Amazon Kindle Scribe review: Oversized e-reader aims to replace paper | To light up

Amazon’s latest Kindle is an oversized e-reader that aims to replace not just the printed book but the paper itself, offering on-screen reading and writing with the included stylus.

The Scribe costs from £330 ($340) and is the company’s largest and most expensive model to date with a 10.2-inch screen, eclipsing the 7in Oasis and 6.8 inch Paperwhite.

It has the same E-ink paper-like screen technology as its smaller siblings, which is sharper than rivals, and an LED front light that automatically adjusts brightness and color tone to suit the light. time of day, making it readable in any light.

The USB-C port and power button on the side of the Amazon Kindle Scribe.
The Scribe takes 2.5 hours to charge with a 9W USB-C power adapter (not included) and lasts 11 hours of writing or well over 42 hours of reading, which is far longer than any other Kindle . Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The touchscreen is smooth as silk, rather than traditional glass, and is as responsive as a phone to your taps and swipes. The 5.8mm thick recycled aluminum body is slim, strong and premium. There are small rubber feet in the corners, which prevent it from sliding on a table.

One side of the screen has larger bezels that allow for a good grip. The display rotates automatically so you can hold it either way, but the Oasis lacks the page-turning buttons, so you have to swipe or tap instead. The included stylus clips onto the slim side of the Scribe with strong magnets for storage.


Book reading options on Amazon Kindle Scribe.
Lots of layout, theme, and font options are available, including large font sizes for easy reading. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The reading experience is similar to other recent Kindles. It has access to an extensive library of e-books and audiobooks, each of which can be purchased on the device or from the Amazon site. It syncs via wifi, downloads text, graphics and audiobooks to its internal storage and keeps up to date.

Otherwise, the oversized screen can hold a lot of books at once. I can hold the Scribe in one hand but its size and 433g weight – more than double that of the Paperwhite – makes it more of a couch reader where it rests on various body parts or furniture like a large book. It really is a delightful reading experience that allows the book to shine.

The large screen enhances the reading experience of the comics and graphic novels available on the Kindle and Comixology stores recently merged but it’s not as good as an iPad. Comics don’t fill the screen well and a lack of color means only monochrome books are fully readable, but I enjoyed reading some of them original Judge Dredd comics in black and white.


A handwritten document on the screen of a Kindle Scribe.
The screen responds immediately with very little lag between your pen tip movements and the lines of ink appearing on the page. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The writing experience on the Scribe is incredibly good. The screen surface feels like paper when the pen-like stylus tip glides over it, providing the right amount of friction unlike the glass of a tablet or phone.

You can annotate books with typed or handwritten sticky notes. Documents sent to the Scribe via the Kindle app or website can be marked up, either directly on the page for PDFs or via sticky notes for other file types.

Finally, the notebook function essentially replaces the paper journal. You can have as many notebooks as you want and organize them into folders. There are 18 different templates to choose from, including blank and linear pages, grids, to-do lists, schedules and calendars, and even sheet music.

The Pen Options selection menu on the Kindle Scribe screen.
You can change the ink width and switch to highlighter or eraser using a drop-down menu. The premium stylus has a shortcut button and an eraser on the end. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

As a simple paper replacement, the Scribe is great, but it lacks the advanced features offered by other devices. There is no handwriting recognition to turn it into text. You can only view, but not edit or use notebooks through the Kindle app on Android, iPhone, or iPad. Laptops are also not available on the web or desktop Kindle apps. You can export your doodles as a pdf by emailing it to yourself from the Scribe, but you can’t sync it to another app or note-taking service like Evernote.

Documents sent to the Scribe for tagging are treated like books and therefore end up cluttering up your reading library, not grouped with your notebooks. The Scribe has so much potential as a replacement for paper, but anything other than the actual writing experience is woefully basic.


  • Filter: 10.2 inch Paperwhite with color adjustable front light (300ppi)

  • Dimensions: 196×229×5.8mm

  • Weight: 433g

  • Water resistance: nothing

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C

  • Storage room: 8 or 32 GB

  • Rated battery life: 12 weeks of reading 30 minutes a day

  • Native format support: Kindle (AZW/AZW3), TXT, pdf, MOBI unprotected, PRC, Audible (AAX)


The aluminum back of the Kindle Scribe.
The recycled aluminum back is smooth and feels well made, with only a small amount of flex when put under pressure. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Scribe will receive software and security updates for at least four years after its last availability on Amazon. The company doesn’t provide an expected lifespan for the battery, but it should last more than 500 full charge cycles with at least 80 percent of its original capacity. Access to first-party repair options varies by country. The device contains 100% recycled aluminum and 48% recycled plastic.

The company offers take-back and recycling programs and publishes information about its various sustainability efforts.


The Amazon Kindle Scribe costs from £329.99 ($339.99) with 16GB of storage and the basic stylus – the premium stylus costs an extra £30 ($30). The 32GB and 64GB versions come with the premium stylus.

For comparison, the basic costs of the Kindle £84.99the Paperwhite £104.99the Oasis £194.99the Remarkable 2 £358 with stylus and Kobo Elipsa £349.99.


The Scribe is the oversized Kindle that many may have been waiting for. There’s no doubt that the large, high-quality screen, long battery life, massive e-book library, and premium build are compelling for couch reading and beat out the competition from 10-inch and more.

Whether you’re looking for giant text or just want to display a large portion of your book on screen, size really matters. Otherwise, the reading experience mirrors other Kindles – average for comics due to the grayscale-only screen, but great for regular books if you hand over all control to Amazon and don’t want to buy your content elsewhere.

The on-screen writing feel is great, but it lacks the modern features needed to improve a paper notebook. There’s no handwriting recognition, no syncing with other services, nothing but reading on Kindle mobile apps and exporting via pdf only via email. Everything is very basic.

Although it’s the same price as its large-screen E-ink rivals and an iPad, it’s not a general-purpose tablet. He has a web browser but he can’t load the Guardian site, for example.

The Scribe is an excellent high-end jumbo-sized e-reader. But its huge potential as a digital writing device has yet to be realized.

Benefits: huge screen, super long battery life, automatic brightness and color front light, recycled aluminum, fantastic writing feel, magnetically attached stylus included.

The inconvenients: Expensive, writing experience is basic, no handwriting recognition, no helpful syncing of notebooks or compatibility with third-party services, case not included.

A Judge Dredd comic on the Kindle Scribe screen.
The large screen makes reading comics and graphic novels viable, but it’s not a great experience due to the lack of proper scaling and colors. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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