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    Too bad there’s no mention of battery life and screen redraw/update rates. Also unfortunate they chose a proprietary file format. It’s neat it was reverse engineered, but without the company behind it committed to supporting a public specification for it, there’s a great chance for it to include breaking changes in the future. I wouldn’t want to store anything serious in that.

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      Counterargument: its gonna be a lot easier to handle and parse a simple binary format than deal with PDF.

      People shouldn’t be scared of simple reversible proprietary formats.

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        Particularly in comparison to the eldritch horror that is, for instance, PDF.

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          And most of the PDFs (especially annotation stuff) is probably proprietary extensions to PDF anyway.

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        Yes, their formats change subtly in each update. However, their formats are simple, and not obfuscated to make reverse-engineering difficult. It’s been two years, and several community-developed packages have kept up with the changing format with minimal effort.

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          It might be ‘minimal effort’, but it’s effort nonetheless. Not everyone who would use this thing would have the time or skill to continue implementing changes if the community developed packages became stale. It’s just a bad idea in general to depend on proprietary formats, even if it’s currently “easy” to deal with them.

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          The battery doesn’t last that long. I recharge it at least 2 times a week. The refresh rate is very good and overall it feels smoother than my 2019 kindle oasis.

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            That is low, but not nearly as low as a smartphone. I have to charge my phone three times a week, so surely it isn’t a deal breaker.

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            I’m not sure you understand what reversed engineering means…

            The problem with proprietary formats is when they are not RE and the company stops supporting them, otherwise it all depends on whether they are good or garbage since no anyone can build on top of those.

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              I know what RE means, don’t be an ass. The problem is depending on a proprietary format that is currently RE but completely at the whims of a company which may decide to make future versions of the format/product incompatible with the RE version. Commence game of cat/mouse.

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            I used and loved the Asus EeeNote EA800 tablet. It wasn’t actually e-ink but it was simple, purpose driven, and the pen worked nearly perfectly. It was Linux behind the scenes and didn’t take much to get to root if you wanted, or recompile Linux software to work on the device. It would sync with a few cloud services over wifi, had an SD card and USB connection, and worked great for a 2010 device. I had to order it from Taiwan but it was easy enough to switch the language to English. The screen was textured similar to paper so it felt pretty natural to write/draw on.

            I mention this mainly because the device was $250 in 2010 when I bought it, compared to the brand new first-generation iPad that was $630. The reMarkable is nothing more significant than the EeeNote EA800 I had 10 years ago, but costs twice as much. Meanwhile the modern iPad + Pencil is $80 cheaper than the reMarkable.

            reMarkable may be the perfect tablet for academics, but when it’s matched feature-for-feature by a 10 year old device and costs twice what that 10 year old device cost brand new… it’s pretty hard to recommend.

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              It wasn’t actually e-ink

              Isn’t this the main point of the reMarkable device - that the screen is pretty good?

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                ASUS has a reputation for making good products, but not marketing them well: I used an ASUS motherboard on my desktop and an ASUS laptop back in the day. I can certainly believe that the EeeNote is a great product.

                A major share of R&D at rM went into developing a crisp and responsive e-ink tablet; something that has not been done before. I would imagine that it’s expensive, because rM AS is a small company in Norway, and they need to recover the cost of R&D. Besides, it’s a niche device, so I don’t imagine they sell too many pieces.

                Yes, I highly endorse the iPad Pro. I have one, and it’s a great general-purpose device. However, reading math on it (something that requires close attention to detail) for more than twenty minutes at a stretch is difficult, due to eye strain. I felt a sense of urgency to purchase an e-ink tablet, as I progressed in studying mathematics on my iPad.

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                  What alternative would you (or anyone) recommend today for the closest experience to feeling like “paper you happen to be able to ssh into”?

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                    Unfortunately I don’t know of anything better. Mainly I’m just disappointed that the closest comparable solution to a 10 year old $250 device costs $500 and doesn’t really do anything better than the older device.

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                      Waveshare epaper and raspberry pi.

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                      I have recently seen lcd screen tablets which are essentially just an etch-a-sketch selling for under $10.

                      Was tempted to buy one just to see how they did it.

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                        https://www.livescience.com/20104-boogie-board-ewriter-nsf-bts.html

                        Here’s how these things work:

                        The eWriter works on the principle of anisotropic flow, a unique feature of cholesteric liquid crystals, in which crystals flow at different rates, depending on the direction of pressure being applied. When a thin film of cholesteric liquid crystal is sandwiched between two sheets of specialized plastic, anisotropic flow causes the molecules to order themselves to reflect light in those places where a stylus touches the plastic sheet.

