Is reMarkable still the winner in the battle of the e-paper tablets?

Martijn

Martijn

Topics covered in this article (table of contents)

    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
    reMarkable tablet is perfect for jotting down ideas when travelling
    reMarkable tablet is perfect for jotting down ideas when travelling

    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:

    1. it remains free for current users (“our way to thank you for believing in us from the start)
    2. 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.

    1. 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.
    2. Connect Lite at €4.99 per month. This includes all the free plan items plus unlimited cloud storage.
    3. 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
    Accessory port
    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.

    Stow your reMarkable tablet safely for take-off and landing
    Stow your reMarkable tablet safely for take-off and landing

    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.

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    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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    Keith
    Keith
    4 months ago

    Just recently saw these even exist! Looks Very Cool! But I am stringently a Linux User and I need to know if I can do even the basics like USB connect to my Linux desktop and use a filemanager to add/remove/copy files to/from such a device – I don’t want phone integration since our Phones just call home and leak private data everywhere etc… If I can do the basic file management operations with my Linux Desktop, I may very well consider getting one for stand alone use. I learn long ago – the cloud is nothing to seriously trust… Read more »

    Neo
    Neo
    Reply to  Keith
    1 month ago

    Yeah I use gnu/linux too (arch btw) , but there are no worries you can put pdfs on them very easy, as far as I know they don’t sell you data, I think you can’t even browse the internet.

    Bruno
    Bruno
    6 months ago

    Great article! I’m not comfortable with the (basically) mandatory subscription, since sync is really a must to me.

    Do you have any thoughts on Kobo elipsa? It seems similar with the ability to load almost every kind of ebooks.On the other hand, I am not so sure if it is a slickiest to take notes.

    Ron
    Ron
    6 months ago

    Can you share created documents with non remarkable users? For instance, if I were to create a note, could I “air drop” or email that document to someone? If I did a sketch and wanted to send it to a college for them to review, would they be able to obtain the note somehow?

    Ron
    Ron
    Reply to  Martijn
    6 months ago

    Appreciate that response. The only other question I’ll bother you with is being able to upload files without using the connect app. From doing research there are some sites that say you need the app and some that say you do not. I’m spending all this money on the device I would hate to buy a monthly subscription to something that I really don’t need. Thoughts?

    Bill
    Bill
    7 months ago

    Thanks, have you checked out Supernote? They are a weird company that seems to have better note-taking software, better customer support, and an open attitude.

    Kat
    Kat
    1 year ago

    Hi, thanks for the super useful blog posts. I’m a teacher and would like to use a device like this to create my own planner. I have read what I can but can’t work out how easy it would be to create a diary/planner that I can write on and easily swipe between weeks. Also, does this have apps for different types of things or just the ability to create lots of different notebooks?

    Abby
    Abby
    1 year ago

    Hi Martijn! Would you recommend this for taking notes for college classes? I recently saw the reMarkable2 on social media and really liked it! However, it’s out of my price range. I liked how easy it looked to organize notes, how you could easily share notes and the multiple templates! I’ve been looking for alternatives to taking my notes and have been wanting to do it digitally. However, I’d rather be able to physically write the information down to retain it better. The original reMarkable is more in my price range and would help save space! Thanks in advance! Any… Read more »

    Abby
    Abby
    Reply to  Martijn
    1 year ago

    Okay! Thank you so much!

    Denny Köne
    Denny Köne
    1 year ago

    Hi Martijn, happy New Year.

    Just to be clear, the reMarkable Cloud is the only way to get stuff onto or from the reMarkable device? Not even an option to physically connect it to a PC and manage the contents locally?

    Thanks in advance,
    Denny

    Denny Köne
    Denny Köne
    Reply to  Martijn
    1 year ago

    Right. Thank you very much. 🙂

    Maria
    Maria
    1 year ago

    Hey Martijn, I’m new to this world of digital notepads. This is my problem: I teach maths and science and this year I have to Zoom with my students. I love to scribble and draw and typing is super slow (and annoying). I’d love to have a device to write on my pdfs during class. For that I’d need something that connects easily to my laptop and I love that function that turns handwriting to print (I could then upload my notes on our platform for kids that have missed class). Is Remarkable the device or do you think I… Read more »

    Isabela
    Isabela
    1 year ago

    Hello, very nice post! do you know if with either alternative I can share through a projector the pdf I’m annotating? (I know it is possible with LiveView of reMarkable, but cant find whether it is possible with the new alternatives). Thanks!

    Isabela
    Isabela
    Reply to  Martijn
    1 year ago

    thanks for your answer! my question wasn’t really clear, sorry for that. I meant, do we have an equivalent feature with BOOX Nova Pro or MobiScribe? Have a nice day!

    Frédérique Triffaux
    Frédérique Triffaux
    1 year ago

    Hello Martin, very good article!
    I hesitate to buy the Remarkable 2…
    I’ll probably do, I still use notebooks and pen even if I use my PC all the time, I read a lot and take notes at work.
    Thanks!

