SP3 owner. Upgrade to 15" laptop or 22" drawing monitor for drawing ?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by colorsdiary, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. colorsdiary

    colorsdiary Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I was considering an upgrade a while ago, which I posted about here:

    Recently, I have been changing jobs at a rapid pace. I am now settled for life. Now I'm working as a TA at a univ . This change means change in needs, will be back to this in a sec.

    I do own the following:
    - Gaming PC at home
    - Acer aspire one laptop. 14" 2gb ram and a celeron N3060.
    - Surface Pro 3. i3 , 4gb ram and 64gb version

    With my current workflow, I do end up carrying two laptops around. This is a serious burden and is just plain stupid. I'm also considering an additional android tablet around 8-10" regardless of what I go for, this is necessary to keep my notes close during giving my lectures. As such, it will take away from the functionality of the SP. So keep that in mind .. (?)
    As for my current devices:

    -The Acer lacks any drawing capabilities. Since this is my main hobby, relying on it completely is impossible. Also, it objectively is a bad laptop for anything but work. It is AWFULLY slow, has bad speakers and display, and looks average at best. It does have an amazing battery though. I literally use it everyday and charge it once a week! and that's on heavy work days !

    - The Surface Pro 3 is having an unreliable battery. Aside from it ageing, ~ 6 hours ( when not taxed out ) is not reliable when you have lectures spread throughout the day with long breaks in between. Plus, having a slate form factor means keyboard work is gonna suck. I don't even want to write or do anything on the SP3 because of the keyboard, despite it having decent hardware compared to my laptop. As a drawing machine, I love it! Though, I have always felt like the display size is limiting me when I try to stretch out.

    I have been looking for and considering many different devices and workflows, and it seems that I have 3 main options:

    * Getting a 22" monitor with the same workflow I have. The monitor I'm looking for is the XP Pen 22e Pro.
    * Getting a 15" laptop that can draw.
    * Keeping things as they are and suck it up

    As for getting a 22" monitor:

    The good:
    * IT is by far the cheapest option, and considerably so.
    * I will be able to use anything from my SP3, all the way to my gaming PC at home.
    * It will age very well, considering that I will be able to use it with any laptop I buy down the road, and that it has no batteries to die on me.
    * It is the most complimentary option to my current work flow. It won't leave my laptops useless or replace them, and it will be an additional monitor for every device I have ( even if I wasn't drawing ).
    * It will offer the largest screen drawing area.

    The bad:
    * It will be impractical to get to the uni. I can just draw on my surface in uni and use the monitor at home. Still, other options will offer better workflow.
    * It won't solve current issues. It won't help me with the bad specs of the laptop, or the horrible keyboard of the SP3. Neither will it help me carry fewer devices and less overall weight to the uni.
    * It is heavy, making drawing on the go impossible and having a desk essential. ( Though the SP3 will still exist )
    * Currently, I'm getting to the painting side of things, messing with colors and values. It seems that the monitor doesn't have a professional grade color accuracy.
    * The pen tech. Many reviewers endorsed the pen tech, while others didn't. I used a hard plastic pen tip tech before, and I got used to it. Buuuut ... the smoothness of N-trig and Wacom pen tips are just better.


    As for getting a 15" laptop ( I'm assuming a ~$1000 laptop, leaning the Spectre way) :
    * It will be more powerful than the SP3, and the Acer combined.
    * It will provide larger drawing area than the current workflow.
    * It will let me get to the uni with one device. Providing the Keyboard of a real laptop form factor with drawing capabilities.
    * I will be travelling to study abroad soon, and by then I will not be taking multiple laptops. I will be able to take this laptop. But I may not be able to get the monitor there as it is heavy.
    * It will have a drawing tech that I'm already familiar with, and perhaps better than the monitor
    * It will have much better display colors than the monitor
    * It will allow me to rid of the previous laptops. Possibly even selling them or giving them as gifts for my close ones. Or just have them be as a standby
    * It will be a much better multimedia device than my current. I use the SP for media consumption, but with only 12", it leaves a lot to be desired.

