I have always been a fan of using notebooks as a way of organizing my thoughts. While I very rarely do much of my long form work on one, they have become invaluable parts of my creative process. So when I had the opportunity to give the new reMarkable 2 e-ink tablet a try for review, I was eager to see how it stacked up. After a few weeks of testing, despite the limited use cases the reMarkable 2 offers, it stands as a major part of my creative arsenal, and one I would suggest to anyone that still uses a notepad for their day-to-day process.
The reMarkable 2 is the second generation of the company’s unique e-ink tablet, and takes what worked on the previous iteration, and improves the overall look and feel. The first reMarkable tablet was definitely an interesting design, but it was also very expensive, and the device had a few design quirks that just never made the device feel as exciting as it should have. From the overall look and feel, to the way it works, the reMarkable 2 is very much a refinement of the concept.
The first reMarkable tablet, which launched back in 2017, was a bit underwhelming compared to its competitors. The stylus in the first tablet was a bit on the slow side, making input a painstaking process at times. To top that off, the page forward and back buttons were awkwardly placed on the bottom bezel, leaving too many accidental pressed buttons as people tried to rest their wrists while writing.
Thankfully these issues seem to be a thing of the past, the reMarkable 2 offering a better experience all around. The input delay has been reduced to 20 milliseconds compared to 40 on the previous tablet, making the marks appear almost instantly while in use. It contains a much faster processor, and the overall process of writing and drawing feels more accurate and even closer to the experience of writing on paper. If that were not enough, the new reMarkable tablet also boasts a battery life of up to two weeks via USB-C charging, compared to the three days of the past generation.
Gone are the buttons in the bottom bezel. You navigate the reMarkable 2’s pages with a simple swipe left or right, making it feel more modern, and more akin to the tablets and phones we are all familiar with. The design is also much more stylish with an all metal frame and a single button for turning the device on and off at the side, and just has an overall executive look, feeling as much at home next to a briefcase as it does a backpack.
The reMarkable 2 offers a 10.3-inch display and is also incredibly thin, sitting at only 0.19 inches deep and is only 405 grams in weight making it easy to carry around in a bag, or hold one handed with ease. Even the new accessories have a premium feel and add to the overall experience of the device. The new Marker Plus ($149 CAD) has a sleek, black look that goes well with the new design. It also manages an easy to use eraser on the back end of the pen, making it feel very much like a pencil.
You can still get the standard Marker ($79 CAD), should you choose, but you will lose the more modern look, and the ability to erase with the flip of the stylus. And thankfully to the addition of magnets to the reMarkable 2, you can clip any writing implement right to the side of the device when not in use. You can also pick yourself up a Book Folio should you want that iconic “notebook” feel, but sadly that will set you back an additional $149 CAD. Thankfully, the tablet works perfectly fine without the addition, but it is nice to have that extra layer of protection should you be travelling.
The software at the core of the reMarkable 2 feels tailor made for the tasks it is built for. It has a series of templates to quickly create new documents of many different types. From lined notebooks, to comic panels, there should be enough in place to get the creative juices flowing. The reMarkable 2 also allows you to upload PDF and EPUB files, mark them up and save for later, or upload to the reMarkable cloud where they can be accessed by an app, or on the desktop. I would have liked a bit more ability to edit the files directly on the tablet, but what it does, works well.
The reMarkable 2 also managed to understand my handwriting, allowing my odd notes to be turned to text with a solid level of accuracy. While I don’t know how ultimately useful this will be in the long run, it makes writing down quick emails using the tablet easy, and I don’t care how many times you do it, seeing the tablet sort out your handwriting into text is somehow still magical.
If I had any issue, it would be the limitations on what is available for creativity. While the reMarkable 2 offers a selection of pens selections ready to go for writing, or sketching and offer 4,096 level of pressure, it never felt precise enough for anyone doing more complex art projects. While it would be possible to get an idea down, and transfer it to an iPad or computer, artists looking for a more complete art solution may need to look elsewhere. But, in all honesty, that is not what the reMarkable 2 is built for, this is a tablet made for note taking, and sketching, and it does both these things with flying colors.
The reMarkable 2 feels like the device I have been searching for, delivering the ideal merging of technology and note taking. It comes at a premium, costing $599 CAD without any stylus, but for anyone who needs this sort of device, that is money well spent. It works well, is lightweight and looks like a notebook out of Star Trek. For anyone looking for the ultimate notebook, look no further, the digital paper tool you have always wanted is finally here.