Way back in October of 2019, I found a writing tablet that changed how I view journal writing and note-taking. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that tablet review was one of my last product reviews as a columnist at Inc. Magazine where I had covered technology for about 10 years including about three years writing for the print magazine. The tablet review caught on with readers because a few of them messaged me weeks and even months later to say they also re-discovered what tablet writing could be like without paper and pen.
I reviewed the original model for The Daily Beast as well, raving about how easy it is to write notes and feel like you are using pen and paper.
Some of us are a little picky. An Apple iPad is great for many purposes and you can definitely use one to take notes during a meeting using the Apple Pencil, but it’s not quite like writing in a paper journal at all. There isn’t the same tactile feel as though you are holding an actual pencil. It’s more like writing on a digital screen. All of the same benefits are there, including transferring digital notes to your phone and archiving them forever. You don’t run out of ink.
Yet that first digital tablet, called Remarkable, was a game-changer for me. A new model recently arrived that takes that original concept and improves it even more.
Remarkable 2 is a thin digital notebook that doesn’t even try to take on the Apple iPad or any Android tablet. In the press notes, the company mentions how it is for people who like to journal, write notes, and sketch out ideas.
It’s hard to describe, but the new model feels even more like writing on paper. The stylus is heavier and looks and acts more like a real pen. It even has an eraser. When you jot down notes, the digitizer transfers your ideas with utmost precision. I used to say that most digital notebooks like this would never quite match the tactile feel of a real journal. I’d suffer through note-taking with a few stray marks and illegible scribbles.
I can say the Remarkable 2 has figured out how to mimic a real journal because you won’t have the same random markings that you might have on an iPad.
The new model is only .19-inches thin and has a more durable feel—like you could drop it or spill coffee on it and not worry about any damage. The company says the new model is 2x as responsive when you take notes. Battery life is also 3x longer than the first model.
I also really liked the case the company included. It’s a complete set—digital notebook, a stylus that snaps easily onto the side using a strong magnet, and a case with a cover that makes it all seem like you are using a genuine Moleskine that never runs out of paper.
I’m a major journal writer and take notes constantly. I’ve been known to watch YouTube interviews with famous thinkers and take notes instead of watching Netflix movies. I’m even working on a book where an entire section is about journaling.
I don’t plan to keep a paper journal around as much. I loved the battery life, the tactile feedback and the case that makes it easy to transport the Remarkable 2. It’s my favorite writing device right now, and from someone who has used many of them, that says a lot.