Convertible for research / tablet for note taking

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Simo_the_Wolf, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Simo_the_Wolf

    Simo_the_Wolf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi!

    I have to replace by old 2013 mac book pro i5-4258U 8GB 256GB (the battery is failing sometimes and it does not hold up the charge very much). Currently I own also a galaxy note 4, galaxy note 10.1 (not 2014 edition), and also a fujitsu stylistic st5112, and I use them mainly for note taking, signing documents, and read pdfs.
    As you can notice these three devices all have a (old?) wacom enabled EMR technology, and I'm pretty satisfied with it, but the problem is that in fact the machines are too old:

    - note 4) I have problems with the battery
    - galaxy note 10.1) is not supported anymore and sometimes it freezes
    - st5112) it is just a bit unreliable and I can't use it even for small productivity stuff since it can't run the sotware I use, mainly programming in R/C++ and latex compiling. all in all too heavy and slow just to use it as note-taking tablet...

    As it is maybe apparent in the title I'm undecided on which solution to adopt next: these are the two main configurations I have in mind:

    1) Convertible that can substitute both the macbook pro and the tablet(s) I currently use: ideally it should be my main computer for the next 5 years...
    2) A new macbook pro + a good tablet for note-taking, marking pdfs, etc...

    Bear in mind that my institution could pay for a new computer (I don't know still the buget, but I would say that 2000€ is doable for them, maybe also more), but I don't think they would pay for both the mac and the tablet.

    In particular the convertible and the mac should be new and the istitution can pay, while the tablet could also be used and possibly not very expensive...

    I'm answering the general questions in the convertible case.

    In the tablet case briefly I would like some tablet ~400€ with EMR Wacom pen (if not possible something as close as possible), which is fast and reliable and light, and I need it basically only to take notes, manage pdfs and look at mails. I looked at the tab S3 or S4 and they are fine but a bit too little and maybe overpriced for what I want; the ipad 2018 and also the ipad pro are fine but I wanted to know if there was an EMR Wacom tablet around (max 2 years old)...


    General Questions (Convertible).

    1. What is your budget? ~2500

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished? new

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    notebook convertible, preferrably slate


    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    • 10 to 13-inches, possibly around 13"

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]? ITALY

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes? no

    7. How many hours battery life do you require? at least 4h when I'm taking notes

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet?

    Latexxing, taking notes, light coding, mail, youtube, web surfing, pdf viewing and annoting

    9. Do you have an OS preference? For example, do you own an iPhone and a Mac, or are you a Windows fan?
    I've been a windows user up to my macbook in 2013, which I have currently. but no major preferences between the two

    Do you own an Android device and use Google services frequently? I have a galaxy S7 as my primarily phone. I do not use google services frequently (apart from google drive)

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (RStudio, some latex processor (TexMaker or TexStudio), probably OneNote or some other Windows Journal replacement (which I adore dearly: light, fast, beautiful...)

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? nah

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system? sometimes, no home theater but I have a nice external screen + a bluetooth bose speaker

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution? not really, but now I'm addicted to the retina display so I would say a fair amount of dpi is required, at least 220 dpi (now i have 227 dpi)

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    not really

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom EMR, AES or N-trig?

    Yes I would like a pen, as I said I used basically only Wacom EMR (or S-Pens) and so I would like a very similar experience: I want to take notes as I am on a piece of paper (so good palm rejecton, no lag, pressure sensitivity etc...)


    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory? 512GB it's fine: now I have 256 GB and it's always full!

    2. What sort of inputs do you require, if any? Would you like full-sized USB and SD card slots? Are microUSB and microSD ok? Do you require HDMI inputs?

    I would like full-sized USB (for the hard disks I have) and an SD card slot (importing photos etc...)
     
  2. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Just out of curiousity, have you considered pairing a MacBook with an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and using AstroPad Duet?
     
  3. Simo_the_Wolf

    Simo_the_Wolf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thank you, this is a very nice app indeed!! However it seems it could have lag, and it needs a yearly subscription (or I would need probably a luna display). Moreover an iPad pro is not very cheap... But i'll give this solution a thought

    I was looking around and the surface book 2 seems very nice as convertible (I tried on it the surface pen and it's amazing, almost as good as EMR Wacom!) However it is hard to say if it will last 5 years...

    What about the Acer switch 7? Anyone has tried it?
     
  4. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I'm entering Year 2 with a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15" 16Gb i7

    It has a couple of small drawbacks, but otherwise, it has been an excellent Wacom EMR 2-in-1, and still going strong. The battery life doesn't feel much diminished and it still looks and feels next to new. It's well within your budget.

    One snag is that you'd have to buy through a secondary seller; BestBuy is pretty strict about not shipping outside the U.S.. (I ended up asking for help from one of my American readers who received one on my behalf and privately shipped it up to Canada.)

    It was worth it, though. It's been an excellent drawing machine and all-around useful computer. A bit heavy to be a portable. Maybe the 13" one would suit you? They make one of those as well, and it costs less. Just be sure to get the 2017 model of either the 15 or 13 inch machines if you do decide to explore Samsung. The 2018's are a little iffy in the reviews.
     
  5. Shizaru

    Shizaru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    What is iffy about the 2018 N9P's? I still have both and they both perform well...the extra cores of the Gen8 are extremely useful, and general performance is also better in my experience. The only difference is the CPU other than that the machines are identical. Power and cooling management seems slightly different judging by the drivers and bios. The Gen8 runs hotter but a slight under volt with something like ThrottleStop solves that easily.

