Recently I came across the reMarkable e-ink tablet. It triggered the “yeah, I want that gadget” hormone in my geeky mind immediately. But it isn't something you buy as an impulse purchase. Time to do some research first and to answer the questions: Is there a Remarkable alternative that is better or cheaper? Well, here's what I found.
Seeing the reMarkable tablet in a Facebook advert (gotta love well-targeted ads), was the first time I came across reMarkable. Apparently, I missed their Kickstarter campaign. I immediately saw its advantages for me.
I'm not an artist, I can't really draw but even though I'm a Digital Geek, part of me is still a paper person. Sketching campaigns, promotions, landing pages is what I do on paper. Plus taking notes in meetings, correcting documents and more.
I always carry around a notebook and my desk is covered in Post-It notes and A4 pieces of paper with sketches or doodling on it. And eventually, I forget about them, spill coffee on 'em and throw them out… But then, later on, I keep searching for that one item on paper I do need. Yes, I'm a (digital) paper person.
The reMarkable e-ink tablet would be useful for me…
Reviews about reMarkable
I started reading and watching reviews about the reMarkable e-ink tablet. Is it as good as promised by the specs or the promo video?
The things that stood out in all these reviews were… Yes, it a great product but:
- It's expensive
- No back-light
- Battery life is average
Yes, the price is relatively high (NZ$999 for the bundle: tablet, pen, cover and free shipping worldwide) when compared to regular tablets or e-ink devices. But is it too expensive if it solves a problem for you?
If you take notes all day or draw a lot then the price of making your life a lot easier isn't that high. But for me, it'll be a nice to have a device that I will use on a regular basis but it wouldn't be a lifesaver for me. I managed fine with my notebook… And nowadays with my modern Everlast notebook.
As regular e-readers have a backlight system you can use 'em in the dark or in darker environments. Is it a real disadvantage you need to put on a light to use the reMarkable? Not really, using it as an e-reader is an added bonus for me. And the creating part will always take place in a well-lit environment, so no deal breaker for me.
Software and battery life is something that can and will be improved. Keep in mind, reMarkable is a start-up and after a successful Kickstarter campaign creating happy customers is super important for them. So yeah, expect some software updates and improvements.
Is there a reMarkable alternative?
But still, is there a reMarkable alternative out there that can do the same or more? At a better price? I found the following alternatives that can do the same – more or less – as the Remarkable tablet. But is one of them the reMarkable killer?
Alternative #1: Wacom Bamboo Folio (large)
To be honest the Wacom Bamboo Folio range (comes in small and large) is a great product. And it's relatively cheap, about a third of the price of a reMarkable tablet.
It's basically a tablet/pad where you put a piece of paper on. Any piece of paper will do. Draw or write on the piece of paper with the special pen and the tablet underneath will capture you pen movements and sends it via Bluetooth to your smartphone, tablet or computer. Easy as.
Sounds good. Looks good… But there's one big disadvantage. You can't erase or adjust the stuff that you create. You'll need to do that on your connected device. Everything you put on the piece of paper is still as static as everything on paper. Plus, it's not really going fully paperless.
Alternative #2: Sony DPT-RP1
Same A4 size as the reMarkable but it is more expensive (around US$700 or NZ$1,035 just for the unit). Also, after reading and watching several reviews it turns out that the options are more limited on the Sony DPT-RP1 compared to the reMarkable.
Alternative #3: Moleskin Smart Writing Set (digital pen)
Another cheaper alternative, a third of the price of the reMarkable tablet: around NZ$300 for the Moleskin Smart Writing Set. However, you can only use the special paper notebook and pen to create notes or drawings. These will be sent to your electronic device, just like Wacom does.
This will also make it harder to do corrections or make changes as it needs to be done on your electronic device. Not a good alternative for me.
Conclusion & answer to the question about a reMarkable alternative
Having read all the reviews and watched the videos about the reMarkable and its competitors, the answer to the question “is there a reMarkable alternative out there” is easy to answer for me… My Remarkable will arrive in a few days. Just got the confirmation that a DHL Express shipment is on its way from Norway (uh Hong-Kong) to New Zealand.
Think you found a better reMarkable alternative? Leave a comment below and contribute to the discussion.
