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ReMarkable 2 review: A paper and pen device to counter distractions

While tablets aim to replace laptops, the reMarkable 2 wants to replace notepads and enable productivity

The highlight of reMarkable 2 is its e-ink display which mimics the feel of paper.
The highlight of reMarkable 2 is its e-ink display which mimics the feel of paper. (Remarkable)

Pen and paper are the most seamless tools for writing and sketching but using them is very analogue in an increasingly digital world, where devices and applications fight for your attention, and sharing notes has become seamless.

Digital devices are convenient but endless notifications can make it hard to focus on writing, whether it is professional, personal journaling or creative work. Thinking, ideating and doodling are an important part of the creative process, and this is where pen and paper comes.

While conventional tablets aim to replace a laptop or offer bigger screen estate compared to a smartphone, reMarkable wants to replace and organise notepads, sketchbooks, textbooks and other printed documents while enabling students, office workers, creative professionals and writers to avoid distractions and work more effectively in a way they are used to. reMarkable is a paper tablet that aims to help people leverage the benefits of paper and make it digital, while avoiding the pitfalls and distractions of modern technology.

What's on offer?

The highlight of reMarkable 2 is its e-ink display which mimics the feel of paper. The electronic paper display technology isn’t new and is ubiquitous with Amazon Kindle readers as well as other e-book readers from Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

But reMarkable 2 boasts of very low latency (21 milliseconds) that makes writing on it feel almost as fast as using a regular pen and paper. The stylus, called Marker Plus, is an exceptionally precise writing tool.

The latency still not as low as Apple or Samsung, but instead of writing on a glass slab on a conventional tablet, the textured writing surface on reMarkable 2 replicates the tactile sensation of writing with an actual pen and paper much better.

It also makes your handwritten notes easy to reuse in emails or documents or articles by converting them to text. A lot of my notes are from meetings, parts of which I use in the articles I write and so, this is a handy feature.

Of course, you are not just limited to writing. You can draw, paint or annotate with the pressure- and tilt-sensitive stylus. There are several brush types to choose from—pencil, ballpoint pen, marker, paintbrush. You also have templates for writing, from simple ruled sheets to checklists to patterns for sketching.

reMarkable 2 isn’t just for taking notes or annotating documents, but also for typing documents. You can buy a Type Folio that hides a slim keyboard inside the cover allowing you to handwrite and type—on the same page— when the need arises.

The user experience is straightforward, mostly because of the limited feature set, with your notebooks and documents arranged in folders and tagged. However, the search option is quite limited. You can only search by titles and tags, and not by the content of your notebooks and documents.

You can access documents stored on popular cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox directly on the device. However, it is only a unidirectional pull. Once you have imported a document and altered it, it is synced into your reMarkable account, not the original document.

Of course, reMarkable 2 works better with companion mobile and desktop apps that let you view and organise all your notes and documents from all your devices.

There’s a Connect subscription that allows you to type and edit notes using these apps. Your notes are stored on the cloud and instantly accessible across devices. However, without the subscription, only files used and synced online in the last 50 days will be stored in the cloud.

A free 1-year Connect trial is included with a purchase of reMarkable 2 bundle, following which it costs 299 per month.

You can also use reMarkable as a digital whiteboard and write and illustrate live with Screen Share to up the ante in your online meetings or webinars.

This is the thinnest tablet in the market (4.7mm thin, weighing less than 500g) and a gorgeous device crafted from anodised aluminium. The bundle comes with a Book Folio in grey weave that not just protects the device, but also ups the aesthetics.

It packs in modest internals which give it a long battery life. A few hours’ usage every day will easily allow you to go two weeks on a single charge.

If you have used a Kindle before, you would be familiar with the screen refreshes that are a function of how the e-ink display works. Opening a heavy document takes a few additional seconds. Don’t expect blazing-fast performance of modern smartphones or tablets here anyway.

Read and write

The device also makes for a pretty good e-reader. Unlike a regular Kindle, it’s quite large to lie in bed with, but through the day, I enjoy reading articles saved from the internet, some reports for research, an e-book and e-newspapers. There’s a Read on reMarkable browser extension and an Office Add-in, so you can send online articles and your documents directly to your device. For the few weeks I have tried the reMarkable 2, I realised I have read more than my usual fix. That is a great win. A Kindle offers the same, but it’s on my nightstand and I reach for it only before sleeping at night or carry it when I go out.

Apart from image formats, it supports Word documents, PowerPoint presentation, PDFs and EPUB files. The biggest miss is a backlight, which weighs down its e-reader capabilities.

Is it for me?

reMarkable 2 has a short list of features—you can write, draw and read on it. There’s no browser to look up information or an email client to track your work. It is paper and pen with a digital flair. Not a toned-down tablet. It wants to be to writing what a Kindle is to reading. A master of one. The Kindle does that cheap, of course.

The reMarkable 2 is available on, starting at 43,999 for the bundle, including reMarkable 2 and Marker Plus. It is definitely expensive, especially since it’s an additional device that won’t replace your laptop or smartphone.

Abhishek Baxi is a technology journalist and digital consultant.

Also read: Amazon Kindle 11th Gen Review: A basic e-reader steps up

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