Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • The Kobo Elipsa 2E is a feature-rich eReader with customizable lighting, on-book writing, and virtual notebooks, making it a great choice for avid readers, travelers, or students.
  • Its standout feature is the ability to write directly on every eBook, setting it apart from its closest competitor, the Amazon Kindle Scribe.
  • While it may have some bugs and a slightly uncomfortable design, the Kobo Elipsa 2E offers excellent annotation and note-taking tools, along with a long battery life.

The Kobo Elipsa 2E is Rakuten Kobo’s latest eReader, and it’s a sound device with several stand-out features like customizable lighting, on-book writing, and virtual notebooks. While it has some weaknesses, it’s an excellent option for avid readers, travelers, or students.

As someone who loves books (frankly, I’m obsessed), the Kobo Elipsa 2E is like having a virtual library at your fingertips. You can connect to your physical library branch and borrow eBooks through OverDrive with Kobo, a feature also available on the Amazon Kindle lineup. In fact, most of the Elipsa 2E’s features aren’t too different from competitors. However, the Elipsa 2E sets itself apart from Kindle thanks to one feature almost nonexistent on its nearest competitor, the Amazon Kindle Scribe—you can write on eBooks with the Elipsa 2E. The Scribe currently offers this functionality for select eBooks (read: hardly any), while the Elipsa lets you write directly on every eBook.

But despite my love of many of these fun features, I must admit the Kobo Elipsa 2E was a bit buggy at times for its high price point. That said, the Kobo Elipsa 2E is an excellent choice if you want to doodle in the margins, write notes, add annotations, and keep a library of digital notebooks on an eReader with fantastic battery life.

The Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader with a marked-up page.

Kobo Elipsa 2E

The Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader makes digital reading, note-taking, and annotating easy, plus its adjustable display lighting lets you read in any light.

Rakuten Kobo

10.3in E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen

227 PPI, 1404 x 1872 resolution with Dark Mode

32 GB

WiFi 802.11 ac/b/g/n (dual band), Bluetooth wireless technology

Front Light
ComfortLight PRO – Adjustable brightness and color temperature

Kobo OS, dual-core 2GHZ Mediatek RM53 processor


0.86lb (390g)

7.59 x 8.93 x 0.29in (193 x 227 x 7.5mm)

Format Support
15 file formats supported natively (EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR), Kobo Audiobooks

Battery Life
Up to weeks of battery life, depending on usage

Screen Size

1 x USB-C port


  • Battery lasts for days with light to moderate use
  • Adjustable lighting for every time of day
  • Wonderful annotation and note-taking tools
  • Nice storage capacity for heavy readers

  • Bluetooth can be buggy
  • OS sometimes lags
  • A bit uncomfortable to hold for long periods
  • Sleep cover sold separately

Unboxing and Design: The Kobo Elipsa 2E Hands-On

The Kobo Elipsa 2E's box.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

Boxed up in a high-quality box, my first impression of the Kobo Elipsa 2E was that it was the premium eReader it’s advertised as. Inside the Elipsa box are a quick start guide, the Kobo Elipsa 2E, the Kobo Stylus 2, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and a safety guide. I also received the SleepCover, which is sold separately.

The build of the Kobo Elipsa 2E is solid. The top cover that frames the screen is plastic and has a Kobo logo in the bottom-right corner. The display has the familiar paper-like texture of an eReader, so there’s no glare when reading in direct sunlight. On the right edge of the eReader, there’s a USB-C port, an LED indicator light, and a power button. Meanwhile, the back of the Elipsa 2E has a rubberized feel with the Rakuten Kobo logo on the right side.

Although the build felt pretty sturdy, the Kobo Elipsa 2E isn’t waterproof, unlike the Kobo Libra 2, so I made sure to steer clear of any bathtubs or pool floaties.

Accessories: The Stylus and Case

The Kobo Elipsa 2E in its case with the stylus.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

The SleepCover isn’t included with the Kobo Elipsa 2E purchase and it’ll run you an extra $60. It isn’t anything special for 60 big ones—but it did put my Elipsa 2E to sleep each time I shut the cover, protected its screen, and gave me a nice slot for the pen. Frequent travelers will find the cover worth it, but those who don’t anticipate taking the Elipsa on too many journeys might be able to skip it.

The Kobo Stylus 2 worked well, though it isn’t pressure-sensitive. I was a bit stymied that I couldn’t use the pen to turn the virtual page, but that’s because the pen is limited to writing only and will put a dot on the page. Setting up the pen was simple—a quick tap on the screen after charging it up via its USB-C port, and I was ready to start writing all over my eBooks and notebooks. The Kobo Stylus 2 also has an “eraser” on the end, which serves as a digital “undo” button but is much more fun than tapping a back arrow.

