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    I’ve been really tempted to buy a remarkable2. But the reviews I see say it’s great for note taking but not so great for just reading PDFs. Mostly I want to read PDFs. I’m still on the fence.

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      As long as your PDFs don’t require color, it is 100% worth it. Definitely one of my favorite devices at the moment.

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        Same. In the month or so I’ve had one, it hasn’t caused me a single frustration (and I’m the kind of person who gets annoyed at the user interfaces of my own Apple products). It works exactly as advertised. Anyone who thinks it might be worth the price tag should watch a third party review video and check out the official and awesome list projects. It has been awhile since I’ve stayed this excited about a new device so long after buying it.

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        I picked one up recently hoping that I could migrate a lot of my ebooks and pdfs to it. I don’t plan on returning it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

        I was a huge fan of the kindle dx, but I’ve managed to break the buttons on a couple which renders them practically useless. I was on the fence with the first remarkable device but figured I’d given the latest iteration a shot. I figured it’d be a good DX substitute. It’s not. I want to like it, the physical design is really good, but the software sucks.

        I have a large collection of documents (epub/pdfs) that I was looking forward to getting on the device. Largely a mix of books published in electronic formats from regular publishers (O’Reilly, Manning, PragProg, etc.) as well as a few papers and docs I’ve picked up here and there.

        First, the reMarkable desktop/mobile app that you have to rely on for syncing is a little wonky. Syncing between the device and mobile/desktop versions of the app works, but leaves a little to be desired. Second, I have yet to load a pdf or epub that isn’t brutally slow to navigate (just page by page). If the document has images or graphics (even simple charts and illustrations) it will affect navigation performance. Occasionally a document will load relatively quickly, and navigate reasonable well, only to slow down after a few page turns. Epubs tend to be a little more difficult to work with - particularly if you decide to change the font. All I have to compare this device to is my broken DX, which, everything considered, positively smokes the reMarkable.

        It’s usable. It works alright for PDFs, less so for epubs. On the positive side, the battery life is quite good.

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          I agree with your analysis in most regards. Syncing a lot of ebooks and pdfs to it is not something at which it would excel by default. I have a large Calibre library, and I haven’t synced it over for that reason. However, it’s something I’m looking forward to investigating with KOReader, which supports the reMarkable.

          I haven’t experienced the lag that you talk about, but can understand that that would be bothersome – though I definitely have experienced the “wonkiness” of the companion apps.

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            My understanding is that epubs are converted to PDF before being synced? Is that actually the case?

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              It renders the epub to pdf for display but that’s all in-memory. It’s still an epub on disk.

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                I don’t know. I’ve got a couple books that are both pdf and ePub, and the pdf version behaves a little better. You can also resize and change fonts for ePub doc, but not for PDFs.

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                  Along these lines, another interesting observation I’ve made has to do with the way some kinds of text get rendered. In particular, I’ve encountered epubs with code listings that render fine in other apps and on other devices, but render horribly on the remarkable2 device. Interestingly, in some of those cases I will also have a publisher provided PDF that renders just fine.

                  Further, epubs and PDFs are categorized differently in both the app and the device. With epubs you can change the justification, page margins, line spacing, fonts, and font size. With PDFs you have fewer options, but you do have the ability to adjust the view (which is great for papers since you can get rid of the margins).

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                  I don’t think so – from my playing around with ssh, there are definitely some epubs stored on device. I actually think the browser extension generates epubs, rather than pdfs which was surprising.

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                    Huh. Cool. Hmmm. The real reason I shouldn’t get one is that I always fall asleep with my e-reader and it often bounces off my face.

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                      That’s a pro, for the device, it weighs next to nothing. I’ve damn near knocked myself out dropping an iPad Pro on my head when reading in bed.

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                        For me, it’s more the fact that the Kobo then ends up falling onto the floor. I’m not crazy with that with a $120 device, so …

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                I own Gen 1 and Gen 2. I love the simplicity and focus of the device. It’s an amazing… whiteboard.

