Tablet PC for Digital Art

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by YeeWu, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. YeeWu

    YeeWu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello,

    I've been researching Tablet PCs for the past few days, looking for something suitable as a portable digital art workstation. My main purpose for the Tablet would be for digital painting, as well as something that can handle 3d animation.

    I've narrowed it down to these 3 models (like many others here :) )

    1) Fujitsu Lifebook T4000D

    2) Acer TravelMate TMC314XCi

    3) Toshiba Tecra M4

    I know there are a few other threads that are related to this, but I guess what I've been looking for has been difficult to find an answer for. Screen resolution isn't something I'm terribly concerned about; what I'm really looking for is a model that has the clearest display and best color reproduction. A nice, wide viewing angle would be nice, but isn't too important (unless, of course, the viewing angle is too small to tell what colors are being displayed!). As for 3d, I'd mainly be using the Tablet to animate, so a very powerful card wouldn't be too necessary.

    Can anyone please tell me if my assumption that the Fujitsu has the clearest/best color reproduction is correct?

    It's really confusing trying to figure out what the display qualties are on all 3 of these tablets. The 314XCi and the M4 particularly seem to get conflicting reviews either saying it's great or it sucks. :confused:

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! :D My apologies if this thread is redundant.
     
  2. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I believe and have read that the M4 has the best screen in the convertible market.
     
  3. Daniel325i

    Daniel325i Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I am going to assume that you will be doing this outside, which would make the M4 the worst bet, especially since you dont care about resolution.

    I have also heard the M4 has a great screen, but, I don't see why. It has a high native resolution, BUT, several have gotten dirt specs between the screens, and many suffer from dead pixels. It also has many people complaining about viewing angles and one review showed that the workmanship wasn't so great and one of the corners of the screen stuck out, while the other 3 were flat. The screen also suffers in the sun.

    The acer also probably suffers in the sun, has less native resolution, but otherwise seems pretty good.

    I'd however go for the fujitsu, they seem to have the best service/warranty and have the indoor/outdoor screen plus I've heard they have pretty good workmanship. The only problem I see with the fujitsu is the 12" screen vs. the other 2 having a 14" which might be better for drawing.

    I don't have any of these and only have experience with the M4 and was not impressed by the screen.

    Barry probably has more insite as I believe he has played with/reviewed all 3 of these.

    This is just an accumilation of knowledge from the reading I have done, summed up.
     
  4. YeeWu

    YeeWu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    poetdante: Thanks for the feedback :)

    Daniel325i: I think I read the same review concerning the craftsmanship of the M4. You reconfirmed a lot of my doubts towards purchasing the M4. The more I read and search the forums, the more I am starting to lean towards the Fujitsu.

    Part of the reason I'm looking to get a tablet was because I might be working at a media lab soon. As much as I'd love to work with the tablet outdoors, the nature of my work would force me to stay mostly indoors. I had also read somewhere that the M4 had a few problems with overhead lights (which is pretty much how the lab is lit, although it's pretty dim so it might not be too much of an issue)? Perhaps Acer isn't too bad of an idea (especially considering the price and features!).

    I had considered the 12" to 14" screen too, but I figured I could sacrifice the extra real estate if that meant better color and display qualities.

    Thanks again :) I think I can cross the M4 off my list for now.
     
  5. Daniel325i

    Daniel325i Pen Pal - Newbie

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    seeing as you will be mostly indoors I think the biggest issue between the computers would be which one has the battery life you need, the size, and the customer support/waranty.

    I believe fujitsu has 3 years standard vs the 1 year for the acer. I believe fujitsu is supposed to be amongst the best at customer support as well (though I haven't had a fujitsu item so i couldn't tell you). But the acer packs more of a punch and has a larger screen which may be nice for you. I'm not really sure how much battery life between the two varies or weight for that matter. At this point, since I've used neither, I can only speculate, but I imagine that they both have similar build quality.

    I'm kind of in the same boat. I'm not looking to do art, but, there are several notebooks that would fit my needs in a varying price range and I'm trying to pick what is most important to me (battery life/cpu speed/gpu/ram/size) and then pick the right notebook. I've been looking for probably 3+ weeks now and I'm still thinking, as well as waiting for another notebook to come out so perhaps I'll have yet another to compare to.

    Goodluck and I hope whatever you find suits your needs well.
     
  6. Daring

    Daring Moderator

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    I think Daniel325i makes excellent points. If most of your work will be indoors any of the tablets will work. If weight is important you may want to cross off the ones with 14" screens as they tend to be heavier. As far as battery life (not sure if that is important to you), but my TC4200 has been stellar and although I have not seen any reviews on the 4020 that put this to a concrete test the rated life is about the same as my TC4200. Not sure where you are located, but in the US the only manufacturer with a 3 year warranty standard is HP. Fujitsu is 1 year.

    Frankly I love my 4200, some bristle at not having a built in drive, but I really don't miss it. That having been said, I'd give a really good look at the 4020 it seems to be a great machine, especially if you don't need the bigger screen. Also, I use my tablet about 50% of the time in tablet mode and I have to admit and I wouldn't mind a lighter tablet then I have. The P1500 from Fujitsu has got me a bit envious, however I'm not sure if the screen would be too small.
     
