As much as I love E Ink, I struggle to get behind using it as part of a 21st-century typewriter. Devices like the Freewrite are very cool in practice but simply too finicky for me to use as anything more than a gimmick. So I am frankly shocked by how much I like Remarkable’s new keyboard case, the $199 Type Folio.
As the name implies, this is a keyboard case for the Remarkable 2. If you have a Remarkable 2 and it’s fully updated, you can go buy this case, attach it to your E Ink tablet, fold up the keyboard, and start typing. Things work so well, you’ll likely find yourself charmed by the ease of it all. I certainly was. I plopped in my Remarkable 2 and was instantly able to start typing out notes. My tablet was suddenly a very distraction-free E Ink typewriter. I didn’t have to mess with any settings or open some special notebook. I just updated my device and started typing.
The few people in the office the day I set the Type Folio up were impressed as well. When you handle enough gadgets, you grow accustomed to quirks that most consumers would balk at. But the Type Folio doesn’t really have any. The thing just does exactly what it sets out to do — though the way it folds itself around to transform from case to keyboard can feel a little 2014.
It doesn’t seek to replicate the design of a laptop-like iPad’s Magic Keyboard or the Surface Pro’s Type Cover. You don’t simply open the case, set it down on your lap, and get to typing. Instead, you have to do a little folding like older keyboard cases have required. You flip part of the case back and settle the keyboard into its new home. From there, you’re left with a very stable-feeling device with keys that have quite satisfying travel.
I don’t want to oversell the keyboard, though. It has a lovely layout and feels nice to type on, but it’s still a keyboard case keyboard. It doesn’t feel as good to type on as a Lenovo laptop or whatever mechanical keyboard you might have; it feels exactly like I’d expect a $199 keyboard case to feel.
But as much as I’m delighted by the Type Folio and how well it simply... works, this thing is expensive. It’s $199! That’s $70 more than the $129 Book Folio case and a whopping $120 more than the $79 Folio case. Tacking that onto the MSRP price of the Remarkable 2 means you’re spending $650 on an E Ink tablet that excels at taking notes and uploading them to the cloud and not much else. (The Remarkable 2 is currently on sale for $279, but is $478 for a very good note-taking device much better?) That’s a hard sell for a lot of people.
But then, people who own the Remarkable 2 aren’t like the rest of you. We love having the fanciest notebook in the world. We delight in showing people how any Wacom stylus can work with our tablet and love to make you write on it so you can marvel at the paper-like feel. We aren’t afraid to spend money to have something really, really nice.
Which is why we do things like get the artificial leather version of the Book Folio, which retails for $169. I’ve never questioned spending that absurd amount of money to protect my Remarkable 2. I cannot explain my bad spending habits, but I can say the $199 Type Folio feels like a deal compared to the obscenely priced $169 leather Book Folio. Though a recent announcement that shipping on the Type Folio was paused due to possible defects has certainly given me pause. Still if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably still spend the extra $30 for this (ideally defect-free) case. But I’d also kindly ask that no one ever ask me how much I’ve spent to take really good notes. Some things should stay private between a person and their local Best Buy.
The Remarkable Type Folio is available to order starting today from Remarkable and select retailers. It’s available in ink black and sepia brown and six different keyboard layouts, including US English, UK English, German, Spanish, French, and Nordic (including Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish).
Update March 16, 3:26PM ET: This story has been updated to reflect the news that Remarkable is delaying shipment on the Type Folio as some products in the initial batch had a cosmetic defect along the spine.