The reMarkable 2 Tablet Is Almost Better Than Paper

Paper is dead, long live paper

Key Takeaways

  • The reMarkable 2 tablet offers a pure reading and note-taking experience for $399.
  • It won’t replace your iPad, but the few functions offered by the reMarkable allow you to focus on what you’re doing.
  • The screen and latency are big upgrades over the original model.
The reMarkable 2 tablet with "Hello Readers" written on it.
Lifewire / Sascha Brodsky

The newly released reMarkable 2 tablet is an ambitious experiment to reinvent pen and paper for the digital world that mostly succeeds in its mission. 

The $399 reMarkable enters the market as the options for digital note-taking devices are on the rise. Many people are turning to note-taking gadgets as they offer the feel of traditional paper and are easier on their eyes than computer or phone screens. For those who keep this goal in mind and aren’t looking to replace their iPad, the reMarkable 2 won’t disappoint.

I got ahold of the reMarkable just as 2020’s torrent of news was starting to break down my body. My eyes felt like someone had rubbed sand in them from staring at grim headlines. A worrying numbness was creeping up my wrists and arms as I spent too much time remote working over a keyboard in my living room. The reMarkable offered a respite from my woes.  

A Screen That Doesn’t Glare

Flicking on the reMarkable was an instant relief. Its 10.3-inch E Ink display is much easier to read for long periods than a traditional led screen. The reMarkable uses the same screen technology as Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers, which is glare-free and boasts a long battery life. It’s lacking a backlight, though, which seems like a big omission.

But like the Kindle, the reMarkable is designed to do a few things well in contrast to the multi-tasking iPad: it’s a great tablet for jotting down notes and it’s a pretty good one for reading ebooks. Forget browsing the web, watching Netflix, or listening to music.

The reMarkable 2 with "Lifewire Hands On" written on it.
Lifewire / Sascha Brodsky

The design is slim at 0.19-inches thick and, at 30 percent thinner than the original reMarkable, the manufacturer claims it’s the thinnest tablet on the market. It feels solid and not easily breakable, although I was glad for the optional case to protect it. The new model is also a little heavier than its predecessor at 0.89 pounds, but I enjoyed the heft. The internals specifications area also improved this time around with USB-C, double the RAM, and a faster processor.

Faster Writing

The reMarkable 2 boasts other upgrades over the previous model. Although it’s the same size as before, the display is now covered with glass instead of plastic. This change makes a world of difference in the way it feels as your pen glides along. Handwriting is also faster as latency has been slashed by almost half. An app translates handwriting into text, and while you can draw on it, artists might not be ready to give up their Wacom tablets yet.

There’s a lot to like about the reMarkable’s single minded pursuit of text. Embrace this less is more approach and you’ll find that your attention span widens. In this age of social media and an endless variety of digital entertainment on demand, there’s something truly refreshing about a device that’s focused. Using the reMarkable, I found that I finally had a chance to think.

The reMarkable 2 with smartpen resting on its surface.
Lifewire / Sascha Brodsky 

Why not just use paper then? That’s the central argument against the reMarkable and other tablets like it, and it’s not an unreasonable one. Pens and paper have infinite battery life, terrific resolution, and the price can’t be beaten.

I have answers for those naysayers. First of all, I’ve never met a piece of paper I couldn’t lose. Meanwhile, the reMarkable syncs your notes to the cloud. Those electronic notes are searchable, which is a trick paper hasn’t mastered. Reading ebooks is also fun on the giant display.

Those aren’t my real reasons for enjoying the reMarkable so much, though. It’s just a wonderful gadget. Now that smartphones have nearly conquered all other gizmos, there’s a place in my heart for something that’s fun to use again. The reMarkable feels great in my hands, and I welcomed the escape from the multi-tasking world this tablet represents. 

Is this narrow minded device worth spending $399 on? That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. But I say you can’t put a price on sanity.

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