  7. Daniel325i

    Daniel325i Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the correction on the waranty Daring. I'd agree, if they are all being used indoors they are all worth looking into. They are all quite different. Many different areas you can compare them and figure out which would work best for your given situation.
     
  8. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    But if you are going to use it for art then the slate is for you and you should go with motion computing. pricey but I hear they are the best in slates in regard to screen and quality
     
  9. YeeWu

    YeeWu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    You have all made some excellent points :)

    Daniel325i: I haven't really looked into battery life much because I always thought I would work off the AC adaptor...unless, that's a bad thing? Yea, the specs on that Acer sure do sound tempting :p I hope you find what you're looking for too!

    Daring: I looked at the p1500, and I felt it was a little too compact for what I was doing. I don't think I can tolerate working in Maya with that screen size :p I know someone who had the predecessor to the TC4200. He couldnt' stop raving about it, and even now, he highly recommends it. Perhaps I should look a little more into it?

    poetdante: One reason why I was looking at these convertible tablets was because I was planning on doing a fair amount of 3d animation on it, which would require a keyboard. I figured it would be more convenient if I didn't have to lug the keyboard separately and hook it up every time I was about to fire up Maya. I also don't think I can afford a Motion tablet :p If I didn't have to do any animation, I'd probably go with a slate tablet.

    On the issue of warrantees: I'm wondering if I should invest in an extended warrantee (with whichever tablet I end up choosing)? From poking around the forums, I get the impression that screen replacements are kind of a problem.

    *Whoops, I found an answer to the RAM question in another thread :) *

    Thanks so much everyone for your advice, it's been really helpful :D
     
  10. Daniel325i

    Daniel325i Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I think its just a nice bonus to have a padded waranty just in case. Its not as simple to just open up or swap screens on a notebook like you would be able to on a desktop and you are relying much more on the notebook manufacturer to build your product well and take care of you if you crash.
     
  11. Daring

    Daring Moderator

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    While most of the places I am in have AC available nearby it could be argued that battery life isn't important. However, having to drag the AC adapter with you everywhere then find an outlet, plug everything together, etc really isn't my idea of fun. Further depending on where the nearest outlet is there may be some safety issues with people tripping over cords, etc. If I only used it at home or my desk it may be different. I love the freedom and would never go back.

    Tablets are very much a personal choice. Kind of like asking "Do you love your wife?" I would hope so or you probably wouldn't have chosen her specifically to marry. I love my TC4200 (my wife argues I spend more time with it then her, which oddly enough is likely true), and have no desire really for a different tablet. Does this mean it is right for you, not necessarily. If there is any way to try one that is your best bet.
     
  12. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    as for battery life at college I have two batterie. One is for if I can't get a seat next to an outlet. you know, for consecutive classes. one charged battery gets me through two classes and a spare battery is helpful. I carry a charger in my bookbag. not a big deal
     
  13. YeeWu

    YeeWu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Very good point. It's kinda like how all the tablet PCs that get great reviews by the editors of CNet get ho-hum, mediocre reviews from users and vice versa. That doesn't make the selection process any easier, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.

    poetdante: Another good point. I'm going to try and see if I can get away with using just one battery at the moment (to help cut down the cost too), but I'll more than likely invest in a backup in the future.

    Thanks again everyone for your contribution! I decided on the Fujitsu 4020D. I was originally going to order from tabletone.com, but I had issues trying to get in touch with a customer service representative, and the person I ended up talking to wasn't such a pleasant fellow. I did, however, have a pretty good time with the Fujitsu personnel. I talked to 3 reps, and all were very friendly people. I really wish I could have ordered an extended warranty and all that, but man, it was getting a little expensive!

    Really looking forward to getting it, and I'll try to post my impressions from a digital art perspective (and hopefully a thorough review later).
     
  14. Daniel325i

    Daniel325i Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Looks like you've made a good choice, all in all I think they are all great notebooks and no matter what you'd be happy, much like Daring said, everyone has there preferance. Let us know how it goes!
     
  15. Daring

    Daring Moderator

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    Yes, please let us know. The 4020 and 4200 were the two machines I was considering buying. I ended up with the 4200 only because I actually had the ability to try one and it was enough cheaper to win me over. I got a refurb with 3 year warranty for less then a new HP or Fujitsu would have cost me, and since the Fujitsu was so new refurbs didn't really enter in to the equation.

    Still, while I don't regret my purchase it is really great to hear balanced reviews from a users perspective.
     
  16. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I got the r15 because it was available and looked better than any other convertible tablet out there. and it was.
     
  17. YeeWu

    YeeWu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Daniel325i: It was because all these models sounded good that I had such a hard time deciding :) I guess one of the things that sold me on the Fujitsu was their reputation for building quality prouducts and delivering quality service. It may cost more, but it's a little more reassuring to know.

    Daring: I think my brother's friend who got the tc4200 predecessor (I cannot for the life of me recall the model) also got his refurbished. Seems like it really holds up well for him, and he does a lot of 3d animating and ZBrush modeling on it too :)

    poetdante: I certainly hope I love my Fujitsu as much as you love your Toshiba :D
     
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