Initial thoughts after a week with my ReMarkable 2 tablet

As promised, some initial thoughts about the ReMarkable 2 paper tablet.

I’m a note-taker. As in, I use pen and paper, even in the middle of a Zoom meeting. So with going to work full-time as a business content writer I found myself going through a legal pad in like 2 weeks.

Add to that the fact that I’ve started dabbling in fiction along with the non-fiction book project I’m knee-deep in and I’ve been using 4 different notebooks + at least 3 apps to contain and corral my thoughts, notes, and ramblings. That’s just not sustainable, by any definition.

I went back to my Bear database and found a link I had saved to the ReMarkable tablet. Billed as the worlds first “paper tablet,” the company promised a writing experience that felt like scratching away with a pen or pencil on paper – but with the built-in ability to convert those scribblings to a text file of some sort for digital use. I was intrigued and stored the link for later.

With the lovely insurance settlement I recently received thanks to an inattentive fuckwit (I won’t let this digress into a Seattle Driver rant, promise), I decided this was the time to indulge and buy myself a present. Enter my lovely new ReMarkable 2.

Background out of the way, let’s dive in to my thoughts on this little slice of technological wizardry – I think I’m in love.

There are some downsides, which I’ll get to in a moment, but first and foremost I have to say that I truly love using this thing. There are multiple pen types to choose from (I’m preferring the ballpoint with a medium line for most writing), and too many templates for paper types to list here (lined in 3 sizes, blank, dot grids galore, and even several versions of the Cornell annotation layout. Then, when ready, just hit “convert text and send” and you get an email with an OCR (optical character recognition) version of your text ready to move to Bear, Drafts, Scrivener, or whatever your composition app of choice happens to be.

The tech behind the e-ink interface is amazing. I’ve never had even a single instance of my wrist or hand causing a mark to appear on the page. The eraser on the upgraded pen I opted for works like a charm (even if there is a bit of ghosting where you erased until you close and reopen the file, then it’s gone). And the surface is just scratchy enough to actually, finally, feel like writing on real paper with a real analog pen.

What’s not to love?

Well, a couple of things. Since it has limited processing power onboard, you have to be on wifi in order to use the OCR. Then you can only send one page at a time (so the short story I just wrote, stay tuned for that, had to be sent in 4 emails. And it comes as text in the body of the email rather than a .txt file (not a deal-breaker, just annoying). And lastly, with wifi turned on, it syncs to the cloud CONSTANTLY, which is murder on the battery life.

One week in and I’m absolutely loving this thing. I have some misgivings about having spent this much for such a specialized piece of kit, but then again, I am working as a writer and have spend probably 2-4 hours a day using it in just this first week. Only time will tell if I still love it this much when the end of the 30-day return period arrives and I have to make my final decision. Those misgivings grew this week as I came to the unfortunate realization that my only 3-year-old Macbook Pro was approaching it’s last act, so I’m going to have to spend a chunk on a new laptop and/or Mac Mini/iPad combo in the distressingly near future. One more thing that only time will bring the best solution for.