                Note taking is not suuuper great. Turns out marking up a PDF to take notes actually isn’t that great because the notes quickly get lost in the PDF. It’s not like in real life, where you can put a sticky note to jump to that page. The writing experience is fantastic though. I have notebooks where I draw diagrams/ideas out. I like it for whiteboarding type stuff.

                Reading is terrible. I mean, it works. Searching is painfully slow. The table of contents doesn’t always show up (even though my laptop PDF reader can read the TOC just fine). When you do get a TOC, the subsections are flattened to the top level, so it’s hard to skim the TOC. PDF links don’t work. Text is often tiny, though you can zoom in. EPUBs appear to get converted to PDFs on the fly and their EPUB to PDF conversion sucks. Though, I’ve found doing the conversion myself in Calibre is way better.

                Overall, I like the device for whiteboarding. But it’s kinda hard to recommend.

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                  Marking up PDFs works better in color, since you can pick a contrasting ink color. I do it in Notability on my iPad Pro (which is also great for whiteboarding / sketching.)

                  I was tempted by reMarkable when the first version came out, but I couldn’t see spending that kind of money on something that only does note taking and reading. I’m glad it’s found an audience though, it’s a cool device.

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                    Turns out marking up a PDF to take notes actually isn’t that great because the notes quickly get lost in the PDF. It’s not like in real life, where you can put a sticky note to jump to that page.

                    So far the best experience I’ve seen for this is LiquidText on an iPad Pro. While you can write on the PDF as any other annotator, there’s also a lot of more hypertext type of features, like collecting groups of notes in an index, or writing separate pages of notes that are bidirectionally hyperlinked to parts of the document they refer to. Or do things like pull out a figure from a paper into a sidebar where you attach notes to it.

                    The main downside for me is that you do more or less have to go all-on on LiquidText. It supports exporting a workspace to flat PDFs, but if you used the hypertext features in any significant way, the exported PDFs can be very confusing with the lack of expected context.

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                      Agreed that it is hard to find notes. There should be a way to jump to pages that have notes on them (this is how Drawboard PDF works, for example).

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                        What is the advantage over drawing on a piece of paper or on a whiteboard, then taking a photo of what you’ve drawn, if needed?

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                          I tried paper note books, but I’m too messy and make too many mistakes. Erasing, moving, and reordering is hard on paper.

                          A whiteboard is pretty good for temporary stuff and erases better than paper. But, it can be a bit messy.

                          I also tried Rocketbook for a while. I got the non-microwaveable (yes you read that right) one. That was okay. A little meh for me.

                          And of course, you can’t read PDFs on any of these.

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                      I’m really intrigued by these devices. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them, but the thing that’s putting me off is that you seem to have to use their cloud service to sync PDFs and notes, and the hand-written stuff seems to use a proprietary format.

                      There’s also a reviewer on YouTube called “My Deep Guide” who loves the rM2 but he has some valid criticisms of the software not being as good as the hardware, especially compared to competitors.

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                        I’ve refused to connect my device to their cloud and have had no problem - it is a bit unfortunate that this means losing the handwriting recognition, but everything else I care about works just fine.

                        You can sync files over usb, the remarkable pretends to be a network adapter and serves a webpage on which you can drag files onto/off of. I’ve also sshed into the device and created a script to back it up with restic (just a normal piece of backup software, not remarkable specific) ;)

                        The hand written notes format is proprietary, but it’s simple and has been reverse engineered. It’s not hard to export the notes to another format.

                        I’d generally recommend it, as long as you understand it as “paper + pdfs printed onto paper + bare bones linux” and not anything more.

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                          This section is titled “jailbreak,” which is actually a bit of misnomer because the reMarkable runs Linux and you can ssh into it with ease.

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                            I’m not sure how that really makes it a more usable device. Instead of being able to plug it in with a USB cable and sync files as a removable drive, I have to put it on the network and use a non-standard feature?

