We recently reviewed the alternative tablets to reMarkable 2, and we were very excited about it. In a world where brands are trying to cover all their bases – be jacks of all trades – the reMarkable has set itself apart as a master of one. This tablet looks great right out of the box.
It’s the notepad you want to take out anywhere there are people, because you’re genuinely proud of it. The super thin design; the simple, but elegant face; the writing experience, which feels just like traditional paper; the whole shebang! Its very different to a traditional drawing table for example.
While we were gushing over the reMarkable 2, however, we realized that a lot of the things we were thinking about it, a lot of the adjectives we were using, were adjectives we would use on another famous tablet.
Words like “premium”, “unique”, “status symbol”, and, most importantly, “pricey”, are typically reserved for Apple products like the iPad Pro. Had we found a new Apple? Had we found the Apple of writing, perhaps?
And that’s how we decided to write this article. We’ll be doing a comprehensive comparison between the reMarkable 2 and iPad Pro, the premium Apple tablet of the day. This isn’t really about which is better, but rather about how each excels in its own right.
And now, without further ado, let’s get going!
reMarkable 2 vs. iPad Pro: What’s the difference between the two?
The reMarkable 2 is a well-built device, with a premium feel and great accessories. The body is made of aluminum, with little design details that clearly look like they were well thought-out. The clicky power button is located at the top of the tablet’s spine, jutting out just enough for tactile recognition. It makes a satisfying clicking sound when you press it, letting you know your tablet is safely on or off.
The fact that the body is metal means the tablet feels just weighty enough to be substantial, and yet it is still very light at just 0.88 pounds. Another small detail or group of details to appreciate is the set of four little rubber pads on the back. These ground the tablet when you put it on its back so it doesn’t slip and slide around on the table.
The reMarkable 2 is also remarkably (pun intended) thin. It’s just 4.7mm, a 30% reduction from its predecessor.
On the inside, it is powered by a 1.2 GHz ARM processor with 2 cores. Memory is covered by a 1 GB SDRAM for fast retrieval and internal storage is 8 GB. This makes it twice as fast as its predecessor, while the revamped battery can now last thrice as long as the original, going up to 2 weeks on regular use.
The reMarkable 2 has a USB-C port for fast charging and connecting to other devices, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
The display is 10.3 inches large with 226 DPI (dots per inch) resolution, or 1872 x 1404 pixels. The screen is an E-Ink Canvas display. It has a great matte finish that makes it feel and sound like paper when you write.
Compare this to the iPad Pro, which has a mix of aluminum and glass for its materials and a weight of 1.5 pounds. That’s almost twice as heavy as the reMarkable 2! It’s also a full mm thicker than the reMarkable 2 at 6.5 mm.
On the other hand, the iPad Pro features the powerful Apple M1 chip with 8 cores and an 8-core Apple GPU. Base memory is 8 GB of RAM while base storage is 128 GB. You can also opt for 16 GB of RAM and up to 2 TB of internal storage. The 40.88 Wh battery, however, probably won’t go more than a couple days on typical use, so it loses out on that front.
The iPad Pro connects on the same dual bands as the reMarkable 2. It has a large 12.9-inch display with 265 DPI resolution, or 2048 x 2732 pixels. That’s significantly better than the reMarkable 2, but then again you’ll be using that screen for a lot more things than writing and sketching so it checks out.
The display is made of scratch-resistant glass with an oleophobic coating so it doesn’t get messed up from greasy hands.
While the iPad Pro has many superior hardware features, it is also expected to do more, and the reMarkable 2 still beats it hands down on some aspects of design, like the thickness, weight, and feel of the screen.
While the reMarkable 2’s display is a capable touch screen with multi-touch capability, the real fun starts when you use it with one of the available stlyli. The cheaper one is the Marker, which is gray in color and costs $49. It has a great texture and feels substantial in the hand. It also has 4096 levels of pressure and tilt sensitivity. And then there is the Marker Plus, which is black in color and features a digital eraser on the butt. For that extra feature it will set you back $99.
The fact that you have to buy the Marker styli separately is a bit of a bummer. However, neither of them is nearly as pricey as the latest Apple Pencil, which costs $120+.
The Markers come with a handful of spare tips for replacement. These are necessary, as the tips wear off after extended use. That’s what you get for a display that feels and sounds like paper. All that pleasant friction comes at a cost.
Something else we love about the markers is that there is no distance between the tip and the actual line you’re drawing, which makes the paper-like experience feel even more accurate. The markers also don’t require any charging at all. As for portability, you can tack them magnetically onto the side of your reMarkable 2.
The tacking is all good, but it doesn’t guarantee much safety for your marker. For that you can opt for either the Folio or Book Folio.
The Folio is a gray fabric sleeve that you slide your reMarkable 2 into, with an extra pocket for the Marker. The Folio Book, on the other hand, comes in leather and fabric options. You can go for brown leather, black leather, or gray fabric. It looks and feels like a high quality leather book cover, and magnetically locks onto your reMarkable, making it look like a stylish notebook.
