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Hands-on with reMarkable, the E Ink Tablet that is Meant to Replace the Paper

Hands-on with reMarkable, the E Ink tablet that is meant to kill the paper. ReMarkable was announced at the end of last December with an ambitious goal: to serve as a digital paper device so good that it could make obsolete traditional paper notebooks. It's been a few months since the original announcement, and earlier this month was finally able to get some hands on time with a prototype tablet to put those claims to the test.

The prototype I have to test was a seventh generation model, with the company hoping to go through a few more rounds of hardware before the release, which is still set for August for the first preorders of last December.
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reMarkable, the E Ink tablet, inkpad, e link display

E Ink has achieved quite well in recent years, and the 10.3-inch reMarkable panel is maintained with more established players, such as Amazon's Kindle line at 226 ppi. Although, like real paper, it lacks a built-in backlight. Another ink surface sacrifice E is a minimal amount of ghost images when erasing or opening the menus.

The most important thing that reMarkable has to nail is the actual act of writing with it. According to CEO Magnus Wanberg, a large part of the tablet's development involved figuring out a way to reduce latency with an E ink screen. The prototype I tested had it up to about 65-70 milliseconds, and the company expects to reduce still More to about 55 milliseconds in the final version that is sent. It is definitely one of the best pens I have ever used, although there was still some lag when I wrote words quickly. Specifically, it still does not measure up to solutions like the new Microsoft Surface Pen, which has a latency of only 21 milliseconds, or even the Apple pen, estimated to be in about 50 milliseconds. Given the nature of ink E as a technology, however, it remains quite impressive.

The real highlight for me was the feel of writing on the tablet. The reMarkable screen is not made of glass, but rather a more durable and fricative material that really feels like writing on paper with a pen or pencil. Even the sound is a deliciously tactile scratching that mimics the experience of writing in real life. The reMarkable pen tip will wear out, however, and will need to be replaced from time to time, although the pen ingeniously hide a spare tip hidden in the top of the pen.

The drawing application is quite robust, with a variety of feather types and weights, the ability to zoom in and out, and the layer support. The company is also working on the development of various pre-established note-taking templates, from a traditional notebook governed by the university to a perspective grid for architectural drawings.

Along with drawing and writing, reMarkable can display PDF files (which can be annotated) and EPUB files, both of which work well enough. All files, including drawings, are automatically backed up to the cloud and can be accessed from a linked Mac or Windows application. The drawings can also be shared live from a reMarkable tablet to appear on a computer screen, which is a good feature for collaborative work.

ReMarkable is planning to sell the tablet for a final price of $529. (The pen will be sold separately, at least for now, for an additional $ 79.) That is expensive, no matter how it is cut, especially when compared to A full iPad that costs about as much. For its part, Wanberg acknowledges that they are aware of where they are in the market and are not looking to compete directly with Apple. According to Wanberg, reMarkable is designed for "paper people" who prefer to sketch, take notes, or doodling by hand and just want a digital medium to do that.

The reMarkable is certainly good at what it does, and compared to other products in this broad category, like Sony's $700 DPT-RP1, it's a bit cheaper. But it's still hard to see the reMarkable paper tablet moving beyond a niche as a secondary or even tertiary device for people who price point. However, it is a well-designed product that sets what it achieves. If the company can find a way to lower the price, it could be a real success.


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