe also has a bright backlight that can adjust for night reading, and it can access the full Kindle book library, which is essential if you’re an avid reader that’s already embedded into Amazon’s ecosystem. Still, it’s hard to find a reason why folks who need an ereader with a pen should prefer the Kindle Scribe over alternatives, even at its relatively lower price point.

Kindle Scribe review: price and availability

  • $339.99 / £339.99 / AU$549.99 for 16GB with basic pen
  • Premium pen includes eraser and shortcut button

It’s hard to compare the pricing on tablets like the Kindle Scribe, considering different note-taking E Ink devices come with different feature sets. Overall, though, if you opt for the 16GB Kindle Scribe with the Basic Pen, there’s decent value for what you get.

For example, the Kobo Elipsa comes in just one model that boasts 32GB of internal storage and ships with both the stylus and a sleepcover for $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$599.95 – so we’re inclined to say the Elipsa offers more value, but the writing experience isn’t as smooth.

On the other hand, the reMarkable 2 costs a deceptive $299 / £299 / AU$499. We say deceptive because reMarkable doesn’t include a pen (which you will need to buy separately) and charges exorbitant fees. The reMarkable also doesn’t have a backlight, so you need a light source to use it in the dark. It also cannot access the Kindle library, or any large eBook library easily.

Weight: 433g
Dimensions: 196 x 230 x 5.8mm
Display size: 10.2-inch
Storage: 16, 32, 64GB
Charging: USB-C charging
Backlight: LED (35 lights)
Pen Included: Yes

And the Onyx Boox Note Air2 series isn’t widely available, but starts at $499 in the US for the base model. There are even more advanced E Ink tablets that use a pen, like the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra. That tablet is a more feature-packed device, and in its own class in terms of capability and price. It has a camera for document scanning and runs Android, for instance. For that reason, it’s almost twice the price of Amazon’s Kindle Scribe in the US.

Of course, let’s not forget the iPad 10.2 (2021) which, incidentally only has a 264ppi resolution screen as compared to the Kindle Scribe’s 300ppi slate, and prices start at $329 / £319 / AU$499 without a pen for 64GB of storage. Of course, comparing a colorful, extensible tablet like the iPad to the Kindle Scribe is like comparing apples to, er… Kindles.

The more interesting price comparison is between the Kindle Scribe and other Kindle ereaders. The Scribe costs $90 / £110 / AU$150 more than the Kindle Oasis, which has only a 7-inch display, half the storage space, and no pen support. The only thing the Scribe cannot do is take a dip in the ocean, which the Kindle Oasis can legitimately handle, saltwater and all.

Kindle Scribe review: design

  • Big and bright display doesn’t sacrifice sharpness
  • Port and power are weirdly placed on the side

The Amazon Kindle Scribe looks like a much larger version of the Kindle Oasis, thanks to the all-metal chassis. Where it differs, other than the obvious size, is the missing page-turn buttons and the asymmetric thickness that we love on the Oasis.

The Kindle Scribe has rounded corners and smoothly curved edges with a wide, flat back, which interestingly has four tiny nubs for feet. It has a bezel all around, with a larger edge on the left side, if you hold the tablet Amazon smile-up. You can flip the Scribe and hold the larger edge with your right hand, but then the Amazon logo will be frowning.

The USB-C port for charging, as well as the power button are both strangely placed on the side of the device, near the middle, but this isn’t unique to the Scribe and can be seen on the Onyx Boox Note series tablets too.

The pen, which is included, hangs on by a magnet on the opposite side edge of the Scribe. Even though it’s stronger than what’s found on the Onyx Boox Note Air2 Plus, this is our least favorite way of holding a pen. The strongest rare earth magnets cannot keep a pen in place when we slide a tablet in and out of a backpack sleeve. We lost the Scribe pen on day one and spent a half hour searching before we found it. Thankfully, an old Galaxy Note pen works just as well in a pinch.

If you spring for the leather folio case – a nice addition that Amazon sent along with our review sample but you’ll need to buy separately – the flap opens up over the top like a reporter’s notebook, though much larger, similar to the sleepcover for the Kobo Elipsa (which ships with the tablet itself). The pen then slots into a holder on the edge of the flap.

Compared to the competition, the Kindle Scribe is a bit thicker than the reMarkable 2 tablet – which makes sense because the reMarkable lacks a backlight – but is slimmer and sleeker-looking compared to the plastic body of the Kobo Elipsa. The Kindle has a very bright LED backlit screen, and it can switch from a bluish-gray tint to a blue light-free tint that’s better for nighttime reading.

