The original title of this post was “why I’ve decided to not buy the reMarkable 2”, but now I’m back to where I started.
I remember the preorders opening in 2017 for the first version of the e-ink, paperlike tablet. That’s when this product first got into my head. It’s remained there, exhaustingly, since. I’ll find myself thinking about this product multiple times a week: each time I forget a notebook at my factory space (or even the other room), each time I play D&D and want to move my session notes to an electronic notebook, and then there’s the remarketing segment I’m stuck in. It’s the most frequent Facebook and Instagram ad I get. I don’t want to Ignore the ad because each time I think, “maybe one day.” It shows it to me all the more because I so frequently click it. (reMarkable should probably just give me a device, and save tons of money on PPC.)
This albatross finally gained enough weight around my mental energy that I decided to just buy one this week.
However, one final click away from sending off my order, I decided, once and for all, that I do not want this device.
It might be surprising to hear, after how much I enjoy paper notebooks, that I’d even consider an electronic version. There are many soothing and beautiful things that come from the tactile nature of a Mnemosyne. However, many of those have been cracked by reMarkable. The writing speed is near-enough instant now, so I’m told. Equally fine are the accuracy of the pen and battery life of the device. The key feature of the reMarkable is solved too: it feels like a pencil on paper. At least according to reviews I’ve read and watched, the reMarkable 2 pretends to be paper very well. Anyway, the intent is not to replace paper for me, but to help in the situations where I know the notes will be useful on my computer later on. (Daily task lists rarely are. On the other hand, meeting notes need to be copied to Notion.)
The biggest gut punch, after adding in the stylus and a case, was the price. Even with a refurbished model, a basic pencil without the eraser, and the simple slip-in case it all adds up to an expensive product. Just under £500. This is a product that’s competing with an iPad - a full on computer with a colour screen. Whilst I don’t want an iPad for this - a notetaking machine has a very different purpose, which conflicts with the distracting nature of an iPad - I will need a new iPad soon. My iPad is slowly failing. These two devices share a budget, and adding £500 into that pot is difficult to stomach.
After five years though, £500 would hardly be an impulse buy. It’s not like it would bankrupt me. Maybe just giving them £500 is worthwhile to remove the repetitive brain cycles I keep dedicating to it. So, I decided, let’s go for it.
The thing that ultimately stopped me is that on the final page it included a line item for “Connect”. This is a £6 a month charge. The feature set for this includes “unlimited cloud storage”. Which is fine, and I could probably do without, but it also includes “send by email”. This one caught me off guard and got me thinking - if “send by email” costs £72 per year is this device totally locked down to stop you exporting the content if you don’t pay them?
This concern grew wider when I spotted that Connect Lite (a couple pounds cheaper) does not include “send by email”.
For “No Plan” (no monthly subscription), the feature list mentions importing only. The USB port it has is mentioned only for charging. And the wifi only works with the Desktop App, which works via their Cloud feature - which No Plan does not seem to include. Is there no way of getting content off this device without paying them each month?
At that point, I decided: okay, no longer any need to think about this product. I was free.
That was until I came here to write this post and opened up a few of their Help pages. Buried away, I’ve found I was wrong about what’s included in the free plan. It does include the cloud sync, with a caveat of only syncing notes that have been used in the past 50 days.
It seems like they’re so eager for you to buy a plan, they hide what you get without one. In this case to their own detriment, because I decided not to buy when I was most ready to.
50 day syncing is fine for me.
So anyway, now I’m back in this stupid boat and that albatross is back. I’ll probably just keep wondering if £500 is worth it for the next five years.