What CSP on iOS has taught me: NTrig still sucks, EMR is still king, Apple Pencil best among Pro Cap

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by Shogmaster, May 17, 2018 at 9:08 AM.

  1. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I've been a frustrated old man for the last few months, trying to find a new mobile workstation for my freelance needs. I've been through like 3 machines in as many weeks in search of pen-abled tablet that actually works better than my now almost 6 years old Fujitsu T902. I bought that thing back in end of 2012. Little did I know that it would be still the king of the hill regarding pressure sensitive pen action in 2018!

    This is a complicated issue regarding how pressure sensitive pen works within a mobile computer or tablet. So many factors contribute to the ever illusive "perfect pen feel": The digitizer and pen capabilities, the system horsepower, OS featureset complexity that might hamper the pen action, art software's brush engine sophistication, any errant system leeches that might rob cycles away from pen computations, etc. etc. etc...

    And it's also a very difficult thing to measure. You need to gauge it mostly by feel. It's somewhat subjective rather than objective, arguably. You simply need seasons hand to be able to compare and contrast effectively.

    You also need access to many different and expensive rigs. Not easy to do if not impossible on most people's budget. This is my main excuse as to why it took me this long to realize my new revelation. I needed to experience one single common art software on all the different hardware configurations. This only recently became possible via availability of Clip Studio Paint on iOS. Before CSP, I attempted to compare CSP on Windows tablets to Procreate on iPad Pros and it gave me plenty of false positives and misdirections.

    In the past couple of month or so, I have had extensive use of SCP on; 12.9" iPad Pro (1st gen), 10.6" iPad Pro, Lenovo Miix 700 with Wacom AES, Lenovo Thinkpad 14 with Wacom AES, VAIO Z Canvas with Ntrig, HP Envy 17T with NTrig, Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15.6 with Wacom EMR, Asus Vivotab Note 8 with Wacom EMR, and Fujitsu T902 with Wacom EMR. Based on my sketching experience with CSP on all of these machines (i.e. how well I was able to draw on various digitizers and pens), I will rank the big 4 digitizer techs in this order:

    1. Wacom EMR - 9/10
    2. Apple Pencil - 7.5/10
    3. Wacom AES - 6.5/10
    4. MS MPP/Ntrig - 3.5/10

    Boy, I have to confess, I had no idea how badly MPP/Trig would compare to the others. I had assumed it was much closer. But it really isn't. I CAN'T ****IN DO A GOOD DRAWINGS ON MPP/NTRIG. They look positively **** compared to what I can do on EMR. Let's just say I can do NOTICEABLY BETTER drawing on a Z3760 Atom 2GB of RAM Vivotab Note 8 than on the VAIO Z Canvas/HP Envy, which have 16GB of RAM and quad core i7s in them. THAT'S ****ING RIDICULOUS!!!

    And before you ask, I was using the Wacom Bamboo Ink dual protocol pen on the Ntrig machines, so pressure curve and Initial Activation Force should not be an issue on paper. But guess what? They are. On Ntrig machines, the same Bamboo Ink performs worse than on Wacom AES machines. So clearly, there are additional computation being done on the ASIC of the digitizer boards of Wacom ones than on Ntrig ones, even on their pro cap based digitizers.

    Another surprising fact was how well iPad Pro performed with CSP. Apple Pencil is IMO the best projected capacitive based digitizer and pen available. This is due to following factors:

    1. Ntrig sucks ass.
    2. Wacom AES is still missing tilt, for those who might want it.
    3. iPad Pro's SoC is BEEFY AS F! It kept up no problem with 15W Intel Core processors in CSP brushes.

    And before CSP came out on iOS, I only had Procreate to compare against, and blamed the less than impressive brush engine performance on the Apple Pencil, instead of Procreate. CSP on iOS has shown me that the problem was with Proeate's brush engine, not the Apple Pencil. In fact, Apple Pencil is the best among Projected Capacitive active digitizers.

    But at the end of the day, good old and ancient Wacom EMR still reigns supreme. After having bought the HP Envy 17T on sale for $900, I'm pretty bummed that I can do much better drawings on my 6 years old Fujitsu T902 than it. I bough the 17T for the sheer screen size and the dual SoDIMM slot and storage slots upgrade factor. But when push came to shove, I decided to take the T902 out of the closet and do main work on it. How's that for $900 kick in the nuts...

