The reMarkable - It's Pros, Cons and What about an iPad?

When I started thumbing through Facebook about 7 months ago, I began to see adds in my feed for a weird writing tablet. After seeing it enough times, I decided to Google it. What was this product? The reMarkable (rM). I looked at the reviews, I checked YouTube for unboxings and more.

I liked what I saw. Read the first post about the reMarkable Here.

In the original piece I mentioned the issue of price. The price tag. Of course we all complain about price. Price is a huge factor for me and many others.The reMarkable's only real competitor is the MobiScribe. The MobiScribe is much smaller, has a remapped software version that isn’t as intuitive, has more functionality, and a backlight (something reMarkable does NOT have.) The benefits of the reMarkable however still blow the MobiScribe out of the water. So, because of this...they own the market and can honestly charge whatever they want.

I can also speak to something else in relation to the reMarkable price. Over $150 of the product price pays for the VAT international shipping cost through DHL.

For many reading this, the cost is more than an iPad...and the iPad does so much more. But that’s the catch. The iPad is a wonderful diverse piece of hardware. The reMarkable is a wonderful singular piece of hardware that actually beats the iPad hands down in what it does - Don't believe me? Watch the guys from Macworld...

Many people see me writing on my rM tablet and ask about it. At first, they are astounded by how lightweight it is. Then I let them write with it. “Wow.” is what I always hear. And those people are correct. “Wow.” is what it is.

When I originally purchased the rM tablet, I said to myself, “ we go. No more paper notebooks.” It hurt a little. I love pen and paper. I love journaling. It took a while to figure out the workflow, what I liked, what I didn’t, what I would really use it for. Below I outline in bullets just a few things to remember and in no particular order-- if you’re thinking about going to the rM tablet.
  • Establish that the rM tablet will be used for your business notes, scratch paper, meeting notes. Be okay with still having a paper journal on you in order to write down personal thoughts.
  •  Expect the nibs to wear out more the harder you press. You will need to buy replacements on a fairly regular basis. An alternative is the soft tip Staedtler Pencil-- you don't ever replace the tip. 
  • The rM has no backlight. This means, like pen and paper, you’ll need external light if you want to read anything on it. 
  • You can’t just flip the pen around and use the other end like an eraser. 
  • It doesn’t register your palms or fingers at all in terms of writing or making marks. Your fingers do however work as navigational tools when used as an e-reader, or navigating menus and selecting tools. 
  • Customer support is ahead of you by many hours. They’re in Oslo Norway. The emails you write them, will be responded to you in the wee hours of the morning. Unless you respond by 7:00 A.M., you're not likely to get another response before the end of your business day.
  • The customer support group on Facebook is a wonderful resource. Get on it. 
  • The syncing works through a wifi enabled connection and connects only to the rM cloud service (which is always free forever for rM customers). Also, your notes are not sent to OneNote, or Google Drive or anywhere else. So if this is a deal breaker for you, you should know this now. That said, rM recently sent out a survey which asked if we wanted those features. So maybe they'll be available in a future software update. 
  • You can write in regular characters and it will change it to typed format which you can email. This is a “beta” feature, which is an excuse we all use for saying, “perfect results are not always guaranteed.” Be okay with this.
  • Be aware that you can buy a textured screen protector for your iPad, which will make it kind of feel more like the rM tablet (paper). 
  • There is NO EMAIL, NO CALCULATOR, NO NOTHING on the rM tablet. It’s for taking notes and reading. And reading only so far as you want to take notes on the pages. Remember what this is for and you won’t be disappointed. 
  • Updates are sporadic. rM makes a big deal announcement updates to us, the customers. Sometimes those updates take a while to get. We have to be patient. In addition, it seems as though the updates we get enhance the functionality of the physical products we own, for free. What I mean is, for example--two updates ago, we received an update that increased the sensitivity and functionality of the rM pen...without having to buy upgraded hardware, there was new functionality. This is insane in today’s world. Rarely is something built to specifications beyond what is currently available, and that can be activated when technology catches up to the hardware already in use. The life cycle of the rM tablet is pretty rad. 
So, should you get an iPad or an rM? It’s up to you. If you like distraction free, lightweight and controlled’s all about the rM. If you want the bells and whistles, iPad. To be sure, my “Official” computer work flow tools involve the following:
  • rM tablet
  • Dell XPS 13”
  • Intuous Wacom Tablet
  • Seagate 3Tb USB 3.0 HDD
On occasion, I pull out my journal to write down important thoughts and revelations. On occasion, I pack my iMac Pro instead of the Dell XPS, and on occasion I use my iPad Pro. The point is, tools are great.

Go talk to your mechanic friend and ask them about the tools they have. Ask them about making the final payment to their Snap-on tool chest. The point I’m making is that tools are expensive. Using the right one for the right job is crucial.

Do I recommend the rM tablet? Absolutely.

Best wishes,