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.