Active digitizer on Toshiba Encore 2 WT8-B (Encore 2 Write)

Discussion in 'Toshiba' started by Giacomo UCDS, Sep 10, 2014.

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  1. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    I visited one of my local electronic stores today, they had the Dynabook Tab, its Japanese name, in stock, but want displaying it in store until next week. Maybe they are trying to get rid of the old models first. I'd like to test the 10" model since I already have the Asus in the 8" segment.
     
  2. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I'm so glad you brought up the AVn8, Meso. I guess no one has had one of those and the Toshiba Encore Write side by side to evaluate. From what you learned from Precurve's very short summary comments :vbbiggrin::vbwink::vbbiggrin: (Precurve, you rock! Not that I have ever written such an informative report, I'm glad to see someone else who thinks more can be more when it comes to providing feedback and guidance to members!)

    That said, Meso, and any other AVN8 devotees, from what you have read now, are you enticed by anything Precurve wrote (or the basic specs) that make you think if you were choosing now you would choose the Toshiba or stick with your (cable replaced) AVN8?

    Regardless, so nice to see so many new penabled tablets, particularly Windows. I think 2015 will bring something on the order of a 200% - 300% increase in the number of alternatives (multiple sizes) much less some new functionality and new digitizer/pen technologies. :thumbsup:
     
  3. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    Even today I would probably go with the Asus, price and color would most likely be the deciding factors. My GN8 is white and I always think it looks cheap when I take it out in a public place, for some unfathomable reason, black doesn't, even if it is the same shoddy plastic being used. In Japan there is a $250 price difference, quite a bit to chew on for something that is at best a companion device, but mostly bordering on a toy (web surfing, YouTube watching, mail writing).
     
  4. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    I'd still stick with Wacom EMR over AES. Better edge tracking and better absolute calibration would certainly be nice, but a much larger hover distance alone is enough to keep me preferring EMR.

    In addition to that there is still the Wacom radial menu (AES doesn't have this right?), silo, compatibility with my other EMR devices (GN4, T904), and the need for a battery.

    The unknown that still exists is the reliability concerns that often plague battery based pens. They tend to be intermittently flaky, but only time will tell on that.

    Also, for me personally, I haven't yet felt the "intangibles" about the writing experience (e.g. buttery EMR smoothness), so that is a big unknown until I try it. There isn't really a good way to communicate that (not even videos really work), but things sound good so far. On the other hand, I haven't gotten the impression AES is better in that regard.

    Add to that, I have no reason not to like the AVN8 =) Some may be unhappy with the digitizer failures, but it is an easy fix that didn't bother me (once I figured out how to fix it). It is already pretty much perfect in my eyes, and the Encore seems pretty much the same in everything but the digitizer tech. Both products use the same SoC (Bay Trail) and OS, so they are going to perform the same and be equally buggy and all that. The only unique thing that OEMs bring to the table is the externals and peripherals. Like the screen, battery, chassis, digitizer, etc.

    Having said all that, if the Encore had brought something new and significant to the table apart from the digitizer, AES sounds like it might possibly be good enough for me to sacrifice the EMR advantage for that hypothetical feature. (Core M instead of Bay Trail maybe? =P).
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
    fishdavis, internalaudit and Precurve like this.
  5. Precurve

    Precurve Scribbler - Standard Member

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    OK @way2lazy and others here's my MS5 Stress Test
    -----------------

    Product Being Tested: Toshiba Encore 2 Write WT8PE-B264 8-Inch 64 GB Tablet with Wacom Pen (Toshiba's "TruPen") With Manga Studio 5 EX
    Purpose: Evaluate the upper limits of canvas size and layer count in MS5

