Testing the Remarkable 2 Tablet – Can It Replace Paper for Writers?

The Remarkable 2 tablet offers a unique paper-like writing experience that aims to replace traditional notebooks and paper for writers. With its E Ink display, friction emulating pen, and distraction-free interface, the Remarkable 2 promises a superior writing and reading experience.

But can the Remarkable 2 truly replace paper for writers? In this comprehensive review, we test the Remarkable 2’s key features to see if it lives up to its promise.

An Overview of the Remarkable 2 Tablet

The Remarkable 2 is the second generation of Remarkable’s E Ink tablets designed specifically for writing and reading. Here are some of the key features that make it stand out:

  • E Ink Display – The 10.3″ Canvas Display provides a paper-like feel with minimal glare.
  • Thin and Light – At 4.7mm thick and weighing 404g, it’s portable and easy to hold.
  • Friction Stylus – Its Precision Pen aims to emulate the friction and feel of writing on paper.
  • Distraction-Free – With no apps, notifications or distractions, it’s designed for focus.
  • Handwriting Conversion – It can convert handwritten notes into typed text.
  • Document Syncing – Notes sync and backup to the cloud via Remarkable’s apps and web dashboard.
  • Customizable Templates – Blank, lined, graph, and dot grid templates cater to different writing needs.

With its refined design and focus on recreating the analog writing experience digitally, the Remarkable 2 positions itself as a replacement for paper notetaking for writers. But does using it live up to expectations? Let’s dig into the hands-on experience.

Testing the Hardware, Display, and Writing Experience

The hardware, display quality, lag-free writing responsiveness, and overall feeling of writing on the Remarkable 2 are essential to providing a paper-like experience. Here is an in-depth assessment:

The Design – Sleek and Sturdy Yet Portable

  • Sleek black matte plastic construction with glass front screen feels sturdy and durable.
  • Bezel width is minimal, similar to a real notebook.
  • Lightweight and thin at just 5.4mm thick. Weighs just 404g making it highly portable.
  • Frame has enough width (4.7mm) to allow grip space for holding.
  • Folio cover with flexible fabric textured design and integrated magnets.
  • Overall hardware design is refined and minimalistic.

The Display – Crisp Black and White Just Like Paper

  • The 10.3″ Canvas monochrome display is crisp and clear.
  • 1872 x 1404 resolution and 226 DPI makes text sharp with no visible pixelation.
  • Dark black ink on white background provides excellent contrast just like paper.
  • E Ink display means zero glare or eye strain when reading.
  • Refresh rates feel natural with zero lag or ghosting when writing.

The Pen Writing Experience – Friction Emulation Works Well

  • The Precision Pen aims to recreate the resistance and friction of writing on paper.
  • Pressure sensitivity allows for natural line variation just like traditional pens.
  • Latency is impressively low at just 21ms. Zero perceptible lag when writing.
  • Palm rejection works flawlessly. Can rest palm on screen when writing with no issues.
  • Pen has one flat side so it doesn’t roll off surfaces. Magnets keep it attached to the tablet.
  • 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity detects light to hard presses.
  • Side button on pen erases; tap eraser to backspace. Press and hold to switch tools.

Overall, the hardware design, display quality, and writing experience on the Remarkable 2 make it feel remarkably close to writing on paper. The tactile friction and responsiveness when writing set it apart from other tablets.

Testing the Software, Interface, and Ease of Use

Beyond hardware, the software experience is critical to evaluate for writers. The Remarkable 2 runs a Linux-based interface optimized solely for reading and writing. Let’s examine how its pared down software design compares to paper:

The Streamlined Interface – Designed for Minimal Distractions

  • Home screen shows a virtual planner, notebooks, and documents. That’s it.
  • No apps, notifications, email, or internet browsing to distract from writing.
  • Settings allow customizing pen sensitivity and other preferences.
  • Multiple notebooks with section dividers can organize writing just like the real thing.
  • Table of Contents menu allows quick navigation in long documents.
  • Templates add lined, graph or dot grids to notebooks.
  • Simple gestures like pinch to zoom make navigation intuitive.
  • Overall, the software is designed purely for distraction-free writing.

Easy Organization – Notebooks, Sections, and Pages

  • Notebooks organize writing projects just like on paper.
  • Sections in each notebook allow dividing text easily.
  • Unlimited pages in each notebook with continuous scrolling; no page-flipping needed.
  • Handwriting converts to text allowing keyword searches across all notes.
  • Highlighting and underlining text works like analog annotation.
  • Layers allow tracing paper-like overlays; great for planning drawings.
  • Creates a paper-like workspace to organize writing without hassle.

Seamless Sharing and Syncing

  • Wi-Fi connectivity syncs all writing to the cloud automatically.
  • Remarkable desktop and mobile apps provide access across devices.
  • Export to PDF to share transcriptions of handwritten notes via apps.
  • Handwriting recognition and live text conversion allow copying text to other apps.
  • Overall easy sharing while maintaining a distracting-free writing environment.

