The Huawei MatePad Paper and the Remarkable 2 are two of the best digital note taking devices in the world. They both have captured the imaginations of many people who want to freehand draw or edit PDF files. On the hardware side of things, they are quite different, although they do have the same sized screens. Both products are getting a ton of attention online and are employing huge marketing campaigns. The Remarkable has more brand visibility and trust in the community, since they have released two products over the past four years and also have some great optional accessories, such as a premium pen and leather cases. The MatePad comes with a free case and stylus, but they do not have any digital stationary. If you are in the market for a new e-note, which one should you buy?
The Remarkable 2 features a 10.3 inch E INK display with Canvas 2.0 technology for a better refresh system when viewing PDF files or reading ebooks. It has improved, contrast, making sure it gives a great writing and reading experience. The resolution is the same as the original with 1872×1404 with 226 PPI, it also has multi-point capacitive touch. The screen has 21ms latency, which is very ideal.
Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ dual core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Remarkable has basically doubled the processor and RAM from the original, but has kept the internal storage the same. Also, the company has decided to forgo a Micro USB port and instead embrace USC-C, which should appeal to the vocal minority that hates having multiple cables. It is powered by a 3,000 mAH battery and one charge should last around three weeks, the original model only lasted a few days. You can also leave it in standby mode for up to 90 days. It has wireless internet access to download firmware updates and other materials.
The Remarkable 2 does not have any app support, so you can’t install anything. It also is lacking a front-lit display to read at night. It doesn’t have email, an internet browser. The company is billing this as distraction free. However, their note taking system is far more advanced than the MatePad, which is fairly basic. You have more pen, templates and advanced options, such as layers. What I like about the Remarkable 2, is the accessories. When you buy the unit, you can spend a couple hundred dollars and just get the stock device, pen and case. You can spend over $500 if you want the Marker Signature, Leather Case and all of the bells and whistlers. It is important to note that Remarkable does have a subscription system for advanced features, such as syncing all of your files and notes with OneDrive or Google Drive, in addition to extra drawing features. There is a free tier if the cloud stuff isn’t that important.
The MatePad Paper features an E INK Carta HD display panel with a 10.3 inch screen and a resolution of 1448×1072 with 227 PPI. It has an impressive 86.3% screen-to-body ratio. There is an anti-glare solution and 32 levels of brightness, so it should be readable both at night. There’s also a built-in smart refresh rate, which automatically adjusts to help conserve battery life. This product is geared towards taking notes and freehand drawing. It will come with a suite of apps to make this possible. It ships with the Huawei’s M-Pencil stylus that has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and just 26ms latency, it’s designed to accurately simulate the experience of pen on paper.
Underneath the hood is a Kirin 820E 5G which has three 2.22 GHz Cortex-A76 cores and three 1.84 GHz Cortex-A55 cores, it also has a Mali-G57 6-core GPU. There is a whopping 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. You will have access to Wi-Fi 6+, Bluetooth 5.1 and fingerprint sensor built into the power button and a total weight of 360g. Continuing Huawei’s push to connect all of its devices as seamlessly as possible, you can connect the MatePad Paper to the company’s laptops, PCs, tablets and phones. Huawei says the tablet will appear like a USB drive, and you can drag and drop your notes and annotated PDFs across to your laptop. If this is not your jam, you can use the USB-C port to transfer content to and from the MatePad. It is powered by a 3625 mAh battery and supports 22.5 fast charging, if you plug it in for 1.5 hours you get 6 days of use. If you want to keep it secure, there is a fingerprint scanner.
The MatePad is running HarmonyOS 2, which is basically Android. You can sideload in your own apps, which the Remarkable 2 doesn’t support. I recommend loading in an alternative store, such as the Amazon App Store or the Good e-Reader App Store. This will allow you to not only install apps, but keep them updated. I think the hardware on the Matepad is better than Remarkable, but the Remarkable 2 software is far more stable and offers far more drawing extras. If you intend on primarily annointatins PDF files, drawing in ebooks or freehand drawing, the Remarkable 2 is the better buy. Also, it has far more availability than the MatePad, which is only officially available in Europe and China, and other international markets, through Good e-Reader. Whereas the ReMarkable 2 has a greater reach in Canada, US, UK and most of Europe.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.