                        The liquid crystals are surrounded by polymer pillars, which control flow, resulting in excellent line sharpness. The written image is retained until electrically erased with the push of a button. In electronic erase, the flash of an electric field rearranges the molecules so that they are less reflective.

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                      I’ve got one in use since a year and its working pretty well so far.

                      You can export as PDF etc, so it’s not like your stuff is lost forever, though I rarely need that.

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                        I’ve spent a little time hacking eink Kindles, and it’s nice to see a device that doesn’t require jail breaking to do this kind of stuff.

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                          Would someone explain how in-document search is an “antifeature”?

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                            Think about it. In-document search on an e-ink tablet would be slow an inconvenient: you’d have to type on the e-ink keyboard and move through the various matches; something that’d be a lot more convenient to do on a desktop.

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                              I mean, I agree, but I’m not going to use my desktop in the hot tub. So on the surface there’s a case to be made to include search.

                              That said, though, I think this is mostly about focus. One of the big benefits of e-readers is using them in environments where I wouldn’t use another machine, to emotionally disconnect from social media and the other distractions of my life. If it has too many features, I’m not really disconnecting and might as well sit at my desk. I think that’s where this reviewer is coming from.

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                                That’s not an antifeature. That’s a feature that you don’t find useful, and I do.

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                              I got mine about two weeks ago. I paid 400 EUR (500 minus 50 black friday deal minus 50 for refurbished instead of new) plus 80 EUR for the protective sleeve. In hindsight I consider 80 for the sleeve quite expensive, although it fits the device really well. The sleeve also smelled like a glue factory for a day. I could not tell that the device was refurbished instead of new.

                              Previously I’ve only used my Lenovo X220 Tablet (Laptop with rotatable display) for electronic note taking. The display resolution wasn’t an issue (1366x768), as the Wacom stylus input has a much higher resolution and xournal supports that. However, the device is way too thick and heavy. Also the digitizer is quite inaccurate near the edges. And it’s a bit annoying to switch between normal use and note taking. So I only used it for note taking in a few university lectures some years ago and went back to paper after that.

                              Back to the reMarkable: I really like it. I only use it only for taking. For me it feels absolutely natural to take notes on it. The latency is low enough to not notice it at all. Also it’s nice that the e-ink display is not a glowing light like a regular display.

                              With real paper my issue often was that I either mixed too many different things in the same notebook or I had to shuffle around too many notebooks. Usually my notes were quite messy with many crossed out sections on a single sheet. So for me the killer feature is the ability to organize my notes into files and folders and the ability to incrementally refine my notes. I can erase things that are no longer relevant, rewrite small sections, move text around (within the same page) or move pages from one file to another.

                              I have not created an account and I don’t plan to use their cloud. Even if I trust them, I can never be sure that their cloud is properly secured. I just use ssh and tar to create backups (either over Wifi or USB (device shows up as a network device (usb0) and is assigned an IP via DHCP), password is shown in Settings -> About)

                              Their update strategy is a bit annoying, as they release them in batches. If you’re unlucky you read on reddit about new features but have to wait a few weeks until your device id is eligible for the newest update. Also copy&paste from one page to another is still a missing feature - I really hope they are going to add that soon. Also it would be nice to have some feature to quickly switch between the 5 most recent files.

                              Battery life: I estimate 2-3 days, but I always recharge after a day of heavy use.

                              I would have preferred USB-C or mini-USB over micro-USB, as those are usually more robust, but that’s a minor nitpick.

                              User indirection said it’s overpriced compared to paper notebooks. My take on that is: It is, if you’re somewhat organized and your notes need little refinement/rework.

                              For me, however, it has been really helpful for organizing my thoughts and prioritizing tasks when I can start out with absolutely messy notes that I can gradually refine. It helped me tremendously to stay motivated and finally tackle some legacy projects in need of attention - I made more progress in the last two weeks than the previous month.

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                                I just did a little cost analysis here. I think this device is overpriced. I’ve seen it many times before but never actually looked at the cost vs regular paper.

                                For notes, I use a 9-1/2”x5 300 page notebook, that goes for 4.59$ CAD.

                                600 euro to cad is 878. 878 / 4.59 ~= 191 notebooks. I use about 2 a year. This means using notebooks alone, I’m good for 95 years!

                                Another way to see it is: 191 notebooks is 57,385 pages of paper. Crazy.

                                This device will NOT last anywhere near that amount of time. The price is way out of whack when you consider all this.

                                And this doesn’t consider buying supplies in bulk, which will decrease the price / increase the amount of notebooks to use.

                                So this product is very, truly niche. I can imagine only very useful for engineers and teachers that need to quickly transfer between physical and digital realms, but also use significantly more paper than the usual person.

