Ep121 Review - From an Artist

Discussion in 'EP121 Slate' started by darkmagistric, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Just got my EP121. Hoping I'll be able to use it as my main art rig to replace my aging Lenovo x61 tablet.

    My first though upon grasping the tablet.....well if I ever become suicidal, its nice to know that the Ep121’s edges can used as a makeshaft razor blade if the need arises. Out of all the tablets I've ever held..never have I felt edges so sharp before. I have to wonder if Asus product tested this at all, cause I don’t see how anyone holding it wouldn’t notice the razor feel. I guess as an additional plus, if anyone tries to steal it from me I could toss the tablet like a throwing star and lop off their head. However I did hear about this issue prior to ordering so I can’t say I’m too surprised..but I just never imagined it would be this sharp. Just grabbing it with my thumb I got a scratch. It didn’t break the skin, but if you put some force behind it, you could really hurt someone with these edges.

    Well, razor edges aside, this baby is big: it’s almost the same footprint and as thick as my 13 inch Macbook Pro. It is very light however and holding it is quite comfortable (razor edge aside) as opposed to holding thicker & heavier convertible tablets like the x61. The enormous size is even more noticeable when held in Portrait mode since it just towers over everything.
    One thing I don’t like is the back casing of the device. It’s a cheapish white plastic, and when holding the tablet you can feel it kind of compress in the middle. I suspect this was done more so for weight/heating issues, but I would have preferred a more solid/harder back like the Slate 500 or even the Ipad.

    Now the USB port cover/hell I was already aware of. Its annoying but not as much as I was expecting. I can get it open in seconds with my thumbnail, but I can see how some people would have trouble with it.
    Now the screen: Upon firing this baby up, the screen quality is indeed beautiful. It easily tops my Lenovo x-61/Slate 500/Ls800/Tc1100, etc. Its not as bright as the Ipad, but more on par with my 13 inch Macbook Pro.
    One negative I wasn’t expecting is the poor viewing angles in landscape mode. While I like using Portrait mode while holding it, when I’m sitting at a desk, I like to use it in landscape. Using the Ep121 flat on a desk in landscape…while still visible, the top half of the screen gets very dark/dim. It it’s propped at an angle its better….but for my work load this may prove to be a problem, since I usually use it flat on a desk. Portrait mode doesn’t have this issue.

    The pen is a nice size compared to most included Tablet PC pens….but why they decided to remove the button is beyond me, the side button is crucial for my work in Photoshop. I know I can just use any other Tablet PC pen, but I really shouldn’t have to. Honestly I’d prefer it if they included a dual button pen instead of the wireless keyboard.

    The Case is Nice, it adds alittle more weight to it, but given the already enormous size of the Ep121, any extra weight/heft isn’t too much of an issue. I like to take the Ep121 out of the case when using it. The only problem I encounter is that I usually turn it off before putting it back in the case, and putting it back
     
  2. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Now to get my Art Programs running.

    Sadly this has been a bit more of a hassle. I got Photoshop CS4 and Paint Tool Sai running, but some issues with the Wacom Drivers. (kind of expected this would be the case)

    I have 3 different versions of the current Dual(whatever) drivers, and older drivers as well.

    With the current drivers I'm able to get Pressure in Photoshop CS4....but not in Paint Tool Sai, or Photoshop CS5 oddly. Using the older European Bamboo driver, I got pressure working in Sai, but not in Photoshop. I still have to try those more perfected Fujitsu drivers everyone is raving about though.

    One odd glitch I'm having....that I've never seen before...Photoshop CS4 will lag. But not the same lag as seen on the Ls800, but a more regulated lag. The Core i5 should have no problem running CS4..but to fix this all I have to do is swtich the orientation between landscape and portrait and then it works perfectly. But if I close photoshop and reopen it..the problem occures again. I'm glad the temp fix is relativly easy, but I don't know why its happeneing at all to begin with.

    I also had the Portrait Oreintation double cursor gltich, but I found the fix to that on these boards. Right now I'm working on a new piece of art. I'll be updating this thread with the progress of it and any problems I run into. I also plan to install every art app I have on this tablet.
     
  3. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts. Pretty much everything you mentioned has been my experience, both the sharp edge and the USB covers. I do differ a bit on the screen. While I agree it's not as bright as the iPad at 100% brightness I find it almost blinding indoors. I've never felt the screen was too dark in any orientation at 40% brightness and higher.
     
