Abhay Rana aka Nemo

Remarkable 2 FAQ

A lot of folks asked me about my Remarkable experience, this is a dump of all the questions I’ve been asked, and my recommendations.

Scroll to the bottom for a tl;dr recommendation.

1. How does it compare to paper?

Q: I have a habit of jotting down ideas and algorithms with pen on paper. Does Remarkable give the same experience, better or worse?

Better. I have the same habit, and the problem with paper is you run out of space, you can’t erase, and old notebooks are not easy to archive. Remarkable solves most of these issues fairly well.

2. Palm Rejection

Q: While writing down does it cancel the palm senses? Do we need to wear a glove to actually fully cancel the palm noises or is it just natural like writing on a paper with bare hands?

It’s just like writing, it has excellent Palm rejection.

3. Organizing Notes

Q: Can we make folder hierarchies in the Remarkable to maintain different notes of different projects?

Yes. Folders can be nested as well.

4. Exports and PDFs

Q: Can we combine different pages into a single file (just like a pdf of ten pages), after writing and saving ten different pages/screens in the Remarkable?

This is automatic, you create a “notebook” and it’s considered a single file. While exporting to PDF, you can specify whether you want the current page, or all pages. I don’t think it supports a page range yet. It also supports PNG exports.

If you want pages across different notebooks to be together, that will take some work on your desktop, it’s not really something that you will need to do.

Ref: Remarkable Export Doc

5. How easily can I scribble on images?

Q: Can we load an existing image from web or mobile bluetooth and start jotting down/ scribbling on top of this existing image?

The my.remarkable.com website supports importing JPG/PNG, while the desktop/Mobile apps only support PNG/JPG so transferring images isn’t quite seamless yet.

But once you have a image on the remarkable, you can add as many layers and start scribbling on it like any other notebook.

See Importing Files on the remarkable docs for more details.

You can also create “templates” if you have a notebook template (such as a planner/GTD etc) that you’d prefer to use.

6. How does it compare to the iPad+Pencil?

Q: If you have used an iPad with Apple Pencil before, which one would you prefer? Consider the use case of only jotting down handwritten notes and writing handwritten notes on top of existing images. Designing or media editing is not the use case here.

Haven’t used Pencil much, except for drawing a few times.

7. How does backup work in Remarkable? Is the backup very costly?

The device is a 8GB onboard storage, which is quite reasonable. The connect lite plan (4.99 EUR/month) includes unlimited cloud storage that acts as backup.

If you don’t pay for a plan, this is what you get:

Without a subscription, you can still use the cloud to store and sync your notes. However, files will stop syncing to the mobile and desktop apps if they haven’t been opened in the last 50 days. They’ll still be automatically stored on your paper tablet.

Without these, you can always take a regular backup over SSH. See this reddit thread or this script for example.

8. How is the writing latency?

How’s the delay in rendering the pencil moves on screen while writing? Does it give the feel of realistic writing?

Latency is very similar to the Apple Pencil, if slightly lower.

There’s some writing test videos on YouTube that compare these.

9. What about the battery life?

Very good. It’s e-Ink optimized, and I rarely have to worry about charging it. It’s quite similar in usability to a Kindle that way.

10. How is the ebook reading experience?

The core ebook reader is great for PDFs and EPUBs. I love it for reading non-fiction, since that lets me take notes, draw on margins, highlight etc. It doesn’t have a dictionary, which I find strange.

For fiction, I have installed KOReader (not officially supported) which I also run on my jailbroken Kindles. It makes for a better experience for me, since that syncs my progress to my Kindles. It’s the exact same experience that I’m used to, and KOReader has an okay UX with a shitton of features to make up for it (RSS reader, Cloud sync, OPDS support, extensive typesetting configuration etc).

You can’t read DRM protected ebooks on the Remarkable (no Kindle app, for eg). I’m okay with this, since I’m used to buying and ripping DRM from my ebooks for quite some time (or buying and downloading off libgen), but that might not work for everyone.

11. How is the hackability?

This was a core draw for me, and running shell scripts on a eInk tablet is cool.

There’s a bunch of cool things you can install via Toltec, and a community of people who love hacking on RM. The lack of a button on the RM2 does make some things weird, but it’s overall worth the effort.

The one problematic part is that you have to wait for the hacks to catch up to the Remarkable Firmware updates, so there’s usually a few weeks of lag time between when a new firmware is available from Remarkable, and when you can install it (without breaking third-party apps).

12. Which accessories did you get?

Another problem with the Remarkable is how much you end up spending. This is what I spent:

Item Price(EUR) Notes
Remarkable 2 359 EUR/31,000 INR 40 EUR discount with a referral code
Staedtler Digital Pencil 22 EUR/2k INR Less friction, decent pencil
Lamy EMR Stylus 45 EUR/3900 INR Want a backup pen, and this one has the advantage of having a button in addition to being a Lamy
MoKo Felt cover 11 EUR/1000 INR Remarkable has overpriced “folios”, so getting a generic iPad cover which has a pocket to keep the pen
Marker Tips from Remarkable 14 EUR/1200 INR The best tips for remarkable are obviously the RM tips. They can be used with the Lamy, but need some hacks to use with the Staedtler.

The first 2 is probably the cheapest combination you can go for while buying a remarkable. You could probably get a used Remarkable with a pen for ~300EUR (26k INR) which gets you the same OS with slightly slower writing latency, and a lower battery life. Not the worst deal. Totals down to 452 EUR (~39k INR). For comparison, the cheapest Apple Pencil + compatible iPad combination is 39.5k (Apple India prices). Of course, iOS does a lot more.

The above is what I paid (June ‘22), the pricing has changed since then due to the Connect/Connect Lite plans being introduced.

The newly launched Kindle Scribe starts from $340 (~28k INR), and will probably be similarly priced in India.

13. What about the Connect subscription? Which plan are you using?

Remarkable has 3 levels of subscriptions: No Plan, Connect Lite (only backup, 4 EUR/mo), Connect (Everything, 6 EUR/mo). See https://remarkable.com/store/connect.

You can’t sync Dropbox or Google Drive, or use handwriting recognition without a subscription full Connect subscription.

I’m on the Legacy plan (Connect, free forever) since I bought it before the new plan was introduced so I have these features for now, but it’s unfair for me to recommend a tablet where you need to pay every month to access OCR or send your notes to yourselves.

It’s hackable (for now) soo you can sync cloud-services (to avoid paying) via some third-party tools easily (for now) but handwriting recognition is dealbreaker for many people and that’s not doable.

14. Any alternatives you’d recommend?

Do look at Supernote and Boox/iPad as alternatives instead - they run full-fledged Android so it makes for a better cloud experience at a similar price point without any subscriptions. The Kindle Scribe is too new for any suitable reviews, but it’s a decent writing device, with excellent readability. Probably a second iteration will be even better.

See this video review for eg, which recommends similarly.

15. Final recommendation, buy or not?

Remarkable changed their pricing plan, so you’re forced to buy a Connect plan (8EUR/mo) to get some basic features (Google Drive/Dropbox sync, OCR, Screenshare, send by email, and an extended warranty). Gating these features for a premium device sets the usage cost too high to be reasonable in my opinion.

I don’t use it much to be honest. It doesn’t integrate at all with my existing workflows - No Workflowy or Obsidian, or markdown notes. Want to move to RM completely but it feels very unrealistic tbh. You don’t even get searchable notes for eg.

If you still have more questions, reach out over email.

Published on June 06, 2022 in reviews