Update about the reMarkable tablet
Good to see that so many questions are being asked about this device… To add some info based on your comments and feedback, replacement tips for the reMarkable pen can be bought as a set. It's approximately $10 or $12 for eight of these replacement tips. I haven't needed them yet, but I know that some of you are wondering about this.
The follow-up of this blog post is now live: Is reMarkable still the winner in the battle of the e-paper tablets? Now you can read all about my experiences with the reMarkable one year after purchasing this paper tablet.
One very basic feature that seems to be missing from Remarkable : include the possibility in the mobile app to share directly a web article to the Remarkable, maybe by turning it into a pdf. Of course you can do that manually, in 2 steps, but why not make it simpler ? It would be a way to easily stack articles you come across on social for reading them later… another option would be a smart connection with the Pocket service … anyway that seems to me like an obvious and easy improvement to the Remarkable experience. Since they don’t… Read more »
Hi Michel… There’s always room for improvement or implementing new ideas. Therefore reMarkable has the option to Submit a Feature Idea on their support page (at the bottom). Make sure to subject your idea via that page as well to make sure the reMarkable team sees it as well.
After about 2.5 years, is there any update for alternative of remarkable? I still don’t like the Wacom Bamboo Folio solution. Thanks.
Have seen https://travel.geek.nz/gadgets/remarkable-paper-tablet-compare-alternatives/ from 2019.
Hi…. A follow-up article “Is reMarkable still the winner in the battle of the e-paper tablets?” was published in August 2019. Another update that takes reMarkable 2 into account and other new devices will be published soon.
Hey there! If I make a mind-map on the Remarkable, how does it transfer into a computer? As an image, does the handwriting turn to text?
Hi Dan… There are two options available:
More info about converting handwritten notes can be found in this article on the reMarkable blog.
Hi. Can you save files/note pages into separate files on the remarkable, or do you need to clear the notes before commencing a new note?
Hi Linda… Yes you can. Notes can be saved/organised in separate notebooks.
Are you aware of any devices that run One Note and have an excellent writing feel? I have been writing on my Microsoft Surface for years. It is good in many ways but the feeling of writing isn’t great. In fact I am waiting for my reMarkable to arrive. I’m excited to use it. But I can’t help feeling like I am missing out because my years of notes in One Note won’t be accessible on the reMarkable. If you are aware of any Android tablets that have a great writing feel I’d love to hear about it. Thank you!
Hi Peter… If you can convert your One Note files to pdf, you can import them (and use ’em again) on the reMarkable tablet. Simply upload via the desktop app to your online library and as soon as reMarkable does its syncing you can use ’em again.
The Remarkable keeps glitching out on me so I’m returning it. There’s a delay when I write sometimes. Do you experience that too?
Hi Shayn…. I haven’t experienced anything like that. Have you upgraded yours to version 2.0? Or are you still on the old version?
Have you seen this support article: https://support.remarkable.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002662617-Tablet-issues ? It might help.
thank you for your post 🙂 is there any chance to connect a bluetooth keyboard to the remarkable tablet? I enjoy noting things down by hand but for writing longer articles I prefer typing…
Thanks for your answer!
Hi Sophia…. You can use the onscreen keyboard but that’s it. You can’t connect an external (Bluetooth) keyboard. The reMarkable tablet is only for writing or drawing. It’s a modern version of the classic notebook.
Maybe a regular tablet or Surface Pro is more suitable for you. Then you’ll have more options to enter content.
Hi and first of all thank you for you Blog about remarkable. I am thinking about buying this e ink Tablet (i guess like many other people who visited your Blog). You seem to be the only one who try this gadget and want to share your experiences so i want to ask you: is this usefull for writing books?
I realy hope so cause many other tablets couldnt write more than one Page or didnt covert into typography.
Thank you and sorry for my Bad english translation skills. 🙂
Hi Laura…. Yes reMarkable can convert handwriting to regular text. You can write as many pages as you like. The max the device can store is about 800,000 pages. Have used the handwriting conversion and posted a test in various earlier comments/discussion. My handwriting is terrible so the conversion wasn’t 100% accurate. 😀
Have you [or has anyone reading this] tried the new MobiScribe e-notebook?
It’s a LOT more affordable and seems promising. I’m trying to decide if I want one or want to wait if they make a 2.0 version.
