Surface Pro 2 or Surface Pro 3?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Cornelius Bubba, May 21, 2014.

  1. Cornelius Bubba

    Cornelius Bubba Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm in the market for a super portable device that will let me be productive. As a hobby, I like to draw comic strips with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Manga Studio 5. I don't do any 3D work. Thanks to the great advice from this forum, I use an old Fujitsu Lifebook (I think the model is T5010) for drawing at home, and it does a great job. However, it's a hefty machine and I want to take my device with me to use on my commutes to draw, read, and mark up documents. I would also like the distance between the pen and the screen to be smaller so that it seems a little more natural. I really like the Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 based on what I've seen people do with them (see surfaceproartist.com), but I'm not sure which of the two is best for my needs, or if there are other options I haven't considered. I'll try to input as much info as I can in the "Which Tablet PC Should I Buy?" questionnaire. Any advice is appreciated!

    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?
    Between $600 - $1500 (the lower the better! My sweet spot is probably around $800. It has to be REALLY worth it and last for 2-3 years for $1500).

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    Not keen on it.

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    Full Windows 8 - I would like it to be a pretty decent laptop replacement. And it needs to be lightweight and not too bulky.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    •10 to 13-inches
    I use a 13.3" screen right now. Since I will just draw comic strips as a hobby, do I need a bigger screen or is smaller okay? I only have experience with a bigger size, but many people use a 10.1" screen with the surface pro 2.


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

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    Not in particular.

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    7 and above would be great.

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    - Comic strip drawing and inking in Adobe Illustrator CS6 and Manga Studio 5
    - Comic stip colouring and drafting in Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
    - Web surfing, video streaming, email, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel (very light spreadsheet stuff), Microsoft Powerpoint, Annotate PDFs, read ePub books and comic books (.cbr, cbz)

    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

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    - Comic strip drawing and inking in Adobe Illustrator CS6 and Manga Studio 5
    - Comic stip colouring and drafting in Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
    - Web surfing, video streaming, email, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel (very light spreadsheet stuff), Microsoft Powerpoint, Annotate PDFs, read ePub books and comic books (.cbr, cbz)

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    - Don't really plan on playing games.

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?
    - Not necessary.

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?
    - Nope, once I can see icons well.

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    - I will use it occasionally outdoors to draw

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom or N-trig?
    - Yes, I require a pen. I am confused with the Wacom vs. N-trig requirement. I always thought I needed Wacom. However, I read some posts about N-trig releasing 64-bit wintab drivers:
    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/artists/61706-n-trig-publishes-64-bit-wintab-driver-3.html


    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?
    128GB minimum

    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?
    - Full-sized USB
    - SD card slots (doesn't matter if it is full-sized)
    - HDMI port

    Thanks everyone!
     
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  2. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    Based on what you've said, Surface Pro 3. If you can wait a couple of weeks, you ought to be able to test drive one at a Microsoft retail store or possibly at a Best Buy.

    Good luck...
     
  3. Cornelius Bubba

    Cornelius Bubba Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks Steve! I'll hold out for a few weeks to test it out.

    Do you think N-trig would be an issue with the pen jitter that people speak about when drawing slowly?
    Also, for the applications I'm running, would 4GB be sufficient?

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    The N-Trig in the SP3 seems much better and more stable than anything previous. Test it, that is the only way you'll get a satisfactory answer.
     
  5. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Where did you hear this? Did Microsoft modify the Ntrig, or are the reviews so far just inexperienced bloggers who don't know enough to give accurate pen feedback?

    I would be careful OP with Ntrig especially in your case. FOr a few reasons:

    1. You do comic inking, and unless there has been some improvements to the tech we don't know about (My wife has a Duo 13 and the problems persist there) you'll notice the poor line quality when drawing slow and precise and notice the "tail" on a stroke when drawing fast.

    2. Illustrator is not yet supported for pen pressure with Ntrig, AFAIK. Only Photoshop. I use Adobe Flash for animation for instance and Ntrig still does not work in that application either. The rest of your software would have pressure though, Sketchbook, MS5 and Photoshop are all a go.

    I would wait until you can try it as suggested, and maybe see if some professional artist reviews of the Ntrig crop up once its released too. I remain skeptical of Ntrig but the build quality and aspect ratio of SP3 look amazing!
     
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  6. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    I saw the presentation of PS by a guy from Adobe on the live webcast.
     
  7. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I thought there was noticeable lag when he tried to demonstrate the pen in photoshop. What did you see/hear different?
     
  8. Cornelius Bubba

    Cornelius Bubba Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi stoneseeker and Kumabjorn,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I think you're right to just wait and see.

    I watched the webcast as well, and I did see a slight lag with the pen during the Photoshop demonstration. I didn't know if it was just streaming video lag because the webcast kept having to buffer every now and then. Before loading Photoshop during the webcast demo, I did see the "Ai" logo on the screen, so it does look like Adobe will hopefully support Illustrator on the SP3 at some point. However, when this will happen and how well it will work in practice once it's released is anybody's guess - I always find that it takes a few months to work the kinks out of new tech.


    Do you think 4GB is enough to run these programs, or should I look at 8GB? Whether getting the SP2 or SP3, the increase in RAM comes at a significant price difference.

    I'm sure the great folks at Surface Pro Artist will post some N-trig reviews once the SP3 is shipped out, so for now it's worth the wait!

    Thanks again for the advice!
     
  9. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    My comparison is with earlier versions of N-Trig, not Wacom. It was better and more stable than it used to be.
     
  10. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    So you think its a modified version of Duo Sense 2? Other than the pen button they added I think it is probably just Duo Sense 2 digitizer. I do HOPE they tweaked it to be a better digitizer experience, but I was hoping there would be some information about it if that was the case.

    CB, 8 gigs make a big difference if you want to start working on larger documents and complex .psd's. I would certainly consider the 8 gig/256g SSD the best investment for artists.
     
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