    >>> CAVEATS & WARNINGS

    I am trying some edge case things to give people in the forum a sense of what the Encore 2 Write is capable of and where are its limits and breaking points.Just because one *can* do the things I'm showing here does not mean you *should*. I am not recommending this device for anything beyond a companion tablet for professional artistic workflow in this evaluation. This Encore is not going to replace a primary computer. If anyone is looking at these tests and thinking that I'm implying you could do hi resolution paintings all day for a living on it, you are mistaken. In my opinion, This tablet should not be expected to serve as a primary machine or attempt to be used for critical path and graphically demanding, processor intensive, professional work. This is a spectacular little device for the kinds of sketches, color comps, notes, and concept work that goes on behind-the-scenes of professional creative work. I am surprised and delighted at how far this encore can stretch but this is not a production machine. I hope I speak the obvious, but I'm never sure who's scanning through these forums and thinks they hear some enthusiast reviewer is recommending $350 8 inch Atom tablet is going to solve all of their needs. Expect too much of not just this product but the whole product category (low cost pen tablets) and you will be disappointed! I'm assuming my audience for these reviews are fairly technically sophisticated and informed computer & tabletpc users.

    >>> TOOLBAR CREATOR v2.2

    Please note that at the top of my screen captures is a small black toolbar with very teeny writing. This is a toolbar Ui that I am experimenting with using @lblb 's excellent Toolbar Creator (http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/toolbar-creator-v-2-2-beta-available-for-download.63014/). I'm experimenting with a minimal configuration of my own creation that uses a 30 pixel high strip of very small buttons that are always on regardless of the application. This one is tuned for Manga studio. This 30 pixel high strip allows for the toolbar to remain in the header of the application. The toolbar lets you switch to other application specific toolbars, though the load can take 20 seconds or so if you switch. There are many different toolbar kits that are discussed on these forums. This sort of self-programmable toolbar is VERY useful, even essential, on pen tablets for applications like MS5 or Photoshop that rely on a lot of keyboard commands for fast workflow. Essential key combinations can be scripted into any button. Given MS5s customizable command bar I don’t actually need all the buttons shown here. The essential ones would be TAB (that hides all palettes) and the brush size slider (dragging the stylus left or right on this button rapidly changes brush size)

    It is the precision of a stylus on a small device like this Toshiba that allows for such a tiny strip of buttons to actually be usable. IMO programs like MS5 or Photoshop are massively frustrating to use in a pure tablet environment without a toolbar of some kind to manage a few essential keyboard shortcuts.

    For Toolbar Creator fans: I'm right handed. I've been increasingly finding that I like my buttons (and app ui) on the right side of the screen if I'm interacting with Ui by pen and not touch. That way I can hold the Encore in my left and I don't have to reach across the page to do a selection, blocking my view of the brush size preview) The TAB key and the little brush slider at the top right are really useable even at 30 pix on this little device.

    >>> MANGA STUDIO PAINT STRESS TEST

    Manga-4k-Evaluation.jpg

    Pictured here is a screen capture of my MS5 stress test in its completed state. Forgive the crudity of the diagram. I didn’t plan it out, I just started painting crap. The objective wasn't a nice painting it was to performance test the Encore.

    This is a 4000 X 3000 pixel canvas with 11 layers. Layers are mostly bitmap with one vector layer and one 3D layer. Two of the Bitmap layers have live channel operations (multiply and screen). In its final form it is a 49.5 Mb file.

    The background was put down in multiple gradient layers and Encore was able to fill these gradients with little delay.

    Chrome pipe was blocked in a single stroke with a 500 px Gpen from back (small) to front (fat). I erased out edges to clean it up, locked pixel transparency then painted in a chrome effect and some reflections with a 50 to 200 pixel oil paint brush.

    Soft Air brush was used for overall shading and some detail varying size from 100 to 500 pixels on a separate layer (multiply)

    3d chair and 3d soccer ball were added, rotated, and moved into place. These objects loaded fairly quickly and while they are rotatable and resizable in space, they are laggy and you can tell that the machine is having a bit of trouble with swapping the 3D controls and managing the refresh. It doesn’t glitch it just lags - a lot. I don’t expect to use much of the 3D in Manga on this machine. But in a pinch it will work with patience. Frankly I'm surprised it works at all in this large file.