What do you think of the reMarkable a year later?
Hi Veronica… Haven’t used that one yet, but will check out the specs. Could be interesting for adding it to part 2 of this blog posts aka the follow-up.
Hey, I know you mentioned you’re doing an update soon, and that you are waiting to do so after you figure out all of the changes from the recent software update. But I wanted to mention the the BOOX Nova Pro. In comparison to the Remarkable it is much more up to date technology wise whether it be the USB C(which is also quality of life convenient), it having a back light and it running android. It would be cool if you could even just look at the spec list and description of it on Amazon, and then weigh in… Read more »
Hey Taylor… Awesome. Thanks for the tip. Will definitely look into that one to see how its specs compare with the reMarkable’s specs. Have you used the Boox Nova Pro? (or are you affiliated with Onyx international Inc.? 😉 )
Hi Martijn, Any idea when you would do another update? Seriously thinking of purchasing my first reMarkable, but kind of waiting for your new blog 😉 Interested in seeing if you are still as fond of it as before!
Soon Lotte, real soon… They just rolled out a new software update (after some delays due to issues) and I want to check out all fixes and features before doing an update of this blog post. Will have it online before the end of the month.
Was just looking at alternatives, probably my post is rather late? Just looked at another one called Supernote. I thought the remarkable was cool in most departments when writing notes. However, I really wanted to be able to write more when commenting on say a PDF. Sony and BOOX allow you to split the screen so one side you can read and the other side take notes. I searched high and low but could not find this on the remarkable. However, I found SuperNote, that is supposed to be the closest competition to Remarkable. And one major bonus is the… Read more »
Clearly a paid promotion. Pretty low.
Definitely not. Just a regular user, blogging about his purchase. Nothing more.
When we publish a sponsored post, we’ll almost add “sponsored” or “advertorial”. And we hardly publish these posts as we prefer to create our own content.
Hey martijn Great post ! Ty for info. One question . When you write and its converted into text dose it spell check the document ? My spelling is terrible ! I want to write blogs but hate typing and a old school girl like paper and pen think this maybe perfect for me so long as it spell checks.
Hey Josie… Thanks. The conversion from handwriting to text isn’t perfect. My handwriting is terrible and the system has some issues with it 🙂
See the example I posted in this comment: http://travel.geek.nz/gadgets/remarkable-alternative/#comment-20
I just ordered the reMarkable tablet based on your blog and many insightful comments, questions, and explanations in the comments. I am very excited to begin exploring its capabilities without the distractions of the Internet ????.
Thank you for your advice.
Awesome. Please let us know what you think of the reMarkable tablet. Lots of people would love to hear feedback from other users as well. Feel free to post yours in the comment section. Thanks.
I generally write with my hand resting on the page – plus I’m a lefty. Have you needed to change your writing style to write on the ReMarkable?
P.S is it available in store in Australia? If not, how do I go about buying one?
Hi Shannon… Didn’t need to change my writing style at all. My handwriting is still terrible, but as long as I can read it it’s all good. Prevents others from reading it when I’m working on a plane or train. 🙂 It takes a few minutes to get used writing on it but soon it will feel like writing on paper.
Yeah no worries, they ship worldwide. I ordered mine from New Zealand. Their online store accepts orders worldwide and ships from Hong Kong.
I really enjoyed reading the post, and especially the comments.
One question: did you notice how often software updates become available? Do the developers add new features / bugfixes on a regular basis?
The geek in me wants to buy the remarkable, I’m just thinking about the tough price. And also, since the remarkable is out there for a while now, I’m afraid that I buy it now, and two months later they announce a successor, maybe with a color e-ink display. :/
Thanks Denny…. Software updates have happened a couple of time since I bought the reMarkable. The last one was early April and it fixed/changed the following:
* You can now easily add, copy, and reorder individual pages in your notebooks
* There’s a new setup tutorial if you want a features refresh
* They’ve re-introduced the battery percentage
The price is indeed the biggest issue when considering buying the reMarkable.
Shouldn’t worry too much about “a newer/better version might be coming out soon” because then you’ll never be able to buy another gadget. 🙂
My boss wants to use reMarkable so that I can get real-time notes from him. I can’t read his handwriting so it’s helpful that reMarkable can convert to typed text, but my concern is that his writing is so hard to read that reMarkable won’t be able to convert. He also uses a lot of fo shorthand. Any thoughts or advice?
