Belated initial impressions on the reMarkable 2 tablet.
The hardware feels premium with a nice with a metal border, one part that really caught my eye is the asymetry of the bezel when comparing the top versus the bottom of the display. Between the premium materials and the large screen the device is heavy to hold one handed for long times.
The pencil feels good in the hand and the writing is 99% of the time fast and responsive. I say 98% because occasionally I’ve caught the UI spending a split second catching up to the writing, but this has been rare for me this far.
Planned Use Cases
I plan on using the device for:
- Writing and sketching out thoughts and ideas.
- Reading PDF’s
- Reading books as EPUB
Writing on the tablet is smooth and easy. My handwriting is roughly the same as it is on actually notebook paper unlike when I try to write with the Apple Pencil on my normal iPad.
One part of the writing experience I need to figure out still is how to handle a notebook explosion. I have created a bunch of notebooks but probably should go back down to only a few. I am unsure yet of what referencing old pages and notes will be like with the electronic setup.
Reading PDF’s is pretty smooth, it can handle larger books and can use hyperlinks in the table of contents. There are options for configuring cropping for the view, setting landscape or portrait mode and a preview list that can be flipped through. This device has the perfect size eInk display for reading PDF’s with minimal cropping or fuss.
Obviously if you read a lot of PDF’s where color is important you will not be seeing the colors though it tries to render shades of gray.
EPUB support on the reMarkable needs work. I am a fan of small font for fitting a lot on a screen but the minimum font size is too large. Some EPUB’s did not load correctly and could not be read.
When changing a font or font size with EPUB book it appears to kick off a re-render of the book which can take a while to complete.
A relatively new and small company releasing only their second product means that it’s not all there. I’ve never used the reMarkable 1 but here are my takes on the hardware and software for the second generation device.
For privacy purposes I would love to have notebooks that were guaranteed to stay on device. The software currently allows working fully offline or fully online. Fully offline means no sending notes, no handwriting to text conversion or syncing to phone.
Read Later Support
I have been using Pocket for years and have the apps and a huge backlog to work through. I would love to be able to read Pocket on the tablet. I have the Kobo Aura one that integrates with Pocket for reading articles on the run and love it. Instead of integrating with an existing read it later application reMarkable has made their own read it later integration that is Chrome only and because of this I have not been able to try it yet.
Better Syncing Support
reMarkable has applications for syncing in Windows and Mac OS that I have not been able to use because I only have Linux computers, so this is only a review of the experience on Linux.
Plugging in the tablet to a computers USB port does not expose a USB system with drag and drop file support in your file browser. Instead to sync to and from the tablet on Linux a toggle in the settings on the tablet advertises enabling a web server and lists and IP address that you can type into your web browser to access the tablet files and drag uploads. This interface is really rudimentary and can only handle simple upload and download tasks.
I am enjoying the reMarkable 2 so far it’s great hardware and I love the form factor and functionality for reading and writing. The software is promising but needs a lot of work.