hardware: reMarkable 2 review

I’ve had a reMarkable 2 for a couple years now. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it for reading.

  • Hardware quality is so-so: the device itself is solid, but dropping the pen on the floor broke the nib, and replacements are expensive.
  • Software keeps getting worse: the reMarkable was quite good at reading academic PDFs. In particular, there was an option to resize the viewport, so you could trim margins and make the most use of the display. Unfortunately, a software update sometime this year changed how this works, and now you have to pinch-zoom the viewport instead. This is FRUSTRATING on the display, especially because the sensitivity is way off, so it’s hard to get things exactly right.
  • Transferring files (especially large files) is very janky: The tablet doesn’t register as a USB mass storage device, so you can’t drag-and-drop files over. You have to use their website, a third party script, or their weird web UI, where you browse to a URL that the tablet serves. This last option is pretty annoying both because that means you have to get your laptop to connect to the device after plugging it in, and because the web UI just does nothing if you try to upload too big of a file (where “too big” is completely undefined). Contrast this to a Kobo e-reader I have, where you can just plug it in and drag your files over, or use something established like Calibre.

It’s admittedly “my fault”: the device isn’t really meant for reading. I’d like it to support things like 2 pages at once in horizontal mode, or ePub 3 fixed layouts, which would make it perfect for reading manga. (The Kobo Sage, by the way, supports both of these, albeit on a smaller screen, where it’s not as useful.) But if you think you can make things work, don’t: a reMarkable is for taking notes and taking notes only.