Why reMarkable’s Type Folio E-Paper Tablet Keyboard Is Such a Rad Idea

And why computers are so distracting

  • The Type Folio keyboard snaps onto your Remarkable e-ink note-taking tablet.
  • E-ink gives weeks-long battery life and works great outdoors. 
  • Distraction isn't about messaging apps—it's about always second-guessing what your computer will do next.
A man using a reMarkable tablet and pencil to take notes.


Remarkable's new keyboard is pretty much a portable typewriter for the 21st century. 

No, laptops don't weigh much these days, and yes, you can easily slap an excellent keyboard onto your iPad for a great typing computer with all-day battery life. But can you read the screen in outdoor daylight? And does its battery last two weeks? It cannot. But the Remarkable 2 e-ink tablet combined with the new Type Folio E-Paper Tablet Keyboard totally can.

"I am ecstatic about the new e-ink typewriter from Remarkable, as it fulfills my childhood dreams, motivates me to create intentionally, and also allows me to write at a structured pace without distractions," Troy Portillo, director of operations at online learning platform Studypool told Lifewire via email. "I think e-ink typewriter keyboards could be beneficial for anyone who works from home and wants to spice up their desk space, but it is absolutely not a necessary tool for them to succeed." 

Distraction-Free Writing Devices

Much is made of the "distraction-free" nature of writing devices that don't run web browsers, messaging apps, and so on, but that doesn't really make much sense. After all, you can grab your phone just as easily, no matter what device or app you are using, to get your work done. 

But these devices might be less distracting, thanks to the fact that they are single-purpose machines. You only sit down at a piano when you want to play something, and you don't pick up a ruler or tape measure unless you want to measure something. There's never any ambiguity about the purpose of those tools. 

The Remarkable 2 tablet with the Type Folio cover, open so you can see the keyboard.


Equally, an actual typewriter isn't non-distracting because it doesn't have apps. It's non-distracting because it is designed for one purpose, and this makes the tool disappear. You don't have to look up to see if the cursor is in the right mode; the buttons always do the exact same thing; you can step away from it without the screen going to sleep or the battery running down; and when you tap a key, it will type a letter instantly, without having to wake from sleep first. 

The Remarkable/Type Folio isn't that. It's still a computer, after all, but it gets a good part of the way there. 

ReMarkably Good E-Paper Tablet

The Type Folio keyboard snaps onto Remarkable's oversized note-taking tablet, and once in place, it turns the e-ink screen into a horizontal typewriter page. The idea is that you can more easily—and more quickly—enter text than you could by writing with the (optional) stylus, although you can still use that stylus to scribble notes on the same screen.

The advantages over using an iPad or laptop are both obvious and subtle. The apparent benefits come in the form of way longer battery life and the ability to use it outdoors, both thanks to the nature of e-ink. The subtle advantage is that, like a piece of paper, it can just sit there until you need it. There's no stress about walking away and coming back to find the device has shut down to save battery power, for example. And that's exactly the kind of computer-first distraction that stops me from thinking about the work I'm trying to do. 

But are those advantages enough? Especially as the Remarkable 2 starts at $279, and the keyboard costs another $199 on top. That's iPad territory, with enough money left over for an e-ink Kindle. 

Someone signing a document on a reMarkable tablet 2 using the pen tool.


"[The Type Folio] looks like an overly expensive niche accessory for an overly expensive niche product. I love e-ink and wish more companies would experiment with it, but it's bizarre to me how the category (with products like this and Freewrite) is converging on being pricier replacements of decades-old word processor technology like the AlphaSmart… with similar battery life," professional journalist and fiction writer John Brownlee told Lifewire via Mastodon.

E-ink has massive advantages in certain areas, but as Brownlee notes, it's not really being exploited for anything new. Where are the e-ink GPS map devices for hikers, for example? On the other hand, if you are already all-in on reading and note-taking on the Remarkable tablet, then adding a keyboard—and a pretty decent keyboard at that—seems like a great idea.

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