    I agree the N9P's are a great all round 2-in-1 machine with an exceptional pen performance. It was well worth the effort to import my machines in to the UK. Warranty support is the biggest worry, but these are reliable machines, with very few people having hardware issues, with either the Gen7 or Gen8 models afaik.

    The two things that let the N9P down imho are 1: the lack of thunderbolt or a USB-C 3.1 Gen2 port and 2: the slow MicroSD card interface. Oh and the stock SSD being SATA 3 M.2 is disappointing, although I upgraded mine to NvME M.2 so that's no longer an issue. Audio is the main issue for many people, but that can be tweaked enough to make it acceptable with out too much effort. It's laptop audio so you can hardly expect a cinema sound experience.

    I'm not sure I would go for the 13" model over the 15" 1 lbs weight difference isn't that significant, and the extra screen area, additional 8GB of RAM and the dGPU trumps the weight advantage imho. I'm not a heavy note taker who lugs a machine around to meetings etc. though. In that use case maybe the 13" has an edge?

    Be careful when looking at the Notebook 9 Pro machines because there are lots of models using similar naming just add to the confusion.

    These are the Notebook 9 Pro PEN machines we are talking about:

    N9P 13" S-Pen 2018 i7 Gen8 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD SATA 3 M.2
    https://www.samsung.com/us/computin...k-series-9/notebook-9-pro-133-np940x3n-k01us/

    N9P 15" S-Pen 2018 i7 Gen8, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD SATA 3 M.2, AMD Radeon 500 2GB RAM https://www.samsung.com/us/computin...otebook-9-pro-15---256gb-ssd--np940x5n-x01us/

    There is also a lower spec. version of the 15" S-Pen model with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD https://www.samsung.com/us/computin...k-series-9/notebook-9-pro-15--np940x5m-x02us/

    There are older 2017 versions of the above machines with i7 Gen7 2 core CPU's.

    Then there is the newer Notebook 9 13" PEN https://www.samsung.com/us/computin...series-9/notebook-9-pen-13-3--np930qaa-k01us/

    Pricing at Best Buy is normally equal to or better than at Samsung US. BB discount the 15" fairly regularly which can save you between $100 and $200 depending on the offer. Open Box machines can gain you a further discount, if you are willing to accept a returned machine. As thatcomicsguy said BB don't ship outside of the US which is a real pita. I don't know if Samsung US ship internationally or not?

    I'm very happy with my two Notebook 9 Pro 15" machines. I wanted a machine with Wacom EMR pen tech and there really aren't many alternatives to chose from, especially in the price range. There's the Wacom MSP which is an art tablet PC (over priced), and the HP Zbook X2 which is a more expensive convertible with great spec. If you are willing to suffer the quirks of AES etc. there are probably some other good value machines based on hardware spec. screen res and ports etc. at the expense of the pen experience.

    N9P build quality is very good imho, and it's easy to access the main components of the machine, although there's nothing other than the SSD that's really user upgradable. Being able to easily cleaning dust off fans etc. is also a plus.

    If you go for a N9P you will probably also want to get a full size S-Pen or some other brands alternative.

    Threads:

    N9P 15" / 13" Gen7 and Gen8 > http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/thr...d-15-flippers-with-windows-10-and-spen.72302/

    N9P 13" Pen > http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/samsung-notebook-9-pen-13-3-inch-2-in-1.73322/

    Zbook X2 > http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/zbook-x2-just-announced.73074/
     
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  6. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I haven't followed closely, but I recall a number of less-than-stellar impressions filtering back regarding the Notebook 9 Pen:

    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/thr...pen-13-3-inch-2-in-1.73322/page-2#post-514237

    But I may be misinformed, or getting the models mixed up.
     
  7. Shizaru

    Shizaru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Ah, I thought you were referring to the 2017/2018 N9P 15" we have, not the newer N9 13" Pen. Samsung need to sort out a less confusing naming convention. I agree the N9 13" Pen doesn't seem to be well received. I haven't seen one in the flesh so can't comment.
     
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  8. Simo_the_Wolf

    Simo_the_Wolf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thank you everybody! I'm still not convinced. The Samsung 9 pro seems nice but I cannot find a way to bring it here easily... Moreover I want something with 16GB ram, but if I understand correctly this option is only available on the 15" which is a bit too big for me... I don't think it can really be my laptop for ~5 years; if I have to take a samsung tablet I would take probably the Surface Book 12 (old version) and as a laptop I would take the macbook pro


    What are your toughts on the new surface pen (vs EMR)? I tried it on a Surface Book 2 i5 (I think) and it felt very very nice...

    I could consider taking a Surface Pro (2017 edition) with 16GB and 512GB memory, with the new surface pen, but I'm not so sure... Frankly without looking at money I would take the Surface Book2 13,5" i7 16GB and 512GB; unfortunately it costs maybe a bit too much...

    I tried to look at differences between Surface Pro (2017) and Surface Book2 with similar specs but I couldn't find it... How much the dedicated GPU will affect performances?
    Also, on the same line: the differences in performance between Surface Book and Surface Book2 are "visible"? Also the SB1 support the new Surface pen right?

    Zbook X2 is a beast (!!!!), but non so portable (it's 1.6kg only the tablet part right?)

    I'm sorry I know I'm complaining a lot, but it's a difficult decision for me... :p
     
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