That is a challenge indeed, Tina… My handwriting is terrible as well and the reMarkable wasn’t able to convert all written words to text when I tested it, but at least you’ll have context and will spot the odd word that hasn’t been converted properly. No idea how terrible your boss’ handwriting is, so can’t give you any advice there. This is what reMarkable has to say about the conversion tool: “Prettier handwriting is converted more easily. 🙂 The feature can recognize handwritten text better than the human eye in many cases…but this still doesn’t account for the most elaborate… Read more »
Hey Martijn 🙂 I’ve been thinking of buying it since I got a well placed ad last year. . I got some questions I think you haven’t answered in the comments yet (if so, I’m sorry that you have to repeat yourself). I was wondering how long these tips last that come with the pen and if you are able to buy them without the changing device, since you only need one of those. Is it possible to have two “windows” open at the same time? Like having the exercise on the top of the screen and a blank page… Read more »
Hi Rena… The tips last for a long time. I’m still using the same one that came with the device. And yes you can buy them separately from reMarkable or Amazon. See for more info and prices: http://travel.geek.nz/go/remarkable-extra-tips/ You can crop or copy parts of a document and paste it onto any location of the same page. It is not possible to copy and paste between pages, at this point. You can’t have 2 windows open at the same time, but you can create several layers, for instance by creating a layer for taking notes can you add notes to… Read more »
Hi Martijn, thanks much for the post with all info and your experience on Remarkable Device. I am about to purchase 1 for my hubby’s bday gift. However, there are quite a few negative reviews on Amazon about this Remarkable which saying the device got freeze quite often and users have to reset at least once a day. Also sometimes it exports files only half page and you lost another half page? Have you experience these issues while using yours? Much appreciate.
Hi Lena… I’ve been using the reMarkable for almost a year now and it only froze once. I’ve had more freezing issues with other devices, like phones and tablets. It’s been smooth sailing with my reMarkable.
I don’t export files that often, but they always come out perfectly. Full pages and all the info was there. Perhaps the reviewers have created documents that consisted of multiple layers and didn’t export all layers.
I’m still a happy reMarkable user.
Hi Martijn Came across your post as I too was wondering if there are alternatives. My needs a bit different from others though. Taking notes and making sketches to remove the pile of papers on my desk, yes please. My main thoughts, however, have to do with using a white board ( I am a teacher). I struggle to write on the whiteboard for students due to a shoulder issue. So I am wondering what thoughts would be on sending whats on the screen of the ReMarkable to my desktop which in turn is projects onto the whiteboard. I have… Read more »
Hi Trish… That is a tough one. reMarkable won’t be the solution for you… “Can I use the remarkable as a drawing board with my computer, like a wacom drawing tablet? – This functionality will not be included in the first versions of the reMarkable, but might be added in later versions.” (from the reMarkable FAQ). Isn’t it just easier to go for a touchscreen laptop or a regular tablet and connect that to a projector to get the info onto the whiteboard? Update 16 March 2019: Live Preview is available on the reMarkable tablet. Now you can show someone… Read more »
Thanks for the feedback. Our budget would not cover any of this unfortunately,
I already use a desk top and have my own laptop. Was trying to avoid getting yet another computer to carry around.
Thanks for the info though 🙂
Reconsider the old overhead projector. Write your notes to the students on the clear plastic medium. You can have as many as you want made ahead of time. It is by far cheap and very dependable and flexible!
At first I doubted it, but now I am sure that this is a paid promotion.
Sorry to “disappoint” you but this really is a blog post created by someone that purchased the reMarkable tablet. If it was a paid promotion, we would clearly mention it in the post and place the post in a different category.
We encourage everyone with similar or different experiences with this product to post it as a comment… Or even send it in as a (counter) gues post. We love to share & show everyone’s opinion. No worries.
