Can ‘the world’s thinnest tablet’ beat an iPad?
reMarkable’s original oversized E Ink tablet was an interesting idea from 2017: it’s a 10.3-inch tablet that had the ambitious idea to try to replace paper entirely with a digital tablet. It wasn’t quite successful. But now, the company is back with the reMarkable 2, a thinner, faster, cheaper, and generally nicer-looking attempt at realizing that goal.
The original reMarkable tablet was a fun product conceptually, but it was held back by a few major flaws, like its expensive $499 price point, laggy software, and poorly optimized menus.
The newer model is meant to fix most of those issues. At $399, it’s cheaper. There’s a new, dual-core processor that promises to be faster. The software has been updated and has new features, including a new Google Chrome plugin that will offer a Pocket-esque service where you can send articles from the internet to read later on the tablet. The design is also thinner: reMarkable claims that the new tablet is the thinnest in the world.
Like the original model, the star of the show is the company’s Canvas display, which is now in its second generation. The newer model still is “partially” powered by E Ink and still measures in at 10.3 inches with an 1872 x 1404 resolution (for 226 DPI, close to other similar-sized tablets).
But where the reMarkable 2 stands out is the “paper-like” design, a mixture of the textured writing surface and the custom material used for the stylus tips that makes it feel like an actual pencil. The Canvas display has a few new things, though: a shorter distance from the cover to the actual E Ink underneath and a far-faster 21ms latency (nearly twice as fast as the older model). The new model also switches over to USB-C for charging, which is a welcome thing to see in 2020.
Of course, the questions that surrounded the original remain: at $399 (plus $49 for a pen and $69 for a case, although those two accessories will be included with preorders), it’s a pretty big price tag for a fairly limited tablet. That’s especially true when compared to an entry-level iPad ($329) and Apple Pencil ($99), which are collectively cheaper than a similar setup for the reMarkable 2 and offer more functionality at that price.
Then again, the point of the reMarkable (and thus, the reMarkable 2) isn’t to make a device that can ostensibly replace a laptop, like an iPad can. They’re focused devices that are meant to be more capable notepads, a place to jot down ideas, read documents and books, and generally disconnect in a more distraction-free environment than traditional digital products.
Preorders for the reMarkable 2 begin today, with products expected to ship in June.