The UI: Getting Around the Kobo Elipsa 2E

The Kobo Elipsa 2E with its stylus.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

The user interface for the Kobo Elipsa 2E is easy to navigate. I learned my way around quickly, and every tab has a clear label. From left to right of the bottom menu bar, the tabs are “Home,” “My Books,” “My Notebooks,” “Discover,” and “More.” The Home page showed me my books in progress, a “My Books” section, as well as a “Recommended” tab. I also found the OverDrive option here and a “Related Reads” section that promised to show me books similar to the ones I was reading.

The OverDrive app exists on Kobo’s Home Page, and I used it to browse eBooks available to borrow from my local library branch. Technically, OverDrive shut down in May 2023, but the retired OverDrive app still works on the Kobo Elipsa 2E.

On the “My Books” page, I could filter books by eBook or audiobook, as well as books that were read, unread, purchased, downloaded, or added through Kobo Plus, which is Rakuten Kobo’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. I tried Kobo Plus for $9.99 per month and found its selections small and somewhat kitschy (lots of sappy romance series, which aren’t my thing) and not necessarily worth it, but that depends on the individual.

The “My Notebooks” section is where I created digital notebooks, and the “Advanced Notebook” feature also allowed me to convert handwritten notes to text and add diagrams.

The “More” tab is where I found a bunch of extra features, like options to connect your Google Drive to download books from there, find articles I marked to read through Pocket, view my reading stats, access my settings, and play around with some beta features like a web browser and casual puzzle games like sudoku.

Performance: Reading, Note-Taking, and Annotating

Kobo Elipsa 2E in a person's hands.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

I was (mostly) impressed with the Kobo Elipsa 2E’s performance. The ability to highlight sections with my finger, add notes, or write on the digital pages of each book was entertaining and helpful. Students, if you’re reading this, this eReader might make sense for you.

I got most of my books on the Kobo Elipsa 2E either through Kobo Plus (which has a more limited selection than Kindle Unlimited IMO) or by purchasing them through the Kobo store. I did notice the eBook prices on Kobo cost significantly more than some offerings on Kindle.

While reading Victor LaValle’s 2017 horror/fantasy book, “The Changeling,” I watched my stats in real-time. I appreciated the updates on the homepage telling me how much longer I had left until the book was finished. The adjustable lighting was also a lifesaver when my eyes got tired and I wanted less blue light.

The Kobo Elipsa 2E in a person's hands while taking notes.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

Although the reading and annotation experience was fantastic, I encountered some issues I couldn’t overlook. The first was the OS’s rather buggy performance when completing specific tasks. For instance, when highlighting a section of text and then selecting “Undo Highlight,” the highlighted text stayed on the page like a ghost, even when I was several pages past that original highlight.

I also experienced some blips when using my Beats Studio Buds to listen to an audiobook. Frequent lags occurred in playback, as well as when I hit the 30-second rewind button, and it was too distracting to continue.

Battery and Charging: Long-Lasting Charge With Light to Moderate Use

The Kobo Elipsa 2E with its accessories.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

Among the Kobo Elipsa 2E’s best features is its outstanding battery life. I brought the device with me on a brief vacation, planning to do some late-night reading. I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped, but I did find that the battery was still going after two weeks of being left in Sleep mode.

When I did use the Kobo Elipsa 2E, I still got remarkable juice out of the device, charging it to 100% before reading a 400+ page book and finding the battery life at 19% after a week of moderate to heavy usage.

Charging the Elipsa 2E took a bit of time but nothing too lengthy considering the return on battery life. The average charge speed was about 0.94% charge gain in one minute or around 56% in one hour.

Should You Buy the Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader?

The Kobo Elipsa 2E's logo.
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

The Kobo Elipsa 2E is a solid choice for people looking for more than just an eReader. If you like to mark up books for educational purposes and have a library of digital notebooks with convert-to-text on one device, the Kobo Elipsa might be for you.

However, if you don’t want the extra features or feel turned off by its somewhat buggy processing, you may want to try one of the best eReaders out there, like the Kobo Libra 2.

Ready to commit to the latest Elipsa? You can buy the Kobo Elipsa 2E for $399.99 today.

The Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader with a marked-up page.

Kobo Elipsa 2E

The Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader makes digital reading, note-taking, and annotating easy, plus its adjustable display lighting lets you read in any light.

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By John P.

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