The minimalist software interface provides a workspace purpose-built for writing. The lack of distraction combined with paper-like organization through notebooks make for focused writing.

How Writing Experience and Functionality Compares to Paper

Now that we’ve thoroughly tested the Remarkable 2’s hardware and software capabilities, how does the overall writing experience compare to paper? Here’s an in-depth assessment:

Advantages Over Paper

  • Endless supply of virtual notebooks and paper. Never run out of room to write.
  • Create notebooks for each writing project to stay organized.
  • Search handwritten notes for keywords. Paper notes can’t be searched.
  • Highlighting and annotation tools for efficient study and reference.
  • Layers allow tracing overlays for planning drawings and diagrams.
  • Syncs automatically to the cloud so notes are always backed up.
  • Export everything to PDF to print physical copies if needed.
  • Carry hundreds of notebooks in one thin device. Environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages vs Paper

  • Can’t physically flip through pages or feel their edges like real notebooks.
  • The pen friction and glass screen have slightly more resistance than paper.
  • Dark black ink lacks the warm natural tone of ink on paper.
  • No ability to use highlighters, colored pens, or pencils for contrast.
  • Can’t tape extra papers or photos into a virtual notebook.
  • Notebooks lack the tangible permanence of ink on fibers.

Where Paper is Still Better Suited

  • Bullet journaling and real planning notebooks with taped in items.
  • Taking notes in the rain or extreme weather conditions.
  • Writing in extremely bright conditions like under direct sunlight.
  • Using multiple pen colors for visual contrast and creativity.
  • Journaling where natural paper tone enhances the writing experience.

Overall, the Remarkable 2 matches or exceeds paper in many practical ways like organization, searching, and portability. But paper still edges it out for true creative freedom and tangibility. The Remarkable 2 combines the best of analog and digital worlds.

Top Tips for Optimizing the Remarkable 2 Writing Experience

After extensive testing, here are our top tips for optimizing your writing workflow on the Remarkable 2:

  • Set up separate notebooks for each writing project, draft, or topic. Keep things organized.
  • Name notebooks clearly – it makes searching and navigating easier.
  • Use section dividers within notebooks to further categorize notes.
  • Add templates like lines or grids to mimic your favorite traditional notebooks.
  • Adjust the pen friction and pressure sensitivity in settings for your preferences.
  • Use layers when drafting – sketch ideas first, then finalize on top.
  • Learn and use the Radial Menu gestures to speed up navigating and changing tools.
  • Use keyword searches and Table of Contents to quickly navigate long notebooks.
  • Export finished writing to PDF for easy sharing and printing.
  • Keep your work backed up by syncing regularly through WiFi connections.

FAQs About Using the Remarkable 2 for Writing

Does the Remarkable 2 truly feel like writing on paper?

It comes remarkably close thanks to the friction emulating pen and paper-like display. The tactile experience while writing on the Remarkable 2 sets it apart from glass-screen tablets. The pen-to-screen latency is imperceptible and allows for a natural writing rhythm.

How is writing on the Remarkable 2 better than traditional paper?

Its virtually unlimited supply of notebooks, cloud backups, searchability, and ability to export to different formats provide major practical advantages over traditional paper. Handwriting is converted to editable text for easy sharing and formatting.

What types of writing is the Remarkable 2 best suited for?

It shines for any form of long-form writing like drafting manuscripts and essays where its organization and navigation features are beneficial. It also excels for note taking thanks to cloud syncing and searchability. Bullet journaling and creative writing relying on sketching, colors and tape-ins are better on physical notebooks.

How does the Remarkable 2 software compare to writing apps on tablets?

Its distraction-free singular focus on writing gives it advantages over general purpose tablets. The page-based system with continuous scrolling and notebook/divider organization mimics paper more closely than most app interfaces. Advanced features like converting handwriting to text and automatic backups further set it apart.

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Can the Remarkable 2 completely replace paper for writers?

For many writing tasks and documents, it certainly can, thanks to its paper-emulating experience and beneficial digital features. But for creative projects requiring multimedia integration, unstructured organization, or emotive intimacy, traditional paper still has some intangible advantages. The Remarkable 2 strikes an excellent balance.

Verdict – A Game-Changing Digital Writing Experience

In our thorough testing, the Remarkable 2 proves itself as a potent replacement for traditional paper for many writing needs. While paper still edges it out for true creative freedom, the Remarkable 2 successfully recreates the tactile writing experience while adding beneficial digital features. For any form of long-form writing, it can optimize organization and portability compared to paper notebooks.

The Remarkable 2’s friction emulating pen, lag-free writing responsiveness, refined tablet hardware, and distraction-free writing interface combine to deliver a best-in-class digital writing experience. While the feel on glass will never be exactly like pen and paper, the Remarkable 2 gets remarkably close. For writers who want to combine the natural appeal of paper with the practical benefits of digital organization and sharing, the Remarkable 2 is a game-changing tablet that can replace much of the traditional paper writing workflow.

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