reMarkable are the only e-ink tablet manufacturer that use a subscription model, effectively locking certain features behind a paywall.
In this post, I wanted to go over exactly what this means (because there are a few misconceptions) as well as my personal (subjective) opinion of this business practice.
What is reMarkable Connect?
reMarkable Connect is a monthly subscription for reMarkable owners that allows them to access additional features to what is already included on their reMarkable tablet.
- An extended 3-year warranty
- Special offers
- Unlimited cloud storage
- Additional features
3-Year Extended Warranty
The warranty only covers manufacturers’ defects (not accidental damage or wear-and-tear). Without Connect, reMarkable offer a 1-year warranty.
Connect subscribers occasionally get access to special offers and promotions. However, the only offer that I am aware of is Connect subscribers having early bird access to buy reMarkable’s Type Folio when it was announced and a $50 discount (update: I’ve since learned that there was also a $30 discount for the reMarkable stylus for a couple of weeks)
Unlimited Cloud Storage
With a Connect subscription, reMarkable users get unlimited cloud storage for their notebooks and documents.
However, contrary to a lot of comments I’ve seen, this does NOT mean that non-Connect subscribers do not get any cloud storage at all.
Non-subscribers can continue to use reMarkable’s cloud storage, however only notebooks and documents that have been opened/synced within the last 50 days will be available on the cloud.
So, for example, if you have an old notebook that you no longer open/use, it will be removed from the cloud after 50 days of inactivity (but will still be available locally on the tablet itself).
Any files that you access regularly (at least once every 50 days whilst connected to wifi) will continue to be available on reMarkable’s cloud.
reMarkable Connect subscribers also get access to a additional features that are not available for non-subscribers.
Actually, it’s really only one feature (at the time of writing), but it’s a pretty big one – with a Connect subscription, you can create and edit your reMarkable notebooks from other devices, such as your phone and computer.
You do this by downloading the reMarkable desktop/mobile app to your computer/phone (respectively). The desktop app is available for Windows and Mac, and the mobile app is available for Android and iPhone.
reMarkable is currently the only e-ink tablet manufacturer that allows notebooks to be manipulated
However, it is only text that you can add/edit from other devices (not handwriting) and you do not get the full range of features that you do on the tablet itself.
Effectively, you can add/delete/move pages around the notebook, insert/edit text, make text bold/italic, and add bullet points.
How much does reMarkable Connect cost?
reMarkable Connect currently costs $2.99 per month or $29.90 if paid annually (effectively getting two months free).
When you purchase a reMarkable 2 tablet, you get 12-month Connect subscription for free, however, it does require you to provide your credit card details so that you can be charged when the free subscription expires.
Early adopters of the reMarkable were grandfathered into a free lifetime Connect subscription.
The History of reMarkable Connect
I feel that it is important to take a look at the history of reMarkable’s Connect subscription because it does help to put things into context.
The original Connect was announced in 2021, cost around $7 per month, and locked several key features of the reMarkable 2 behind a paywall. This included the ability to screen share, perform handwriting recognition, and integration with Dropbox and Google Drive.
Many of their customers were not too impressed with this and were quite vocal about their disapproval. Thankfully reMarkable backtracked on this original idea and compromised with the less expensive and less restrictive Connect subscription that we have today.
The thinking behind the newer Connect subscription is that features that pertain to the tablet itself (e.g. screen share, handwriting recognition, Dropbox/Google Drive integrations etc.) would be available to all reMarkable users, whilst cloud-based services (such as the desktop/mobile apps) would incur an additional charge.
My Personal Verdict
I’ll be honest, I really don’t like reMarkable’s Connect subscription because it feels like a way to extract as much money as they can from their customers.
Whilst other e-ink manufacturers are regularly developing new software for their products and rolling it out to their users for no additional charge, reMarkable are charging extra for the privilege.
And, I have to say, that other manufacturers such as Boox and Supernote are developing far better software than reMarkable is (even with their additional funding stream).
Really, the only reason you might consider the Connect subscription is for the ability to create and edit notebooks from desktop and mobile, but this will really only appeal to a small subset of users. You still get local and cloud storage (even though reMarkable’s wording does make it seem like you may not). The special offers are ‘meh‘, and the extended warranty, whilst giving peace of mind, is probably not all that useful – after the first year, it would be hard to justify any fault being a manufacturing defect.
I also have an aversion to any sort of software that is based around a closed system that I could become too dependent on.
I’ve been burned in the past by Clickup and Evernote who both one day decided to make the software I’d been happily using for years much worse, and then increased their prices for the privilege. And it really was quite hard and uncomfortable to get out and change the workflows I’d become accustomed to.
There is the potential (and I think that there is quite a high likelihood of this) that reMarkable will hike up the Connect subscription once they have enough of their users locked into their ecosystem.
This is not to take anything away from the reMarkable 2 tablet itself – I think that it is one of the most beautifully designed and well-engineered e-ink tablets on the market, which is really saying something for a device that is now over three years old! It has a lovely writing feel, and the type folio is very elegantly designed. I love the minimalist experience it provides. And it has the best companion app of them all (although some features of the companion app are behind the paywall).
But in terms of software, it is rapidly falling behind the competition and I feel it’s a bloody cheek to charge for a subscription on a tablet that is far less capable than others.
About the author
Dan Dutton is passionate about E-ink writing tablets, which bring together the pleasure of writing on paper with the power of digital technology. When he bought his first tablet, he realised that there wasn't a lot of unbiased information available for people that were considering buying an E-ink tablet, and so he built eWritable.