My wife gifted me with a Remarkable 2 for our anniversary. I’ve wanted one since the first version, so when they announced a second my eyes lit up. I showed it to her, and she bought one immediately after to give to me. What a friend!

This is short review of how the Remarkable is working for me. I’d sum it up to say it’s been everything I was hoping it would be.

It’s a paper replacement

It’s important to note the Remarkable competes with paper more than it competes with a tablet like an iPad. There are no notifications, email apps, or browsers. It’s not going to convert all your notes to text automatically and sync it with Evernote. It’s not a place to chat with others. It’s meant for writing and reading. It’s for replacing stacks of paper and notebooks.

This is what to compare it to: a paper notebook sits on the desk, waiting for you to write in it. It doesn’t turn off. It doesn’t light up with something demanding your attention. It’s just there.

This is what the Remarkable does. And I feel this is how the company positions it.

Why not stick with paper?

I have at least three notebooks going at all times. Every morning I write in one notebook what they call Morning Pages. I take notes in another and write and research in another. I’d have more notebooks if I could, but that’s just getting silly.

The benefits over paper are that I can have as many digital notebooks going as I like, and I can get to them on any of my devices. I can’t carry around all those notebooks with them. And I especially can’t carry around the shelf of notebooks in my office.

That could buy a lot of paper notebooks

Albeit, my reasons for the Remarkable up until this point are quite weak. And they are about to get weaker. The Remarkable is a very expensive device.

I probably go through five or so notebooks per year. If my math is right, I could buy four years worth of notebooks for the same price as the Remarkable.

Or it could buy an iPad and Pencil

I mentioned the Remarkable doesn’t directly compete with the iPad. But the iPad with a Pencil compared to the Remarkable 2 are almost the same price, and both can be used for writing. You could argue you get more for your money with the iPad since you get writing plus all the other iPad features.

I gave the iPad a shot as a writing device. The screen made for a poor experience, though I’ve heard you can add a screen cover that changes that. And I used an iPad Mini which may have cramped the writing space. Even so, it was distracting having a device sitting below my nose that lights up with notifications and turns off the screen after a few minutes.

That feels like a lot of whining, but those things were enough to push me back to using paper. I was easily distracted by the iPad, so it’s not the best for productivity to have it so accessible.

Worth it?

With all of this said, with it’s narrow-focus on writing and reading and its hefty price tag, I’d say it’s been a great experience. I use it every day for several hours. And I write more now than I did with my stack of notebooks.

The device doesn’t feel like a device. The writing feels like writing. After a while all the digital parts of it fade away into feeling like an open space to explore thoughts and capture information.

If you write on paper a lot and if the price tag doesn’t make you faint, I think it’s a worthy device. If you type up your notes, do most of your writing on a computer, or want something that syncs up with other systems, you might look elsewhere first or at least try out paper for a while.