Skip to content

Remarkable 2 vs iPad Pro: Which Tablet is Best for Reading, Writing & Productivity?

The tablet market provides consumers an overwhelming array of options these days. Global sales numbers show that Apple‘s iPads dominate the overall market. But niche competitors like the Remarkable 2 attract attention by targeting specific use cases like reading and writing.

Let‘s compare the Remarkable 2 and iPad Pro head-to-head to see the pros and cons of each device.

Key Specs Comparison

First, a quick look at the baseline hardware specs between the two tablets:

Spec Remarkable 2 iPad Pro 12.9" (5th Gen)
Release Date 2020 2021
Display 10.3" e-ink 12.9" LCD
Resolution 1872×1404 (226 PPI) 2048×2732 (264 PPI)
Storage 8 GB 128GB, up to 2TB
Memory 1 GB RAM Up to 16GB RAM
Battery life Weeks Up to 10 hours
Dimensions 187 x 246 x 4.7 mm 280 x 215 x 6.4 mm
Weight 405 grams 682 grams
Stylus Marker Plus Apple Pencil 2
Price $299 $1099+

Comparing the Displays and Reading Experience

The core functionality of tablets centers around consuming and interacting with content on the display. Both the Remarkable and iPad boast impressive displays, but with vastly different technologies catering to different use cases.

The Remarkable 2 uses an e-ink display — the same display technology used by popular e-readers like the Amazon Kindle devices. E-ink displays mimic the look and feel of physical paper. They can display only black and white. But they are easier on the eyes for long reading sessions compared to backlit displays. E-ink panels also require no power except when changing the display. This allows the Remarkable 2 to reach battery life comparable to an e-reader — lasting weeks on a charge.

The 10.3” Remarkable 2 display provides 226 PPI resolution on a Canvas display coated with a custom anti-glare layer that provides a nearly paper-like level of friction for the Marker stylus. Contrast ratio on the Canvas panel hits 10-15% — extremely high for an e-ink screen and resulting in crisp, defined text even rivaling print. The ultra-low blue light output reduces eyestrain as well.

By contrast, the iPad Pro uses a stunning 12.9" Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED LCD display panel. With a PPI over 264, a brightness peaking at 1600 nits (HDR), a 1 million to 1 contrast ratio thanks to local dimming zones and thousands of mini-LEDs, ProMotion adaptive refresh rate (10-120 Hz), and support for Dolby Vision/HDR, this display excels at any media format — video, photos, games, mags, colorful documents and presentations. It also has an anti-reflective coating for better visibility in bright light. While not intrinsically low blue light like e-ink, the iPad does have Night Shift mode to reduce blue wavelengths in the evenings.

Display Verdict

So if you want a tablet primarily for reading books and documents with minimal eye strain, the Remarkable 2 provides the best experience. But if you require vibrant multimedia and color accuracy for your use case, along with silky-smooth scrolling and refresh rates, the iPad Pro‘s mini-LED panel is tough to beat.

Operating Systems: Remarkable vs iPadOS

On the software side of things, these two tablets again take very different approaches.

The Remarkable 2 runs a custom Linux-based OS optimized solely for reading and writing. The interface provides quick access to your notebook documents, ebooks, and file storage. There is no app store for downloading games or social media. The focus remains strictly on productivity. Remarkable has built in tight integration with cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud to facilitate getting documents to and from the tablet. And using those integrations or hooks into IFTTT, you can even get your written notes from the Remarkable automatically exported to platforms like Slack, Email, Evernote and more.

iPadOS powers the iPad Pro with Apple‘s renowned ecosystem and App Store access. The iPad multitasks with ease thanks to robust split screen capabilities and slide over apps. You can take notes in Notability while referencing a textbook PDF. Or play YouTube over picture-in-picture when working in Illustrator. Flexible split-screen apps, drag and drop functionality between apps, and Apple Pencil integration all contribute to a very versatile workflow. Add in the immense App Store catalog of productivity apps like Office 365 and Adobe Creative Suite along with games, and you have nearly limitless flexibility compared to the locked-down Remarkable environment.

Operating Systems Verdict

The Remarkable 2‘s software focus directly targets document markup and notebooks. The iPad‘s open App Store ecosystem provides endless expansion opportunity by running multiple apps simultaneously. But that flexibility comes at the cost of walls to productivity in the form of distraction. There are certainly use cases whereRemarkable‘s tight constraints guide efficiency.

