About a year ago the reMarkable tablet was the winner for me in the battle of the e-paper tablets. A lot has happened in the market so what would happen if I was in the market for an alternative to traditional paper, a digital solution for taking notes, doodling, drawing and reading e-books? Would the reMarkable paper tablet be my first choice again? Let’s find out.
My previous blog posts “Quest for the best: is there a reMarkable alternative?” published one year ago (more or less), received a lot of questions and comments. Awesome. I’m always happy to answer any question from a user-perspective about the reMarkable e-paper tablet. That’s all I am, just a consumer, that happens to be a blogger, searching for an alternative for the reMarkable tablet.
If I would publish a sponsored post or place an ad on my blog, it would be clearly marked. Transparency is super important to this blog. Therefore, I would like to state once more, I don’t have any business or personal ties to the reMarkable team. I purchased my e-paper tablet at full retail price, which I at first found expensive and therefore my search for an alternative started.
One year later after buying reMarkable paper tablet
My reMarkable tablet is still a staple in my backpack and in my carry-on baggage when travelling. The light-weight and easy to use e-paper tablet is versatile and doesn’t take up much space. I mainly use my reMarkable for:
- Taking notes at meetings
- Jotting down ideas when travelling
- Drawing up schematics and workflows
- Doodling and putting ideas and brainstorm sessions into tangible results
- Creating a draft version of web pages, like for instance landing pages
- Reading all kinds of documents and e-books
Things I don’t like about the reMarkable
Nothing is perfect and the same goes for the reMarkable paper tablet. There are a few things I didn’t like or things I things the company can improve upon.
- Re-arranging pages in a notebook. Once you have created a page in a notebook, you couldn’t move it to another part of the same notebook. Yes, you could select everything and copy it, but you couldn’t re-arrange the order of the pages.
- The sorting order of e-books keeps changing back to the default sorting order: last updated. It doesn’t matter which order you prefer, as soon as you start up the tablet again it has changed back to ‘last updated’.
- Not being able to access some web pages. Yeah I know, it’s not intended to have a browser function, but it is annoying that you can’t access wifi at a hotel or meeting room as soon as the access point uses a web page to log on with user credentials or a code you received. Therefore, I always travel with a travel router, so I can create my personal wifi network (without login page) on the network of the place I’m at.
How did reMarkable handle these issues?
No worries, the above-mentioned items have been dealt with by the company. Recently they rolled out a major software update (version 220.127.116.11), which brought the following changes. From now on it is possible to:
- Add a blank page anywhere in a notebook
- Move pages from one notebook to another
- Reorder pages within the same notebook
- Duplicate pages within a notebook
- See the battery’s life as a percentage again
Things that make reMarkable a winner (for me)
I’m still a regular user of the reMarkable paper tablet, so there must be something good about the tablet as well. 😊 My favourite items of the reMarkable are:
- Layers: it’s so easy to create a new layer on top of a document where you can jot down any notes without the original document being affected. You can export, the original document with or without notes or you can just export the notes easy as. This function is so useful when creating different versions of a web page like a landing page. Simply have the must-have items in the base layers and all the add-ons in a separate layer. With just a few pen strokes you can create different versions for your dev team.
- Battery-life: as I’m not using my reMarkable tablet on a daily basis it’s good to see that you still have heaps of battery power left when you use the tablet again after a week of just lying there.
- Handwriting conversion: a function that I don’t use that often but is super handy. The few times I did use it, it converted my terrible handwriting almost perfectly. Yeah, there were a few errors but that’s probably more because of my terrible handwriting.
- Cloud storage: need to read a PDF document, like a manual or contract? Just add it via the reMarkable desktop/laptop or mobile app to your reMarkable cloud storage. As soon as you boot up your e-paper tablet and have access to wifi, the system will sync its storage with your online library and all the documents or books added are ready for your reading pleasure.
Are there new or better alternatives for reMarkable?
In the comment section of the previous blog post “Quest for the best: is there a reMarkable alternative?” someone suggested checking out a new entry in the e-paper tablet market. To make the decision process easier for you guys I’ve added a table to compare the important specifications of the reMarkable and some reMarkable alternatives that were launched this year.
|Features||reMarkable||BOOX Nova Pro||MobiScribe|
|Screen size||10.3” monochrome digital paper display||7.8″ eReader||6.8″ e-notebook|
|Screen type||CANVAS, feels like paper (no glass)||Glass||E-ink Carta (glass screen but it does have a degree of friction)|
|Light||No light or glare||Front light||Front light|
|Touch||Multi-point capacitive touch||Dual (pen & finger)||Capacitive touch|
|Operating system||Codex, a custom Linux-based OS||Android||Android|
|Processor & memory||1 GHz ARM A9 CPU; 512 MB DDR3L RAM||1.6G Quad-core; 2GB RAM||Freescale i.MX6 1Ghz; 1GB RAM|
|Storage||8 GB internal storage||32 GB||8 GB internal|
|Cloud storage||yes, reMarkable storage included (automatic upload)||Various providers supported||Dropbox (manual upload)|
|Battery capacity||3000 mAh||2800 mAh||1500 mAH|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi + BT 4.1||Wi-Fi|
|USB port||Micro USB||Type-C||Micro USB|
|Pen specs||2048 levels of pressure sensitivity||Wacom stylus||Wacom stylus: 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity|
|Handwriting conversion||yes, 33 languages supported||N/A||not yet, they’re working on adding it|
|Supported file formats||PDF and ePUB files||PDF, ePub, MOBI, Doc, Docx, Docm, TXT, DjVu, FB2, HTML, CHM, AZW, AZW3,FBZ, ODT,PRC, RTF, SXW, TRC , JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, CBR, CBZ, WAV, MP3||support for all major reading formats|
|Weight||350 gram (0.77lb)||275 gram (0.60lb)||227 gram (0.5lb)|
|reMarkable info||BOOX Nova Pro info||MobiScribe details|
As I haven’t used the BOOX Nova Pro 3 or the MobiScribe (yet) I can only judge these devices by the specs… And they do look good but while MobiScribe is more like a decent yet smaller reMarkable alternative, the BOOX Nova Pro is more like a tweaked tablet (it can do a lot). I can’t stop wondering how easy or hard writing on a glass surface is. Especially because reMarkable was able to recreate that writing on paper feeling.
Would you buy the reMarkable paper tablet again?
That’s always a difficult question… The specs of the new BOOX Nova Pro 3 and the MobiScribe aka the new reMarkable alternatives look good, so I would be tempted to check them out if I would be in the market for purchasing a new digital paper tablet.
However, based on my experiences with the reMarkable I would purchase that one again. Yes, the price might be high for a “simple enhanced e-reader” but the reMarkable does so much more. Being able to read e-books is just an added bonus for me.
Having all my notes in a digital format, on an easy to carry, the light-weight device is why I bought the reMarkable in the first place. I love to visit craft beer breweries to see how they do their magic and go for a tasting. The reMarkable is my go-to-device to take notes about the experience and tasting notes before I create my craft beer & brewery blog posts at home.