The iPad Pro, being a more full-featured tablet, has a slew of accessories – too many to name here. Here you will get more variety, thanks to the eco-system of third party accessory providers, as well as Apple themselves. However, given its narrower range of use cases, the reMarkable 2 has more than enough accessories. It should be interesting to note that Apple don’t say what the pressure sensitivity of the Apple Pencil is. However, from experience, it should be either 4096 or 8192 levels – comparable to the Marker and Marker Plus.
The reMarkable 2 has a simple user interface for its simple use cases: note-taking, sketching, and light reading. All you have to do is press the power button and you’ll either see the main menu or the last note you were working on on the screen. The main menu contains all of the files you’ve recently created, as well as buttons for creating new notebooks and folders and adding sheets to existing notebooks.
On the bottom left corner are two little icons showing the Wi-Fi and battery status. The top-left has the menu access button, and the top-right has a search icon.
When creating notes, you can pick from a plethora of templates, including storyboards, planners, grids, dots, checklists, and many more.
On each note, there is a hideable menu, so you can keep your workspace uncluttered. There you can access a variety of controls, including choosing the kind of brush. Options include marker, pencil, fineliner, ballpoint pen, paintbrush, mechanical pencil, calligraphy pen, and highlighter. Apart from the highlighter, the others offer the choice between white and black colors and thick, medium, and thick weights.
The reMarkable 2 takes in your regular handwriting and gives the option to convert it to text and share via email. This feature is a bit dividing, with many users reporting varying levels of accuracy, so it’s something you have to experience yourself. All of us on the team have average handwriting, not too good or too bad, and the feature worked well for us.
The reMarkable 2 has an eBook reader that only works with DRM-free (digital rights management) ePUB (electronically-published) files. That’s rather limiting. However, it reads PDFs very well. You can also send saved web pages to it for later reading. However, the pictures and videos are removed, so you might find yourself going back to an actual browser for additional context.
In comparison, the iPad Pro features Apple’s famous polished UI, with a wide range of functionality, allowing you to do just everything short of hammering a nail into a block of wood with your tablet. Compared to this, the reMarkable 2’s UI is rather simple. We think it does its job very well, however. Who wants a cluttered screen when all they want to do is read and write anyway?
Warranty & support
The iPad Pro comes with Apple’s standard 1-year warranty. So does the reMarkable 2, though the exact warranty period may vary from one country to another. However, you are more likely to find licensed Apple technicians around than you are to find reMarkable ones, so Apple wins on the support front. That said, you can always take it to the local store where you bought it or ship it back to the company, which will gladly take defective product and ship you back a new one.
The reMarkable 2 is quite pricey at $399. However, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the iPad Pro’s $1000+ price tag. That said, given the fact that the reMarkable 2 is meant mostly for note taking and sketching, the price tag might be forbidding for consumers looking for a little more bang for their buck. If you do copious amounts of note-taking, however, and you don’t mind supplementing your existing iPad or other tablet, the reMarkable 2 is a worthy purchase.
Both tablets have very good build quality, with metal bodies and well-designed screens. Both have a premium feel and confer a feeling of status on the owner. According to us, this front is a tie between the two.
The reMarkable 2 is a second-generation device. It hasn’t gone through nearly as many design iterations as the iPad Pro. While we have full confidence in the build quality and other aspects, we wouldn’t, for example, advise you to buy a refurbished reMarkable. In many ways, this device is still a prototype. That said, if you get a new one, you can rely on it to work for a few years. The iPad is generally a long-lasting tablet, of course until they release the next one and your old model has inexplicable OS issues (yes Apple, we’re looking at you). Generally speaking, given the great design of both devices, we can vouch for their long-term reliability. However, while getting a refurbished iPad Pro is okay, we wouldn’t advise you to get a refurbished reMarkable 2. Get a new one.
reMarkable 2 vs. iPad Pro for note taking
The reMarkable 2 was built for this main purpose, and it outdoes the iPad Pro and many other tablets on which you can take notes. The iPad Pro’s glass surface can feel weird to write on, unless you buy a matte screen cover. And even then, the experience still isn’t quite like what you get on the reMarkable 2. If you want a premium note-taking experience and don’t mind supplementing your iPad Pro with an extra tablet, the reMarkable 2 is worth every dollar.
Summary – Is the reMarkable 2 better than the iPad Pro?
Given the review, you can already guess our answer to this. The reMarkable 2 isn’t a replacement for the iPad Pro. It’s just the Apple of note-taking tablets. Conversely, the iPad Pro is the reMarkable of full-featured tablets. We wouldn’t say one is better than the other as they serve different, only mildly overlapping, purposes. With that in mind, the reMarkable 2 is a fantastic supplement to your main tablet if you take lots of notes and do simple sketching. If you don’t do either, then you’re not the target market and you could spend that money wisely elsewhere. Until next time, happy drawing!