Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Lilawyn, Dec 26, 2019.
I want to thank you for all the inputs too, all what you've done is really interesting all
Small observations from a day of using my N9Pen as my primary machine:
+ There is an indicator light at the top left side of the keyboard. It's red when charging, green when fully charged, and blue when the computer is active. It's very bright and very distracting. I didn't want to do something permanent, so I covered the indicator light with my stylus when I wasn't drawing.
+ It's pretty awesome to be able charge the laptop from any of its three USB-C ports. This gives the N9P the ability to be charged from the right-hand or left-hand side. This is a handy feature that I wish my SP6 had. I end up constantly jostling the Surface Connect port on the right hand side (I don't have this same problem with left-hand side charging).
+ Fairly accurate estimates for how long the laptop takes to charge. Handy! My SP6 has what I will call... aspirational numbers for how long it will take to charge. The N9P takes ~2.5 hours to charge back up to 100% after draining the battery below 10%.
+ Battery life is pretty low right now. I've been getting between 3 hours to 5 hours of battery life for a single charge. There are probably several factors at play--and the system is probably still churning through Windows Updates. I'll keep an eye on how battery life changes. For my purposes, that's an acceptable amount of battery life. I am rarely away from an outlet for more than 4 hours.
+ Adaptive Contrast is as horrible as ever. I found & disabled the adaptive contrast through the Intel driver panel. Hooray for not having to hack the registry!
+ Audio quality: Fired up Spotify and listened to the same track across multiple devices.
The speakers on the laptop are full & loud for a laptop, but the sound is definitely coming from a laptop. There's a tinny quality to the speakers that has always marked laptop audio, and it's present in the N9P.
The N9P sounds fuller than the Surface Pro 6.
The N9P sounds flatter/tinnier than the iPad Pro (2017 model).
The N9P falls flat in comparison to the Surface Studio 2's integrated speakers.
If I had to choose a mobile device for music, it would be the N9P over the Surface 6, but I'd take the iPad Pro over both of them. I would not prefer the N9P for listening to music or watching video if anything else was available.
+ Video quality: Watched a few episodes (of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) off of Amazon Prime. When the bandwidth of your connection is good, the video quality is quite decent! Color is bright, though not as vivid as other displays. Skin tones look good. The 15" monitor is a big step up from watching things on my 12.3" SP6. It's pretty okay for media consumption. Though it's hard to prefer it to other devices when there are plenty of other machines that have better-looking screens out there.
+ Typing: Chiclet-style keyboard. The keypress feels firm; they make a pleasing clacking when you type. There is a slightly larger distance between the individual keys on the N9P than on the Surface Pro 6's type cover. I have diminutive hands, so I naturally find myself drifting away from the N9P to either my mechanical desktop keyboard or my SP6 type cover to do things like finish typing up this post. If your hands are on the large side of average, you probably won't notice (or will appreciate) the difference. Or if you don't dislike chiclet style keyboards (as I do), you will provide find much to love about the N9P's typing experience.
+ Trackpad: This trackpad is HUGE. And it requires, paradoxically, a firmer touch to do certain things and a lighter touch to do certain other things than the touchpad I got used to on the SP6. This trackpad isn't garbage. (The SP6's kind of is, because the type cover flexes, and can cause misclicks. Unfortunately, I got used to that kind of garbage, so I'm having to retrain myself on the N9P. Currently, there's a lot of accidental scrolling / window closing happening.)
If I were buying a laptop/2-in-1 where the pen experience was only going to be one factor among many--or your main interest was taking notes--I'd probably suggest that you look at the HP Spectre on Ice (late 2019) or the Surface Laptop 3 and see if those would fit your needs.
But if you're okay with a system that has just kind of good-to-average audio and decent keyboard... because you want an unrivaled drawing experience for its price point, I'd recommend the N9P.
The HP Zbook x2 pen arrived today! I had somewhat of a brain fart when I was writing out the pen's name in my test notes (I had just finished reading a Z canvas review on the forum ).
The pen was really comfortable to hold. It immediately reminded me of Wacom pens circa 2006-2010. Not too light. Could have been a touch heavier, but I think I've just gotten used to metal-body styluses.
I felt an immediate qualitative difference in pens. Because I immediately wanted to spend a lot of time drawing with it. My test page got a little overwhelmed with different kinds of drawing warm-ups.
Even more doodles with the Zbook pen in the margin of my other pen tests.
So far, the Zbook pen is my clear favorite. I'm so glad I learned about it from this forum. And I got a pretty great deal on it. An ebay seller had them for $27 dollars+tax. And it came with peripherals I wasn't expecting! 10 extra nibs, nib removal tool, a little attachment-to-what-I-assume-is-the-zbook with small pen holding flap. And a faux (leather? other material?) pen holder with a magnetic enclosure. That's pretty swanky.
you got little slots for three nibs on the flap of the magnetic enclosure
Interesting to hear your take on everything. Samsung laptops have always had (IMO) pretty terrible keyboards and speakers. Bad enough that the only reason I would get one is as a drawing device (which means I've not gotten them). So if these knew ones are average to not-too-shabby, that atleast takes them out of "cons" list. I'm surprised by the battery life, as people were reporting significantly better real world battery life in this other thread--
Nothing astounding, but definitely in the 8-10 hour range. 3 to 5 hours would not be an option for me, and how mobile my work life is. I'm curious to see if things level off for you on. I get 5-6 hours even on my 5 year old Thinkpad Yoga.