Trish, I totally stumbled upon this. At work I’ve got two devices, a Surface, and a laptop. I use the Surface to take notes/draw/markup in OneNote, then tidy up on the Laptop. It’s all I kind of use the Surface for (hence wanting a ReMarkable tablet). Getting to the point. If I’ve got OneNote open on both devices, I can write on the Surface and the pen strokes come up on the laptop straightaway. So, depending on your IT budget at school, and assuming you can project to the whiteboard, then this could be a solution. The OneNote notebook is… Read more »
Hi Jonny… Thanks. Glad you liked the post. And thanks for adding the info to help out Trish. That would be the perfect solution for her if it fits the budget. 🙂
I don’t have the reMarkable (still researching) but I think it might actually be able to do what you want with a recent feature, read here: https://blog.remarkable.com/how-to-share-your-notes-from-your-remarkable-to-your-colleagues-313b85c2e71d under “Sharing your notebook LIVE with friends and colleagues on your computer”. Basically, if you have a projector, the process as I understand it would be:
1. turn on live sharing
2. project your desktop screen to board
3. write on tablet, which mirrors to computer screen, which gets projected to board
Great stuff, Christian… I totally missed that update. Thanks for sharing. Just tested Live View and it works perfectly. Exactly what Trish is looking for. Now you can show on a computer screen (or whiteboard via a projector) what you are writing on your reMarkable. Perfect for teachers or geeks leading a brainstorm session. 🙂
On a slightly different bent. I stumbled across a site for the organisation that produces the screens etc for the Remarkable and similar devices. Maybe some brilliant technology person could kickstart a version for sale in Oz??
That is more like what I am looking for.
Now to start saving some $$. Our IT budget can’t even replace 8 year old iMac’s, so i’m unlikely to get one of these.
Hi, so you have had it for about 8 months now, what do you think about it now? I have been reading reviews and the software lacks from what they say. It is not convenient to organize notes in groups (or maybe move them around), if the document you have has a small font size it does not allow you to scale other than 150%, it is not nice to use to read ebooks, you have to press hard on the pen apparently… Also not sure if there is a search option and not sure if the OCR works well.… Read more »
Hi Gabriel… I’m still a happy geek. 🙂 Reading ebooks is like on any ebook reader. I haven’t noticed any difference between reMarkable and a Kobo. Well, the reMarkable is bigger which makes reading even easier.
Pen pressure is like writing on real paper. You don’t have to apply extra pressure. It feels the same.
Organising is done be creating folders. There is also a search function.
Pages with small fonts can be scaled up to 500%.
It does everything you’re looking for… Except for “reading articles on the internet”. You can’t browse the web on the reMarkable.
Hi, I just found your article and you were exactly where i am now. Since you have a remarkable and have been using it for several months now, i would like your opinion for myself. I would like to read pdf/epub files/books on the tablet and be able to make proper notes/figures about what i am reading for understanding. Currently I read a book/ebook and take notes on paper, which requires that I always have a pad/pen with me when reading (difficult on public transit). I think this device would allow me to just carry it and satisfy that requirement.… Read more »
Hi Taleb… The reMarkable tablet gives you two different options for taking notes when reading an eBook. You can either write the text directly in the book itself or you can create a separate layer to write the notes on. This means that the book stays “clean” and you can export the notes separately. Hope this makes sense. It’s like having a piece of paper next to you to take notes when you’re reading.
Does the Remarkable turn handwritten text to document text? I am looking for a paper tablet where I can scribble my notes and have them turned into text for easy search into my personal note archive.
Yes it does. See for more info and an example: http://travel.geek.nz/gadgets/remarkable-alternative/#comment-20
Was this a sponsored post? Sounds like people love it, but the price is just not where it would need to be right now. Which would inspire a lot of “remarkable alternative” searches. (As an SEO marketer) If so, brilliantly thought through and executed. Worked for me.
(I am curious if this was paid though.)
Hi Kris… It wasn’t a sponsored post. Otherwise, I would have mentioned it at the beginning of the blog post. I actually purchased the reMarkable digital paper tablet at full price. reMarkable wasn’t involved.
The post was based on my decision to go for it or not. I was wondering if there are any reMarkable alternatives that could do the same at a lower price…. And yes, the SEO aspect of that specific topic and keywords played a part in making the decision to blog about it. 🙂 Good to hear it worked for you. But reMarkable wasn’t involved.
Thanks for the write-up.
Can you comment on the Remarkable’s security features? Does it offer security features such as user accounts with passwords? Do you know if it stores your note data encrypted?
Hi John… Your reMarkable device is secured by a passcode. Your account by email + password.