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                              You can plug in a USB cable, it just shows up as a network interface instead of as a storage device. It’s probably not the most usable option, but it does make it easier to see and interact with the device as a computer instead of as a fancy flash drive.

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                                When you connect a reMarkable to your computer via USB, the computer sees a USB network adapter. Then use DHCP or set an IP manually for that adapter. Usually the reMarkable will use for itself and for “your side”.

                                So even when you use USB, you can ssh into it.

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                                  I would check out the Awesome list, specifically the APIs and Cloud Tools sections. I also use scp fairly often to just grab the files directly, or even export them using the app.

                                  I’ll check out “My Deep Guide,” I haven’t really read many reviews of the device myself. I’m also not really aware of any competitors?

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                              I absolutely love my reMarkable 2.

                              Before getting it in November, I had legal pads and pens literally everywhere in my house. After getting it, I put all of those pads and pens in a box and hadn’t touched them since. I take notes constantly. I’ve needed this my entire life.

                              The truly incredible part of this device it really is a digital notebook and it’s built to feel like one. It’s so hard for a device to actually capture that feeling. The screen is has a good paperish texture but it’s the leather book cover that takes it from tablet to notebook.

                              With the leather book cover, it feels like I’m carrying around a thin and somewhat heavy Moleskine notebook, not a tablet. The material does not feel $150 by any means (if you expect that, you will be extremely disappointed) but I find it perfect. I can not understate how important this detail is for me. Without it, it would not be a notebook.

                              But I think the reason I keep coming back to my reMarkable day after day is because I can change the suspend image. Every time I open it, I see the artwork I chose and smile. It doesn’t just feel like a notebook, it feels like my notebook.

                              It’s all of these small details that makes this one of the best appliances I’ve ever used. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d compare it to my kindle. Being able to carry an entire library in my pocket was, and still is, amazing. But my kindle feels soulless because I can’t modify it. (And it has DRM :| )

                              There is one major glaring issue that bothers me every time I leave my house. It’s took large to use while walking around. I still have to keep my grocery list on my phone. :(

                              Note: The pdf/epub support on the reMarkable 2 leaves a lot to be desired. There’s no word lookup like a kindle has, you can’t add pages to pdfs, and it can be slow to load.

                              I highly recommend adding https://github.com/ddvk/remarkable-hacks if you get one. :)

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                                Given your comment and experience here, I am curious what you would think of the idea of being able to write programs where the user interface is literally a piece of paper. For example, if you wanted to write up something like a beer recipe it would have some basic fields that you could write in ingredients and any calculations that need to be done are behind the scenes.

                                I am thinking about something a little better than a PDF that has some javascript forms - so it could generate content. But the idea is that it keeps the traditional UI away from you.

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                                  If it requires handwriting recognition, it’s a non-starter. My penmanship is not good enough.

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                                I’ve taken a slightly different tact, how can I take notes and share them as a typed document the fastest?

                                • A paper notepad with a pen/pencil, and a mobile phone with a scanning function.
                                • Eink tablet e.g. remarkable
                                • Color tablet e.g. apple ipad

                                The paper notepad option has been by FAR the most successful, after trying all of them. Especially recently with coronavirus wfh options at my work, I’ve been taking hand written notes during meetings. I save them and share them through a google doc for work. It takes seconds to go from written note -> email’d text using the google drive scanning function on my phone. The writing experience is incredible (because it’s writing)

                                The Eink tablet I just spent time fiddling with it, openning the “right” template, getting the cloud syncing working the way I like, re-uploading to google drive for sharing (which now I need to open the phone app anyways to do?), then again transcription to a document. The writing experience was very good, though I don’t like how slow eink is for flipping between pages of notes.

                                The color tablet was a complete shit show, even though it had the most superior software. While flipping pages etc was faster, the writing experience was so bad I almost never used it.

