The E-ink Tablet: A Writer’s New Best Friend

Thank you SO much to everyone who contributed to the fund for my desk chair! It’s arriving on Thursday, so now it’s on to the next goal: a standing desk! If you want to help, check out the details in the donation box below the post and read my stories on Vocal!

A New Class of Tablets

E-ink tablet. Have you ever heard that term before? I hadn’t until earlier this year, but now one of these new-fangled gadgets has forever changed the way I write and organise my work – thanks to some funding help from you all!

I love handwriting. My first stories were written down in a series of notebooks which I then painstakingly typed up on my ancient hand-me-down laptop. I’ve always torn through notebooks faster than I can get them. But in my line of work where I write so much, it’s not only extremely difficult to organise all of these notebooks, but it takes a long time to turn their contents into typed text. Can anyone else relate? You want to handwrite everything, but it’s just so inconvenient!

So when I heard that there was a potential solution to all of these problems, I was intrigued. I’m usually not the kind of person to jump on new tech – I still have an iPhone 11 – but I decided that I was willing to give e-ink tablets a try, despite their newness.

Because these tablets aren’t just glorified iPads. For one, they don’t have a backlit screen – think like an old Kindle. They’re made to simulate writing or drawing on paper, hence the name “e-ink tablet.” Drawing tablets like this have been around for quite a while, but only recently have companies started to see the potential for writing on these tablets as well. And so, a new kind of tablet was born!

The Old Issues

The thing that intrigued me the most was the idea that handwritten text could be instantly converted to typed text – which is the biggest efficiency problem I have with handwriting! In the past, I tried various solutions like the Rocketbook and text recognition apps, but there were always major problems with these:

  • The text recognition was very poor, even when I tried to write much neater than normal.
  • The Rocketbook required you to constantly erase the notebook and replace the pens.
  • The Rocketbook also didn’t feel like writing on paper – the surface was very slippery.
  • Getting the converted text where you needed it to go was often a hassle and the formatting was always weird.

And so, I went on a hunt for the perfect e-ink tablet. It turns out that doesn’t exist, but hey, I found something very close!

The Search

In the end, there were three competitors: reMarkable 2, Supernote X, and BOOX Note Air2. From the many reviews I read and watched, I saw that the BOOX tablet took a lot of modifications to feel right for writing, and even then, I got the impression it was mostly meant for drawing. I nearly chose the Supernote X, as the development team is very interactive with their users and the tablet itself is nearly as sophisticated as the reMarkable when it comes to handwriting. If handwriting-to-text conversion hadn’t been my main “must have” in an e-ink tablet, I probably would’ve gotten this one.

As it stands, though, the Supernote team admitted that prioritising handwriting to text is not on their agenda right now, and probably won’t be for the near future. Currently, it can only be done on the tablet through Microsoft Word (ew!!) and the accuracy is just okay.

And so, I turned to the reMarkable. It’s undoubtedly the best e-ink tablet for writing, but the very, very bad thing is that they have a subscription you pay for if you want to use handwriting-to-text conversion. Of course. (EDIT 9/27/22: The team at reMarkable just announced that they’re massively reducing the cost of their Connect subscription from $7.99 to $2.99, and you no longer need to have Connect to use handwriting to text! They’ve clearly listened to feedback from their users and I’m now even happier that I decided to go with reMarkable!)

Is it worth it?

After my 100-day trial, I say yes.

Another reason I gave reMarkable a chance is that once you purchase the tablet, you get a free 3-month Connect subscription and a 100-day trial. Any time before the end of the 100 days is over, you can return the reMarkable with no questions asked and get a full refund.

Is the trial designed so that you realise how much you can’t live without the tablet and then can’t possibly think of sending it back? Undoubtedly. Did it work on me anyway? Yes.

I don’t spend my money lightly, especially when it comes to making a recurring investment like I’m doing with the reMarkable. Nothing but near-perfection could have convinced me to keep this thing, and, well… That’s exactly what I got. I’m not getting paid to say this either (sadly). This is just my honest opinion!

Why reMarkable’s the Winner

Here’s why the reMarkable has completely changed the way I write:

  • It’s distraction-free. The reMarkable gets bashed because of how little is on it, but I like that for that reason. It’s not another iPad – it’s a digital notebook with no notifications or apps to distract you from writing.
  • It saves me from buying gazillions of notebooks and pens.
  • It’s extremely simple and easy to use.
  • The text recognition is top notch; I’ve never seen better. Even with my messy handwriting, it’s about 90% accurate. And the reMarkable also gives you the option to edit the converted text before you send it off to your email.
  • It truly feels like writing on paper with the special screen and pen. Though the nibs of the pen do have to be replaced, the reMarkable comes with nine replacements and I’m still on the one it came with. I won’t have to buy more for years.
  • The various templates are wonderful! There’s one for every need. I often use the storyboarding templates and the college-ruled notebook page – my favourite classic.

For these reasons and more, the reMarkable is definitely the tablet for me, at least until something better comes along (read: without a subscription). I carry it everywhere, and gone are the days of cramming several different notebooks into my backpack. Organisation is simplicity itself, and I can access my work files on Google Drive directly from the tablet as well!

So maybe you’ve never heard of e-ink tablets before or you’re perfectly happy with your pen and paper, thank you very much. Whatever the case, if you’re the kind of person who’s writing tens of thousands of words a week and wishes handwriting to text could be more efficient, look into these game-changing tablets. My reMarkable is an incredible tool that I’ll be using for years to come. It may be an investment, but for me, it’s certainly worth it.

Have any questions about the reMarkable or e-ink tablets in general? Let me know in the comments!

Happy writing!
-E.J.


Want to delve even further into the writing world? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter to get a FREE storytelling guidebook right off the bat, plus insider looks into my upcoming works, writing memes, book recs, and much more!

Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a small “desk” that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.

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