I’ll always appreciate the MobiScribe Wave as being the device that proved an e-ink tablet has a place in my life, but after nearly five months of use, I’ve realized I can’t recommend the Wave to others. Or, perhaps more accurately, I can recommend it only with specific caveats and to a specific type of person with a specific mindset and specific expectations (basically anyone who’s looking for an affordable e-ink writing tablet, and who doesn’t mind dealing with some tradeoffs).

Let’s take a look at the issues that make this device all but impossible to recommend.

My problems with the MobiScribe Wave

Most, if not all, of my issues with the Wave relate to the software.

Settings

Some settings randomly turn off, including:

  • WiFi
  • Google Play Store

I could understand if the WiFi reset every time the device was restarted, though even that behavior would be unexpected. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to do something requiring the internet (such as downloading an app from the Google Play Store or F-Droid1), only to realize the WiFi had, for some unknown reason, turned itself off.

Speaking of the Google Play Store, the app often disappears from my app listing. Fixing this issue requires opening the settings, selecting the Play Store category, and then clicking a button titled Google Play Store.

A screenshot of the Google Play Store settings on the MobiScribe Wave
A screenshot of the Google Play Store settings on the MobiScribe Wave

Re-enabling the Google Play Store is especially annoying if you do it right after re-enabling the WiFi.

PDF reader

In the Cons section of my original post on the MobiScribe Wave2, I mentioned that the PDF app often opens a previously opened PDF file instead of the PDF file you selected. Fixing this issue requires closing the PDF app and then re-loading the file you wanted to read. While the fix is easy, it’s annoying, especially considering the issue appears to have become more common throughout my usage.

Another issue with PDFs concerns disappearing annotations.

Sometimes annotations may reappear; but more often than not, they appear to be gone forever.

I know I’m not the only one who’s had this issue. See the video below for proof, and a visual explanation of the issue.

One last note about the PDF reader: After the most recent firmware update, the erase button on my Lamy AL-Star stylus no longer works. I now have to select the erase option in the PDF toolbar, which is especially annoying if I’m viewing a PDF file in fullscreen mode (meaning the toolbar is hidden). I then have to exit fullscreen to the reveal the toolbar, select the erase option, and so on and so on . . .

Before the update, I could cut these extra steps by simply pressing the erase button on the side of the stylus. But the removal of this option now makes reduces the value of additional features some styluses may offer.

Lock screen

When I had a security PIN activated, the device would randomly lock, sometimes while writing or annotating. And sometimes it would lock mere seconds after unlocking the device.

To solve this issue, I decided to disable the lock screen and not write anything too secretive. This ‘solution’ makes the device less useful.

Battery

The battery life on the MobiScribe Wave is not great. I don’t know if this is due to a hardware limitation (the capacity of the battery) or if the software isn’t properly optimized for the device. Either way, the battery life is underwhelming.

The good news is that I’ve yet to have the device fully discharge in a single day. An iPad, on the other hand, would likely die after only a few hours of heavy use.

But I wouldn’t expect the MobiScribe Wave to make it through two days of heavy use without a recharge. (One bit of good news: In my experience, the device can easily remain charged for multiple days if idle and unused).

Consumers have come to expect more from e-ink devices in general. It’s not crazy to expect e-ink devices that can go weeks between charges. And all the Wave’s peers–such as the Kindle Scribe, Remarkable 2, and devices from Supernote–appear to offer devices that knock the Wave out of the water in terms of battery life.

It’s gonna be a ‘no’ from me, dawg

All the issues above (and maybe even some others I forgot to mention) make the MobiScribe Wave nearly impossible to recommend. I can’t ask anyone else to part with his or her money for this device.

I’ll continue to make do with mine. But this is an example of someone being only as faithful as his options allow.

Jake LaCaze now knows that an e-ink writing tablet has a place in his daily life. But he thinks his next will be something other than a device from MobiScribe.


  1. F-Droid ↩︎

  2. MobiScribe Wave B&W - More perspective than review on jakelacaze.com ↩︎