Remarkable 2 attempt to replace paper
The minimalist Remarkable is uncompromisingly designed to replicate a natural writing feel. The Remarkable 2 represent the new version of the edition we tested earlier. Was it indeed worth the upgrade?
Remarkable 2 new
The ReMarkable 2 is undoubtedly the best digital handwriting experience you can get instead of a pad of paper and pencil. It outperforms its predecessor ReMarkable Tablet in almost every way, resulting in a top-notch tablet experience that excels at its primary purpose – allowing you to sketch and take notes without distractions.
The Remarkable 2 is an expensive device, considering that its screen technology only allows you to edit grayscale documents and take notes. There’s no app store here, nor support for web browsers or video playback. But that’s practically precisely the point – this is a device for creation, not consumption, that syncs your ideas in the cloud, and you can access them anywhere.
It’s stunning to write with the marker on the reMarkable 2. The texture on the surface of the display is just enough to provide friction and the tactile feedback that comes with writing on paper.
Bentley of tablets
With improved pen responsiveness, a Bentley-like sleek new hardware design, and innovative upgrades, it is the best tablet of its kind. These new features include an integrated pen eraser and USB-C charging. The ReMarkable 2 serves its nearly singular purpose to extensive effect. It’s not without its problems – the replaceable pen tips don’t last forever, and more work could have gone into improving the eBook experience. But it’s hard to find fault with the essential writing experience.
More expensive than an entry iPad
For some, the tablet will be a hard sell. For example, it’s more expensive than the entry-level iPad, which offers far more features with its colour screen, access to the App Store, and full multimedia support. However, for artists and note-takers, the ReMarkable 2 represents a unique and focused experience worth considering. It doesn’t do nearly as much as Apple’s tablet, but what it does do, it does incredibly well.
Think of the ReMarkable 2 as a big Kindle to write on, and you’re on the right track. It measures 187 x 246 x 4.7 mm (the thinnest tablet globally, according to the company). It weighs 403.5 g, and it uses a 10.3-inch monochrome E Ink Carta display that has been modified and optimized for handwriting input, making it what ReMarkable calls a “CANVAS” display.
The screen is the star of the show here. It won’t blow you away with colours and silky smooth motion. Instead, it’s all about the experience of reading and writing. It’s crisp thanks to a pixel density of 226 DPI (a resolution of 1872 x 1404) and pleasing to the eye thanks to the identical anti-reflective properties offered by other e-ink devices. It’s lightly textured and provides a satisfying level of friction when you write on it with the included marker pen.
Externally, the ReMarkable 2 is much more refined than its predecessor. Gone is the plastic feel of the original’s case, replaced by a gunmetal aluminium frame, with a subtle cream-coloured border surrounding the screen and extending to the back. The back panel also features four tiny, slightly raised rubber feet that prevent the tablet from slipping when writing on a table—a small power button on the upper-left edge and a USB-C charging port in the lower-left corner.
The move to an aluminium frame is highly convenient, as the new ReMarkable tablet can employ magnetic accessories like snap-on covers.
Gadget that feels like one
Remember when gadgets felt gadgety to the touch? Fun devices that didn’t care about ecosystems and notifications and wireless payment transactions and all that boring stuff? That’s what the ReMarkable 2 harkens back to. It has an almost singular purpose — to make writing on a digital device enjoyable. It does it in a great way, even if that comes at the expense of the multitasking capabilities we’ve come to expect from our mobile devices.
It’s not just marketing hype. Writing with the ReMarkable 2’s marker pens on the CANVAS display absolutely feels like writing on paper. It’s pressure-sensitive. The pens can work at a 50-degree tilt to create shading. There’s just a little friction on the surface. In short, it’s as close to writing on a traditional pad from a connected device as we’ve ever experienced.
Anything you produce using the ReMarkable 2 tablet can be shared over a Wi-Fi connection, with the tablet supporting 2.4GHz and 5GHz standards. While you can email documents directly from the tablet, you’re likely to find the ReMarkable mobile and desktop software more capable.
Compare ReMarkable 1 and Remarkable 2
I’ve been using the first generation reMarkable tablet for over a year now. When the reMarkable 2 was announced, I was delighted to hear ReMarkable addressed some of my issues in the new version. Although I officially reviewed the original device, I had a hard time recommending it to people in the market for such a tablet. The hardware itself felt “the first generation,” the battery life wasn’t what I expected, and the price was steep. Fortunately, the successor has improved on the original in almost every aspect.
iPad versus Remarkable 2
Why would you get a reMarkable 2 instead of an iPad, which can do so much more? We all understand the functionality of an iPad, but the reMarkable experience is meant to be a focused use case. There are no notifications to worry about, no apps to switch to, and no web browsing to distract you from your work. In an age where we are increasingly aware of screen time and distracting work environments, the reMarkable 2 is a device that focuses on reading, writing and visualizing, and it works remarkably well. If you need more functionality, opt for an iPad.
For many years, I relied on notebooks in my daily life. To take notes and mindmaps to edit, drafting an outline for a video or article, moreover, creating to-do lists. I’ve habitually had a paper notebook handy at my desk, and the thought of trading it in for a tablet gave me pause. While the first generation reMarkable was a fleeting glimpse of greatness, the reMarkable 2 is the first time I was completely okay with ditching all my paper notebooks.
The price tag may seem steep, and the experience may seem limited, but the company’s ability to focus on the strengths of a focused experience is why it’s absolutely awesome – if not remarkable.