Featured image of post My reMarkable notebook

My reMarkable notebook

Why I decided to return my reMarkable

Returning my reMarkable

About a month ago I purchased a reMarkable eInk notebook. I had looked at them a number of times over the last year or so but had never seen one in person until I was on site with one of the team from IT Naturally who was using hers to make notes during a site device upgrade that we were carrying out. When I spoke to her she was gushing with praise and said it was the best thing she had bought. I guess this got me interested, then a few days later I learned that my manager also had one and was also really impressed with it. That swung it and I went online and ordered a refurb to be delivered straight away.

reMarkable offer a 100 day money back guarantee which was one of the reasons that I decided it was worth a go, I could always return it if I didn’t get on well with it. The reason I went for a refurb was also due to this no arguement return policy. reMarkable obviously have people who return devices for whatever reason and re-selling these at a small saving with the same guarantee as a brand new one makes a lot of sense.

First impressions

When I received my notebook a few days later the immediate reaction was that there really was no difference from a brand new device. The box was shrink wrapped as new and when opened there was no way I would have been able to tell that someone had previously used this tablet, it was really mint condition.

Compared with most tablets the reMarkable is amazingly thin and light, it really is an impressive feat of technology. Once powered up the screen appeared crisp and clear and I was quickly through the setup wizard and having a go at the writing experience. I had opted against buying the reMarkable stylus and case preferring to go for the much more modestly priced Staedtler Noris digital classic stylus from Amazon which was less than £30 compared to £59 for the basic reMarkable Marker and a crazy £109 for the reMarkable Marker Plus !

reMarkable Connect

The new device comes with 12 months subscription to the reMarkable Connect service which promises to save your notes to the cloud and additionally sync them to apps on your phone/tablet or PC. I setup the required account and installed the app on my iPhone, Macbook and iPad. I then started testing, creating a few pages and trying out the solution. After creating a few test pages I deleted them from the notebook and created a real notebook ready to start using. After a few minutes I noticed the test pages I had deleted had re-appeared on the notebook… A little odd I thought and deleted them again only for them to re-appear again a few minutes later. Annoyed now I did a quick search for this issue and quickly found a number of threads that suggested it was the iOS apps causing the re-appearing pages, apparently the sync process is not 100% reliable. This was annoying as this was one of the things I expected I might use. I removed/logged out of the apps on my other devices and did some more testing and sure enough no further re-appearing deleted pages.

Further Impressions

Over the last month I have tried to use the reMarkable (without the mobile apps) and have been torn. On the one hand the device is really nice, slick, thin, light and the writing experience is extremely good, far superior to using a pen on an iPad. The problem for me though was the software. The sync issue was an annoyance but was compounded by the functionality of the device software itself. My main issue is search or the lack of. The notes you write CAN be converted to searchable text but once you do that they are now text not handwritten notes and you also have to accept any errors in conversion. You cant search handwritten notes, something that OneNote has done for years.

Further you cant name the pages of your notes to allow for searching by page name. This would be a major improvement for me. I create a page for each day in a daily notes journal and once created the only way to navigate or go back to a specific days notes is to use the thumbnail view of the notes pages. Each page is numbered but the thumbnail is too small text to easily spot a specific page so you end up having to open a page that you think then skip forward or backward until you find the required page. Given the slow refresh of eink displays this is not a quick process, certainly when compared to skimming through the pages of a paper journal.

And it is this limitation that has brought me to today when I have finally decided to return my reMarkable for a refund. Honestly if the device was half the price I might not have bothered but at £300 this is not a cheap piece of kit and given my difficulties using it in my wy of working I decided I would rather have the £300 back. I am a little disappointed but part of the original reason for buying was the knowledge that if it didn’t work for me I could return it so I am happy to have tried.

Maybe reMarkable 3 will rectify some of these issues when it is eventually released and I might be tempted to give it another go…

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