Amazon added a pen to their popular Kindle reader with the new Kindle Scribe (compensated affiliate link). It is a great note taker but there’s definitely some room for improvement on the software side. See my full review here.
The pen works really nicely on this device. The screen is not too slippery and feels very close to a pen on paper. The Kindle’s e-ink display adds some additional realism to the note taking experience. It of course also functions like the other Kindle e-readers and its large 10.2″ screen that works much better for large text vs. the smaller Kindles.
There are two pen choices available. For my review I went with the version with the “Premium Pen” that has an eraser on the back and a button on the side that can switch to a different virtual pen type when its pressed in. The standard pen lacks those features. Both pens do not require batteries or charging and will magnetically attach to the side of the Scribe.
My big issue with the Scribe is all on the software side. If you’re reading a book you can only place handwritten notes in a small box that embeds in a highlight on the page. The handwritten notes do not sync back to other devices but typed out notes do.
If you have a PDF that you brought over via the “send to Kindle” mechanism, you can write directly on the page. Like the books the handwritten annotations will not sync back to your Kindle library but you can click the share button and email the PDF back to yourself with notes embedded.
The Scribe also has a notebook/sketchbook feature. This has a number of templates that include lined paper, graphic paper, etc. In this mode the notes sync in their entirety back to your Kindle account and you can view those notes on any platform. But you can only edit them on the Scribe.
This definitely feels like a first generation product. But its limitations feel mostly software-based as opposed to the hardware.