And the cloud storage: “The reMarkable cloud is hosted on Google’s Cloud Platform. The reMarkable cloud is secured with Google’s encryption at rest, trusted boot and physical security. All data is also encrypted on rest and on transfer.
I notice you said “OUR” which indicates you work for the company or have a private interest in the company. Transparency is a good thing. Thanks mate.
Note the “” around the area in question. He was quoting the company that makes the tablet.
Last month I bought a used camera lens on ebay and ended up paying $50 worth of import duties (import transaction fee and biosecurity levy plus 15% GST). What was your experience of this with the Remarkable?
I’m thinking that paying $200 on top of the advertised price of NZD 999 would make it a less attractive. I’ve sent a message to them inquiring about this, but wanted to hear from someone in NZ who has actually had one posted to them. Thanks in advance.
Hi Ann… It was shipped from HongKong via DHL Express @ NZ$0 shipping, and no import fees or taxes were added by NZ Customs.
How recently? I wonder if you escaped this by ordering before they started to enforce it.
Mid to end of July this year… Also, plz scroll down to see the recent comment from Ann: “Have been in touch with Remarkable customer service and they assure me that the GST and import duties are covered.”
Still using it, Martijn? Mine arrived last week and already it’s cleared my desk of Post-It notes and A4 pad pages. I’ve ordered the KuRoKo Premium PU Leather case from Amazon for it and it will replace my old Surface (I hope) for taking to meetings.
I have a question though – have you done anything special to organise files/pages to make them quick and easy to find? The grid view cuts of the top and bottom so you can’t just write a thick heading, have you come across any solutions?
Hi Philip… Yeah I’m still using it. Although I still use the occasional post-it note. Can’t stop cold turkey eh. 🙂
Do you mean when you’re on a single page? You can make the top and side menu “disappear” then you’ll have the full page width and height to write. I love the grid view of a notebook so I can quickly go to a specific page. Even the title/heading of a page is easy to read.
Hi there, was so keen to hear your views on this. I equally am researching and very tempted. Maybe a Xmas present to myself 🙂 So many notes and drawings etc on my desk/life that I would want to simplify… But then how do I travel? reMarkable AND ipad (netflix, kindle, webmail) AND phones (personal & work, could I swap ipad sim and leave one). Do I need another device? What if I have to take my laptop am I just heading for a neck strain?! I love the idea of using it for work, alot. But will it help… Read more »
As the reMarkable is a relatively simple device (just electronic paper) you still need to take another device with you to watch movies or listen to music. If you’re looking for one device that can do it all, don’t go for reMarkable.
If you like to write, draw, sketch on actual paper, but don’t want to use paper (cutting down trees etc) and don’t mind adding 350 gram to your luggage then go for the reMarkable.
I’m hooked on the reMarkable… Perfect gadget for in the office, on a plane, a train or wherever. I never leave home without it.
Thanks, thinking I may move to ipad+remarkable (as a notepad) then phones. Now do I order now or wait till Xmas?! 🙂
The biggest challenge when it comes to buying new gadgets: buy now or wait? There never is a right or wrong answer. 🙂 Personally, I want it now as soon as I have made up my mind.
Hey, I’m wondering how you have found this in day to day use? Would you recommend it for a serial meeting attender by day, student by night?
Hi Michelle… I use the reMarkable on a daily basis. Always carry it with me to take notes on the go, create drawings of ideas and to read ebooks. It’s super light so I never leave home without it.
Yep it is relatively expensive for such a “simple” device but it’s so worth it.
Hi again Martijn. Have been in touch with Remarkable customer service and they assure me that the GST and import duties are covered. So, one more question for you and others who have used the device. Have you tried the conversion of handwritten notes to text via the OCR? How well does it work? And how messy is your handwriting?
Hi Ann… Good to hear that GST and import fees are still covered. Just like a few months ago, although they don’t state it that clearly on their site anymore. Thanks for adding that piece of info. Yes, I’ve used the handwriting conversion to text… I’ve created an example so you can see the result. See the attached file for the original handwritten text. My handwriting is terrible 🙂 so the system had some issues with it. Converted to: “Testing handwriting conversion JUST Testing This FEATURE, So it CAN Be ADDED TO MY Blog post on TRAVEL. geek..W2 WHAT Do… Read more »