    As for the bad:

    * It won't add to my current workflow, I can't use it as an additional monitor for my gaming PC.
    *It wouldn't age as well as a monitor would, considering that it has a battery and those degrade and die pretty quickly
    * It is considerably more expensive

    Please help ?

    As for the laptop, anything less than 15" is a NO.
    I'm looking into anything with great battery life. 8 hours or more.
    I would rather have a weak device with an i3 and 4 gb of rams, as that would result in better battery life and reflect on the price. My current SP3 is fine hardware and power wise.
    I'm looking into $1200 and below. and with a lightweight footprint. So .. less than 3.5 pounds or 1.5kg ( might push to 4 pounds for an amazing device) and less than 0.8 inches in thickness ( 2 cm).
  2. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I generally advise getting a stationary big board and just lug it the few times you move. There's nothing like drawing big. Portable is a luxury for artists.

    But for University, a reliable laptop is your trusted partner through the good and bad. A stay-at-home board should probably come second, I'd say, unless you can afford both. Maybe treat yourself to one of those $600 Cintiq Pro 16 boards and a good regular lappy.

    The Samsung Notebook 9 series are great machines, powerful and reliable and excellent for drawing. But I don't think the 15 inch ticks all your boxes. You get around 5 hours on a fresh charge when it's brand new, and I still don't like how slippery-smooth the machine is. Even after a year+ it feels factory fresh, (which is pretty impressive), but I find I have to handle mine with care so it doesn't scoot out of my grasp. Not ideal if you're constantly pulling it out for classes. But for drawing... It's the best portable around right now, imho.

    No easy answer here, I'm afraid.

    Let us know what you choose!
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  3. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    In all honestly....8 True hours or more would be a difficult feat for any intel i5/i7 or even Core M based device. The only potential contender for legit 8+hour battery life would be an ARM device like the Samsung Galaxy Book 2....but thats only 12 inches....and.....while it can get like 20 hours of Battery life....its overall usability will be seriously hampered given how weak Windows on ARM devices are with anything not coded for ARM.

    If you can reassess you're battery life needs.....The latest Samsung Notebook 9 Pen 15 inch (2019) would be quite perfect for you. The 2019 edition brings the 15 inch screen back and it has a MX150 graphics chip.....while it won't hold a candle to a GTX1080, its much better then integrated graphics options. And the Wacom based S-pen is lightyears aheard of Pro 3 Pen tech. It will be a night and day difference when it comes to drawing....that I can assure you. Like if you're looking for a single device that would serve the dual role of school laptop and sketchpad for free time.....the Notebook 9 Pen is really one of the best games in town.

    however....battery life.....yeah.....5-6 hours would be the best you could hope....but it also charges by USB-C.....and Samsung's pretty liberal when it comes to USB-C Charging with their devices....so you could quite easily obtain a USB-C battery pack for extra juice when needed. And given Macbooks are now also all USB-C, and how plentiful Macs are among college campuses....if you have a friend with a recent Mac, you could ask to bum their cord for a bit. Macbook USB-C chargers I believe should charge Samsung devices.

    But you also mentioned you're going to be Studying Abroad soon.....that alone I think should dictate your purchase more then any other criteria. If you're bringing a single device to rely on for 6+ months....The Notebook 9 Pen would no doubt serve you extremely well in that regard. It's got the large screen size, its got the power for light gaming, and its a great drawing device...that would be the best all in one you could hope for. And from my own international experience......tech prices tend to inflate quite heavily everywhere outside the USA. Like if you went to Australia or Europe to study.....and if you found you needed to buy a device while overseas.....expect to see a significant mark up from the prices you're used to at home. Like if you bought a Galaxy Book 2 for the insane battery life...and 1 month in....if you find yourself pulling your hair out over how frustrating the device is given the ARM limitations....anywhere abroad is the last place I'd wanna shell out for a new device.

