Tablets

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

This paper tablet was designed to replace your paper diary or notebook but can do a lot more, provided you are willing to let it

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

The is priced from Rs 43,999

The 2 was launched in 2020. So, it's not a brand-new product that the brand is bringing to the market, but something which was conceptualised several years ago. The tablet is meant to replicate writing on paper helping one convert their handwritten notes into editable digital documents. But given that we are all used to having wrist watches which can run apps, place calls and track your health, TVs that come with app integrations or double up as wall paintings. Or earphones that can translate spoken language and accept voice commands, the reMarkable 2 will definitely fail to appeal to the regular consumer who's desperately seeking maximum value from any given product.

I have been using this tablet for several months, and I haven't switched over to using it as a planner or a diary (I'll explain why below), but I have found it useful in some cases where pen and paper make more sense to me. If you have been pondering whether the reMarkable 2 paper tablet makes sense in your life, this review should give you an answer.

reMarkable 2 Review: Price

The reMarkable 2 can be purchased as a bundle at Rs. 43,999. You get the reMarkable 2 paper tablet and the Marker Pen Plus accessory, which comes with a built-in eraser. The second bundle, which I received for review, is called the reMarkable 2 Bundle with Folio. It is available at Rs. 53,999 and adds a Book Folio cover for basic protection.

reMarkable also sent across their Type Folio Keyboard cover, which was launched in 2023, for review. It's available in two finishes, Ink Black and Sepia Brown. I received the Sepia Brown cover for review, which is priced at Rs. 19,499 officially.

reMarkable 2 Review: Design and accessories

Starting with the accessories, reMarkable only has the Marker Plus pen on sale . It does not use a battery and so needs no charging. It has a built-in eraser with a slightly rounded head. The pen comes with 9 extra tips in its packaging, which provides plenty of mileage even for serious or heavy users.

The optional Book Folio cover offers basic protection for the reMarkable 2's display, so those looking to protect it from drops will have to look up third-party accessories.

The Type Folio cover is rather interesting. While it appears like a typical tablet cover made from artificial leather and plastic, it is quite an engineering marvel. Just like the Marker Plus pen, it does not have a battery, and so does not require charging. It draws power via five pogo pins located inside the area where the paper tablet attaches.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

When closed, the Tan Brown cover appears just like any other tablet folio case. In fact, it's really hard to tell that there's a keyboard hidden just below the paper tablet. The Type Folio has three positions in all. There's the first one, where the front flap (which otherwise protects the display) is wrapped around the back, making it ideal for taking hand-written notes when laid flat on your lap or a table.

Next, there's a second angle that I call the “typing mode”, with the tablet standing up and the keyboard exposed below it, which is ideal just for distraction-free typing.

There is a third mode, which I call the “review mode.” This mode keeps the tablet at a less slanted angle with the keyboard exposed for typing while also letting one write comfortably by resting one's palm on display instead of keeping one's hand floating in the air when in “typing mode.”

One detail that I did miss was the paper tablet's ability to wake up when opening the Type Folio or Folio covers. So, after opening the flap, you have to reach out for the power button at the top to wake up the tablet from its sleeping state. One can also choose to keep it on all the time, but the battery will drain a lot faster when in this state. Thankfully, there is a passcode lock feature so you can secure your tablet from prying eyes.

The reMarkable 2 does not include a charger in its packaging; instead, it offers a branded USB Type-A to Type-C cable in the box.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

As for the design of the paper tablet, it's shockingly thin (just 4.7mm) and surprisingly light (403g) compared to a regular electronic tablet from or any other brand. It's basically as thin as the USB-C port that's located at the bottom left corner. The top left corner houses the power button, which is the only button on the tablet and it's solely used for powering up the device or putting it into Sleep mode.

The tablet uses a mix of metal and glass to maintain its rigidity while being slim and light. The reason why it's so slim is down to the writing experience. Because it's so slim, the bottom of your palm comfortably rests on the table when you reach the bottom of a page, reducing strain on the wrist, which everyone experiences when writing in notebooks, long books or diaries. It feels very natural and is a writing experience that anyone who writes will happily welcome (versus writing on a regular book).