                                Only caveat of the eink tablet - annotating someone else’s typed paper is much better as the root document isn’t part of your scanned notes. This is actually very rare for me as all collaboration on documents occurs within google docs for work, so the hand written notes need to be re-transcribed if I go this route.

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                                  I definitely agree with the color tablet analysis. From my brief usage of an iPad as a note taking device, it was absolutely terrible – nothing like writing by hand.

                                  I spent the first half of this school year taking notes by hand and then scanning them (and then the reMarkable arrived), so I’m not a stranger to the workflow. It seems like you do a lot of work in Google’s suite, so our workflow differs there – I mostly just write and submit, which the rM is quite good at, rather than working collaboratively.

                                  Ultimately, it’s whatever works best for you – I’ve definitely thought about getting one of the Evernote books that has enhanced scanning, but I’m definitely going to be a reMarkable guy for the foreseeable future.

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                                  For note taking, there’s also Rocketbook:

                                  Put simply Rocketbooks are notepads with erasable not-quite-paper and not-quite-whiteboard material.


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                                    Oh man, this is exciting. I had no idea it ran Linux! Sounds like it’s very hacker friendly. Might have to start saving for it soon!

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                                      I want this, but I’ve been burned too many times buy proprietary newish stuff over the years. I would like to even have just an e-ink monitor on my pc.

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                                        I have always quite liked e-ink technology, but I always felt that it wasn’t quite ready due to the slow refresh rate. I’ve been seriously considering buying a Dasung e-ink monitor. For programming in the terminal, this seems to be ideal.n the other hand, a thousand bucks is a lot of money (and I probably have to pay 20% VAT on top of that).

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                                          There’s definitely a niche for this kind of device, but it does have it’s fair share of criticisms.

                                          I’ve owned one for a few months, and definitely love it, but partially because I’ve wanted a larger e-ink device I can tinker with for years. If you’re not looking for that value-add, then this tablet definitely feels a bit too expensive for some of the rough edges it has.

                                          That being said, I’ve been quite pleased with my experience working on technical drawings and random todo lists. There’s a rather large and well-organized community of device hackers for the product family that also create their own apps and tools.

                                          Heck, if you search long enough, you’ll find people that are running Debian on the last-gen device.

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                                            I’d previously tried to use an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil (gen 1) as a note-taking device. It worked, and it’s superior for drawing, even. But it showed that the iPad isn’t designed as a dedicated paper replacement: the Pencil slips too easily on the glass, my palm was constantly smudging and rubbing on the screen, and I had to remember to keep the Pencil charged up. Worse, I couldn’t just leave the iPad open on my desk to glance at while I cross-referenced other materials for extended periods: because of the backlit display, it’s set to sleep after a minute or so.

                                            Taken all together, these papercuts meant that even though I had an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I would still turn to actual pen and paper more often. reMarkable 2 is the first device I’ve tried that I’m actually inclined to reach for over paper. The author nails it: using this thing is shockingly natural.

                                            (I wish it had better ePUB navigation, on the other hand. And the desktop app could be a lot better, at least on macOS.)

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                                              I recently made the decision to purchase a Boox Note 3 instead of the reMarkable. Primarily because it runs Android and has better PDF reading/annotation. It’s still early days but so far I’m pleased with the choice!

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                                                The reMarkable seems a great device for people who want to read from a non-backlit display. However, I heard in a (Dutch) review that, although the reMarkable is quick to respond to the user’s writing, in general it’s not the most responsive.

                                                I don’t mind a backlit screen, and went for an iPad Air (the 2019 model) with a Paperlike screen protector and an Apple Pencil. The Paperlike adds a texture that provides much needed friction for writing. In combination with GoodNotes (for writing) and MarginNote 3 (very similar to liquidtext for reading and studying), it’s a great tool for writing and reading.

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                                                  For games, you can just upload PDF sudokus or crosswords, etc.

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                                                    How does this compare with Lenovo Yoga Book series?

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                                                      I’m planning on getting a rm2 soon. I see they also sell screen protectors for it. Do you think it’s good to get one?