  4. nnthemperor

    nnthemperor Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Same here. I'm lying in bed reading this post & l tried to tilt-the slate to see if l could notice the poor viewing angle. None. not even with it flat on its back in landscape mode.
    And I use the slate at 30% brightness, any setting above 50% would be blinding indoors. And l have a non-reflective film on the screen too.
    My main concern is how to get upto to 3-3-5 his of battery usage on this thing. Does any one have aero turned on? what the battery life like?
     
  5. coldpenguin

    coldpenguin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Thanks for the information. I was thinking about the tablet for photo retouching, and from what you have said so far, it sounds like it might be a possibility. (I suspect your angle-of-incidence when you are using it landscape would be greater than mine)
     
  6. latinvixen

    latinvixen Artist

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    I am still interested in this tablet but not just yet. The battery life leaves me wanting more and the current tablet pc with wacom is doing just fine. I would totally love to play with one in person though :).
     
  7. bahlswede

    bahlswede Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Which Bamboo drivers did you use Dark? Sai is my main program and I would like to get that working even if that means no pressure in photoshop.
     
  8. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Ok, finally finished my first full piece of art on the Ep121.

    [​IMG]

    Ok, finally finished my first full piece of art on the Ep121. Took about two weeks, which is quite long for me. I chalk it up to ½ personal and work issues sucking up my free time, but ½ of it was also me getting used to the Ep121’s wide screen. Although my original Gateway c-120x tablet had a similar wide screen, I’ve been using my x61 for so long I guess I got so used to having the full screen ratio for my main work. I’ve gotten much more used to the Asus by now, but considering my affinity for using so many different sized tablet PCs, I’m surprised the adjustment curve took so long for me.

    Since this is going to be my main art rig, I was expecting to use this for primarily Photoshop. As I explained before, I had this weird lag/glitch with CS4. The brush tool would lag pretty bad at first, but swapping the screen orientation fixed the issue. This wasn’t a brush problem though; I soon noticed that it was a full photoshop lag. Everything lagged until I switched the orientation. It’s a quick fix, but its still annoying. And once you close out of photoshop, and reopen it, the same glitch will occur.
    So I put CS5 on it, and it works like a charm. And with the Fujitsu drivers, I got pressure working in both CS5 and Paint Tool Sai.

    Now with CS5…..it ran ok at first….but slowly I noticed…..Photoshop still preformed like crap. If the brush was in the 1-40 size range, it was fine…but size 50 and up got quite sluggish. As is, the Core i5 performed noticeably worse than the Core2duo in my x-61. With the x-61 I could hit brush sizes up to 90 before they got sluggish. With the Core i5’s Turbo boosting, they both roughly hit the same 1.6ghz clock speed….so I was initially very disappointed that a new Core i5 did worse against an aging Core2Duo. The performance rivaled the Pentium Mobile in my aging Tc1100. This however I found was a battery issue. After playing with the power settings, I found out it was the default power setting Asus set for the ep121 that was affecting Photoshop’s performance. Once I made my own power plan setting, I was able to get a noticeable increase in performance. Not as much as I was hoping, but now it’s at least equal to the x61’s Core2duo performance.

    Of course this did have one drawback…it really took a toll on the battery life. I’m using it with Full screen brightness on (necessary for painting) running Photoshop CS5, and I have the Wi-fi turned on. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get the 3-4 hours given my needs….but I didn’t think it would be as bad as 1 & ½ hours. I can use it for 90 minutes before it gets to that 7% “Find another Power Source” warning.

    I have to test it under different conditions though. I’m sure if I turned the Wi-fi off, and did sketch work in Paint Tool Sai with a lower screen brightness, I could probably hit the 3 hour mark..but if I wanted to use Paint Tool Sai with a dim screen and no wi-fi…really, I’ll just use my Ls800.
     
  9. jimmy1

    jimmy1 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Wow - way to make the thread "pop" with such a great image. It really asks to be looked at - great colours and lighting.

    You've certainly pointed out a few things regarding Photoshop usage and battery power thats does in fact put me off sadly but its great to see alot of artists finding a tablet that suits there needs.
     
  10. kurt_hectic

    kurt_hectic Scribbler - Standard Member

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    all you need is artrage! parapaaraaaa



    in this program you can use multi touch for zomming + rotating canvas....

    check this out and you will love it.
     
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