We think our search has finally ended with the discovery of reMarkable’s eponymous tablet, the reMarkable 2. The company markets the reMarkable 2 writing tablet as “the world’s thinnest tablet.” We haven’t verified that claim, but the form factor is indeed exceptionally thin. We purchased the optional book folio as a cover for our reMarkable tablet, and even when carrying the tablet in the book cover, it seems thinner than an actual legal pad encased in a portfolio and is most certainly thinner than an iPad or PC tablet.
Form factor aside, however, the real genius of the reMarkable tablet is how closely it simulates the experience of writing with an ink pen on a paper pad. Unlike an iPad screen, the reMarkable writing surface actually feels and looks like paper. The tablet display uses E Ink (electronic ink) technology that enables you to read and take notes even in low-light environments. When writing on the surface, there is a discernible friction between the end of the marker and the surface of the reMarkable tablet. Rather than being a distraction, this friction actually enhanced the note-taking experience for us. The sensation felt very similar to what we get when writing on a real legal pad. So far, the tablet was making a strong case for replacing our worn-out legal pad.
The first thing we noticed when taking notes on the reMarkable tablet was how responsive the surface is to the pen strokes. The responsiveness, or latency, of the reMarkable 2 tablet was as good as we have ever seen with an electronic note-taking device. To our eyes, seeing the pen mark on the tablet surface appears instantaneous with the pen stroke.
The options in the software on the reMarkable tablet are not obtrusive but are fairly intuitive. With a click on the vertical sidebar panel, you can access a tool to change the type of writing instrument you want to simulate. Options range from ballpoint pen to calligraphy pen. You can also choose the weight of the pen stroke you prefer—thin, medium or thick. Just like writing on a real paper tablet, you sometimes want to erase something you just wrote on the reMarkable tablet. There’s a tool that allows you to do that. There are also numerous options for the type of “paper” you want to write on, ranging from U.S. legal lined paper to grids and even music staffs. Much to our delight, this electronic note-taking device doesn’t seem to compromise any desirable feature from a real legal pad. The only potential negative we could discern is the lack of color support in the E Ink technology that the reMarkable tablet uses. The display is strictly monochromatic, so there is no color-coding your notes with different inks. We normally don’t take multicolored pens with us to meetings anyway, so we were not really concerned by that limitation.
So, taking notes on the reMarkable is a breeze and feels like the real thing, but what happens to your notes after you’re done? You can connect the tablet to Wi-Fi and sync all your notes to a personal cloud account that gets set up during the initial tablet setup. With the associated reMarkable app, it’s very easy to then drag and drop note files from your cloud repository to other file destinations on your computer or tablet. You can email notes directly from the tablet when connected to Wi-Fi, and the software can also convert your handwritten notes to text. We thought this feature was too good to be true and decided to really test it using our extremely imprecise and unkempt handwriting. To our surprise, the software did a really good job of converting our handwriting (both print and cursive) to text. So, after a meeting, with a one-click option on the tablet, we can convert our meeting notes to text and email to ourselves or an assistant to store in a note-taking app (such as OneNote) or in a document.
The battery life for the reMarkable is very impressive. The website advertises it as two weeks, but we actually stretched our battery performance longer than this with more moderate usage of the tablet. The bottom line is you will not have to scramble to find an electrical outlet to plug in your tablet mid-meeting. It’s quite nice just taking the reMarkable tablet into a meeting with absolutely no cables.
Using the aforementioned free app that works with the reMarkable tablet, you can also upload PDF documents to the tablet to view and/or mark up on the tablet later, whether or not you are connected to the internet. We especially like making handwritten electronic notes on PDF documents using our reMarkable tablet and then synching the PDF with our notes included back to the cloud to send on to a colleague or client. This use of the reMarkable tablet is exceptionally superior to carrying a load of physical documents with you to review and mark up by hand.
We love almost everything about the reMarkable 2 tablet and use it frequently. The cost may seem hefty for some, with the combined price of the tablet and marker being comparable to the cost of an iPad. Furthermore, the reMarkable 2 tablet is just a note-taking device and is not an iPad replacement. You can’t download apps for it, watch videos, play audio or even browse the internet. So, the price may seem high for the limited functionality. But because the reMarkable is singularly focused on being the premium electronic note-taking device and very clearly succeeds in that mission, we feel the price is justified. This note-taking device truly lives up to its name—remarkable!