Beloved X230T dying, what next?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by chucklepunch, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. chucklepunch

    chucklepunch Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Whelp. It's finally time. The Lenovo X230T has been my loyal workhorse since release. Unfortunately, my kid gave it a toss and the screen has started failing intermittently. This laptop has been absolutely perfect for me except for one thing- the 1366x768 resolution is pretty terrible. Otherwise, SSD upgrade and added RAM have kept it running great even through my demanding apps (zbrush, etc)

    Generals!

    TLDR:
    Does anyone have experience with convertibles/detachables/2-1/allthatjazz from the last 3 or 4 years that they recommend? Ideally, something which has: good pen, 16GB of RAM or upgradeable, decent RGB space screen at least 1920x1080, and isn't tooooo weak on the processing power front.

    Budget:
    Preferably under $500.

    Background:
    I'm a concept artist, illustrator and designer. I use Photoshop and I use it hard. Files get up in the multiple gigabytes for working doc size- talking 8000x8000x300ppi type stuff. I use Blender, Maya, ZBrush, etc. I don't need ULTIMATE performance, but I am by no means a casual user. I build my own PCs and I customize Windows to the tiniest detail. Upgradeabality is useful for me. You can view my work here if you want to get an example of what I do. I am a painter by trade, but I also do 3D slop modeling, photobashing and whatever else to get the job done. I don't play video games, etc. Portfolio: http://www.artstation.com/sour

    Brand loyalty:
    Would like to stick with a Wacom-equivalent pen similar to the fantastic one on my X230T. I don't need 8000 pressure sensitivity and all that, just reliable pen performance. Otherwise, no loyalty.

    Size:
    Any.

    Used/Refurbished:
    Fine by me!

    Battery life:
    Not very important.

    Screen:
    1920x1080+ and at least 300nits. Maximum coverage of AdobeRGB also very important.

    Needs:
    RAM is important. I simply can't abide by 8GB of soldered RAM. No way, no how. This is why I came for help.. I'm having trouble finding machines with 16+ or upgradeable RAM.. without spending a ton.

    That should cover it. Thanks a ton for anyone who may have suggestions. I'm looking at mostly Lenovo just because of my familiarity with the lineup.. but I'm open to anything including detachables, etc!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  2. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    First of all, my condolences. :D The $500 budget is going to be tricky to meet. You want something powerful with upgradability and 16GB RAM. Many modern systems have lost upgradability to gain sleekness.. So that means you need a 16GB system out of the box. Those are usually pretty pricy. A quick look on eBay for either (Surface 16GB) or (Lenovo Yoga 16GB) for under $500 gave basically no results. Maybe someone else here as a good suggestion - or a machine they're willing to part with!
     
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  3. chucklepunch

    chucklepunch Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yep! That's what I was seeing too. If I dig back a few models, things start to drop into my price range. I was hoping some folks have experience with some older models and could chime in with suggestions. Post X230T, but older than the brand new stuff. Like I can get a Thinkbook Yoga 12" for $299.. but that's with soldered 8GB RAM. That sorta thing.

    But I also saw like.. an i7-6600U/16GB/256GB-SSD Thinkpad Yoga 460 for under $600 shipped. That seems great, but is it? Is it better/worse than the nearly identical i7-6600U/16GB/256GB-SSD Thinkpad Yoga X1 1st gen that's also $600 shipped? I have no way to see or test the laptop before taking the plunge. Scary stuff as a freelancer ha.

    I'll edit original post to reflect that older models are also just fine. Thanks for your response!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  4. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Exactly. I sold my 1TB 8GB ThinkPad Yoga 12 for something like $350, that's a pretty decent system but yes, 8GB only. If you do go the eBay route, make sure you check the return policy, or be very sure about the purchase. By the way, note that Lenovo has made the switch to AES (active electrostatic) from EMR (electromagnetic resonance), meaning older pens won't work on the new devices, and the new styli behave somewhat differently.
     
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  5. chucklepunch

    chucklepunch Pen Pal - Newbie

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    What did you replace your Yoga with?

    I'd really like to stick with EMR. I wish you could filter by that and just search all laptops by all manufacturers ha.
     
  6. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    I ended up buying an X1 Yoga 3rd gen for waayyy too much money. I think $2k, but I'm trying to forget that. That one is AES though.

    Powerful machines with EMR are few and far between. TPCR Celebrity @stormi has tirelessly maintained a list of modern tablets and convertibles, see this thread. In the first post there's a link to an excel sheet with detailed info. It's a piece of art. It even includes a column for the digitizer type. The second tab of that excel sheet has Win8 tablets that might also work for you. Worth a look, if you have minute - or sixty.
     
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  7. chucklepunch

    chucklepunch Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Good god, you're a lifesaver. I mean, Stormi is a lifesaver.. but you as well, by extension ha.
     
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  8. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    I don't know why it took me so long to remember to mention that! :D Note that you can even filter each column, for example to exclude all 4GB and 8GB systems. Have fun!
     
  9. chucklepunch

    chucklepunch Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Immensely useful sheet. Already saving me tons of time.

    I'm also tempted to just dip into my savings (it's not sizeable dent) and get the Yoga 720 15" while it's a whopping 45% off. I'm a little scared of not having a business class machine, but it would have warranty for a bit. GTX 1050 2GB is a nice little bonus, and other specs are all more than adequate. I went futureproof with my X230T and it's kept me busy for 6 years.

    https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/yoga/700-series/Yoga-720-15/p/80X700CAUS#tab-li-techspec
     
  10. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    While the 720 has the juice you want, it uses AES. As a hardcore EMR user of many years, I predict you'll struggle with the pen feel. Maybe go to a Best Buy or Microsoft store and test out some AES machines pens in store before you spring for something like that machine.
    I'm curious why your budget is so low when this is your career? I also work in the industry and have had a tough time finding a replacement for my aging T902, but if I knew I needed mobile solution again for this time of life, (I opted for cintiq plus desktop recently) I wouldn't hesitate to drop $3000-$3500 for the right machine considering it will make me back that money immediately (currently an environment artist in the animation industry), and you can also claim some of it against your taxes and save that way too. If its for your livelihood, it may be worth the investment to just get the best and consider it money well spent on your career.

    If money wasn't an issue, the machine for you would undoubtedly be the HP ZBook X2, a very powerful EMR slate with amazing dramcolor display and aimed at creative professionals. The only downside is its not a convertible, but a slate instead.

    Anyway, if possible I would stick to EMR if you can. Or at least find out if you can work with AES after years of tuning your drawing hand to EMR. I find it infuriating to use personally, but I also draw at a furious pace and the buttery smooth feel and response of EMR is impossible to beat.
     
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