Digital Artist looking for a new drawing computer

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Lilawyn, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    You found hell of a deal! Those things are usually like $1500 or more! Nice...
     
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  2. Lilawyn

    Lilawyn Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I was blown away when I saw it. I'd been heavily tempted by the same machine with the same specs at $1300. :eek:

    Time to refresh the shipping page again. Updated delivery date is Tuesday, the 21st. It's almost here! :eek:
     
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  3. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Hey, I'm also interested in this laptop, but super confused. There are so many models for this device. I've seen two different 2019 models on Amazon, as an example, and they both seem to have s-pen support, both are from 2019, but different color and moniker??? I thought only the "Pen" versions had spen support, and the "Pro" versions were AES? Help picking this apart would be appreciated.

    Notebook 9 Pen (2019)- blue model with yellow spen, much better 2x 5w speakers. 15" screen

    [​IMG]


    Notebook 9 Pro (2019)- grey model, spen is in the pics? 15.6" screen???
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Lilawyn

    Lilawyn Pen Pal - Newbie

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    It proves to be exceedingly difficult to track down information about a very specific model of the Notebook 9 Pro. I believe that the grey version of the Notebook 9 Pro that you linked is an EMR tablet. darkmagistric mentioned upthread that the AES versions of the Notebook 9 do not silo their pens on the body of tablet.

    I went and checked out Samsung's website to see the difference.

    This version of the Notebook 9 Pro uses the Active Pen, and it does not silo on the computer. The Active Pen looks like a standard Wacom AES Bamboo pen.

    [​IMG]

    A Notebook 9 Pro with similar (but not exactly the same) specs as the one you posted on Samsung's site shows that it is S-Pen enabled. I am under the impression that all S-Pens are EMR, since they have no room for a battery...and I believe all of Samsung's AES pens require a battery.


    The differences between the two models you linked appear to be:
    + The Ocean Blue N9 Pen is a 512GB SSD model, whereas the the Grey N9 Pro is 1TB SSD. I'm not sure how important onboard storage is for you. For me, it's pretty negligible as I keep most of my files in cloud storage/on backup SSDs. But if it's important to you, I'd definitely keep that in mind. You can buy up to 1TB SSD model on the Ocean Blue N9 Pen, though it may push the price of your unit up 200-300 dollars if you plan to purchase through Amazon.

    + The Ocean Blue N9 Pen that you linked only has onboard graphics. It does not have a discrete gpu. The N9 Pro that you linked claims to have a AMD Radeon 540 Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Memory. (I say claims to have here because the amazon page seems to tell me two different things in two different places, so I am also confused about whether or not this model has the discrete gpu).

    From my experience with my Surface Pro 6, the onboard graphics for the 8th gen intel chips is pretty weak if you want to do something that has any amount of graphical intensity (driving 1080p video on an external monitor, running photoshop above extremely basic sizes, even extremely light gaming. This may not be entirely the fault of the onboard graphics, but it feels like it is.)

    The 1TB version of the Ocean Blue N9 Pen has a discrete gpu that is similar to the Grey N9 Pro's--the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 . You can find a comparison between the two cards here: https://www.notebookcheck.net/GeForce-MX150-vs-Radeon-RX-540_8000_7952.247598.0.html

    The takeaway I got from this is that both cards have very similar performance profiles overall, with the Radeon RX 540 on the Grey N9 Pro edging out the MX150 on the Ocean Blue N9 Pen if you are interested in doing any amount of gaming. I have no idea how these two would perform for the things I'm interested in (Photoshop!), so I took a shot and threw my own hat into the ring with the Ocean Blue N9 Pen.

    If you think that integrated graphics might be fine for your use case, I think this category might be a draw for both models.

    + The Ocean Blue N9 Pen has, in my opinion, the better design screenwise. The bottom bezel/chin on the Grey N9 Pro is distractingly large. And I'm not someone who normally notices bezel size.

    My N9 Pen is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to update with some thoughts regarding that machine soon!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  5. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Yes, all that you're saying sounds correct. It's weird-- it's like the grey "Pro" model is just using the older grey body from 2017+ with newer specs that are equivalent to the new Coral Blue "Pen" model. ??? They all have 15" screens, yes? None have 15.6" screens? Every extra bit helps.

    I've actually wondered if the listings on Amazon are just faulty, and incorrect.

    The other major differences I see are that-
    edit-
    1a) the grey Pro model has a substantially better array of ports. The Coral Blue model only has USB-C and the micro-SD.

    edit 2-
    1b) looks like the Pro model is the only one sold at BestBuy. The Coral Blue "Pen" model is not available through them at all, as far as I can tell.

