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E-ink tablets made no sense, now I can’t stop using one

OPINION: After years of refinement in the world of tablet computers, the concept of an e-ink tablet that strips back functionality seemed completely alien to me. Like a lot of people (I imagine), I asked the question of why someone would want an e-ink tablet when something like the iPad 10 or Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra could do so much by comparison. After testing several e-ink tablets back to back however, I feel ready to eat my words.

For context, I’ve been testing the Remarkable 2 alongside the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra and while you can read my final verdict on both devices in the near future, I can say in the meantime that they have both sold me on the core design philosophy they espouse.

While it’s true that using an e-ink tablet feels like a comparatively stripped-back experience compared to modern tablets, this pivot in usability actually comes with quite a few benefits.

For starters, the lack of notifications for incoming emails and messages ensures that the e-ink experience is free of any distractions, and I’ve found myself more compelled to finish a task at hand then there aren’t any other tabs that I can quickly jump between.

What has really impressed me about these tablets however is how preferable they are for a bit of late night work. Not to say that I recommend this practice for everyone but I have a habit of using the last half an hour of an evening to outline my plans for the following day, or tie up any loose ends that can’t really wait until morning. Typically my smartphone would be my go-to device in these instances, but as countless studies have shown, using devices that emit blue light before bedtime can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm.

remarkable 2 sitting on a book

By comparison, e-ink displays – by their very nature – are as easy on the eyes as a piece of paper. By swapping out my smartphone for these tablets, I’ve been able to keep these moments of late-night productivity without paying the price with sore eyes the next morning. It’s a change that I’ve also been able to implement during the daytime.

For in-person meetings and brainstorming, I’ve moved over to the Remarkable 2 or the Tab Ultra, and found myself avoiding the bouts of eye-strain that office workers typically have to contend with. What helps this use case above all is the long-lasting battery life that’s available as a direct result of e-ink technology being less power intensive than LCD and OLED panels, and unlike the Apple Pencil, there’s no need to charge the styli that are compatible with the two aforementioned e-ink tablets.

press pic of the remarkable 2 tablet

It’s not a perfect system of course, as any tasks involving web browsing or research can make e-ink feel like tech from a bygone era, but for writing and note-taking, these tablets have a lot to offer and I can easily see myself carrying one around long after the review process is complete.

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