Note-taking Showdown: Apple Pencil vs Remarkable Marker

One of the Remarkable tablet‘s headline features is the note-taking experience. So how does it compare to the iPad Pro paired with the famous Apple Pencil 2?

The Remarkable Marker uses a fine precision plastic tip to mimic the feeling and friction of writing on paper when applied to the e-ink display. Remarkable designed this stylus alongside their tablet and software for the best possible writing experience. With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a unique nib that provides that paper-like feedback with some static friction, it excels for long-form writing sessions. The slightly textured display surface works seamlessly with the Marker to convince your senses you‘re writing in an old-school notebook. Users overwhelmingly prefer the experience to glass displays. And the Marker never needs charging.

The Apple Pencil grants exceptional accuracy and lag-free responsiveness for note-taking thanks to its 240Hz sampling rate alongside the iPad‘s ProMotion display. The pencil recharges wirelessly by magnetically attaching to the side of the iPad — extremely convenient compared to Replaceable Marker nibs. The Pencil supports tilt and pressure sensitivity much like the Marker plus offers palm rejection so you can rest your hand on the screen while writing. But when writing on the iPad‘s smooth glass display, the plastic Pencil nib provides more glide than traditional paper can match. And even at a stellar 264 PPI resolution, the iPad cannot completely emulate the subtle texture of writing on paper. Add-on screen protectors try to bridge the tactile gap, but tend to interfere with display clarity and Apple Pencil responsiveness.

Both styli should satisfy most users for note-taking and marking up documents. The Remarkable 2 goes a step further in replicating traditional pen and paper thanks to the synergy between e-ink display and Marker nib. But the Apple Pencil offers greater precision, tilt support, and sheer technological magic with its lag-free responsiveness and magnetic charging.

Work, Play & Productivity Potential

Do you want a tablet strictly for getting work done? Or is the ability to kick back with entertainment apps equally appealing? This consideration plays a big role in determining if the spartan Remarkable 2 or the versatile iPad Pro suits your needs.

The global tablet market exceeded 160 million units shipped as of 2020 with projected sales nearing 260 million by 2025 according to InsightAce Analytic reports. While Apple largely dominates with over 36% market share, competitors like Microsoft, Lenovo and niche players have found consumer segments.

The Remarkable 2 focuses squarely on serving core productivity needs around:

  • Reading ebooks & documents
  • Checking and marking up PDFs
  • Taking handwritten notes & sketching
  • Light document annotation

This single-minded focus results in excellent battery life thanks to low power e-ink tech running a barebones OS. But it may disappoint users who want more from their tablet in terms of entertainment, web access, or computing power. With global tablet sales weighted surprisingly heavily toward gaming and leisure use cases, Remarkable‘s emphasis on productivity runs counter to general consumer tablet trends.

With the power-packed iPad Pro running iPadOS on the battle-tested M1 chip, the possibilities are endless thanks to Apple‘s App Store ecosystem and robust multitasking capabilities. Apps exist to serve every need across entertainment and work. Stream videos over Picture-in-Picture as you craft documents side-by-side with the robust iWork suite. DJ your next house party mixing streamed beats through Crossfade in conjunction with standalone music tools. Play graphics-rich games before pivoting to fine-tune images in Photoshop. iPadOS 16 promises even more robust workflows and interapp control through Virtual Memory Swap and external display support. It’s this range enabling both work and play that explains the iPad‘s continued stronghold atop tablet market share figures, especially in higher income brackets.

However, configuring the iPad Pro into a productivity workhorse requires some additional purchases:

  • Apple Pencil 2 ($129)
  • Magic Keyboard Folio case ($299+) for comfortable typing
  • Accessories like external storage to unlock the iPad’s versatility

So while less affordable than the Remarkable 2, a fully specced iPad Pro closes in on many laptops in everyday functionality…while also handling gaming/entertainment needs.

The Remarkable 2‘s bigger potential limitation comes from format support. You cannot directly open PDF files over 50 MB for example – that may be rare for the typical novel but common among academic papers. And the 8 GB storage poses challenges there as well. Similarly, attempts to transfer very large ebooks or 20+ megapixel images lead to poor performance. So from an expanding your horizons standpoint, IPP has more long-term upside.

