reMarkable 2 vs iPad and Apple Pencil


As many followers of the Paperless Movement know, the reMarkable 2 has been a hotly debated product! When it comes to digital note-taking, many of us want that feeling of writing on paper. We want that flawless fluid feeling, it makes writing easier, and the reMarkable 2 really does tick this box. We also know there is a massive difference between passive note-taking and effective note-taking, especially in the digital world.

In the comprehensive video below you will see Tom comparing Apple Notes on the iPad Pro (with a Paperlike Screencover) with the reMarkable 2. He shared some of the, well quite remarkable features of the reMarkable 2, but he also clearly demonstrated some of its fundamental flaws, so much so, he sent the device back! The essence of the device was so compelling, Tom was keen to give it a go again. So, with the release of new features, and high hopes abound, Tom tested the reMarkable 2 to the max!

If you are thinking of buying the reMarkable 2, read on. Spoiler alert, Tom’s high hopes are quickly dashed! But read on, buying such devices are an investment, it’s wise to understand what works and why. Plus, spoiler alert #2, Tom still wants to keep it!

You are probably aware, but it’s worth reminding our readers, the Paperless Movement is, and always will be a non-sponsored channel. This means we can be brutally honest, and give our candid thoughts. Our mission is to share our experiences of tools, apps, and devices with practical use cases so you can be savvy when it comes to making these hefty purchases.

Why buy the reMarkable 2?

  1. reMarkable – the only tablet that feels like paper
    The biggest attraction of the reMarkable is their success in recreating a genuine paper-and-pen experience of writing. Compared to other devices including the iPad Pro, with a screen protector and Apple pencil, the surface resistance on the reMarkable simply has the closest feeling to writing on paper. Research shows writing by hand in some ways is superior when it comes to learning, creativity, and productivity. For many of us, writing just feels better and more natural than typing, plus writing things down by hand helps us remember and use the information. Having a device that feels flawless and with no perceivable lag really is something special.
  2. Distraction-free
    The reMarkable’s sole purpose is for writing. Using the iPad as a note-taking device can easily lead to the temptation of going online, checking emails, or being disturbed by notifications. With the reMarkable, there are no other features or possible distractions, simply a minimalist tablet that allows you to focus on your writing task. It’s extremely slim (0.19 inches) and feels great when held with one hand. It is the world’s thinnest tablet. It does feel like a physical piece of paper. Plus, a great feature is the ease of access to your notes. Even when you turn it off and back on, you’re back on the page where you left it. It’s a great in-your-face feeling, and less like a screen compared to an iPad.

Making your digital notepad work for you

We are increasingly bombarded with information, this includes our own daily notes and scribbles. We end up being paralyzed with what to do with all the information we now have. In the Paperless Movement, Tom Solid created the ICOR® Mastery, to help you build your productivity system end-to-end. In ICOR® We discuss the importance of effective note-taking. Whether it is creating temporary notes or business notes, we all have different types of information that we are gathering on a daily basis and therefore need different systems to place them. Having a Single Source of Truth in place, a system to store all relevant data in a highly effective manner means we can now leverage our data; we can share them, update and automate, edit, retrieve, and analyze them! When we understand all the aspects of our workstreams in our business, we can begin to question; are we just creating more notes than we actually need, are we just creating more ‘noise’ and adding to our overwhelm?

reMarkable 2 Problems

reMarkable 2 Document Layout

When accessing the toolbar to make changes or edits to the reMarkable document, you no longer have visibility of your full document on the screen. With reMarkable’s sleek and minimalistic design it seems frustratingly clumsy. Instead, it would be more fitting to have access to the toolbar in a less intrusive place. With the more expensive pencil, you have the inbuilt eraser, however, this isn’t the case for everyone.

reMarkable Organization

The inability to globally search within your notes is a huge drawback of the reMarkable. As you cannot search your own notes, each note acts as a siloed document. In comparison, on the iPad, you have a wealth of apps like; GoodNotes, Notability, or even Apple Notes that all provide options to search your handwritten notes. Remember, you want to be purposeful with your note-taking, we want a system that encourages better digital note-taking and the ability to leverage them. What’s the point in taking notes if you don’t use them! This lack of a basic feature means reMarkable is comparable to using a paper notebook, in fact even worse, as we can’t use sticky notes or even colored text.

reMarkable Cloud integrations

One of reMarkable’s new features is the ability to sync your notes to Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. However, upon testing, it is only possible to upload the files. This means when choosing to access the file again on your cloud drive, the file will be downloaded and duplicated on your reMarkable. The worst part is once the file has been downloaded, it is no longer an editable reMarkable file, instead of a pdf. This is not synchronization, it’s not replacing the original file. It is pointlessly creating another copy. Duplication of files is a major concern, this can lead to numerous issues, complications, and confusion.

reMarkable for Knowledge Management will kill your productivity, 100%

Tom Solid

reMarkable Subscription Model

Let’s be clear, at the Paperless Movement, we advocate paying for apps and subscription fees – we believe in supporting the work of developers and start-ups. In this instance, our concern is value for money. With the new reMarkable subscription service, ($8 per month) you get unlimited native cloud storage, external Cloud integration, and handwriting conversion. All of these are basic functionalities many tablets would provide for free, at The Paperless Movement this seems excessive. It also means with ‘no plan’ you have zero features. So, for those who already have the reMarkable, who depend on the original services, they are forced to use the subscription model in order to get the basic features. For those that choose ‘no plan’, they are stuck in the reMarkable ecosystem. There’s, simply no means to leverage this device in a different way. There is no option for knowledge management of your data, or access to handwriting conversion. Quite frankly, it’s a rip-off.

They took away basic handwriting to digital text conversion and put it in the most expensive plan!

Tom Solid

We have been in contact with reMarkable to get a better understanding of the new subscription and future plans, unfortunately, they have not been forthcoming. Unlike Apple, when customers have an issue with their iPad, whether there is a valid guarantee or not, they are a visible brand that are there for their customers. Customer service, listening to feedback are what customers need and expect.

Should I buy the reMarkable 2?

The mission at the Paperless Movement is to empower each struggling paperless pioneer worldwide to become a highly productive pro. We show you how to create highly effective (digital) productivity systems so you can easily collect, manage and leverage your information, and in order to be productive, we create workstreams with the least amount of friction. A system that works FOR you. Sadly and disappointingly, the current nature of the reMarkable simply doesn’t allow for a flawless integration into ICOR® optimized productivity systems we are aiming for.

We want reMarkable to shine, we see its potential as a distraction-free device, and as you will see in the video, Tom decides to keep his to replace temporary paper notes. The Paperless Movement is here to help readers question if their investments are worth the cost, and achieve what they want. We hope this post has given you some food for thought.

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