The display does not take up the entirety of the front screen but leaves a sufficiently thick border at the bottom. Because the bezel is colour-matched (white) to the E Ink display panel, it's hard to tell them apart from a distance. The rear glass panel also takes up the entirety of the rear surface from edge to edge and shows the reMarkable branding in the centre. There are also four tiny rubber stoppers to prevent the tablet from sliding on a table or a flat surface when writing.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

reMarkable 2 Review: Performance

The reMarkable 2 paper tablet has a 10.3-inch monochrome digital paper display sporting a resolution of 1,872 x 1,404 pixels (226 PPI) which is sharp enough, but I often found text typed when using the keyboard to have jagged edges when in editing mode. This can be irritating coming from ultra-sharp smartphones and tablet displays. But this seems to be an issue with the rendering of typed text only as handwritten strokes appear smooth and flawless depending on which virtual writing instrument you choose or the pressure applied. The rest of the spartan software interface is rendered absolutely fine. The typed notes also appear fine once you get out of editing mode and are just previewing documents.

The software is quite basic, which is how its makers intended it to be. You can think of it as the Explorer on Windows or Finder on macOS, as it's basically a straightforward file explorer for storing, modifying, and sharing your notes to the cloud.

You can start off writing a note as a Quick sheet, which is basically a quick way to pen down your thoughts or ideas instead of worrying about templates, files and folders (read organisation). A more organised way to pen down notes is to start by creating a Folder and then adding a Notebook to the folder.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

All notes and their folders are constantly updated and synced to the cloud via Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz supported), so you can keep and access your notes from an iPhone or an device or even on a PC or Mac. Apart from software updates (which drop frequently), you cannot use the Wi-Fi for anything else, as the tablet lacks a web browser as intended by its markers. Thankfully, there is a web clipper available for desktop Chrome browsers that lets you pick and download pages from the web and save them as PDF documents for future reading.

reMarkable's cloud service is called Connect. It's advisable to get a subscription if you own the tablet, as it makes the syncing of your ideas or notes from the reMarkable 2 to all of your other digital devices (for further research) seamless. At Rs. 299 per month (or Rs. 2,990 a year), you get access to unlimited storage on the cloud, and this is useful given that the device's onboard storage is limited to around 8GB, with no room for expansion.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

It's also possible to edit Office documents on the reMarkable 2. You can do this once you have activated and installed the reMarkable office add-in on your primary machine in the Office app. In a similar manner, users can also integrate and sync files from other services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Integrating these services would require you to go to the reMarkable website and securely add services.

Indeed, it seemed to be adding a lot of functionality to this slim tablet, so I decided to try it out with Google Drive integration. I learnt that it won't let you edit (add text or make modifications) to any of those documents stored in the cloud. You can only annotate or add comments using the Marker Plus to existing documents. In fact, you have to import these documents first in order to annotate them and export them back to the cloud once done. This can get quite tiring after a while and feels rudimentary compared to what an iPad app is capable of when it comes to handling the same task.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

The core experience of the reMarkable 2 is writing or note-taking. This is the area that I really ended up using the tablet for. If you love planning, writing, or ideating on paper, there are a ton of PDF templates to download from other reMarkable enthusiasts, whether it's calendars, to-do lists and more. There are even paid templates available online, which you can download and use if you aren't happy with the ones that come built-in.

The ability to edit a handwritten note is the part that makes the reMarkable so special. It was fun to be able to select, copy and drag and drop handwritten notes from one page to another, or even one notebook to another. There are also plenty of options while using the Marker Plus as well. I found the fine liner to be the best tool to work with, but there's also a ballpoint pen, a highlighter, a paintbrush and even a calligraphy pen (for the creative types). Software updates also add new features from time to time, with a recent one making it easy to draw straight lines.

Handwriting recognition works well, provided your handwriting is readable. I found that using a lined template made my handwritten notes appear neater than writing on a blank page. Palm rejection works flawlessly.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

What I disliked about the writing experience was that I did not find the friction of the display surface sufficient. It does not entirely replicate the pen-on-paper or pencil-on-paper experience, which is far rougher and provides some traction for the pen's tip when writing.

Like most E Ink displays, the reMarkable 2 also lacks a front light, making it impossible to work with dim lighting. I always found myself shining some light on the display unless I was writing next to a window or in a brightly lit room.