The Kindle Scribe is also wider than the reMarkable and Elipsa, and less tall, but has identical overall dimensions as the Onyx Boox Note Air2 tablets. The screens are all roughly the same size, it’s just that the reMarkable puts its big bezel edge at the bottom instead of the side.

For reading, we found the Kindle very comfortable to hold and use, even for such a large tablet. We’d love to see it shed some weight, but it isn’t clumsy.

Kindle Scribe review: using it

  • Excellent large screen Kindle for reading books
  • Middling E Ink writing tablet for journaling and notes

If you want to read books on a large-screen Kindle, the Scribe is an easy ereader to recommend, although the price is high for the category. Still, the screen is much larger than the next-biggest Kindle Oasis‘ 7-inch display and there’s no sacrifice of the remarkable pixel density, so everything is super sharp and glorious on screen. If you’ve been craving a gigantic reading screen for bigger fonts and larger images, the Scribe is a joy to use.

On the other hand, if you’ve been excited about a Kindle that you can also use for journaling, note taking, and other writing tasks, the Kindle Scribe is a huge letdown. For most fans of notebooks and written tasks, the Scribe offers the bare minimum, and there are better options to be found in the competition.

For students and academics, the Scribe only allows you to write notes as sticky notes appended to a book. You cannot actually write on the book page, in the margins, for instance. College students who buy their own books love the ability to interact directly with the text in writing, and it is a huge letdown that the Kindle Scribe cannot support this feature.

For journaling and freewriting, the Kindle Scribe offers few template options, and none that work well with popular journal methods. We use bullet journaling and found some basic dots and lined pages, but nothing as organized or creative as the templates we enjoy on the reMarkable 2 tablet. Even the Kobo Elipsa offers a lot more when it comes to note-taking, including adding formulae and diagrams in between notes. If you keep a journal or take detailed notes, we’re saying there are better options out there, and at a similar price point.

If you were hoping to doodle and draw, the Kindle Scribe is not interested. There are no pen options beyond thick or thin. Pretty much every other E Ink tablet we’ve tested lets you do that – the reMarkable 2, Kobo Elipsa, the several Onyx Boox tablets. yeah, it’s disappointing to see Amazon fall so far short. All the aforementioned options give you numerous pen styles and thicknesses, including a calligraphy brush that reacts to direction and tilt. The Kindle Scribe gives you a pen, a highlighter and an eraser – that’s it.

It isn’t difficult to use the Kindle Scribe for basic productivity. When we needed to sign a document, we simply sent it to a custom email address that we set up through our Amazon Kindle account. The PDF file arrived on our Scribe, and we could sign it and email it back with no trouble. But this will be difficult for anyone without a Kindle account. So, again, the Scribe is best served when you’re embedded into the Amazon ecosystem. Even as an ereader, it’s best used by customers already with existing Prime, Kindle Unlimited or Audible accounts.

Another disappointment is that there’s no way to convert handwriting to typography, which is a real miss for the Scribe. This would be a great way to search through all of the sticky notes we take on a book, or a better way to send a written document via email. For note-taking alone, the Kindle Scribe needs to be able to make the conversion.

That said, the writing experience on the Scribe with its Basic Pen is the best we’ve experienced to date. It is smooth as, and even that doesn’t quite convey how good it really is to write on that screen. This is where the Kobo Elipsa was a letdown, but we were very impressed with the writing experience on the Onyx Booz Note Air2 Plus – the Kindle Scribe surpasses it all!

Kindle Scribe review: connectivity

  • Easy setup over Wi-Fi, no device needed
  • Send documents to a dedicated email address

Amazon makes it easy to set up the Kindle Scribe and get all of your books and documents on and off the device. We had no trouble finding our Wi-Fi network, and the Kindle does not need a second device for setup. If you have a smartphone with the Kindle app, that helps speed the process along, but it isn’t required.

When we needed to sign documents with the Kindle Scribe, we found a dedicated email address was the easiest way. It is set up with a random username by default, but you can change this online, and we made it more convenient. As soon as we sent a document it appeared in our library, and we could email it to up to five recipients. So, as we said before, the Kindle Scribe will benefit those who are existing Amazon users or anyone willing to take the leap into getting tied down.

