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Take a lot of handwritten notes? This gadget will change your life

A man uses the reMarkable 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There is an overwhelming desire to return to paper from people of all walks of life lately. Screens have invaded us. But what we’re often not seeing is an actual return to paper. It’s not necessarily as convenient as we remember it to be, and a lot of the return to paper is about desire, not action.

Should you also have the desire to return to the physical but also have an addiction to screens, let me introduce you to the reMarkable 2. It’s a sort of notebook, drawing tablet, document reader hybrid that is considered one of the best tablets for handwritten notes. Here are the top ways its been helping us.

It helps me remember things

Let’s start this one out with a list:

  • James Madison
  • James Garfield
  • James Monroe
  • James K. Polk
  • James Buchanan
  • James Carter

These six presidents look very familiar. The ‘J’ followed by the ‘a’ has no distinctive style, appearance, or character. It is uniform. As a result, it becomes harder to distinguish visually between them. Written out on my reMarkable 2, however, and each one will look different. When I press my reMarkable 2’s Marker Plus harder or swoop through the ‘J’ at a different angle, each one will appear distinctive. Should I have sneezed during Buchanan, a wiggle of the pen would have forever linked the writing in my mind as if it were “Manifest Destiny”.

And it goes beyond the appearance of things. When I write things out by hand, I remember more. Writing things out by hand lights up more brain regions, which ultimately creates a better memory habit. Yet, when we take handwritten notes on paper, we’re stuck with a piece of paper. On my reMarkable 2, I can share notes via the cloud and have them saved forever in a place that is easy to locate, without worrying about a losable piece of paper. If you’ve lost a semester’s worth of notes 10 weeks into the class, you’ll know what I mean.

It trumps paper

And this brings us to the next reason why I prefer my reMarkable 2 to taking actual, real, on-paper handwritten notes. The “paper” of the reMarkable 2 is so much more convenient.

For one, I can start over a million times without worrying about chopping down a rainforest’s worth of trees. From the first line of a poem to the first stroke of an epic portrait, I can just start over instantly.

At the same time, being a screen, the surface is a lot more durable and steady. When I need to erase something, I can either rub it out with my Marker Plus’s eraser function, circle the offending area with the eraser tool, or tap to undo. The offending marks are gone cleanly, with no eraser streaks and no damage to the pulp of my paper. If you make as many mistakes as I do, you’ll find out how much better this feels quickly.

A doodle kit

I’m always wanting to try out different pencil and pen types. A pack of simple Faber-Castell pens, for example, introduced me to the idea of using India Ink brush pens. Unfortunately, in real life, collecting different pen types can be expensive. If you want to play around with style, you’ve got to pay the price. Even worse, you’ve got to carry them all around with you whenever you want to use them, and they can run out of ink or lead at any time.

My Marker Plus is simultaneously a ballpoint pen, fineliner, marker, highlighter, calligraphy brush and more, morphing between each form in just a couple of screen taps. Everything is so convenient and minimalist, available at my fingertips whenever I’m ready to get busy.

Documents are a lot easier to handle now

It might be a minor point for you, but signing documents is almost always a hassle nowadays. Today’s documents, for whatever reason, are all trying to mock paper documents of old yet use a nearly universally digital format.

When I do need to interact with something, I can bring a third party document to my reMarkable 2. That makes naturally signing and making checkmarks on PDFs easy and good looking.

And it goes beyond PDFs. If I have an epub file, like for an eReader, I plop that into reMarkable 2 as well. It’s perfect for little margin notes instead of typing up comments separately that subsequently get a very weird disconnect from the page that made them noteworthy.

John Alexander
John Alexander is a former ESL teacher, current writer and internet addict, and lacks the wisdom to know what the future…
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