For the last 7 days, I have been living with a reMarkable 2 tablet. It has been a pretty crazy week, I’m shattered, and quite frankly, my handwriting could be the worst in the UK, so all-in-all, perhaps not the best time to move to my first e-ink writing experience.
Like many early-adopting technologists, I tend to fall for the sheer allure of product, and then reverse justify its addition to my arsenal of gadgets. This occasion was no different. The reMarkable 2 is beautiful, slender and light, and the writing experience is both authentic and playful at the same time; in that I mean that the level of friction of the stylus on the screen accurately reproduces that of a generic pen or pencil on generic paper, and pressure sensitivity as credible and usable as any Wacom I have used.
As UX practitioners, myself and my colleagues at HUB have to create sustainable interface design systems that intelligently guide users through interactive products. We would like to think we know what it means to create a great user experience. So when I started to use the reMarkable, I admit I was hoping for a user experience to match it’s exquisite outer shell. I was let down.
Whilst the operating system software on the reMarkable is mostly operational and the actual writing experience pleasurable, the organisational methods that power the notebook are not fluid; adding pages is not omnipresent – I can only add a page from within an active page for example, and the moving of pages requires far too many interactions. These are a couple of basic moans I will choose to work through giving that the writing experience is particularly strong, and don’t get me wrong, the upsides of physically having this type of device massively outweigh the downsides. That said, the sync tools are currently unforgivable. Slow, inconsistent with little to no user operation feedback – I cant tell if my pages are syncing, going to sync or whether I should try to tap a few more times to prompt an action.
As developers we know that web applications, software, websites and app are constantly changing; new functions are being released, current functions are being reworked and made better, so for the time being, I think it is fair to overlook the buggy software in favour of the beautiful writing and drawing experience.