    1) the Coral Blue "Pen" model has much improved 2x 5w speakers, instead of 2x 1.5w speakers in the older models. I use my laptop for everything, including media, so this has some relevance to me, personally.

    2) the Coral Blue "Pen" model has a new all aluminium body, that is suppossed to have better build quality and less flex

    3) the Coral Blue "Pen" model supposedly has a slightly better typing experience?

    Also, Coral Blue looks nice. LOL. Is that allowed as part of choosing a work device?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  6. Lilawyn

    Lilawyn Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I've wondered this too, since there's so much conflicting information just between the different info boxes on the Amazon product page for the Grey N9 Pro.

    Oh, this is a good thing to point out. If ports are a big part of your use case, you may end up needing an external dock to expand your port selection if you lean towards buying the N9 Pen. If the port selection is crucial for your daily usage, it might give the Grey N9 Pro the edge here.

    The Blue looks really gorgeous. It may or may not have been one of my main deciding points for the N9 Pen. :D

    The better typing experience and the better build quality were two of the other main selling points for me. I am hoping for a robust sketchbook & notetaking experience from the N9 Pen.

    I did notice one other difference between the two machines. The Grey N9 Pro has a i7-8550U compared to the Blue N9 Pen's 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U. The chips are very similar to each other; the N9 Pen's CPU is about a year newer, and has ever-so-slightly better benchmarks. It's not a huge step up, but if you're buying a machine to last you for another 4 or 5 years--and all other things being basically equal--I'm always of the mind to buy the computer that has the best possible internals.
     
  7. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Well, I'm very interested to hear your review of this "Ocean Blue" device specifically, as it sounds like it has certain improvements and design choices that the grey model doesn't have. Unfortunately, no one has this model in stock- not at Bestbuy, Staples, etc. So I would have to buy blind if I did so, which sucks.

    I'm curious about your experience on the keyboard, as you mentioned this, and I've been unsatisfied with Samsung keyboards in the past. I'm also curious to hear your experience with the speakers, which are AKG 2x 5 watts instead of 2x 1.5 watts like in other Samsung laptops. Sound is supposed to be substantially louder and more robust, and while it's not the main reason I would buy a device, it's definitely on the list.

    My presumption is the spen and its latency will be marvelous, and that the screen (outdoors) will truly be eyeball searingly bright.
     
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  8. Lilawyn

    Lilawyn Pen Pal - Newbie

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    My laptop arrived yesterday! It arrived late in the day and required a full charge before I could turn it on and initiate Windows 10 set-up, so there was less hands-on time with it than I would have liked... but here are some initial thoughts:

    + The Ocean Blue body is gorgeous! ...It's also a fingerprint magnet. I can see myself getting a little anal-retentive about wiping the laptop down every morning to fight against the fingerprints.

    + The 15" model is lighter than expected. My main experience with laptops over the past 8 years has been with tablets: a Samsung Series 7 Slate in 2012, then a 12.9" iPad, & a Surface Studio 6 in 2018. Consequently, I expected a 15" laptop to be heavy enough that I'd only want to use it at a desk. This one weighs the same as my medium-to-heavy 10" hardback journals. It feels very comfortable propped up under my arm, or by my leg.

    + The laptop can't be opened one-handed (or I haven't discovered the trick of opening it yet). It shuts solidly and it takes two hands to kind of pry it open.

    + The case feels solid. No feelings of flimsiness when I'm manipulating the hinge. I've seen no evidence of flex.

    + As expected from other people's reviews of this machine, it comes with so much Samsung bloatware. It's simple to uninstall it, and the bloatware doesn't fight with me to stay installed, which... wasn't my experience with the Samsung Series 7 Slate. I'm already happier than expected. :D

    + The NP9 really wants to do the "am I asleep / am I awake" dance. Battery usage reflects a fairly substantial drain on the machine, when I only used it intermittently last night.
    [​IMG]
    I'll figure out what's going on, and fix the leaks. This machine seems to have some of the same problems as the SP6. Something jostles the machine out of connected standby, and the machine isn't suspending after a set period of time. The active/connected standby cycling represents a 7% drain on the battery; similarly, I got another 7% drain on connected standby overnight.

    I am hoping to fiddle the power management settings on the Samsung to move it closer to the SP6's power management, if possible. Often, I'll see 0% to 3% energy drain on 6 to 11 hours of connected standby on the SP6. If suspend is disabled on the Samsung, I'll see what I can do about re-enabling that in the coming week.

    + The 96dpi screen seems a little out-of-date and pixelated for my tastes, compared to the 200+ ppi of the Surface line. But that's fine, I knew that drawback when I purchased the machine.

