About 2 years 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 post “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.
What I use the reMarkable paper tablet for
My reMarkable tablet is still a staple in my backpack and in my carry-on baggage when travelling. The lightweight 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 a login page) on the network of the place I’m at.
reMarkable software updates that improved the system
No worries, most of the above-mentioned items have been dealt with by the company. reMarkable continuously rolls out software updates to make the system better and better. So, now it is possible to:
- Connect it to your Google Drive and Dropbox account. Now it is even easier to access documents or ebooks with your reMarkable tablet.
- Share your screen, with or without wifi
- Merge layers
- Select from a wider range of keyboard languages
- 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
To name a few tweaks and updates that were recently released.
Changes to reMarkable Connect (cloud storage)
reMarkable recently has sent an update to its users about changes to their cloud storage system. The good news is that:
- it remains free for current users (“our way to thank you for believing in us from the start)
- current users get full free access to Connect
But that also means that there will be paid storage options for new reMarkable customers. The new reMarkable Connect plans will be as follows.
- No Plan – just the basics aka Free. This just includes all your notes in one place. However, you’ll have limited access to their cloud services, apps, and features. Files already synced to the reMarkable cloud will remain on your device, but you’ll need to open your files once every 50 days to keep them synced. Any files that haven’t been opened within 50 days will stop syncing, and changes you make on your device will only be saved locally on your paper tablet.
- Connect Lite at €4.99 per month. This includes all the free plan items plus unlimited cloud storage.
- Connect at €7.99 per month. This includes all the Connect Lite plan items plus
- Google Drive and Dropbox integration
- Handwriting conversion
- Screen Share
- More powerful features that will be launched in the future
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 2||BOOX Note Air 2||MobiScribe|
|Screen size||10.3” monochrome digital paper display||10.3 e-ink tablet||6.8″ e-notebook|
|Screen type||Partially powered by E Ink Carta technology. Feels like paper (no glass)||E Ink Carta, touch||E-ink Carta (glass screen but it does have a degree of friction)|
|Light||No light or glare||MOON Light 2 (front light)||Front light|
|Touch||Multi-point capacitive touch||inductive + capacitive (pen or finger)||Capacitive touch|
|Operating system||Codex, a custom Linux-based OS||Android 11||Android|
|Processor & memory||1.2 GHz dual-core ARM, 1 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM||8-core, 2 GHz, 4 GB RAM||Freescale i.MX6 1Ghz; 1GB RAM|
|Storage||8 GB internal storage||64 GB||8 GB internal|
|Cloud storage||yes, Connet Cloud storage (monthly subscription), Google Drive and Dropbox||Onyx Cloud Sync + third-party cloud providers but these only provide one-way sync (from Boox to the cloud)||Dropbox (manual upload)|
|Battery capacity||3000 mAh||3000 mAh||1500 mAH|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz
|Wi-Fi + Bluetooth||Wi-Fi|
|USB port||USB-C||USB-C||Micro USB|
|Pen specs||4096 levels of pressure sensitivity||stylus||Wacom stylus: 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity|
|Handwriting conversion||yes, 33 languages supported||yes, handwriting recognition||not yet, they're working on adding it|
|Supported file formats||PDF and ePUB files||TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, FB2.zip, MOBI, CHM, DOC, DOCX, PRC, EPUB, PDF, PPT, DjVu, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, CBR, CBZ, MP3, WAV||support for all major reading formats|
|DRM support||No||no info||N/A|
|Weight||403.5 gram (0.88 lb)||420 gram (0.92lb)||227 gram (0.5lb)|
|reMarkable info||BOOX Note Air info||MobiScribe details|
As I haven’t used the BOOX or the MobiScribe (yet) I can only judge these devices by the specs… And reMarkable's competitors are getting closer and closer. Especially Onyx has done a great job with the Boox Note Air tablets, which also comes in a smaller 7.8-inch e-ink tablet.
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.