List of Windows 8 and RT tablets and convertibles with stylus

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JoeS, Aug 30, 2012.

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  1. Clerish

    Clerish Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I thought the exact same thing, and that's why the score surprised me. They say it's fairly good, then they give it a mediocre rating.
    I should have already learned better than to expect coherence from them.
     
  2. bloodycape

    bloodycape confused Senior Member

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    Some of their points are valid, I will admit, but they still don't get pen usage as evident based on review.
     
  3. leaftye

    leaftye Old timer Super Moderator

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    Outside of this forum, and another site that has since changed formats, I've seen very few reviews where the reviewer was enlightened enough to realize how significant the stylus was. Compared to those reviews, The Verge did an above average job, although as you seem to be saying, they could use more time with the device to figure out how to use it well.
     
  4. internalaudit

    internalaudit Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Will this be a close alternative to the Thinkpad Yoga though I think the latter does not come with removable battery and the RAM is soldered onto the board.
     
  5. razmaniac

    razmaniac Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello everyone. I have been looking at pen-enabled PCs for the past month and a half. I am a student who luckily works at best buy. I have purchased/returned 7 latops/tablets and think that I could give you a pretty fair comparative review of most of the models. Please bear in mind that I am not the most articulate. I would be happy to answer any follow up questions. Also I am attacking this from the perspective of a student. I do my inking mosly in Microsoft One Note.

    Firstly I want to talk about Wacom vs N-Trig debate. I have had multiple PCs with both. For inking notes I find N-Trig to be vastly superior. The reason for this is that it places the cursor much more accurately at the tip of the stylus than Wacom. This is not helped by the fact that the Wacom is inconsistant across the screen. For example on one side of the screen it could be above and left of the stylus tip, while on the other it can be below and right. No amount of calibration would work well on any of the three wacom tablets that I worked with. That being said, though there is a steep learning curve, you can get used to this. You also can move the screen so you ink where it is most accurate. Also I have a friend who dabbles in comics. I let him mess around with it and he said that the Wacom was much better and more accurate when it comes to pressure sensitivity. The Wacom on the Surface Pro 2 was by far the most tolerable of the Wacom styluses if you decide that Wacom is the deal breaker. In the end, I found that N-Trig worked best for simple text and diagram inking. I would strongly suggest that those of you who are not expecting to do graphic design to use the N-Trig digitizer.

    Next is screen size. I did not realize this until working with the PCs for a while, but 10 inch screens are too small to ink well. Fitting a PDF or A4 size page to the screen was nigh unreadable. When zoomed in I was constantly having to move around the inking area and this was very disrupting to the flow of notes. My notes became disociated becase they wouldn't line up very well. Also those few seconds added up throughout lectures so that during quick slides I was having trouble keeping up. Going up from 10.1 and 10.6 inch screens, I got the the Tap 11 with an 11.6 inch screen. The extra inch was great. It may not seem like a big deal, but the extra space was noticable. Fully zoomed out A4 size pages, while not ideal, were tollerable. I fully think that a 16:10 11.6 inch display would be the best possible for inking notes. I'm going to put out a bit of a spoiler here. My current tablet (and most likely my final) is the Vaio Flip 13. The 13.3 inch screen is terrific for inking. While the 14 in version is the most ideal, 13.3 inches was the ideal compromise between portability and inking space. I fully wish there was a 13.3 inch detachable keyboard tablet on the market. This was I could bring the lighter weight tablet to class with me and just slide it back into the keyboard dock when I get home to do a long paper in Microsoft Word and light gaming. But I am getting ahead of myself. I will go into more detail into the different models now.

    The first model is the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2. Damn this one was nice*. The problem here ws the inaccurate Wacom stylus and the poor performance. I'm going to also put the Envy x2 in here. I found that the atom processors in these were just terrible in performance. 720p video's were taxing on the computer and any hope of having two programs was folly. The Lenovo was sleek and thin, but ultimately it just wasn't enough.

    In the next group we have the Surface Pro's and the Tap 11 (both first and second generation). We will ignore the first generation largely because the second generation is just a straight up improvement. This and the Tap 11 are probably the two best tablets. We will start with the Tapp 11. Similar to the Thinkpad Tablet 2, this is a beautiful machine that was within a hairs length from being perfect. It's weight is very low. The screen size is much better for inking than the Surface Pro 2. I went with a Core i5 model becase of the previous problems with the low atom processors. Everything was buttery smooth. The kick stand is a mixed bag. While probably being the best kickstand (based on the hinge mechanism) on any tablet I have used, it is fairly useless. It is small, therefore you was a fairly sturdy table to place it on. This is fine, but its size and placement make it useless to do any lap typing. Speaking of typing, the keyboard included is just terrible. The type cover on the Surface Pro 2 is just incomparable. The one thing I do like is that ,because it is detachable, it makes for easier positioning for typing. But again the keyboard is just terrible. When I had it I used another wireless keyboard that I owned and did not miss the fact that it didn't cover the screen like the included keyboard. The Surface Pro 2 had just the opposite problems. The uncomfortable cramped screen size was the dealbreaker here. I should also note 10.6 inch 1080p can be frusterating with touch, even with scaling. The two biggest reasons to go here are the wide kickstand and the phenomenal type cover. I'll also note that neither of these have a good stowing solution for the stylus. On the Surface Pro 2, I found that the magnetic stylus would fall off regularly in my bag and while the Tap 11 solution worked very well, the plastic piece seemed very flimsy and prone to break, especially since it sticks off the ednge of the tablet, easily snagged by something. Ultimately I would have to say I liked the Tap 11 better. You should expect nothing of the included keyboard other than a shiny cover. Depending on your needs I think the Lenovo Yoga in many cases works just as well or better than the Tap 11. Also if you expect alot of lap typing, the Surface is the best tablet solution (though I would suggest a convertible if this is the case).

