Nothing beats putting pencil to paper. There are drawing tablets out there that claim using them is ‘just like using a real pen and paper’. But that’s just it, it’s ‘like’ writing on paper, but it’s not the same thing. There is always a bit of a disconnect. The iskn Repaper Tablet bridges this gap.
The Repaper Tablet is a graphic tablet and stylus that you can connect to a screen, but you can also attach paper to the tablet and draw directly on it using a normal pencil – it’s the best of both the digital and analogue worlds!
The issue with graphics tablets is that although you can draw and instantly see your work up on a screen, there is a bit of a learning curve as you have to split your focus and relearn how to draw on one surface whilst looking at another. Now, where drawing tablets, like the iPad Pro, allow you to draw directly onto the screen which solves this issue, they can be pretty expensive and, even then, it still doesn’t feel as good as the real thing of putting pencil to paper.
The Repaper Tablet allows you to draw directly onto paper and you can see it come to life as a digital image in real time. If you’re connected to a device whilst you do this you can edit in real time, or if you’re using the screenless mode, you can upload your drawing later and see it as a digital image – the device can store up to 10 drawings when not connected, and there’s also a micro SD card slot if you need more memory (card not included).
It's great for sketching and taking notes on the go, which is why we think the Repaper Tablet is a top contender when pitted against other drawing tablets and the best smart pens out there.
Repaper Tablet review: What’s in the box?
The special edition Repaper Tablet x Faber-Castell comes with the Repaper Tablet, a Repaper Stylus, a 2B Faber-Castell pencil, 1 Repaper Ring in size S (size M available separately), an A5-sized Repaper notebook, 2 Repaper clips (to hold your paper in place), and 1 micro USB cable. A user guide and legal notice is also included. Our version also came with a Repaper Clutch Pencil as there was a special offer on which bundled it in, but this is not normally included.
The set comes with a nice A5 notebook which has some beautiful heavy weight drawing paper (180g/ms) in natural white that is a dream to draw on. Best of all, you’re not restricted to using just this paper, you can pick out your favorite thing to draw on, whether it’s some plain printer paper you have on hand or a leftover napkin. But don’t use something too thick as the Repaper clips are quite stiff and don’t have much give. They require a light touch to release the paper they’re securing down (which they do very well).
Whilst the writing implements that come with the box are fantastic (Faber-Castell is a high-quality and much loved brand), we were disappointed with the claim that you could swap in your favorite pen or pencil as we found this wasn't quite true. After trying to get several different pens and pencils into the Repaper Ring (size S), we found that most didn’t fit (although most pencils were fine).
Our testing included a Bic Crystal Ballpoint Pen (Medium Point), a Sharpie, a Sakura Pigma Micron Fineliner, and a STABLIO point 88 Fineliner, plus one of those pens from the bank that somehow end up following you home. If you’re using normal pencils, then that’s just fine, but if you’re a bit of a pen snob and you do have a special pen or pencil you want to use, you’ll probably have to spring out for the bigger Repaper Ring in size M (for writing tools with a diameter up to 8.1mm) for an additional cost of $39 for a boxset as they’ve not sold individually.
However, the iskn website does provide a list of compatible tools to help potential buyers double check whether they'll be able to use their favorite writing implements. If you can't find the tool you want to use, contact their support team and they'll be happy to buy and test the tool themselves.
Repaper Tablet review: Features and performance
- Successfully combines pencil and paper with digital drawing
- A5 size can be limiting
- Great introduction into digital art
- Intuitive software
We would absolutely recommend the Repaper Tablet for beginners, both kids and adults alike. There is a small learning curve, but the Repaper Tablet is easy to use and the software is very intuitive.
There is a user guide that instructs you how to use the Repaper Tablet… mostly – any missing information you can glean from playing about with the app, which we’ll talk about later. It also sends you to a website so you can view info in a video form, alongside a detailed FAQ too. All instructions are clear and include understandable, minimalist diagrams, but it would have been nice to have this information all in one place. However, those who learn by doing will feel right at home.