    BTW, the 6 yo T902 with 3rd gen i5 also does better than the brand new Samsung Notebook 9 Pro with 8th gen i7 for pen feel with same Wacom EMR. How's that possible? I think it's due to the fact that the i5 is 35W CPU and the i7 is a 15W CPU.
    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i5-3320M-vs-Intel-i7-8550U/817vs3064

    Basically, the i5 spends more time at higher clock than the i7. And the CSP brushes are probably not very multicore friendly. Also, for art app brushes, clock speed is king. As an aside, I think the A10 in the iPad Pro was keeping up with 8550U i7 pretty decently. Couldn't hardly tell the difference in performance.

    So let me end all this with a practical tip: If you want to get a pressure pen tablet or convertible, get the Fujitsu T902 used on eBay for $300 or less. It's way less than new Ntrig devices (and certainly the Surface Pros) and kicks their asses up and down in pen performance. Sure, she is fat and chunky with only 1600x900 res LCD. But your drawings will look much better. And avoid Ntrig. Stick with Wacom EMR and AES on new Windows art machines.
     
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  2. DRTigerlilly

    DRTigerlilly Tablet Lead Mod (Retired) Super Moderator

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    I really thought we had lost you to Wacon AES

    Sent from my m8 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    You don't know what you have until it's gone... lol

    If you guys can pool say $250K together for me, I will design us the best Wacom EMR based mobile workstation device! I have the perfect revoluonary design ready to go! :D
     
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  4. DRTigerlilly

    DRTigerlilly Tablet Lead Mod (Retired) Super Moderator

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    Any reason you didn't try one of the newer Surface devices?

    Supposedly their implementation of MPP is better than the other OEM'S.

    Sent from my m8 using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    My Bank account lol.

    I did try the new Surface Pen on the HP, but my guess is that the lack of the M3 coprocessor for pen stuff is making the HP suffer greatly. So maybe the new Surface Book 2 will be much better than the HP and the VAIO Z Canvas. I just don't have the $3k to try it out. But my suspicion is that it would probably bring the MPP up to the current AES levels at best. I think Apple Pencil will still be at the Pro Cap top since there is no mouse layer in the OS for the pen to suffer through.

    Also, if I'm spending 3K, I ain't getting stuck with 16GB of RAM. F that S.
     
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  6. Zhao Su

    Zhao Su Zee Ess

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    I can attest to the Book 2 improving on performance, and the 3:2 clipboard style form factor help contribute to a smoother experience. But that's about it. I tested some guy's SB2 at a random cafe (thx random stranger!) extensively with CSP, PS, and Sketchbook, and I also tested it out at various stores here in NY. Testing at stores is pretty damned useless cuz the devices on display are not updated and most only have f******* FreshPaint installed with one store maybe having Sketchable installed.

    My experience: nTrig is still garbage even in the SB2. It still suffers from shortcomings inherent in an active stylus, we all know what they are :(. I've even experienced random cursor jumps while sketching, and during a long painting session those cursor jumps add upup and they get old very quick. However, Credit where credit is due, MS has demonstrated a commitment to improving the pen, and it does show in the nSPro

    But Being spoiled by the Apple Pencil and Note S-Pen just f****** working, well...nTrig still doesn't cut it for me.

    My 2 cents.
     
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  7. heeman

    heeman Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I like iPad Pro + pencil but I'm always looking for something better. I have few questions.

    How is iPad Pro compared to Mobilestudio Pro? What do you like better?
    Also, could you go into more detail about T902 compared to iPad Pro pencil? I want to know about your experience.

    Last thing, Did you use Matte screen protector on iPad Pro? It's really different experience.

    thanks!
     
  8. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    Using the Z Canvas which has a Surface Pro 3 level digitizer as a meter for ms-ntrig performance doesn't do any justice to how it is today on a Surface Book 2 honestly.

    P.s.
    Same goes to aes and the lenovo miix 700 to be fair though.
     
  9. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Ah, I've been taking your Apple ratings with a huge pinch of salt these last two years.

    Welcome to the dark side.
     
  10. artistebot

    artistebot Scribbler - Standard Member

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    YUP.

    IMHO, for art/writing usage, the #1 most important part of the hardware is the Pen. FULL STOP. Nothing else matters more if the pen experience is ****. I know that the various pen technologies "can" do similar things, but if a artist uses Wacom EMR and then tries to use another technology (all of them being lesser) that person is more likely to not stick with it.

    Part of the reason that, until I got my Zbook X2, I still owned my Surface Pro 2 and Wacom Companion Hybrid....EMR!

    IMHO, Apple has done a great job with the IPP and Pencil.
     
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