Of course, there are many more connectivity options we’d like to see, but at this price the options are fair. Some folks may want an LTE connection at least for downloading books or emailing simple black-and-white documents. Amazon sells a deluxe version of the Kindle Oasis with 4G LTE connectivity for downloads on the go, so it’s a little strange to see the Scribe miss out. although we suspect the price alone for that privilege would be quite prohibitive for most potential users.

We could also imagine a microSD card slot being very useful for transferring and signing documents. If this were a more serious productivity tool, that would be a top request, but we’re yet to see an alternative E Ink note-taking tablet to offer this option, so Amazon is just sticking to the way things already are.

Should I buy the Kindle Scribe?

Buy it if

You want a really big Kindle for reading books
Since the Kindle DX disappeared almost 10 years ago, there hasn’t been a truly large-screen reader for Kindle ebook fans.

You annotate books using sticky notes
If you already make notes in books by writing on Post-it Notes and slipping them in between the pages, the Kindle Scribe will help you do that. just digitally. But that’s about all it will let you do – no scribbling in margins here.

You read a lot and sign things from time to time
The Kindle Scribe makes it very easy to mark up and sign PDF documents, even easier than it is to take notes in books. If that’s your gig, the Kindle Scribe will help you work.

Don’t buy it if

You want to take notes in margins
The Kindle Scribe inexplicably won’t let you write directly on a book page. You can only attach a sticky note. That isn’t the way most students or researchers want to work.

You’re into journaling and doodling
The Kindle Scribe has very few writing features to help you organize a journal. There are no creative pen options or templates for doodling and artists.

You want to make documents from your written notes
The Kindle Scribe can’t convert handwritten notes to type, which is a huge miss for anyone trying to be efficient with note taking and real productivity.

Kindle Scribe review: also consider

If our Kindle Scribe review still has you on the fence then consider this trio of alternatives below:

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Onyx Boox Note Air 2
This is hands-down one of the best digital note-takers we’ve tested. The biggest advantage it offers is access to the Google Play Store as it runs Android 11. And we mean the full Play Store. So not only can you sideload ebooks, you can also download the Kindle, Kobo or Scribd app to access any of your libraries. And it’s got so many options when it comes to note taking, journaling or just doodling.
Read our full Onyx Boox Note Air 2 review (opens in new tab) .

If you need more battery life, the Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus (opens in new tab) is an even better option.

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Kobo Elipsa
The Kindle Scribe is the Elipsa’s direct competition – they’re both first and foremost ereaders, just with the added advantage of a pen to write on the tablet with. However, the Elipsa gives you far more annotating and note taking options, with the ability to convert handwriting to type, uploading directly to Dropbox and even adding drawings or formulae to notes. Plus the Elipsa has 32GB of storage and ships with the sleepcover too, so offers more value for money.
Find out more in our in-depth Kobo Elipsa review (opens in new tab) .

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reMarkable 2
If you want to start a journal, or if you want to draw and be more creative, turn to the reMarkable 2. It has many more pen options to change the look and feel, and it includes many more templates to write upon. If only it had a backlight for nighttime use, and came with the pen in the box instead of being an optional add-on.
Check out our reMarkable 2 review (opens in new tab) .

Is Malwarebytes trustworthy?

Malwarebytes being used to remove malware from Android phone

As digital technologies become more and more central to our lives, cybercriminals are continually refining their ways to exploit them.

From phishing emails to malicious links and infected files, hackers often use modified versions of legitimate software to infiltrate victims‘ devices. The case of the cyber-mercenary group Bahamut was sadly just the last instance where fake VPN apps were used as the main vector of attacks.

No matter how they manage to infect a device, though, all malware has the goal of compromising both your data privacy and security. That’s why software like the best antivirus and VPN services have become paramount nowadays.

Malwarebytes is one of those. Born as an easy-to-use anti-malware software, the provider now also offers an extended suite of privacy tools to protect your devices from different threats.

As there are plenty of similar tools on the market, you need to choose which provider you want to trust with your data carefully. So, is Malwarebytes up to task?

What is Malwarebytes?

With 15 years of experience under its belt, Malwarebytes is a compact and easy to use software for protecting your device from malware threats.

It comes with both a free and paid version. Malwarebytes Free is limited in features, offering only on-demand scanning for malware, spyware and rootkits.

Once you upgrade to its Premium plan (opens in new tab) , the provider adds more advanced options including real-time protection, URL blocking and an extra layer of ransomware protection. One-year subscription costs $40 for a single connection, or $80 to cover up to five devices.

