Surface pro 2 or 3 for artists?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by ToddingtonToons, Nov 5, 2014.

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  1. ToddingtonToons

    ToddingtonToons Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hey! I'm Toddington!

    I am currently using a fujitsu T902 for all of my freelance professional work but will soon be traveling a lot more and need a lot more portability. I have tried out the surface pro 2 and 3 but have issues with both. If either were solvable Id have the decision made for me.

    The surface pro 3 is great, much bigger screen and the pen seems much more accurate than the wacom but the hover lags which is mainly just a distraction. If I can remove the cursor entirely it could be fixed. Also I have to press really damn hard on the screen and can't find pressure adjustments.

    The Surface pro 2 is also great, a bit smaller so I prefer the pro 3 for its size and pen. The pen is usual wacom functionality so great. The pen just goes haywire in Manga studio and sometimes Flash, my two main programs for work. I also notice the black of the screen is banding so drawing dark images is guesswork.

    If anyone has any suggestions of other options as portable as the surface pro series I'd love to hear them.


    1. What is your budget? £1k-£2k

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished? Yes

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

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    • 5 to7-inches
    • 7.1 to 10-inches
    • 10 to 13-inches *
    • Above 13-inches

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

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes? Used to wacom

    7. How many hours battery life do you require? 10?

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

    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? Windows 8

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

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

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system? No

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution? Good enough for artwork

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    Screen cover... ?

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom or N-trig?
    Pressure sensitivty.

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory? Lots

    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? None
     
  2. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Do you mind me asking what you need that the T902 doesn't already have in portability? I work from airports, coffee shops, work, home and even in parks...

    Do you want a lighter thinner machine to hold in precarious situations? Or is it battery life?

    If the latter, have you considered buying a modular bay battery? It will improve your battery life quite a bit, and I don't think even the SP3 is lasting much longer than the T902 does on 2 batteries. Plus it hot swappable, meaning you can pack an extra third battery for even longer life without skipping a beat.

    I'm more curious than anything. I need mobile digital art station on the go all day every day and the T902 fits my needs so well, I'm curious where yours is failing your specific needs..
     
  3. ron2k_1

    ron2k_1 calibuchi Senior Member

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    That's a lot of cheddar. You said that the SP3 is bigger than the T902? The latter is almost a whole inch larger, it's on Res where the SP3 has an upper hand.

    With that budget you can look at the Fuiji Q704. It has the same processor power like the SP3, same RAM, same size but it's Wacom instead of N-trig. However, this tab had some serious throttling and heat problems.

    The SP3 works beautifully with MS5 tho.

    Swiped from my Galaxy Note 8 using Tapatalk
     
  4. ToddingtonToons

    ToddingtonToons Pen Pal - Newbie

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    @stoneseeker
    I will be backpacking and definitely like the idea of one free arm. It's going to become a more multi-purpose machine for me. I'd even be able to do digital caricatures on the street etc. The T902 is too heavy now. I think it was however one of your threads on this site that I saw 2 years ago that encouraged me to buy it. I needed the laptop for a move to Ireland, it has been perfect!

    @ron2k_1
    Sorry I didn't really specify first of all that I'm definitely moving to an sp2, 3 or something else small. I meant the sp3 has the biggest screen of the tablets I'm looking at.
    The Q704 does look pretty tempting though. I wanna research the heating problems because I heard the same about T902's.
     
  5. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    ah. yeah I wouldn't want to backpack with this either. Makes sense now.

    I would consider the Surface Pro 2 I guess.
    You need Wacom in Flash, so SP3 is out. The Q704 throttles faaaar beyond what little the T902 throttles the GPU. The Q704 throttles the CPU and GPU and keeps it well under its potential, whereas the T902 actually performs better on the CPU than other similar systems with the same CPU, so there is no comparison. Plus if your used to the responsiveness in the T902 its gonna take some getting used to going to a ULV CPU regardless.

    Surface Pro 2 is the most powerful device for its weight and size that contains Wacom. It's also easy to get one for a good price.
     
  6. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    While I never got the Pro 2, I have the Pro 3.....its a great tablet for most every other task....but when it comes to Art I find myself wishing it was Wacom. It works fine for light art uses....but even with the Surface Hub app altering the Pressure Curve....the Brush strokes don't turn out as nicely as a Wacom digitizer would give.....short quick strokes also have slight vectoring on the tail ends...and zoomed out I find it harder be keep my brush stokes consecutive with each other with lends to less clean line art. Its overall alot better then previous N-trig set ups, and its still usable for light art, but for Serious art I go back to Wacom.