When using the screenless mode, you just need to clip some paper to the tablet, turn the Repaper Tablet on, check that the Repaper Ring is at the right height on your pencil, and then just doodle away – it’s that easy! There’s a pulsing blue light in the top right corner that lets you know the device is on, and underneath that a green light appears to show you that it’s picking up what you’re drawing. You can use two of the buttons in the pencil and paper mode – the big round one to start a new drawing and button one to create a new layer during a sketch. The Repaper Tablet doesn’t provide any feedback to let you know that you’ve selected these buttons, so you’ll have to trust that they did the job. TIP: If you need to sharpen your pencil halfway through drawing, be sure to readjust the Repaper Ring using the handy diagram in the user guide (we know this from experience).
When you’re ready, you can plug the Repaper Tablet into your computer to upload your drawings and see them on screen, ready to edit in a digital space. Please note that your sketches will be drawn on screen using the pencil tool, and not any other kind of brush (e.g., ballpoint pen or chalk) and, no matter what colors you use on your paper drawing, these will show up in all the same pencil gray on screen (if you’re using screen mode whilst drawing on paper, you must select a different color via the app).
Artists will love using the Repaper Tablet and notetakers will too. Whilst it doesn’t digitize text, the Repaper Tablet is much better for free thinkers who like to create mind maps and diagrams than neat bulleted lists. If this is what you are after though, you might want to check out the Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse if you want more of a focus on writing and organizing notes, but still like to draw occasionally.
Due to the high-pressure sensitivity (8,192 levels), the Repaper Tablet will pick up on how light, or hard, your press down and will vary the intensity and thickness of your line accordingly. We were extremely pleased with how well the pressure sensitivity functionality worked, but it did occasionally have trouble registering quick, light touches, such as the dotting of i’s.
In our tests, we noticed that the Repaper Tablet didn’t really pick up the nuances of shading quite as well (where we used the edge of the pencil to create shading). Best to stick to more sketchy techniques on paper and use create fancy shading on the digital side. Overall, we’re very impressed and loved having the option of drawing directly onto paper or using the Repaper Tablet as a digital graphics tablet (which we explain more about in the next section).
Repaper Tablet review: Apps and connectivity
- Free app compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android
- Quick and easy Bluetooth syncing
In order to use the Repaper Tablet as a graphics tablet you need to download the free digital drawing app, Repaper Studio. The app is compatible with PC (Windows 10), Mac (10.12 Sierra or later), iOS (11 or higher), and Android (7.0 or higher) devices.
We tested the Repaper Tablet out using an iPad Air (Gen 1) and an iPhone 6s, and we did experience some lag when writing/drawing quickly, but we’ve put this down to them being older models and you won’t experience these delays with newer technology.
Once you’ve downloaded the app you’re ready to sync the Repaper Tablet using Bluetooth. This is a very quick and straightforward process. During our hours of drawing we did lose connection once or twice, but it's easy to get reconnected.
The app itself has a simple and clean layout. Repaper Studio is perfect for those new to digital art, as it offers easy layer management and a selection of fun writing tools to experiment with – a nice balance of enough variety without being overwhelming. This includes a pencil, ballpoint pen, felt pen, marker, chalk, airbrush, and, of course, the all-important eraser. For most brushes you can control the stroke width, opacity, line smoothing, and color (select from an RGB palette, or use the handy eyedropper tool). Most vital of all are the undo and redo buttons, which can, thankfully, be used limitlessly.
It would be nice to see some zoom in and zoom out buttons – you can do this using two fingers in a pinching motion on your tablet or smartphone, but this is a bit fiddly and you can accidently draw a mark on the screen.
The Repaper Tablet itself has five buttons on it which have pre-assigned commands so you’ll be able to create a new layer or undo a mistake with a quick tap (you can change these actions up on the app, if you so wish).
When using the Repaper Tablet in screen mode, you can see a circle on the screen so you can tell exactly where you’re drawing – the Repaper Tablet picks up the Repaper Ring from about 7cm from its surface, so you can draw with confidence and know that you won’t miss your mark. There’s also the option of having a 3D pencil on screen which shows where you’re holding the pencil/pen and at what angle it is thanks to the Repaper Ring incline detection (it senses the natural tilt of the pen up to 70°).