    Out of curiosity, what country will you be studying in?

    notebook 9.JPG
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  4. Vynru

    Vynru Pen Pal - Newbie

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    If you go for the drawing screen plan, I personally recommend the Huion Kamvas Pro 22 inch. It's what I use when I'm at home. The thing is huge, obviously, and it has a whole lot of buttons which the Wacom models lack. The stand is very easy to adjust and it takes barely any effort to move it around at another angle. Cons are that it might be a little wobbly if you put it completely flat, but I haven't felt this was an issue as it's quite easy to ignore. Another con is that although the colors are accurate, they seem a little washed out and less vibrant. How I fix this is simply keeping my laptop screen in sight too and having an extra window of my drawing program open to check the colors as I draw. In all honesty... I end up not looking at it much, so I'm not sure if that is even necessary.
    The device goes for about 700 euros, maybe a bit less if it's on sale.

    You said that you are happy with your Surface Pro except for the keyboard and battery life. The keyboard seems quite difficult. I'll definitely say if I find a portable drawing laptop with a good keyboard that doesn't go for a hugely expensive amount or is extremely heavy to lug around, but I'm actually still searching as well. The Yoga730 seemed to be an option but those apparently have screen flickering issues so I wouldn't recommend. (Admittedly, I'm not very good at searching for laptops, so maybe a whole lot of very nice laptops exist, I just can't seem to find them).
    Maybe you could consider getting a very good powerbank for your Surface pro, as well as maybe a separate keyboard. My laptop keyboard is fine, but I tend to use a separate wireless keyboard regardless. It's easier to move around and I also kind of screwed over my hands so I had to buy an ergonomical version... Which I recommend in all honesty. The Microsoft Sculpt is pretty comfortable. But if you want something portable and tiny, just about any Bluetooth keyboard would work. There's a whole lot of those, and if you buy them from a site like Wish they're very cheap too. (I never recommend to buy anything electronic from Wish, but a Bluetooth keyboard might not be so bad-- and they're very easy with refunds)

    All in all, this solution is probably more complicated than getting a new laptop, since you'd be getting a bunch of different things:
    - drawing screen
    - powerbank
    - separate Bluetooth keyboard
    - and maybe some port converter thing if you want to hook the screen up to your Surface pro

    So it's whatever you find the most convenient.

    EDIT: I looked up the Notebook 9 mentioned above and I'm honestly considering to get it myself if I look into it some more.

    Sent from my MotoG3-TE using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  5. colorsdiary

    colorsdiary Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I would have gotten the monitor if I wasn't travelling soon. TBH, I am still thinking of getting a regular ultrabook with a 15" drawing monitor. But naaaaaah xD

    Thanks to everyone for commenting.
    As for my options ... I have been looking around for so long. I excluded all the HP envies and pavillions and the Asus Flips and the Dells and everything that has sucky battery life.

    The notebook 9 pen 2019 is looking like a promising machine. I will have to wait for reviews, and price would determine my choice. I would sacrifice battery life since it has a usb c charger ( which is the same port as my galaxy note 8 ) if and only if it end up looking nice and priced well. Oh and btw, I do own a note 8 and I know how well wacom styluses are. N-trig have always been just fine for my usage however. So .. it is nice to have, and worth sacrificing the battery life for, IF it was an overall better machine. That I will have to wait for reviews to see.

