Looking for an inexpensive tablet to use as a portable sketchpad

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Billy_Oneironaut, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Billy_Oneironaut

    Billy_Oneironaut Pen Pal - Newbie

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    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?
    $250

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    Yes

    3. Do you prefer a Slate, Convertible or Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC)?
    No preferences

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?

    Small and light ~ 5" to 8.9"
    Compact ~ 10"
    Mainstream ~ 12.1"
    Large ~ 13.3"
    Compact or Mainstream

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from?
    Canada

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    I was impressed by the build quality of my Motion Computing LE1600

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    3+ hours

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    Drawing

    9. Do you have an OS preference?
    I'm fine with XP, Linux Mint & Win 7

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro, Illustrator

    10. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    No.


    Screen Specifics

    1. What resolution do you prefer?

    XGA - 1024x768 ~ large and easy to read text and graphic icons but you fit less on the screen.
    SXGA - 1400x1050 ~ Small text and graphic icons which require good vision but the gain is a much larger screen. (no longer available new, must look for used or refurbished machines)
    WXGA - 1280x768 ~ has a wider usable area than XGA, ideal for viewing Spreadsheets and other programs that require desktop space. The mainly used resolution for new tablet PCs since 2008.

    No preference.

    2. Do you require the screen to be readable in sunlight?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance
    I would very much like to be able to view the tablet in direct sunlight, but it's not a dealbreaker.


    3. Do you prefer your display to be glossy or matte?
    doesn't matter

    4. Do you require Touch? (without pressure sensitivity) (Which one: resistive or capacitive)
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance
    Nope.


    5. Do you require a Pen? (with pressure sensitivity) (Which one: Wacom or N-Trig)
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance
    Yes, and Wacom.

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require?
    Anything over 32GB and 1GB RAM

    2. Do you require an Optical (CD/DVD) Drive to be built in?
    No

    3. Do you require ability to add a second Battery or Hard Drive (Modular Bay technology)?
    No, but if I can carry an extra battery in my laptop bag it would be desired.

    Misc
    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?
    I already have an LE1600 to use at home for detailed digital artwork. I just need another old tablet with better battery life and cheaper options for replacement batteries. The cheapest I've seen the LE1600 battery go for is $80, and I can't even find one on ebay at the moment. I figure if I'm going to drop $80+ on a Motion Computing battery with no guarantees of more than 1.5hrs battery life, I might as well get a similar tablet with more readily available batteries.

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?
    Anything ultra portable I can carry to the park, on hikes etc. to make quick digital sketches & paintings would be preferred. The ability to go in and out of sleep mode easily while I'm out and about is desired.

    I've already got a couple of Wacom stylus pens that work with the smaller tablets(Bamboo Fun) so if I could find a tablet they'd be compatible with that's a bonus.

    I was leaning towards the Lenovo X60, though from what I've read the screen is difficult to read in direct sunlight. Any opinions on this or comparable tablets like a Fujitsu Lifebook would be much appreciated. :)
     
  2. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    There are really no good options out there that have it all, but I think the best option would be to import (buying from ebay probably the best) an ASUS EEE Note and then tweak it a little to suite your uses. It is a small thin device with an e-ink like screen (not backlight) uses the same Wacom tech as your LE1600, and has decent sketching abilities, plus extremely long battery life, it does run a paired down version of Linux though so your choices for programs is limited to what the community can port to it. It should be right around $250 to get one (look into the http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/asus-eee-line/ section for more info on the device, and where to get one)

    There are some other ultra portable devices (like the Fujitsu P1620 I just got in) but they often lack Wacom (or even N-trig for that matter), have not too astounding battery life, and aren't near as thin or light as the EEE Note. There is always the Motion LS800 (basically a shrunk down LE1600, the screen's viewing angles aren't perfect though). You can get a full sized Tablet PC but it will be thicker and heavier than your LE1600 and not be what you are looking for really
     
  3. bloodycape

    bloodycape Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    If you can spend a little bit more you can find an HTC Flyer or the Sprint variant Evo View(32gb) with a pen for around $300 usd. It comes with N-Trig has a few sketching apps, and suppose to be pretty solid device. Only downside maybe the 7in screen size.
     
  4. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    My thoughts would be either a Motion Ls800 with the VA Screen, or a Samsung Galaxy Note phone, when Ice Cream Sandwhich comes out. They're both Wacom, and they both are small and relatively lightweight. They both seem to get pretty good battery life too.

    The ls800 is clearly the bigger of the two. Its got programmable buttons, which is nice, and it runs Windows. If you put the extended side battery on it, it doesn't make it thicker, but instead increases the footprint a bit. I've read of people easily getting 5 hours on it. Issues? It has not fan and can heat up? Second issue? The VA screen isn't as good as the le1600, but it's still supposed to be pretty good. I mean, amateur pilots were using the ls800 for a long time in the ****pits, so I think it can handle indirect light pretty good if you're doing black and white sketches. I think color'd be a issue, but otherwise, it's an option. And you can easily get them on ebay for 200$ or less. Batteries seem cheaper than the le1600 as well.

    The Samsung is more expensive- 300$ with a contract, but it clearly has a better screen. It's Android only though. Right now, I'd wait, as there's an ICS update coming, and that should dramatically improve it's pen functionality. I wouldn't use it as my main drawing tool, but as a digital sketchpad, I think it'd be great. Lots of Android apps can save in pds now, so you can upload to the cloud via something like Dropbox and draw on your 1600 later with the same file. It's the smaller of the two by a ways. That's either a benefit or a hindrance, depending on your opinion.

    Those are my guesses. I think either would be a good choice. Depends more on your general needs. One of the benefits, IMO, of the Samsung Note phone is that you'd always have it with you-- a very important thing for an on the go sketchpad. The ls800 is a bit bigger though, and can run Windows. A very important thing as well.
     
  5. Hattori Hanzo

    Hattori Hanzo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    If you need something that runs Windows, $250 is little money.
    Maybe an old T4210 or TC4400 can be found for about $200 and with the rest you could get a new battery and a bit more RAM. Or just a new battery and instead tailor some linux to little RAM usage.

    Up the ante a bit and you could either upgrade something like the TC a bit more or get something newer.

    Or go, as proposed, the non Windows route.
     
  6. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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  7. bloodycape

    bloodycape Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    That Toshiba looks like a pretty solid deal, just upgrade the ram to 2gb(more if possible) and one should be pretty set. I would second it.
     
  8. Hattori Hanzo

    Hattori Hanzo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Looks solid indeed. Add a new battery and new RAM, if you want a general speed bump also a new 7200rpm HDD, and you got something that does its job.

    Thirded.
     
  9. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    It was unclear what the Toshiba offered that was particularly portable or good outdoors though. The poster seemed happy with his 1600, so I don't think it's power that ls the issue, but rather battery life, portability, and outdoor viewability. OP, come on back and let us know better what you're looking for.
     
  10. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I agree that OP should rethink his wish list.

    Having said that, 1600 IIRC is a Pentium M machine, which is to me is just barely usable these days, so maybe it's for the best that he gets something more modern to see how that feels.
     
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