Need some 2in1 for Graphic Design

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Selvanis, Nov 17, 2016.

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  1. Selvanis

    Selvanis Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I'm a graphic & UX Designer from Poland. On a daily basis I design a lot of stuff, from branding/CI to apps and websites (both graphic and UX side).
    I mostly do work for big corporations, and I feel that I need a change. For some time now I've been looking towards Game Development as that was always my passion, started working on my animation, concept art and 3D skills,
    Now I need to buy myself a new laptop, something to take with me for a client meeting or to design outside of home/work.
    I looking at a convertible laptops and tablets similar to Surface Pro.
    Would love to get something with a stylus to train in concept art "on the go".
    I have a good desktop, with two big monitors - thats my main workstation. Now I need something that will give ma a little more mobility.

    A big problem is that I live in Poland, so a lot of things are either hard to get (like Surface Book or any Vaio) or ridiculously expensive (like all Thinkpad Yoga's).

    Would love any suggestions.

    1. What is your budget?
    about a 1000$/930euro

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    Prefer not to, but if something is really good...

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    Notebook convertible or something like Surface Pro

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    • 10 to 13-inches
    • Above 13-inches
    (13-inches seems to be the sweet spot)

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?
    Poland

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    None.

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    Not picky about that... 5+ hours?

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    Drawing (photoshop CC)
    Graphic Design (Illustrator)
    Some UX Design (UX Pin/Axure)
    Maybe a little ZBrush? (beginner level)
    And would be great if some indie/old games could be played.

    9. Do you have an OS preference? For example, do you own an iPhone and a Mac, or are you a Windows fan? Do you own an Android device and use Google services frequently?
    Prefer Windows, been using OSX for the last year, we didnt become friends.

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

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    Anything will do. Some old RPGs like Baldurs Gate, some indie stuff.

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?
    Nope.

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?
    No, FHD+

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    Not much

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom or N-trig?
    The pen is kind of a priority, with pressure sensitivity.
    I use a old Wacom Intuos for some basic stuff, love it.

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?
    128GB is fine, might be more. Expandable memory not needed, got a cloud, got a desktop with 2TB of free space.

    2. What sort of inputs do you require, if any? Would you like full-sized USB and SD card slots? Are microUSB and microSD ok? Do you require HDMI inputs?
    Not important.
     
  2. Selvanis

    Selvanis Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Maybe I'll point out what is available to me now, within the price range (based on the list on this forum):
    - Acer Switch Alpha 12
    - HP Spectre X2
    - Lenovo Miix 700
    - Dell Inspirion 7568
    - HP Spectre x360
    - Acer Aspire R13
    - Dell XPS 12 (M5 version)
    - Lenovo Yoga 900s (M5 version)
    - Surface Pro 4 (the sad m3/4GB version, maybe a slightly used i5/4GB but I don't see how 4GB can be enough)
    - MAYBE I could get my hands on a SURFACE PRO 3 i5-4300U 8GB (a used one, they come and go).

    Is anything from this even close to my needs? For a very beginner level, basic type of drawing, learning, work etc (for serious design I have my desktop)?

    Now what is a real problem is getting the stylus - almost no retailers carry HP or Dell active styluses here. I might be able to get something via german amazon, ebay or get it from the states, but I would have to be sure it would work and the availability needs to be high - even if there are a couple on the market, many retailers dont want to send to Poland. There is one retailer that has the Acer Active Stylus 2nd gen so thats something.
     
  3. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I can't speak for the other devices, but I own the Dell Inspiron. -For the needs you describe, I don't think I'd recommend it. It's good for when you're planning to set up somewhere to work for a few hours, but for true on-the-go mobility, it can be a little cumbersome. Holding it like a clipboard, for instance, isn't fun. It's quite heavy.

    As well.., if possible, I'd try to find a machine with a stylus garage. Having to keep a pen separately means carrying a pencil case at all times, which doesn't sound like much, but it means a whole other important object you need to think about. -I do that anyway, because I usually keep a regular paper sketch pad in my backpack as well, but with my previous TabletPC, which had the stylus garage in the side, I never worried about where the pen was. It was very convenient.

    "The tool which is inconvenient doesn't get used."
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
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  4. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Oh, also...

    Looking down your list.

    The Acer Aspire R13 has a very poor stylus system. Drawing on that thing would be miserable.

    Right now, Wacom tech is really the only digitizer pen system worth considering. N-Trig has too much jitter on all portables. (Though, it looks like it is now passable on the new Surface Studio, but still not at the Wacom benchmark level).

    If you can stand a used device and a 13" screen, there's a nice Fujitsu Lifebook t904 on eBay which says it ships internationally and would fit your budget. In terms of just drawing, they don't make 'em that nice anymore. Uses the old batteryless EMR technology, and even has a pen garage, (though you can also get a larger separate pen since the one it comes with is a bit small).

    Don't buy it unless you're able to appreciate how awesome a machine that is. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
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  5. Selvanis

    Selvanis Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thank you for your reply.

    The Dell Inspirion doesn't have great online reviews, but as for the "on-the-go" mobility, It's less of a "I want to be able to just take it out on a train and work" kind of scenario and more of a "I need to be able to take it with me to a cafe, to a client or to bed and work there". I've been using a 15", really cheap laptop (fat and plastic) to this point, it was ok (thou I would prefer something more sturdy, so I wouldnt worry about it breaking in the bag on the way.
    What kind of stylus can it use? Only some kind of Dell specific or is there a wider range of options?