You can also opt for its Privacy bundle (opens in new tab) for a multifaceted defense strategy. On top of the malware protection, you will also have access to its own Mullvad-powered VPN with unlimited bandwidth. One year protection for five devices comes for a $100 fee.

Who owns Malwarebytes?

To do its job, Malwarebytes does need to collect some information about your devices and activity. More info about this below.

This means that, besides a transparent and balanced data privacy policy and security infrastructure, you need to trust the company manufacturing the software in the first place.

Informally founded in 2004 when its CEO Marcin Kleczynski was still a teenager, Malwarebytes Inc. was formally launched in 2008 while Kleczynski was graduating as a computer scientist from the University of Illinois.

Unlike some rivals, is appears that the company has never been involved in shady activities. Also, every time any potential security vulnerabilities came to light – like when cybersecurity analysts at Project Zero discovered some bugs in 2016 – it has prompted replied (opens in new tab) with transparency and proactivity.

Despite now having offices in both the US and across some EU countries, its headquarters are still in California. Being that the US is a founder member of the Five Eyes alliance, bear in mind that there are more chances that your data would end up in the hands of authorities at some point.

However, this is less of an issue with malware removal tools than it is for products like VPNs, which by design have access to and could potentially store everything you do online.

What data does Malwarebytes collect?

As we mentioned above, some data retention is required for the software to work properly. However, we recommend getting familiar with Malwarebytes‘ privacy policy (opens in new tab) to be fully aware of the information the company collects and may share about you. This is also helpful to determine the degree of transparency and data minimization employed.

As it clearly states at the top, "we will be clear about the data we collect and why." We think the provider has done a great job of explaining in simple terms what data it stores, when/how it does that, and for which reason.

Having said that, Malwarebytes does collect a significant amount of personal information – perhaps even too much. This includes phone numbers, email address, usernames, passwords, IP addresses, device specifications and even an extended list of details about your usage.

The company also shares information with third parties like Amazon Web Services and Google Analytics by default. It also does so with government authorities and private parties when necessary, without the obligation to inform users. This data exchange might occur amid judicial procedures, legal requests, intellectual property protection and illegal activities prevention.

It is also worth noting that Malwarebytes suffered a data breach last year. However, the firm was quick to reassure users by confirming it was hit by SolarWinds hackers and no sensitive data was involved in the leak.

Where Malwarebytes shines

As our cybersecurity expert Mike Williams pointed out in his Malwarebytes review, the software is perfect for newbies as "it’s all very straightforward."

Its focus on fundamentals and usability is indeed the area where the software shines the most.

As soon as the tool is switched on, Malwarebytes will run in the background without the need for any more actions from your side. From quick scans to more customized checks, you also have some control on how it works.

Additional features coming with the Premium plan are also useful to protect you on different fronts and ensure all your apps are covered. Including URL filtering, malicious link detection and blocking, it saves you the need of using additional browser extensions.

When Malwarebytes isn’t enough

As we mentioned, Malwarebytes is pretty good to cover all the basics. At the same time, it lacks some extra features that its competitors include in their offerings like a reliable password manager tool.

The VPN service included with its Privacy bundle is a simple but secure product able to deliver great speeds – and for around $20 a year it’s quite a bargain. However, if you’re after a streaming VPN this won’t be for you, as we experienced poor unblocking results and other technical issues last time we checked.

Another downside is that, at the time of writing, some of the additional features like URL filtering and ransomware protection are Windows-only.

Overall, our expert rated Malwarebytes with 3 stars out of 5 arguing that it’s not the full antivirus replacement claimed on the website.

He said: "Malwarebytes Premium is compact and easy to use, but it’s also distinctly short on features and lab results are mostly below par. Use it (or the free version) as a second opinion scanner if you’re a fan of the product, but run it alongside a second antivirus app for the best protection."

Is it worth using Malwarebytes?

As we have seen, Malwarebytes is a malware protection and removal program produced by a trustworthy company with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

The privacy policy is transparent, with a good track record when it comes to coping with bugs and any other security issues.

The software itself is perfect for anyone looking to gain an extra layer of protection in a couple of clicks – especially for those that are a little less techy and looking for a simpler solution that’ll get the job done. It’s also a great choice if you just want a one-off tool to scan for malware on your device.

At the same time, Malwarebytes does come up a little short on additional features, and its overall performance could be better.

Its free version is worth using together with another antivirus software to get even more impenetrable protection. However, its Privacy bundle, even though not the very best around, is a good bargain to consider if you’re looking to bag yourself some basic security tools at an affordable rate.