Quest for the best: is there a reMarkable alternative?

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    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:

    1. It's expensive
    2. No back-light
    3. 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.

    Martijn

    He is the digital geek that started it all. First as DIY-OE, then as Travel.Geek.NZ. Dutch roots, Kiwi heart. His favourite countries to travel in can be found in Australasia, Europe & USA.

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    Michel Cermak
    Michel Cermak
    8 months ago

    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 »

    Liang Qi
    8 months ago

    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.

    Last edited 8 months ago by Liang Qi
    Dan
    Dan
    1 year ago

    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?

    Linda Hunter
    Linda Hunter
    1 year ago

    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?

    Peter Hafner
    1 year ago

    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!

    Shayn Baron
    Shayn Baron
    1 year ago

    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?

    Sophia
    Sophia
    1 year ago

    Hey Martijn,

    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!
    Sophia

    Laura
    Laura
    1 year ago

    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. 🙂

    Veronica
    Veronica
    1 year ago

    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?

    Taylor
    Taylor
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Lotte
    Lotte
    2 years ago

    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!

    Matthew
    Matthew
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Don
    Don
    2 years ago

    Clearly a paid promotion. Pretty low.

    Josie Carter
    Josie Carter
    2 years ago

    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.
    Josie uk

    Ellina Chernobilsky
    Ellina Chernobilsky
    2 years ago

    Martijn:
    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.

    Shannon
    Shannon
    2 years ago

    Hi Martijn!

    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?

    Many thanks.

    Shannon

    P.S is it available in store in Australia? If not, how do I go about buying one?

    Denny
    Denny
    2 years ago

    Hi Martijn,

    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. :/

    Tina
    Tina
    2 years ago

    Hi Martijn,

    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?

    Thank you,
    Tina

    Rena
    Rena
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Lena
    Lena
    2 years ago

    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.

    Trish
    Trish
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Trish
    Trish
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    Hi Martijn
    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 🙂

    Regards
    Trish

    Art
    Art
    Reply to  Trish
    2 years ago

    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!

    Kne Herret
    Reply to  Martijn
    1 year ago

    At first I doubted it, but now I am sure that this is a paid promotion.

    Travel Geek
    Editor
    Reply to  Kne Herret
    1 year ago

    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.

    Jonny Knopp
    Jonny Knopp
    Reply to  Trish
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Christian
    Christian
    Reply to  Trish
    2 years ago

    Hey Trish,
    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

    Trish
    Trish
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    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??
    https://eink.com/reading-writing.html?type=application&id=2

    Trish
    Trish
    Reply to  Christian
    2 years ago

    Thanks Christian
    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.
    Regards
    Trish

    Gabriel
    Gabriel
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Taleb Jones
    Taleb Jones
    2 years ago

    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 »

    Fleur Brincat
    Fleur Brincat
    2 years ago

    Hi,
    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.

    Thanks

    Kris
    2 years ago

    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.)

    John Morrison
    John Morrison
    2 years ago

    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?

    Thanks
    -John

    Art
    Art
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    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.

    Jason
    Jason
    Reply to  Art
    2 years ago

    Note the “” around the area in question. He was quoting the company that makes the tablet.

    Ann
    Ann
    2 years ago

    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.

    Ann
    Ann
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    How recently? I wonder if you escaped this by ordering before they started to enforce it.

    Philip Adamson
    Philip Adamson
    2 years ago

    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?

    Cheers,

    KiwiMel
    KiwiMel
    2 years ago

    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 »

    KiwiMel
    KiwiMel
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    Thanks, thinking I may move to ipad+remarkable (as a notepad) then phones. Now do I order now or wait till Xmas?! 🙂

    Michelle Peglar
    Michelle Peglar
    2 years ago

    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?

    Ann
    Ann
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    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?

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