    Emma Rose
    Emma Rose
    1 year ago

    Hey. I have a question for you. (Obviously, right? I’d think so….): So, the reMarkable is stated as one that can read epubs and pdf’s, but how do I get those epubs and pdf’s? Does it also need to connect to the internet? I saw that you take it with you on plane rides and I was wondering how that’s possible, if it needs an internet connection. Not that I think anything is wrong with what you said; more so just not sure how this reMarkable tablet works. Lol. And I’m a NYer…. if that means much. I don’t think… Read more »

    Last edited 1 year ago by Emma Rose
    Catherine Boyer
    Catherine Boyer
    1 year ago

    I really want Remarkable to come out with a smaller version, say 5×8 inches. I looked all over their website for a way to let them know they might have a new customer niche but there was no way to contact them as a consumer. That’s a little strange. I’m posting here because you kept track of potential customer questions after your first Remarkable post and your follow up post was helpful.

    McKenzie
    McKenzie
    1 year ago

    Hello,

    Is there a way to use microsoft one drive on ReMarkable? I store all my PDFs there and am wondering if I’d be able to access them. Additionally, can you highlight PDFs? If I did, would it sync back to my computer? Thanks!

    Jennie
    Jennie
    1 year ago

    Are you able to add the comment or notes on E-book? Thank you

    Jennie
    Jennie
    Reply to  Martijn
    1 year ago

    note…Because my iPad pro can’t add note on Kindle ebook, but only highlights

    Starleen Meyer
    Starleen Meyer
    1 year ago

    Two questions: (1) What does “capacitive touch” mean?, and (2) Are there not ReMarkable-like apps for tablets (with all their great connectivity features)? The paper-like feel of the ReMarkable surface sounds nice, but its lack of more tablet-like features and backlighting, not to mention the scary price, are off-putting.

    Star
    Star
    Reply to  Martijn
    1 year ago

    Thanks so much!

    Jennie Wang
    Jennie Wang
    2 years ago

    Hi, the remarkable 2 is about for pre-order now online. I always wanted to buy remarkable 1 in but I bought iPad pro. Recently the idea comes back after I see remarkable 2 is available now. do you think it is worth to buy new vision? Thank you

    Jennie Wang
    Jennie Wang
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    Thank you So much, looking forward to ….

    Britta Wein
    Britta Wein
    2 years ago

    Hey Martijn, Many thanks for sharing your experience with the reMarkable. You’re a really great source 👍! I’ve been pondering much on whether I should purchase a reMarkable or an iPad Pro. How often would you say you’re using the option to convert handwritten notes into digital notes? On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is this option to you and does it really work? Since I’m German and I do write in German most of the time, it seems that that alone is a big differentiator between the remarkable and other devices resp. using a sheet of… Read more »

    Britta Wein
    Britta Wein
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    You’re awesome … and brave! Thanks for your great feedback!
    I really threw tons of questions at you, however you really nailed it. 👍
    And so I am glad, I just asked them all! Your feedback convinced me: reMarkable + laptop sounds just terrific!
    Glad you like Berlin and Lemke! 😆

    NZ is the highest on my bucket list, by the way. Haven’t been yet. My must see destination.

    Stay healthy and thanks again, Martijn (and let me know when you’re nearby to say Hi!)!

    All the best, Britta

    Nancy
    Nancy
    2 years ago

    I’m in the market for one of these devices but I am struggling to determine which is the right one. I need a notebook replacement. I am a crafter and take different notes about knitting or embroidery or paper crafting. I would envision each of these being a different notebook. Currently everything I craft goes into one notebook. When I am looking for something in the notebook like a specific dimension of something or a setting for a vinyl.. I am flipping through pages of my notebook searching for the page that I wrote this important information on. Often times,… Read more »

    Nancy
    Nancy
    Reply to  Martijn
    2 years ago

    Hmmm yea, not exactly what I was envisioning. Thank you for your feedback. I was contemplating this issue last night at length and perhaps I need to move to more of a journaling app. Not what I want but thanks!

    Jasmine
    Jasmine
    2 years ago

    I’m thinking about buying for my partner (I’m in Aus) but noticed at the checkout the cost is $749 and says underneath excl. import VAT $680. The total payment they want at checkout is $749 but I don’t want to be slapped with another invoice for $680 when it gets to Australia. Just wondering if the same thing applied when you bought it? Thanks! (All prices AUD)

    Mira
    Mira
    2 years ago

    “His favourite countries to travel in: New Zealand, Europe & USA” Europe, that weird country… LOL.

    Karen richards
    Karen richards
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much for your comments. I am a list n scibble notes taker and especially since my handwriting is so bad this sounds awesome to organise all my ideas n notes. although the price tag was unnerving me!
    After reading your review I think Ill take the plunge! Im now excited at the thought of saving a million trees! Many thanks x.

    Mira
    Mira
    Reply to  Karen richards
    2 years ago

    Yes, you can save trees but technology is not made out of magic. The materials used to made phones, tablets, computers… Are very contaminating as well and most of them are gathered in Africa where we, the super civilised western countries, exploit African people and the African environment, killing trees and animals in the process so… 😀

    June Jewell
    June Jewell
    2 years ago

    I’ve had my Remarkable tablet for about a year. The user interface could use some improvement. It is not intuitive. Also it has Frozen in me three times and wouldn’t start. That is what drive me to read your article. I’m frustrated that it doesn’t always work. For dinner reason it will start again in a couple days. Wish I knew why!!

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