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                                  If your primary use for the device is note-taking, your back-of-envelope calculation makes sense.

                                  My usage is based on mostly reading, and a little note-taking.

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                                    Could you comment on how easy it is to read an arbitrary PDF on this device? My main frustration with second screens for reading has been poorly formatted text that’s difficult to see in low light or low zoom levels.

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                                      It handles arbitrary PDFs perfectly. I’ve been using it to read math textbooks, papers, and even arbitrary web-pages that I save to PDF. Few PDFs require you to zoom a bit, which is a little annoying, but I expect that it should be fixed in a future software update.

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                                    What makes you think that the main motivation is cost savings vs. paper?

                                    Can your notebook be used to download and annotate PDFs from arxiv?

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                                      I guess you missed what I wrote at the end:

                                      So this product is very, truly niche. I can imagine only very useful for engineers and teachers that need to quickly transfer between physical and digital realms, but also use significantly more paper than the usual person.

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                                        I recently switched from notebooks to a tablet. There’s a lot of other advantages: you can jump between several different notes without running out of page space, you can search and index your notes, you can annotate pictures, erasing and undoing are great, you can move sections around… lots of small affordances that make it more pleasant to me.

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                                          I can annotate pictures, erase and undo (via just erasing…), moving sections is not as feasible. If it works for you then great. I imagine it works for a lot of people :)

                                          Now let me ask: is your tablet $880 CAD?

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                                    I got this a month ago as a replacement for my iPad Pro with the idea to use it for a particular use case, and it completely replaced my paper and fountain pen workflow. It’s not as nice looking and feeling like that combo, but it is easier to carry around, and I’ve got all my notes with me everywhere (sync to phone).

                                    The undo button was a bit slow, but with the v2 software since yesterday, it is a lot smoother.

                                    It is not perfect, but I like it a lot more for meetings and notes than the iPad Pro. The feeling is better, and there are no distractions at all. It also feels less fragile than the iPad, and people don’t think that you’re doing other stuff while in a meeting.

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                                      “ample” is not the descriptor I’d use for “6~7 GiB of storage”. certainly not as an academic who has to deal with largish scanned PDFs.

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                                        If you’re really looking for an android e-ink experience, there is the onyx boox series. They’ve been improving them to have better refresh/drawing support.

                                        I had one and was playing videos with it back ~2015: https://twitter.com/i/web/status/870458124552949760 . Unfortunately broke the screen trying to take it apart :P

                                        The warning I have is the same as the author - you’ve really gotta want one of these to deal with it’s quirks and hacks. Personally I’m waiting to see what Microsoft’s doing with Surface / Windows X along with where microLED tech is going.

                                        The display industry that’s been trying to evolve eink-like display tech has been moving kinda slowly and changed hands a few times. Largely seems like there was investment a decade ago when the iPhone/iPad felt new, but it trailed off after ~5 years.

                                        • Liquavista went from being owned from Samsung, then Amazon, now dead.
                                        • Pixel Qi (which tweaked TN lcd displaytech, had some affiliation with One-Laptop-Per-Child ) never quite got traction and folded.
                                        • Qualcomm’s mirasol was in one e-reader but they pivoted to small devices (watches). (edit: apparently Apple bought the lab ~2015)
                                        • ClearINK is a more recent startup, which seemingly has some ex-liquavista folks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjJ2-cdhwMQ , but who knows what their real timeline is for consumer products.
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                                          I looked into this device a couple of years back. I needed a way to take notes and read papers.

                                          Long story short: it’s too expensive. Even after the initial purchase, you still have to buy replacement nibs for the stylus. I was also worried about the software bit-rotting: I had no idea if the manufacturers would keep up with security patches.

                                          I ended up getting an Amazon fire HD 10 for reading, and a Rocketbook Everlast for note taking.

                                          Together, these were about a third of the price of the reMarkable tablet. Admittedly, I do have to refill the Frixion pen for the Rocketbook, but still…

                                          If anyone is thinking about doing the same, I highly recommend the Xodo android app for annotating PDFs. I also tried a few different styli for the Fire, but ended up finding it easier to use a finger.

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                                            My main worry is with the kernel: such devices are often far from upstream with patches very difficult to upstream. Kobo had similar ease of hacking but the kernel is tens of thousands of lines away from any upstream kernel: that’s too much for any community to manage. Does anyone know if that’s different for the rM?

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                                              They seem to have about 180 patches, and the history of torvalds/linux has been interwoven (they haven’t been rebasing). However, at a glance, their patches look pretty simple, but I might be mistaken about that: they start with a dts definition.

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                                                Oh, thanks. That’s pretty encouraging.