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First 24 hours with the ReMarkable 2 note-writing tablet

I just wanted to jot down my thoughts on the ReMarkable note-taking tablet after having it for around 24 hours.

Because so far I absolutly love it, but perhaps that's 'cause I want to love it. It's one of those things as a kid I always wanted to exist, which is why I'm having a weirdly emotional fuzzy reaction to it.

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This has happened with two other things so far where sometimes I just use them and go "this is totally what I was dreaming about", one more still yet to come, but that can live in next week's Weeknotes.

Okay, so after using it for an evening and a morning, and most of that time has been spent transcribing my current notebooks into this one, I'm really enjoying it. It does indeed feel like writing on paper, which is great as I love writing on paper.

I've tried several online to-do/task/note-taking etc tools and none of them has particularly stuck and I keep going back to paper notebooks.

There are a few reviews around that sort of complain that it only does the one thing, take notes, and nothing else, but honestly, that's what I love about it so much.

Also, it does have two more tricks. The first is to load PDFs and (non-DRM) epubs. I have a couple of workbooks in PDF format, and with workbooks, you kind of have to print them out as they're designed to be written in. So this is perfect, make a copy of the PDF, load it onto the tablet and scribble all over it to your heart's content.

The second is that you can send web pages to the tablet via a chrome extension. It sends it magically to the cloud and back down to the tablet, where once again you can scribble all over it. Very much like "Send to my kindle", for those of us who don't want to be reading off a screen in the evening.

I haven't had a chance to sketch in it yet, I'm sure it'll be fine. My sketching isn't good enough to be adversely affected by any shortcomings. I'm sure if I was really good, I'd notice all sorts of problems. In my doodles it's fine.

Finally, I like that it has template pages (dotted, lined, day and week planners), a bit sad it doesn't have more. But this can be fixed by sending over whatever you want as a PDF. I'm going to be using it to practice shorthand (Teeline) and I want a lined paper template that's split down the middle, giving it left and right sides. It's a pretty niche need so it's nice to know I can solve my own problem with a PDF.

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Cons

In my limited usage here are the problems I've come up against, some of them technical, but this first one is just down to me.

Notebook bloat.

I normally have three notebooks, a work notebook that sits on the desk, a home notebook that sits on the side table, and a Field Notes that lives in my pocket.

Whenever I need to jot something down I do it in whichever notebook is to hand. Which means that everything gets jumbled all together, which generally isn't a problem because it's quick to flick through the pages. When too much of one topic gets spread out throughout the book I can easily re-write it all together, flipping back and forth between the pages.

But suddenly faced with the ability to create as many 'virtual' notebooks as I needed, and even better/worse create folders to put them in. I've suddenly found myself making a folder called "Blogposts", and inside one notebook for ideas, other notebooks for each post I'm thinking about writing.

I've now got a notebook for jotting down notes for Weeknotes, a couple for pen plotting ideas, oh one for ideas for how I need to update my website, some more for work, a few for various to-do and daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plans, general notes and a "Random" notebook for everything else.

It may, on reflection be too many notebooks. But I don't know yet, it's not that easy to flip back and forth between pages, as not that easy to flip between notebooks either.

With a paper notebook, I don't have any choice but to keep going forwards page by page. Digital gives you the possibility to go back and cut, copy, paste, edit. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

Anyway, the point of this is to be able to look back in a months time to see how I'm doing now compared to a few more weeks experience.

Three more "cons".

1. I wish I could set the default pen that each notebook starts with. There are various types, fine liner, pencil, ballpoint, calligraphy, I like the calligraphy pen, each new notebook starts with the fine liner. When I create a new notebook I have to change the pen. Perhaps it's only a problem because I'm creating a lot of notebooks at the moment. Once I've finished it'll not be a problem. The notebooks themselves remember the last pen-type used in each one.

2. When you create a new notebook you pick the page type, lined, dotted, day planner and so on. I wish you could change pages within a notebook. I want some pages to be blank, some to be gridded, and so on. But it's all or nothing.

3. No backlight. I guess what would be near perfect is an Amazon paperwhite kindle, with a stylus you can draw on.

I don't really use notebooks in the dark, but perhaps I would if there was some backlighting. Would be useful to have a subtle backlight if you're taking notes in, ummm, a cinema?

Unlike the first two, which I hope may happen at some point with a software update, but could possibly never happen. Having the ReMarkable gain backlighting, or a Kindle gain a pen seems an inevitability, so I just have to wait for that to happen.

Bonus 4. In an ideal world there'd be four different sizes, A4, desk notebook (the current one), kindle paperwhite sized and pocket-sized. All synced with a desktop/web-based central storage.

Again I'm guessing at some point in the future all this will just come to pass.

In the meantime, so far so good on digital paper that finally feels like it's moved beyond the prototype stage.

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