Podcasting costs me a fortune. Justin and I are forever sending each other shopping on Stationery Adjacent and TJ and I have been at it for years on 1857. This time, it’s definitely TJ’s fault. Through work, he got himself a ReMarkable 2. Instantly, I found myself clicking the URL.
“Replace your notebooks and printed documents with the only tablet that feels like paper.” So boasts the website. That’s bold, intriguing and vaguely worrying.
First up, the price. This ain’t cheap. The tablet starts at €350. Then, you need a marker at either €79 for the basic one or €129 for one with a built-in eraser. Next, comes the cover. There’s a sheath at €69 or a swish “book folio” at €99 in a grey polymer weave. If you fancy a leather folio, then you’re up to €159. My configuration, with the souped up marker and the polymer book folio came in at €577 delivered. That price includes “Connect” for one year, more about that later.
Looks. This is a good looking, elegant piece of kit. It came as no surprise to discover that ReMarkable is based up in Oslo. Scandi—cool anyone? The tablet is very thin, and has one port (USB C) and one button. (Sleep)
Function. It’s a kindle that you write on. What’s not to like? There are multiple settings to amend how my scrawl appears, as a pencil, ballpoint, fountain pen or sharpie, with a variety of line breadths. the writing experience is not the same as a Japanese nib on Tomoe River, but it’s a hell of a lot better than an Apple pencil on an ipad.
There’s a folder system of sorts, where you can keep your pdfs and notebooks organised. There’s 6.5 GB of onboard storage. You can import pdfs and ePUB files alongside your notes. You cannot import kindle format books.
It’s a bonnie wee thing.
But what’s it for?
Use Case 1.
I’m studying for a MBA. Every two weeks, I am deluged in PDFs to read. On the ReMarkable, I have a nice reading experience, and can highlight passages and scrawl the odd note. It’s great for “first pass”. As it syncs with my Mac - I can access the annotated pdfs there, when I want to type more detailed notes.
Use Case 2.
Part of my jobby-job work involves field visits. I’ll be in a business, asking questions, checking whether people know and follow their procedures. Using a laptop makes the interaction awkward, so generally, I have used a notebook. This time, I plan to prepare some templates and take notes directly onto them through the ReMarkable. I’ll be able to translate the notes to text and even send them direct to e-mail. My assistant can then polish them up, so that the report is instantly ready. (If only I had an assistant!)
Use Case 3.
Thinking. Many of my old-school notebooks are full of me thinking on paper. From random ideas and snippets, to full blown projects. I tend to think through a pen or pencil. Will I sit on the plane with a blank notebook open on the ReMarkable and start planning how to take over the world? Sure I will. Could I draft a blog post on one? Absolutely.
To get the full power of the tablet, you need to pay for “connect”. The first year is included in the purchase, but thereafter, is €6 per month. Connect brings Unlimited Cloud storage, integration with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, handwriting conversion, screen share and send by e-mail. Handwriting conversion is a must for me - it enables "Use Case 2" for a start, but it is a consideration when looking at the already hefty price.
I will need to adapt some workflows to accommodate the tablet. It’s not by Apple, and doesn’t seamlessly integrate with my existing IT, but it is intriguing. Will it replace my laptop? No. My ipad? No. My notebooks - not all of them. But some of them? Absolutely. It already has.
Who is it for?
If you’re in the C-suite, you could probably have everything synced to you as a pdf, scrawl on it and have “the team” implement your decrees. A computer might be a thing of the past. For those of us tech-obsessed, ReMarkable is an indulgence. It will sit alongside our existing kit. I can see myself sitting on a plane, tapping away on the laptop, before switching to the ReMarkable and making some notes, thinking “on paper”, almost. Normal people will nod, find the ReMarkable interesting and move on, sticking to their notes app or their notebook.
I love it.