    Oh, thats too bad becouse the R13 has great reviews when it comes to quality and display. And the QHD resolution is a very nice bonus.
    So the same thing goes for the Acer Alpha 12 (same stylus) and other Synaptics (like HP Spectre x360)?

    It does look very interesting (almost all Fujitsu laptops are unobtainable here), but this option would mean I would need to wait for three or four months as I plan to use an installment plan that is offered on our ebay-style service here in poland.

    What about the Yoga 900s (with M5 processor)? It seems to use Wacom AES technology (I dont know what kind of stylus can it use, probobly only some lenovo stylus?)

    And the HP Spectre X2 has Elan AES.
     
  6. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yeah, I was quite disappointed when I learned that the Acer R13 used a Synaptics digitizer. Check out some of the YouTube demos to see what it's like. -Not bad if all you want to do is take notes and navigate with a pointing stick, but for drawing.., it's gotten pretty poor reviews from art types.

    The Dell uses Wacom's AES stylus, (there are a few different ones which are compatible; check out surfaceproartist's handy Active ES compatibility chart for details), they all take an AAAA battery. The line response on my Dell is okay if you draw fast, but I find it a bit jittery on careful line work. Still, the Dell has been serving me well for a few months now; I don't think I could work happily on a screen less than 15.6". I'd love that Fujitsu for it's old EMR Wacom system; it's SO nice to draw with, but a 13.3" screen would leave me squinting and stewing in claustrophobic agony. Too bad!

    The Dell has a nice, sturdy build quality, it's made to be easy to upgrade memory and hard drives, and it's also the most affordable of the lot if you buy it new on eBay. Mine was only $450 USD for the core i3! -which is plenty fast for all my 2D raster work. (You just have to make sure you get the right one, but you got the model number correct in your list, so I'm guessing you have that part figured out.)

    I don't know anything really about the Yoga series, except that there's a Best Buy version of the 14" which uses Wacom's AES system with a stylus which fits inside the computer and charges there, so you don't need to worry about finding batteries. (Though the system will also work with larger pens which you can buy separately). Anyway, users on this board have a lot of good things to say about that model. I'd check the Lenovo subsection to see what people are reporting. Not all of the Yoga models offer a stylus service however, so you need to figure out the particulars before buying.

    If you feel like waiting a bit, there ought to be a host of new models from various vendors coming out sometime in the new year using the long-awaited USI (Universal Stylus Initiative) system. I'm sure there will be lots of buzz around here when they start appearing on the scene.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
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  7. Selvanis

    Selvanis Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks, now you got me thinking.

    A i5 Dell Inspirion 7568 is about 787$ for me, where the yoga 900s would be at least 1100$, so the price difference is big, and as I read up here, its not that great.
    It is kinda big, I would love a 13" version of it, but you cant have everything.

    Basically my list looks now like this:
    - Acer Switch Alpha 12 (off becouse of Synaptics)
    - HP Spectre X2
    - Lenovo Miix 700 (M7/8GB)
    - Dell Inspirion 7568
    - HP Spectre x360 (off becouse of Synaptics)
    - Acer Aspire R13 (off becouse of Synaptics)

    - Dell XPS 12 (M5 version)
    - Lenovo Yoga 900s (M5 version) (off becouse of high price vs bad reviews on this forum in its thread)
    - Surface Pro 4 (the sad m3/4GB version, maybe a slightly used i5/4GB but I don't see how 4GB can be enough)
    - MAYBE I could get my hands on a SURFACE PRO 3 i5-4300U 8GB (a used one, they come and go).

    So theres a little more clarity.

    As the N-tig vs. Wacom thing goes, is it really that big of a difference? Is the drawing experiance on the Dell Inspirion 7568 so different/better from a Surface Pro 3?
    And how does Elan compare, on the line of Miix 700 vs Dell 7568 in drawing capabilities?

    And as for waiting for the USI system, I need this laptop/2in1 now, as I am currently without such a device, cant houl my desktop with me. But I'm assuming this laptop will last me a year, at tops. In that time I'll put some money aside for something like the Surface Book, Wacom Companion/mobilestudio or something new that pops up.
     
  8. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    @Selvanis, I hate to argue with @thatcomicsguy but NTrig is perfectly usable in the Surface Pro line as well as the VAIO. Yes, you must use it with brush stabilization enabled or something like Lazy Nezumi Pro IF you draw very slow deliberate lines, but most of the time it's indistinguishable from the results you'll see on a Wacom ActiveES device.

    I'm a huge fan of my m3 Surface Pro 4. It's quiet, extremely portable and very responsive. However, RAM can be tight, so if you're sure that you will work in programs that need it, an i5/8GB model is a safer bet. My two SP3s are still going strong, but I would recommend stepping up to the new Surface Pen if you decide to go that route.

    The Miix is an excellent alternative to the Surface Pro 4. It's a virtual clone and has the additional RAM. @Shogmaster swears by his. I just wish it was officially supported by the Feel driver.

    Have a look at my blog if you haven't already. I've reviewed most of these devices.
     
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  9. kikkoi

    kikkoi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The Lenovo new Miix 510 is a 12.2 inch tablet and includes a pen and keyboard. Better than the Miix 700. Supported too Wacom Pen Driver for Miix 510. Have adding to a your list:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
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  10. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Miix 510 uses Wacom panel thus compatible with Feel driver. But it's not fanless like Miix 700. This could pro or con depending your point of view. Bateery life won't be good as Miix 700.

    Hoping to play with one at CES and report back
     
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