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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Kindle’s 10.2” Scribe drops to $295 on sale: I got one

Eager to try out the Kindle Scribe’s handwritten-note capability, I gambled $419 on the 64GB version with the deluxe pen.

Loser! I was up against such nuisances as a 50MB cap on PDF files transferred online, and I didn’t want to mess with workarounds. Not to mention the Scribe screen being too slick for me to write on, despite most reviewers’ opinions to the contrary.

Given Amazon’s closed ecosystem, I wasn’t getting enough in return. Back went the Kindle for a full refund.

Ah, but there’s a nice little twist. The 10.2″ Scribe today went on sale for $295 in the 16GB version—hardly a bargain, but still sufficiently reasonable for me and my tired eyes. I usually mark up far more with highlighting than with notes, and I’ll tough it out with the virtual keyboard for the typed-out variety. I’ll use my iPad or iPhone when I want to dictate notes.

Of course, that raises a question. What if the Scribe itself could recognize speech accurately for note-taking, ideally more so than the iPad? Now, that would really add to the value. A possibility in the future with improved hardware? Convenient text to speech for sighted people would also help. Come on, Amazon; the Fire tablets have TTS, even for DRMed books. I’m certain some publishers don’t like the idea, and Amazon itself owns Audible, but this objection is really short-sighted if you think of all the books without audiobook editions.

I have no idea how long the “limited time” discounts will last, but undoubtedly they’ll be back. Meanwhile, if the sale is still on, you can buy the 32GB version for $335 and the 64GB one for $360. Having lessened my interest in using the Kindle to read PDFs, I’ll make do with 16GB; ebooks in other formats are far more compact than PDFs. Even with audiobooks in some cases, the 16GB should suffice for me.

One buying consideration: 300 DPI color Kindles will almost surely be with us in the near future. So you still might want to keep some dry powder.

Possibilities for people who do want to take notes: One of the Boox E Ink tablets or, yes, an iPad. You can buy screen protectors on Amazon to make the iPad screen less slick, even though this is far from an ideal solution since screen clarity may decrease. Another possibility would be a Samsung table with note-taking capabilities. I’d welcome your thoughts on any of the above, or other options.

Typography tip for Scribe: Yes, as I confirmed for myself, the Scribe works just fine with added fonts, just as other Kindles do. I myself enjoy RoboSlab, a free Google font.

If you really want to get around the 50MB limit: Just copy the file directly via a USB connection. There are also other workarounds. But I myself would rather not deal with the hassles.

Related: Maneetpaul Singh’s thoughtful YouTube review—rightly criticizing the Scribe for notetaking limitations and missing features in general. Among other things, he notes that the screen is not quite as sharp as, say, the one on the $100 basic Kindle, thanks to the additional layers between you and the E Ink display. Well, maybe. But I’ll take the larger size.

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