    Finally we have the convertibles. There are a number of these and I have not tested them all. Do not think in tablet mode these are tablets. Consider these like encyplopedias compared to your standard book. You are not going to be lying on your back casuallying reading an ebook or watching a Youtube video. The big two here are the Sony Vaio Flip and the Lenovo Yoga. These here are very close. Instead of comparing and contrasting, I will explain why I think I have decided on the Flip 13. Portability. It has a bigger screen and I'll say it one last time that when inking, bigger is better. Reading ebooks is much clearer. The 1080p screen is much more finger friendly. Combined with the lower weight and thinner profile, this is a potent combination. It has all the benefits of the Tap 11, while also those of being a convertible. Believe me when I say that it is far from perfect. The most glaring thing is that it doesn't have anything to hold the stylus. Considering they cost $40, it is annoying if you ever lose it. I have also forgotten it at home on multiple occasions.

    If I could have my perfect tablet it would be a 13.3 inch Surface Pro 2 with an N-Trig digitizer. Something more in the realm of possibility would be a Sony Tap 13 with a dock, ideally a clamshell like keyboard dock, but a deskptop dock like the Lenovo Tickpad Tablet 2 would also work well. I wrote this out because I wanted you all to realize that when it comes to these pen-enabled PCs there is much more to consider than meets the eye and that you NEED to try them out before you make your decision. Think on what you are mainly going to use it for. Do you own a desktop? A tablet would be much more portable and a keyboard is mostly unecessary. Is the main use for inking, or is this something you would like the option for? For mainly inking look towards something more portable. Do you plan on doing any graphics inking? If so look for Wacom, otherwise N-Trig. Any finally something I haven't touched on: Are you looking at something for exclusively inking PDFs or simple notes? There are many chinese ereaders that have very good stylus support (I believe they are magnet based therefore have built in palm block) but many do not have touch support. They also have battery life measured in weeks and sometimes months. I am looking on importing the Sony A4 e-ink 13.3 inch tablet. If that happens I will drop by and give you guys a quick review of that. Hope these more pen-focused reviews help you decide. Good luck everybody.

    TL;DR In my opinion I found:
    The best tablet was the Sony Vaio Tap 11
    The best laptop replacement tablet was the Microsoft Surface Pro 2
    The best convertible was the Sony Flip 13 or 14 depending on size preference
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  6. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Really interesting post, razmaniac. But I'm very surprised by your findings regarding the Wacom digitizer. Did you try calibrating any of your test systems? Did you install Wacom's tablet pc drivers or were you using the standard Windows drivers? Did you try any graphics software other than One Note?
     
  7. razmaniac

    razmaniac Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I did all the usual suspects. I calibrated using windows's built in tool as well as Wacom's. I installed three sets of drivers (Windows default, Wacom current, and Wacom beta). Like I said, it seems that the drivers for the Surface Pro 2 were more accurate than the others, but that may be a subjective observation.

    Also I thought I would give a tl;dr to help clarify my conclusions in my previous post, which I will edit with as well. In my opinion I found:
    The best tablet was the Sony Vaio Tap 11
    The best laptop replacement tablet was the Microsoft Surface Pro 2
    The best convertible was the Sony Flip 13 or 14 depending on size preference
     
  8. bloodycape

    bloodycape confused Senior Member

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    Maybe you should be looking at the Fujitsu Q704, which comes close to what you are asking for. It's 12.5in vs 13.3in you are looking for, but right now it's the largest detachable tablet with digitizer(HP as you know has a few in the 13in size, but none offer a pen). Maybe, that could be worth the wait.
     
  9. Clerish

    Clerish Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Do you know if it's out yet, and how much does it cost? I'm really interested in it too.

    (For those who don't know this "e-writer", here's a video: Sony A4-sized digital paper notepad is light, durable and responsive #DigInfo - YouTube)


    Excellent post, by the way! I didn't know Wacom tech was so imprecise. I only knew about problems near the edges.
    Do you think the new Wacom tablets, like the Thinkpad Yoga, that solved the edge drift will solve also the problem of inconsistency?


    EDIT: Found the price of the "Digital paper" e-reader: about $1000.
    ( http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/07/sony-digital-paper-device/ )
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  10. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    Yes and no, the ¥98.000 suggested retail price is based on certain business solutions in a back office setting, the official price is said to be "open", i.e. it will depend on the retailer and what kind of solutions they are bundling with the device. It is debatable whether it will be released as a consumer product.

    Sent from my SC-01F using Tapatalk
     
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