    Another option, which I've been leaning towards for sooooooooo long now, and is the device which made the idea of a 15" drawing machine appeal to me ever since ... is the HP spectre 15".
    It has N-trig. It looks SOOOOOO GOOD! and what's more, it has a 79wh battery, or something around those numbers. It has much better battery life than the other devices, and as a multimedia power house, that thing screams with insane speakers :)

    A third option is ... a Surface book 2 15". Expensive, Very expensive, I know .. Here's the thing .. I was thinking like .. $2000 is A LOT of money, there's no way I will just lose it if I accidentally break it or some ****! In fact, and due to where I live, even my current SP3 seems scary to break. Heck! with time, the battery will eventually just die, and by then I'll be screwed. So I was wondering ... what if it actually die tomorrow ?
    I logged into Microsoft's website, registered my device and did some digging, and sure enough, they do offer repairs outside of warranty, and they seem to honour their warranty anyway. I got into a phone call with their customer support and honestly, I'm really pleased. Pleased enough to fork over $2000 ? I'm not sure. However; I'm pleased enough that I'm comfortable considering and saving up for one. If anything, I can always keep it on me for years and repair whatever issue it has. Even shouldering the costs myself if it ran out of warranty. Though, I could just get 2 models of the Spectre 15" for the same price, soo ..... hmmmmm ...

    I will make sure to update with my purchase once I make it.
    Oh and btw, I'm going to the UK, to feed into your curiosity

    As for the Kamvas 22 pro, isn't that thing too expensive ?
    The xp pen 22e pro is like $450 or something ..
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  6. Vynru

    Vynru Pen Pal - Newbie

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    In all honesty, I got the Kamvas Pro 22 a while ago and did consider the XP pen too at the time, it's just I really don't remember what eventually made me choose the Huion. I remember there was *something* though, but I just don't know what :s Also I got my Huion on sale so the price difference wasn't that big.

    EDIT: I looked up the XP Pen and I think I get it. The pen is chargeable, has less pressure levels and the monitor doesn't have buttons (which I use a lot). With the sale there just wasn't a big price difference between the two so it seemed like a good choice to go for the discounted Huion.

    Sent from my MotoG3-TE using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  7. colorsdiary

    colorsdiary Pen Pal - Newbie

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    All is well my friend. I didn't expect my comment to cause you to look things up!

    The Kamvas (from what I have heard) is a superior product. Not to mention that last year's Xp pen monitor had issues. Price matters though :) You certainly got the better device at the time ( and possibly the better device still )

    I am currently at work and I have my SP3 with me exclusively ( and without a charger ). It will be a real test for it today, as I have many lectures, I have a reasonable break to use it through, and I'm going to connect it to a USB projector. I can also buy an additional charger for work, get the genuine keyboard and see how it ends up.

    I did some looking around for the HP's warranty, and I had trouble getting to contact anyone about it. Not being able to contact anyone in itself is enough to worry me. So I think I will abandon my laptop, rely on the SP3 until I save up enough to get the Surface Book 3 ( I hope it will be out by then, and that MS will have the sanity to put out an affordable entry 15" model )

    Unless the Samsung end up being soooo good ...

    Cheers !
  8. colorsdiary

    colorsdiary Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Update !

    So ... I have been relying on the surface pro 3 more and OMG ! I end a full working day with around %60 battery left
    Oh and that is a full working day with a projector connected for 3 lectures, as well as spending sometime using the tablet during break! With that, I can confidently say that 6 hours is a good number.

    This makes the Samsung Note 9 pro a viable option, albeit it might be too heavy for my liking.
    I went to a local shop recently, and I have seen the Surface Book 2 15" in person, and I'm deeply in love ..
    It felt significantly lighter than the Spectre x360 15". I also found the Envy 13" which was MUCH thinner than I thought, that is a much cheaper and a very good alternative entering the race as well.

    With that said, I'll still hold my shots for now. I will wait to see the refreshed envy laptops with AMD 3000U series CPUs, and of course, see how the Surface book 3 ends up being. That means I will delay my buying decision until the very end of 2019, or early 2020.

    Surface book 3 ( or 2 )
    Samsung Note 9
    Spectre 15
    Envy 15

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  9. Starlight5

    Starlight5 So what if I'm crazy? The best people are.

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    @colorsdiary skip the Envy - it is bottom of the barrel product line in terms of quality and reliability.
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