    On the background layer I loaded a repeating tree stamp brush and painted a forest effect. Touch of lag but acceptable.

    I added a vector layer and a 100 pixel red vector "rough ink" stroke was added to the bottom of the page. It lagged a touch (not even a second) but felt very controlled. I washed the "simplify vector" tool over the vector stroke and it took about 4 seconds for the machine to calculate the task. Vector editing was tested and worked fine.

    Colors of the rainbow were added in a new layer with separate colored strokes using a 160 pixel watercolor brush. Touch of lag, no problem. I performed a 200 pixel Gaussian blur of the rainbow on the entire layer. This took 10 - 15 seconds to calc. Layer type was set to "screen"

    Using a blur tool I softened the back of the chrome tube and its edges with a variety of brush sizes ranging from 100 to 20 pixels. I was zooming and panning and rotating to do this. It's starting to get laggy but still manageable.

    So far so good. Let's see how the current file load affects brushes now. I selected a Barbed wire paint brush and with a single fast stroke went from back to front creating a coil. No significant lag. I then erased the wire behind the pipe.

    Call-out notes and call out shadows were added in separate layers. The file did not crash at any point. Multitouch pan and zoom still works acceptably though not quite as fluently as with a smaller file. Large brushes of 300 pixel are now very laggy but we will still accurately follow a slow draw.

    Just to put a little frosting on this demo cake, The whole time I was doing the Manga painting I had OneNote open in the background with several notebooks open, connected to OneDrive, Wi-Fi on the whole time. In the screen capture below I have task switched over to OneNote done a few things and then brought up the task manager. You can see Manga Studio's memory footprint in the list of open applications. Even though I had this large file open in MS5 it did not degrade the performance or usability of OneNote.

    Managa-Task-MGR.jpg

    >>> So…Where does Manga Studio "Break" on the Encore 2 8"

    The short answer is, "I don't know". It never really broke. It chugged at larger file sizes. On one test I had a 1920 x 1080 canvas with 6 layers and I loaded one of the larger MS5 library articulating human Figures. These are fairly complex poseable 3d .obj models. This one is about a 15Mb file with textures. The screen blacked out when I dropped in on the canvas. I thought I'd finally crashed it. After about 40 seconds the screen refreshed and the model was loaded, moveable and poseable - although REALLY chuggy. I create a paint layer on top of the 3d layer and a 50 pixel brush showed no noticeable lag.

    >>> CONCLUSION

    In my experience So far, the Encore 2 is quite happy with canvases of 1600 X 1200 or 1920 X 1080 and 5 to 10 layers. At these canvas sizes brushes of 50 or 100 pixels, regardless of the pen or brush type, seem to be able to keep up with the stroke just fine. Larger brush sizes of up to 500 pixels have lag but with just a little bit of patience they are usable brushes. As I've shown in one of my other posts (http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/thr...wt8-b-encore-2-write.63815/page-4#post-425121), brushes of up to 1000 pixels require a very slow and deliberate stroke but the paint still registers to the path with full pressure sensitivity. If you scrub the screen as fast as you can with wild strokes using a very large brush you will break the stroke tracking. But I have still not seen that kind of behavior crash the application or the machine.

    As I pointed out in other forum posts, and I'll reinforce here, this little tablet has exceeded my expectations and delighted me given my expectations of it as a low-cost, lightweight, atom processor tablet. I am not trying to do mission-critical work with it. I see it as a very personal mobile sketchpad and note taking device. Paired with Manga Studio and with the small tweaks like a toolbar this little device comes the closest to a portable full color paint kit/sketchpad as anything I've ever had my hands on. Obviously other tools and apps like Sketchbook Pro work great too.

    Your mileage may vary.