The iPad trade-off remains limited battery life coupled with distraction temptation from notifications and app overload inherent to any general computing platform. But used judiciously, the iPad enables users to work and play even more effectively thanks to flawless Apple Pencil integration, best-in-class processing chops, and a maturing iPadOS operating system.

For focused document markup, analysis and drafting needs though, Remarkable 2 owners can‘t be tempted away from their laser focus.

Pricing Comparison

One area where the minimalism of Remarkable‘s device pays dividends is pricing up front. At $299 standard for the 8 GB Wi-Fi model (or $399 for a 32 GB LTE edition), the Remarkable 2 delivers meaningful functionality around core reading and writing needs at a budget-friendly point compared to iPads. Even older refurb iPad models with Apple Pencil support still command closer to $500 as a baseline.

The latest 12.9" iPad Pro starts at a hefty $1099, and that‘s before adding any accessories or upgraded storage tiers. Even jumping to 256 GB onboard capacity raises the price $200 to $1299. From there you can spend over $2,400 on a fully loaded 2 TB model before adding any accessories! Combine cellular connectivity, 2 TB capacity, AppleCare+ protection along with a Magic Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil 2 and you hit $3,000 easily.

However, Apple does offer educational and enterprise volume discounts which help reduce costs somewhat. And buying refurbished or waiting for seasonal sales on previous generation iPad models can net major savings off retail.

For buyers focused purely on handwriting and reading without any external keyboard or computing requirements, the Remarkable 2 provides tremendous value. But behind that approachability rests serious limitations on functionality expansion relative to a far more versatile iPad Pro.

It comes down to use case priorities and budget.

4 Differentiating Factors to Consider

To recap the major points of differentiation:

  1. The Remarkable 2‘s e-ink display and matte coating excel for eye comfort, avoiding fatigue during long reading/writing sessions, while the iPad shines displaying multimedia content.
  2. Battery runtime overwhelmingly favors the Remarkable 2 thanks to ultra low power e-ink tech lasting weeks rather than iPad‘s 10-12 hours per charge.
  3. The iPad Pro offers endless productivity app variety and entertainment thanks to iPadOS flexibility. Remarkable positions as a purist‘s digital notebook.
  4. iPad Pro needs accessories like Apple Pencil and case/keyboards to truly unlock potential. Remarkable 2 delivers a superb pen on paper experience out of the box.

Evaluating these and other factors results in very different best user profile matches between the minimalist Remarkable 2 and the versatile Apple iPad Pro powerhouse.

Conclusion: Who Should Buy Each Tablet?

For avid readers who just want an exceptional digital facsimile of paper books, notes and sketches, the Remarkable 2 warrants consideration. Nothing else replicates the simple joy of writing on e-ink so affordably. Bibliophiles who still buy paper books weekly but want to consolidate their magazine reading and note annotations will feel right at home. Individuals focused purely on their literature and writing craft can get lost in the Remarkable 2’s pitch-perfect analog recreation of pen and bound paper. Just don’t expect true tablet computing functionality.

Creative and business power users needing advanced mobile productivity capabilities deserve the iPad Pro as their portable system of choice. Designers, programmers, executives and students alike will thrive thanks to iPadOS maturity alongside processing muscle rivaling laptops. Note takers who demand ultimate Apple Pencil responsiveness will also prefer iPad’s ProMotion smoothness. And users comfortable configuring their optimal work/play app mix shouldn’t hesitate choosing iPad Pro. It delivers workhorse capabilities hard to match in any other tablet thanks to Apple’s ecosystem. Yes, it comes at a steep cost. But savvy shoppers can mitigate pricing through smart acquisition timing and leverage of educational discounts. And the versatility iPad enables through advanced multitasking workflows makes for a system greater than the sum of its parts.

At the end of the day, the Remarkable 2 and iPad Pro present diverging visions on the road toward the paperless future. One nostalgically aims to replace dead trees; the other points toward broad mobile computing adaptability. As reader and writer needs collide with dynamic creative demands in the tablet space, we likely need both approaches. The focused e-ink experience will appeal to many thanks to pure function and fiscal approachability. But for those seeking one computing system to rule their backpack, the innovative iPad Pro stands above competitors in capability. Choose wisely based on budget and use case to ensure your next tablet purchase truly hits the (e)ink!