I've also been looking at the Flex, I admit. Assuming the improvements of your blue 2019 device (better latency, speakers, keyboard, supposedly better battery life too) stick around, the 2020 Flex is supposed to be a little bigger screen (15.6"), have a QLED screen with better color, and have better battery life (given that they're Ice Lake and they have QLED screens). That would be nice.
So I've had my laptop for three weeks, and I can report a few things that I talked about in the thread. Hang on to your hats, this is mostly a list of battery life issues.
+ I ran a few power configuration settings in cmd two weeks ago, and discovered the source of my weird overnight power drains were being caused by the fingerprint scanner.
The device was preventing the computer from cycling through the several intermediate states prior to entering the lowest-level power-saving sleep state. Without fail, the system was being woken up every X minutes, where X equalled the amount of time I set the computer to sleep. When "sleep" was set to 10 minutes idle, the computer would inevitably be jostled out of connected standby every 10:15 minutes. When "sleep" was set to 30 minutes idle, the same thing would happen without fail at the 30-32 minute mark. I can't tell you what part of the driver implementation caused this behavior. Rather than scrounge around for new drivers, I decided that for my purposes, the easiest way to deal with the issue was to disable the scanner entirely. No big loss! I prefer to log in with my password anyway.
+ I enabled hibernation on my system.
The external power button now puts the system into hibernation mode. The difference between instant-on and hibernation is that it only takes a few extra seconds for the system to boot up. The display also seems to hiccup a little, and need a few seconds to adjust itself. I'm curmudgeony, and remember when systems would take a good three to five minutes to boot up. I'm absolutely fine with not having instant on.
+ After adjusting those two settings, overnight power drains have stopped!
I can now go multiple days without charging my device... but that's mainly due to the fact that I'm only using the N9Pen for an hour or two a day. The Samsung N9Pen has filled in for my at-leisure device, so it doesn't get strenuously used per day.
+ I've turned on the battery life extending option in the Samsung Settings, so my machine will only charge to 85%.
I'll keep my eye on this for the next few months, but I imagine I won't start to see the results of this until I hit the one year mark. I'm hoping not to see the battery life degradation that my Surface Pro 6 suffered--though I imagine there won't be a way to compare the two devices, since the Surface Pro 6 was/is used an average of 6 hours per day, and the N9Pen only gets light and gentle treatment. The pros of using the battery life extender is that the Notebook 9 Pen only takes about 35 minutes to charge from critical battery levels (6 to 10%) to full charge (85%). I'm really impressed by the quick charging...
+ The battery life of the machine remains...on the lighter side.
....The cons of using the battery life extender is that I seem to shave an hour to an hour and a half off its total usable time.
My actual use cases seems to be about 5 to 6 hours of screen time over the course of several days before the machine requires charging. This usually translates into me needing to charge my laptop about twice a week. The battery life estimates based on my % power drain for an hour-long usage session would peg my average battery life with the battery life extending option turned on at 6.5 hours. If I weren't using the battery life extender, I could get a little over 7.5 hours out of the battery.
So we're not at the dire levels that my machine was pre-fingerprint scanner/pre-hibernation, but this still isn't really great battery life for what I'm doing, because guys, I am doing almost nothing with my computer when it's on.
I put my Notebook 9 Pen into:
* battery saving power mode, with a middling screen brightness, as far down as I can stand (which isn't far, because at very low levels, the screen flickers in a very distracting way)
* in tablet mode, with only one program open at a time,
* so that I can sketch in a fairly small document (Autodesk Sketchbook)
* or journal (in Penbook).
I'm barely pushing this machine. I imagine that if I was doing something actually processor or RAM intensive, I might see much worse battery life on this machine. I'm really envious of the battery life that my iPad Pro experiences, and wish I could have that in a desktop. Windows on ARM is a future dream! Or maybe chromeOS with pressure sensitive apps.
I'm still enjoying this laptop, despite my light griping. I knew the battery life wasn't going to be anything to write home about, and I think that'll suit me just fine, if I choose to use it more heavily. It recharges really fast. Stopping somewhere to top up on those battery % when I'm travelling looks quite doable.
A cautionary tale for people who compulsively purchase pens: EMR tablets will let you hoard a lot of pens.
(Pictured from left to right: Lamy EMR Stylus, the Wacom Bamboo Carbon Feel Stylus, Toshiba z20t pen, HP zbook x2 pen, the arrived-broken Dell EMR pen, a Samsung Galaxy Book2 stylus, Samsung Tab3 pen, the Samsung stylus that comes packaged with the Notebook 9 Pen.)
Separate names with a comma.