    * FYI: Review dictated into iPad OneNote in parallel to painting on Encore.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  6. MattLanham

    MattLanham Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I just wanted to thank you Precurve for all your great impressions. It has really made this device seem like a great option. I'm still leaning towards the z20t, but the pricing/performance on the Encores is still really attractive.
     
  7. b52hbuff

    b52hbuff Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hello Precurve!
    Since you mentioned this thread, I thought I'd come over here and ask you questions...

    First is can you get to the MicroSD card without taking off the cover?

    I was looking on YouTube for information. In the demos they show off a couple of Toshiba-specific apps. One is TruNote and I forget the recording app. The recording app is interesting because it uses signal processing to try and classify who is speaking. You can preview the recording and add labels to the recording snippets.

    I was hoping those apps would be available on the Windows App Store, but I couldn't find them.

    Have you played with them? How does TruNote compare with OneNote.

    Given that this is a "companion device" for me, I don't think I'd use TN much, since I use OneNote.

    I also noticed that the Toshiba has a "microphone array". The microphone seemed to perform well in a couple of the video demos. The SP2 has a pretty disappointing microphone. So the Toshiba may be a step up.
     
  8. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    Yep, if the microphone is important to you, I certainly wouldn't rate the AVN8 mic as great. Maybe a little better than the SP1 though, but that one was pretty awful, so low bar =P
     
  9. Precurve

    Precurve Scribbler - Standard Member

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    MICRO SD
    I don't have a cover. I'm trying to avoid that, though the device does need some grip tape or something stuck to the bottom. But, in a standard folding case the microSD should be on the outside. In portrait position it would be on the upper half of the right edge

    Toshiba Apps
    Generally the OEM apps from everyone but Apple, Sony, and Microsoft are second rate and I tend to ignore or uninstall those kinds of things. The Toshiba Apps aren't much of an exception. I didn't intend to evaluate these because I always consider this stuff "throw away" except for the vendors I mentioned so these don;t figure into my eval. Though its curious to see how much Toshiba touts this stuff in the marketing.

    TRU RECORDER
    Toshiba's audio recorder App is called Tru Recorder. 3/10.
    It claims to distinguish voices in the recording and color codes individual speakers in the playback display. That feature is not working for me.
    The quality of the audio is poor. Very "aliased" and compressed sounding. I don't know if its the Array microphones, or the audio codec, or something else.
    My Samsung s4 and iPad both have far superior audio and audio apps.

    TruNotes 6/10 - for what it is
    This is a very simple note taking app. Its got some some nice features but its not a pro tool.
    If you have OneNote desktop I can't imagine why you would use this instead. As a simple app, One Note/metro is better. As a pro tool, desktop OneNote is an order of magnitude more sophisticated. There's no reason to get this device for professional or serious student notes and not have full OneNote. The ecosystem of Onenote including cloud drive and interoperability with all platforms is very mature. If you have a new iphone, android or ipad download the free version of OneNote. Dictate into OneNote using the built in speech recognition of android or iOS keypad. Save it to a synced folder and you can view it near instantaneously on a PC. Take handwritten notes or doodles on this little Encore and view them on your full sized desktop in seconds. This is what we have been promised for along time and its starting to work really well with Microsofts release of the free ONeNote Apps.

    TruCapture
    Toshiba's camera app 5/10
    It works. The camera isn't anywhere near as crisp as Samsung S4, iPhone or iPad.
    The camera App itself doesn't do much. You can start it up from the lock screen by swiping down.
     
  10. Precurve

    Precurve Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I need TruPens!

    Despite my ginormous collection of digitizers and styluses I realize I have a single point of failure on the Toshiba. I do not have a spare Trupen.

    I can't find them on Toshiba's site, Amazon, etc. If anyone knows where I can get Trupens, or whatever else they may be calling the new active ES Wacom, please let me know.

    I would also like a source for tips. The Encore comes with one in the pen and a spare in the box. Its not wearing much so its probably good for a while. Other Wacom tips are not compatible. I'd also be interested in trying other textures of tips.

    Thx
     
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