THE write STUFF
Electronic paper looks set to make a great leap forward thanks to the reMarkable 2
WE’RE all pretty familiar with e-paper for reading – you’ve more than likely seen Kindle, the most popular e-book platform from Amazon. These devices do not use displays like phones and regular tablets, but electronic ink. There are a few different technologies in this game, but most use tiny particles floating in liquid under the display. These react to electric charges to create the marks you can see form letters and images on the screen.
The electronic ink industry is improving its technology all the time. And while colour electronic ink displays are not quite ready for the mainstream, they are being developed.
But why would you even bother with this if we already have very high resolution full colour displays on tablets and phones?
Well, there are a number of advantages to electronic ink – the biggest being that it is much easier on the eye than the screens phones and tablets use, but it also uses a lot less power.
Electronic ink screens do not emit light but simply reflect natural light, much like real paper. And they only really use power when changing states – they don’t need power to maintain states.
This technology has been used mostly for reading up to now. But increasingly it’s also being used for writing.
The pinnacle of that technology at the moment is the second generation electronic paper tablet from a company called reMarkable – the reMarkable 2.
One of the biggest barriers to a usable electronic ink writing environment is the latency – the time it takes for the screen to react to your pen’s touch. Then there’s the gap between the surface of the device that you touch with the pen,
and the level on which the ink is actually displayed – when this gap is too large, it doesn’t really feel like you’re writing on the surface at all…
The reMarkable 2 seems to have solved those issues – or at least got close enough to solving them to make writing on an electronic ink screen very usable indeed.
The reMarkable 2 is an incredibly thin tablet with a 10.3in display featuring an electronic ink surface with a resolution of 226dpi.
It’s just 4.7mm thick and weighs just over 400g.
The stylus (which requires no pairing or charging) clips to the side of the device magnetically and there is a range of cool covers to keep your reMarkable safe.
Why choose this over a standard tablet? Well there are a couple of reasons – reMarkable has gone to some lengths to try to replicate the feel of paper as well as its look.
There’s a textured surface to the display and the tip of the stylus, and this produces the kind of friction you might experience when dragging a pencil across a piece of paper.
The display reacts to more than 4,000 levels of pressure, and can detect tilt in the pen.
There are two kinds of stylus you can buy, and the only real difference (aside from the colour
– one is black and one is white) is that the black one has a built-in ‘eraser’ on the end.
The other reason to make this your tablet is its lack of distractions. You can basically do three things with it – read, write, and draw. No video, no social media, no email or messages. There is a web browser, but that’s only really useful for reading articles published online – this really is a device that aids concentration and thinking.
A third reason to be interested is the device’s battery life – it’ll go for two weeks without recharging!
It supports both PDFs and ePub e-book formats, so could replace your Kindle just as easily as your iPad.
There are a couple of other neat features that might also make life easier – it can convert your handwriting to text, and syncs documents via the web so you can access them on the reMarkable app on your phone or tablet for sharing.
The reMarklable 2 costs £399 in a special launch bundle that features the device itself, a stylus, and a folio cover.
You can find out more at remarkable.com.
The reMarkable 2 is a focussed and effective reading and writing tool
The reMarkable 2 even replicates the friction of the pencil on a page