Images, such as photos or drawings from your Repaper Table used in the non-screen mode, can be imported into the app. Image export formats include JPG, PNG, PSD, and SVG. You can also choose to export your drawing as an MP4 and see your drawing come to life as a fun time-lapse video. You can choose how long you’d like your video to be, but sadly it doesn’t offer a preview of this. There’s also a share option so you can showcase your artwork directly to social media.
When you’re ready to take your drawing up a notch, you’ll find that the Repaper Tablet is compatible with many software programs, like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator CC, Gimp, and Coral Draw. As an added bonus, the Repaper Tablet works wonderfully broadcasting in real time, so it makes giving an online presentation on Zoom or Teams a breeze. Teachers will also quite like how the Repaper Tablet is compatible with popular applications such as Google Jamboard, Microsoft Whiteboard and more – they’re sure to give it an A+!
Repaper Tablet review: Comfort and ease of use
- Repaper and Repaper Ring both lightweight
- No need to charge Repaper Ring or stylus pen
- Tablet can be slippery
The Repaper Tablet’s A5 format makes it extremely compact and light, weighting just 462g (16.3 oz) with dimensions of 278 x 198 x 9 mm (10.9 x 7.8 x 0.35"). This makes it very transportable and easy to pop into your bag and take on the go, like to your favorite café or park bench. However, the downside is that the Repaper Tablet is so light that it can slip or spin on a surface when you’re using it. We recommend placing a dish towel underneath the tablet to keep it in place.
Depending on where you grip a pencil, you can’t even tell the Repaper Ring is there and it doesn’t get in the way of writing or drawing at all. If this does bother you, then reach for the Repaper Clutch Pencil instead (sold separately as standard), as it has the Repaper Ring built in. It’s a slightly thicker, mechanical pencil that is a pleasure to use.
Although the Repaper Tablet is so portable, the accompanying legal notice states that ‘The product is not designed to function on transportation vehicles (trains, cars, planes…) due to significant presence of electromagnetic waves.’ This basically just means that due to how iskn's ami (Advanced Magnetic Interaction) technology works, the magnets may interfere with some onboard equipment. We didn't test this out ourselves, but iskn reassured us that their product can be used on planes and trains. This is great as the lightweight Repaper Tablet can easily pop into your bag and makes the perfect traveling companion.
When in screenless mode, and using Bluetooth to connect to a tablet or smartphone, the Repaper Tablet boasts up to six hours of continuous use. It takes three hours to fully charge the Repaper Tablet using the micro USB cable via a computer.
Repaper Tablet review: Price
- Affordable option
- Great value
For MSRP $248 the Repaper Tablet can be yours. At the time of writing, there is currently a sale on where you can grab the Repaper Tablet for $199, plus you’ll also get a $49 Repaper Clutch Pencil for free – bargain! iskn offers free standard delivery with a spend of over $50.
There is a 30-day returns policy and the product is also covered by a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
While there are cheaper graphics tablet around, you won’t get the benefit of being able to draw on paper – the main selling point here – so we feel that justifies the price. This is especially true when you compare the Repaper Tablet to the more expensive drawing tablets on the market, where you can draw directly onto the surface. For example, although a great product, something like an iPad costs considerably more, and then you have to invest in the Apple Pencil and additional apps, such as ProCreate, which really ramps up the cost. For what you get with the Repaper Tablet, the price is worth investing in.
Should you buy the Repaper Tablet?
We would definitely recommend the Repaper Tablet for budding artists out there that want to venture into the digital art realm. It is a safe middle ground between a cheap, low-end graphics tablet that won’t last for long and an expensive drawing tablet that could break the bank. The Repaper Tablet is the best of both – it’s a quality product that will last for a few years, and when you’re ready, you can consider investing in something more specialized if you decide to pursue the hobby more seriously.
The biggest draw (haha) of the Repaper Tablet is the fact you can use any paper and any writing tool you like, especially a pencil. No other tablets offer this, although the Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad does come close.
While we’ve mainly focused on the drawing aspects, the Repaper Tablet is multi-purpose and can be used as a virtual whiteboard and is compatible with other graphics programs, which makes it very worth the price in our opinion.