    Out of Curiosity how long are you backpacking for, and what countries are you backpacking thru?

    This past summer I did a 3-week Euro Trip and I visited Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, & Hungary, and I used my Surface Pro 3 as my lone tablet/laptop thru the trip. I prefer to spend extra money for proper hotels, so I didn't hostel it up in the traditional backpacker sense, but the crazy travel was certainly there with lots of long Bus & Train travel. The Surface Pro 3 overall performed admirably. I did very very little art. (as is the case when I'm on my trips)...but for all other purposes....web surfing, e-mails, picture sorting, and Video playing....the Pro 3 performed as well as I could have ever hoped.

    Its thin/light weight form factor made it very easy to travel with, and watching videos it would last most of, if not the entire duration of the cross-country travel. I took a 8 Hour Lux Express bus from Vilnius to Warsaw and the Pro 3 did last almost the entire Bus ride (at a reduced screen brightness of course)

    The only con was the 12-inch size...it was kind of big......there were some usage scenarios where I thought the smaller frame of the Pro 2 would have been more useful.....but the thinness of the Pro 3 had its own pros over the Pro 2 thickness.

    The Pro 3's kickstand also came very much in handy. During my train travel from Krakow to Prague, I was able to use it in conjunction with the seat tray and made a comfortable arrangement for my transit marathon of Game of Thrones.

    [​IMG].

    But if you want to do art as the focus.....I think the Pro 2 with the Battery cover will suit your needs quite well.
     
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  7. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I recently did 3 weeks in Europe with my wife and I brought my T902 along. I had to work some evenings from Paris and Amsterdam (haha that sounds way too pretentious, I swear that's not my normal life) though we rented a car in Fontainebleau and stayed at air bnb's and I wasn't exactly dirt-bagging it out of a backpack like I used too when I traveled. If I was trying to bring minimal stuff on a true backpacking adventure, I would want something more like the SP2 over the T902 as well.
     
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  8. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Damn.

    When I was last on the road with a backpack, sleeping on beaches and all that, I had an actual sketchbook and a small watercolor kit with me. -Which at the time, I felt like I barely touched, but when I returned home I realized I'd used a whole lot. I even traded a painting for a night at a small hotel I couldn't have afforded otherwise, (the owner was super cool about that), and I gave a couple of drawings away to people I made friends with on the road. I wrote letters, tearing out pages to fold, stamp and send home. I just wish I was a better artist at the time. I was only 19, and not terribly capable. It would be cool to travel again with my current skill-set! But it was a great comfort to have that book with me.

    I purposefully didn't take a camera, and regretted it sorely several times when standing in front of the most awesome mountain/cathedral/ocean/village I'd ever seen. But I think it was still the right choice; I had to really BE in the scene rather than cheat and observe it through a lens. Of course, it was a far easier choice to make back then; there were no digital cameras or any internet worth a damn. I hope that, had I had the option, I would have chosen to travel tech-free.

    Today, I think having the ability to do work on the road would be a major advantage if your professional life simply cannot let you go for weeks at a time, but still... if you can at all avoid bringing Microsoft, Apple or that little Droid guy along with you, I would seriously consider it. Corporate tech giants already occupy too much of our souls as it is, digitizing us bit by bit.

    Paper still loves you! Also, think about it: If you were to meet somebody on the road, who would YOU rather spend time with? The person with the sketchbook or the person with the iPad?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  9. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    iPad no.....but if they pulled out a Wacom Penabled Tablet PC, I wouldn't mind spending my time with them.....heck it would probably be someone from this Forum.
     
  10. ToddingtonToons

    ToddingtonToons Pen Pal - Newbie

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    @stoneseeker
    I am starting to think the surface pro 2 is the only real option. I have managed to fix the banding by using the generic intel driver but it uses a lot more power so perhaps a power cover will be worth buying. I just scanned through the conceptart page in your signature. Awesome stuff man!
    @darkmagistric
    I'm kind of glad to hear the pressure problem is a hardware problem with the sp3. Your seat set up looks cushty. Maybe I'll buy one once it's useable for art. I'm starting in sri lanka and have no real plan except aiming towards australia, no timeframe either.
    @thatcomicsguy
    Cheers for the advice =] I'm already taking sketchbooks and all-sorts of media, lots of facepaint too. The tablet is more for booking/research and maybe some on the go freelance animation work to make us more money if required. The caricatures on the street are a silly idea, as are the diabolos ...
    Essentially I can't take traditional animation on the road very easily, I still love it when I have a studio.
     
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