First, battery life is gorgeous.
I fully charged it only once when I received it in December 2022. Today it still has 8% of battery.
Second, it comes with a big screen.
I need spectacles to read. The big screen and font size help in reading without glasses. I only sometimes have them with me. For example, I prefer not to wear them while reading in bed. I tend to fall asleep ;-P
Third, it’s a Kindle.
That means it comes with a rock-solid reading experience and the Amazon Kindle store. It also means that they’ll support it for a very long time. My other Kindle is from July 2012. Yes, you’re reading it right, it’s 11 years old, and it’s still functioning very well and receiving updates from time to time. Not to mention that battery life is still significant.
That’s all, folks
No more goodies. Everything else is not worth the price. Let’s have a look at my overall experience.
Pen and paper for the win!
Pen and paper outclass the writing experience easily. It’s not bad; writing on the Scribe is a pleasure. I also tried the reMarkable 2, and the Scribe is comparable.
My most significant remark is that the overall writing experience could be faster. When you need to take notes promptly, the workflow works more or less like the following:
- Click on the power button.
- Wait for the screen to wake up.
- If the last activity was book reading:
- Touch the screen.
- Wait for the context menu to appear.
- Go back home.
- Touch “Notebooks.”
- Wait for the notebook’s screen to appear.
- Select a notebook or create a new one.
That’s a big no-no.
Gimme back physical buttons!
Overall, the touch experience is poor, if not worse. I miss my old Kindle physical buttons to change pages, for example.
Touch is too sensitive, and sometimes page changes happen randomly. Or you’re reading on the couch and accidentally touch the screen, and boom, page turned. The problem is that sometimes it changes more than one page at a time, and you need to know in which direction. Reading experience disruption is just around the corner.
The touch-only interaction style also makes turning pages with only one hand more challenging than required. Due to the screen size, you need both hands on the device to turn pages in many cases. But the problem is that the device is designed to be held with one hand only. The bezel is on one side only, making it trivial to activate gestures with the other hand.
Power button, are you kidding me?!?
There is one physical button, and it’s so badly positioned that you’d like to eradicate it every single time. I wondered if Amazon ever tried it or if they randomly selected the button location by throwing darts. I accidentally push the power button so many times while reading that there are cases when I stop reading due to frustration. There is a reason why most tablets place the power button on the top and not in the middle of the frame on the bezel side, where you’re supposed to have your hand to hold the device.
Software, oh my!
It doesn’t end at the hardware power button. The Scribe comes with a bunch of annoying software issues. Luckily, they could be improved over time, and hopefully, they will be.
The worst is that you can change the books’ font size, but none of the user interface fonts. For example, the overlay dictionary keeps the default font size. That makes it hard for me to do anything without glasses except reading.
There is no way to lock the screen rotation. You’re reading, the device moves a bit, and the screen flips. Grrrrr.
Below 10% of battery, it’s annoying like if there is no tomorrow. With 10% of battery, it may last more than a month. Amazon decided that showing a low battery warning popup was helpful every time the device resumes. Thank you.
Seriously, no quick charge?
Last but not least, there is no quick charge support. A heavy user will probably charge the Scribe three to four times a year. But honestly, it’s unacceptable that it takes ages to recharge.
It’s a Kindle, and the reading experience is solid. Everything else feels more like a beta-ish device.
Knowing what I know today, I would not buy it.