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When it comes to note-taking and journaling, the difference between tablets and plain old paper is feast or famine. Technophobes are driven away by writing on the tablet’s odd glassy texture and by the crushing number of different apps offered, while the dog-eared paper notebooks chug along as inefficiently as ever, subject to spills and torn pages and the inability to move pages into a more logical order.
That leaves a wide-open field for a device that can deliver the best of both worlds, and our favorite is the reMarkable Paper Tablet. It writes and feels and even sounds like actual paper, but as you scribble away it’s translating your handwriting to typed text and saving it via the Cloud across your desktop and mobile devices.
Paper revanchists will revel in that pleasing friction and skritch skritch sound, so true to the experience of pen on paper. The Marker packages with the reMarkable has the heft and feel of a quality pen, and it’s not a digital device itself so it requires no batteries or charging. The feel of the Marker moving across the reMarkable screen is incredibly similar to pen and paper, an experience you cannot get with an Apple Pencil and iPad.
Better still, the reMarkable is not a tablet as we have come to know it. The interface is exceedingly minimal: No browser, email, texting, icons, games or any other modern distractions. Not even a clock. It’s you and your thoughts and ideas, and a writing device with limitless pages and a foolproof backup system. The reMarkable can load e-books, which you can then effortlessly annotate and make notes in.
Files are easily organized into folders via drag-and-drop, so essentially you have the ability to move pages and organize files instead of juggling several paper notebooks at a time. And your notes can be exported and emailed as PDFs, or transferred via the included USB cable. But again, the reMarkable does not receive emails, so you stay distraction-free. If other tablets are about productivity and entertainment, the reMarkable is about thinking.
The display is reminiscent of a Kindle: no backlighting, no glare, and easily readable in daylight. At 12 ounces it’s light and comfortable in your hand and easily carried anywhere you go, and the battery life is outstanding, lasting for days on a single charge.
The price tag is significant. A reMarkable and Marker with eight extra writing tips will set you back $499. But if you’re a prodigious note-taker or sketcher, or if you’re serious about journaling, workout logs, food logs or anything you normally devote to paper via pen, you could easily get your money’s worth out of the reMarkable. And if you’re just not able to decide on one writing app for your iPad or other tablet, this is a minimalist yet modern solution.