Given that it can handle and open PDF, EPUB, JPG, and PNG file formats. It's a bit of a missed opportunity that it does not double up as a proper e-reader like an Amazon Kindle. However, you can manually download books in EPUB format for viewing.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

Battery life from its 3,000mAh battery seemed a bit underwhelming. Given that it will automatically go into sleep mode after 20 minutes of activity, I was expecting this tablet to last several weeks, given my basic note-taking requirements and the fact that it lacks a front light. However, I was a bit surprised when it died out in just two weeks. With heavy usage (several hours a day), it will last about 3-4 days on a single charge. When connected to a 30W charger, the tablet takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to completely charge.

reMarkable 2 Review: Usage

Being an 80s kid, I never really liked using paper for planning (I had enough of pencil and paper writing in school) and was always fascinated by gadgets from the very beginning. Casio digital diaries were quite popular in the 1990s and were good for reminders, to-dos, calendars, alarms and even contacts before the first affordable feature phones (Nokia 3310) started showing up in the early 2000s. And so maintaining diaries or planners never fascinated me. When smartphones with bigger displays became available, they reduced the need for a separate planner, diary even further, however, note-taking soon also moved to smartphones. 's first Galaxy Note kind of changed the game for many by introducing the stylus in 2011. However, bigger screens and more reliable virtual keyboards meant that all note-taking (at least in my case) took place on smartphones because they were always in your pocket when you needed them. And ever since I have been using note-taking apps like Evernote. And so, note-taking for me is limited to typing and not writing.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

So, when I was handed over the reMarkable 2 for review, I had to forcefully develop new habits of writing things down instead of typing them out. I ended up using it for note-taking when attending product briefings. I even tried using it for taking handwritten notes when reviewing products. I even placed it on my work table (without any case or cover) to make it instantly accessible. In short, I had to force myself to use it, or else my go-to solution, even when a thought crosses my mind in the middle of the night, is to reach out for my phone, open my note-taking app and type it all down. One really useful application I did find for this paper tablet is for cooking. I found it to be a very practical tool to take down notes and make shopping lists and instructions because I could pull grocery lists off the web using the web clipper and then simply paste them in a notebook between my handwritten notes.

The typing experience with the Type Folio cover's keyboard is good. The keys have good travel and good feedback when registering key presses. Its layout is very similar to a 13-inch laptop keyboard, just that it's missing a few symbols one would find on a regular keyboard, like box brackets, front slash, etc.

reMarkable 2 Review: Verdict

When speaking to the people who built the reMarkable, it became clear that their only vision was to replicate the paper-on-pen experience and bring it into the digital realm. At that the reMarkable 2 along with all of its companion apps (Android, iOS, Windows etc.) seems to have accomplished successfully. The reMarkable paper tablet is not for everyone, and according to the folks at reMarkable, that's just fine because it wasn't meant to replace your iPad or your laptop but to work alongside it.

After using it for several months, I realised that the reMarkable 2 can't properly replace my basic requirements for note-taking. Writing for note-taking is still a habit I have to force myself into doing. So, it's clear that I have very limited use for it. It's also hard to justify such a product when you have an Apple iPad (9th Gen with all accessories) that does so much more (including note-taking) at a shockingly lower price point (when compared to the reMarkable 2). While I appreciate the engineering and design choices of the reMarkable 2, it needs to be priced far lower, given the one-trick pony that it is.

reMarkable 2 Review: One Trick Pony

However, that one trick will see those who use leather diaries or planners, college students (who don't mind the price tag), knowledge workers (ideators) and those who frequently work with PDF documents flocking to buy one or, at the least, will find it appealing. For everyone else, an expensive note-taking tablet is far from a necessity.

If you are looking for a more productive e-reader and want to run apps and view them without any eye strain on an E-Ink display, then the BOOX Tab Ultra C is a better choice. However, it's not officially sold . It even packs in a faster refresh-rate display which works well for those who want to run numerous applications on it and gain the flexibility of working with a stylus for annotation or note-taking. However, keep in mind that it's not as slim, focused and spartan as a remarkable.

Pros:

  • Strain-free E Ink display
  • Good note-taking experience
  • Well-designed accessories
  • Connect cloud sync works well

Cons:

  • The display lacks a front-light
  • Spartan software
  • Slightly laggy interface
  • No additional features
  • Limited integration with third-party services
  • Expensive

Source

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × four =

Back to top button