Amazon’s $340 Kindle Scribe is its first e-reader with handwriting and pen support

Update, 2:43PM: We’ve added additional info about pricing for the Premium Pen and the higher storage capacities, as well as details about the screen’s front light.

Original story: Earlier this month, Amazon announced an update to its entry-level Kindle, but at the company’s product event today, the focus was on a new flagship product that includes handwriting support and a stylus—not a new feature for e-readers but a first for the Kindle lineup.

The Kindle Scribe is a 10.2-inch e-ink e-reader that includes a pen for taking notes, annotating documents, or general scribbling. The device will start at $340 for 16GB of storage and a Basic Pen accessory, and it’s available for preorder today. It will begin shipping at some unspecified date later this year.

The Scribe looks like a blown-up version of the Kindle Oasis, with a large bezel on one side to make it easier to hold one-handed without touching the screen, though it lacks the Oasis’ physical page-turn buttons. Foldable leather and fabric cases can protect the front and back of the Scribe when closed or prop the tablet up at a couple of different angles when folded. Like other modern Kindles, the Scribe boasts a 300 PPI pixel density to make text and handwriting look sharp, and a whopping 35 LEDs will keep the device’s frontlight looking smooth and even (up from 25 LEDs in the Oasis, 17 LEDs in the Paperwhite, and just four LEDs in the basic Kindle).

Enlarge / The Scribe’s cases can hold the display at a couple of different angles, depending on whether you’re reading or writing.

Amazon

For an additional $30, Amazon will also sell a battery-powered Premium Pen accessory with an eraser function and a customizable shortcut button. Another $20 or $50 on top of that will get you 32GB or 64GB storage, respectively—you can buy the 16GB version of the tablet with the Premium Pen, but you have to buy the Premium Pen to get the higher storage capacities. A fully loaded version of the tablet with 64GB of storage and the Premium Pen costs $420, plus the cost of a case if you buy one. There is no cellular version available, and the Scribe lacks the IPX8 waterproofing that all the midrange Kindles have.

The Kindle Scribe will compete with pen-compatible e-ink devices like the ReMarkable 2, which is about the same size as the Scribe. But the ReMarkable plus a Marker costs more than the Scribe does ($378 new or $358 refurbished), its 226 PPI screen isn’t quite as sharp as the Scribe’s, and most crucially, it lacks access to the Kindle bookstore and other Amazon services.

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Listing image by Amazon

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