    + I haven't had much time to test out the keyboard...

    + ...because I am in love with the pen feel on this machine. It is SO SMOOTH, and SO REWARDING. There is zero digitizer wiggle on my lines; only the natural wobble of my arm, as it is when I'm drawing on paper. I've missed this feeling so much. :eek:

    + I ordered a flotilla of EMR pens, but none of them wanted to arrive prior to the laptop. So far, I've only been using the included S-Pen, which is fairly diminutive. I have very small hands, so the included S-Pen doesn't feel as tiny as it might to others. However, I'm looking forward to any one (or all) of my alternative pens:

    Pens I've currently bought, and may review with this unit:
    - Full-sized Samsung S-Pen (Samsung EJ-PT820BBEGUJ) ...arriving today
    - Toshiba Portege Z20t Stylus (PA5229U-1EUC) ... arriving Saturday
    - HP ZBook x2 Pen ...arriving Saturday
    - Samsung Galaxy Book 2 pen (I suspect this one might have been cannibalized from another system, or is a knock-off) ... by February 11th
    - Lamy EMR ...on pre-order, ships in March

    I got a pretty decent deal on most of these pens, which were all between $30 and $45 through reputable pen & electronic sellers... the only exception being the Galaxy Book 2 pen. That one was the most expensive (at 66 dollars), and the one I'm most suspicious of being a knock-off. On the off-chance that it wasn't, I had to buy it. I'm also really itching to get my hands on a Wacom One stylus, once they start selling the pens independently.
     
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  9. Lilawyn

    Lilawyn Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Short update today! My first pen arrived. I have done some light tests of the four I currently own: the s-pen that comes standard with the N9Pen, the “toothpick“ s-pen; the full-size s-pen for the Tab3; and the EMR pen that comes standard with the ReMarkable tablet, and the Dell EMR pen. As you can see straight away, my Dell EMR pen has a persistent problem where the tablet registers touch even when the tip isn’t in physical contact with the screen. I removed the Dell‘s nib, and the issue persisted sans nib. I suspect something got knocked askew during shipping. Rather than return the pen, I am keeping it around--I have a niche use for a drawing tool with this particular problem (some clients request quilt designs, which can benefit from designs where the pen must remain on-screen, much like a sewing machine must remain on the fabric).

    I had a surprisingly good time with the s-pen that is included with the N9P. The nib is so silky against the screen. It also registers my pen pressure a little more quickly, which I appreciate in a pen. The Tab3 pen felt like drawing with a hard pencil; it was more resistant to pressure changes.It is good for drawing in light details.

    For being a pen for an E-ink tablet, I didn’t expect to get a good performance out of the ReMarkable pen, but I quite enjoyed it on the N9P. It was the slickest feeling pen, and seemed to skate over the glass. It might be the hardest pen to control. It feels like a very slick marker on a nearly frictionless surface.

    I didn’t bother to do further tests with the Dell EMR pen, as its problem makes it mostly unusable expect for special circumstances.

    The best feature of these pens is that I didn’t have to recalibrate the tablet to use them, and I didn’t have to do anything to swap between pens. Truly, that is what I wanted from this pen experience; no bluetooth pen pairing. Just picking up a pen and starting to draw without worry/pairing/battery issues, etc. I was constantly annoyed by having to charge my apple pencil; or picking up the wrong pencil and discovering it isn’t paired with my ipad. (this is a common problem in a multi-pencil household.)
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Over the weekend, I hope to test out the speakers and the screen with video/audio playback so that i’ll have something to report about the N9P as a full laptop experience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  10. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Look delicious! Hahaha. The pen input samples look great, but this is no surprise. I'm particularly curious to hear what you think of the much-lauded zbook x2 pen. It's nice to hear that the Remarkable does well-- I'm assuming the textural experience has everything to do with the felt tip sliding around more than normal on glass. I've pondered getting a semi-matte SP and replicating the feeling of writing on the ReMarkable tablet.

    Glad to hear about the build quality-- this is definitely something that Samsung has improved dramatically over the last few generations.

    Re: sleep issues-- there is a thread dedicated to this device in the Samsung forum-- something like "Samsung Notebook 9 (EMR)" or somesuch thing. Other owners have also talked about this problem, but the only posted solution was to activate Hibernation. Then it went away.

    I'm waiting patiently to hear back about typing and speaker experiences. :p Neither has anything to do with drawing, but are very much part of a well-rounded laptop experience in my book. And supposedly both are improved on this iteration of the device.

    Thanks for all the input! It sounds like you've really got a winner. :)
     
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