Would like suggestions for a portable tablet for illustration.

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Ghostship Matt, May 30, 2021.

  1. Ghostship Matt

    Ghostship Matt Pen Pal - Newbie

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    1. What is your budget?
    -$2000 is my cap, but I would like to spend less if possible.
    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?
    -I think that portability is high on my list, followed by the ability to run programs instead of being app-only based.
    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?
    -13 to 15 inches​

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?
    -USA​

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    -I would prefer to avoid Apple products, unless it turns out that an iPad is actually the best solution for my work.​

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    -I'm not certain? I can't imagine I'll be working on something for more than 3hrs straight, but it would be nice not to have to recharge too often.​

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    -Primary usage will be Clip Studio Paint for illustration work (B&W drawing, digital painting in color. I'm considering some simple animated work as well.) No games. Some light email/web-surfing/streaming.​

    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?
    -Probably Windows. I use a Google Pixel. I have an old 2008 Mac Pro tower that I haven't gotten rid of (and still use just for art) because I own all my own art programs (I hate the idea of renting/subscribing to use Adobe, etc). I use Google services very frequently.​

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    -I think this will mainly be for using Clip Studio Paint on the go/in other rooms in my house when I don't want to be tethered to my desktop. Chrome for web-browsing.​

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    -Nope!​

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?
    -Nope!​

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?
    -I'm not sure. Something that will look good for illustration work. ​

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance

    -Very rarely I suspect.​

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom EMR, AES or N-trig?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance

    -I'm used to using an older Wacom bluetooth Intuos tablet with my Mac Pro. Wacom would be my preference because of my familiarity with their tech. Whatever works well, and has the lowest amount of lag/jitter when drawing.​

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?
    -I'm not certain. Since I think this will be more of a "portable" solution, I realize I might be limited. Whatever is going to run CSP well with larger sized files. I will likely dump work onto a hard-drive when it's done, and get it off of the unit's built-in HD.​

    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 would be nice, but not required. SD card slots would be great. MicroUSB and microSD would be fine. I don't think HDMI would be a requirement.​

    Misc
    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?
    -The non-negotiable item for me is that I would like to own my drawing software. I'm not into renting/subscribing.
    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?
    -Nothing else than to reiterate that this will likely be mostly for mobile use. Drawing in the living room, or on the go when I travel.
    I am considering getting a more up-to-date "studio-workstation", whether that's a tower I build from scratch (with the help from some techy-friends), a juiced up gaming laptop, with a Wacom or competitor's pen-tablet. I think that means I don't need some crazy-spec'd portable unit (like those fancy ConceptD Ezel's).

    I'm not totally certain if I want a dedicated tablet (like a Surface Pro 7), or if I want some kind of 2 in 1 (either the kind that flips open into a tablet, or the style where the monitor pulls off into a tablet). I'm open to suggestions. Every time I start looking, I get overwhelmed with the options and then stop looking.

    Thanks in advance for helping to steer me in the right direction!​
     
  2. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    It sounds like you're a shoe-in for a Samsung 2-in-1.

    Any system they've made, starting with the Notebook 9 Pro up to the present iterations, would fit your list of requirements quite handily.

    Wacom tech being one of the most important features; Samsung has the market cornered on modern Windows machines; everybody else is either selling units with a $6000 base price, or they come equipped with inferior pen tech.

    Personally, I admire the Flex 15 for it's maxed-out screen size at 15.6" and hide-away pen. They cost around $1500 USD.

    I've been working on their very first first Wacom-enabled 2-in-1 for the last three years, the 16Gb 15" version, and I find it to be a truly excellent machine, easily the most powerful, art-capable and reliable laptop I've ever owned. You can find them re-furbished or used on eBay for between $800-$1000. That's probably the best deal you can get right now.

    Their latest model doesn't have a pen garage, which personally I'd find limiting, (it's surprising how often I use their toothpick even though I've got several third-party pens; when you just need to do some quick computing and don't want to dig through your gear for a pen, the little pop-out stylus is extremely handy), but otherwise the new machine looks spectacular, boasting an extremely long battery life, compact weight and all the latest bells & whistles. The Galaxy Pro 360 is currently around $1600 USD on the Samsung website for the maxed-out version.

    There are certain limits on the stylus function which need to be overcome with third party software and some tinkering, but it's fairly easy to achieve and to not have to think about again, but worth mentioning; it won't perform perfectly out of the box and this can be a bummer if you're not expecting it.

    I use CSP and Photoshop on mine, and it's been fantastic. Samsung also does finger-touch extremely well, and Clip Studio Paint implements it to perfection. Being able to move and spin the canvas around with your fingers while drawing feels incredibly intuitive, and I really notice its absence when I'm on a pen-only digitizer. I've been spoiled!

    The only thing I'd like perhaps is a higher resolution screen; Samsung stubbornly sticks at 1080p for their entire 2-in-1 lineup, but it's not a big deal. I think the thing I'd improve ahead of that is getting a model with a full 15.6" screen rather than the 15" on my current one.

    Oh. The screens on all models are glossy. If that bugs you, then you might want to look at matt screen protectors. Otherwise, I personally have no problem recommending Samsung for artists with the cash to spend.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. Ghostship Matt

    Ghostship Matt Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the great, well-thought out advice! This is precisely the sort of review I was looking for. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    Do you have any recommendations for a third-party pen that you like for these computers?

    What would you recommend regarding improving the the stylus function? Which 3rd party software/tinkering? Is there a thread you can recommend taking a look at for more info?

    Thanks so much again.
     
  4. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I actually made an FAQ page when I first got my N9P addressing some of the issues...

    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/samsung-notebook-pro-13-15-pen-galaxy-book-faq-tips.74429/

    I'm not sure if the current Windows is a problem anymore with Photoshop; I've not checked and it was a couple years ago now, but the rest of the advice is still useful.

    -Also, I'm currently using this pen:

    https://www.amazon.com/Smardi-Plus-Samsung-Galaxy-Note/dp/B07D36PTCH

    It's really good!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
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  5. Ghostship Matt

    Ghostship Matt Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Awesome, thanks again for your help! I wouldn't have considered a Samsung before you left your review. They certainly do look like they are a good value, even more so with their partnership with Wacom. Since I'll be working mostly in CSP (their brush driver's quality being light-years ahead of PS wooed me away from PS years ago) I don't think that many of those Windows issues will affect me? I do appreciate the follow up.

    Good to know there are knowledgeable folks here who are using these devices as drawing/illustration implements foremost. Thanks!
     
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  6. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I would second any of Samsung’s S-Pen 2-in-1. The Galaxy Book Pro 360 being the most recent option.

    also if your usage is going to be primarily Clip Studio, I would totally recommend one of Samsung’s S-pen Tab tablets. Now that Clip Studio is on android, that alone makes the android platform much more viable in my opinion. The Galaxy Tab S6 lite for example costs typically under $300 and runs Clip Studio quite well. They have a larger model coming out in the next few weeks called the Tab S7 Fe, which will be 12 inches (Tab S6 lite is 10 inches) and provided they price it under $500, it would make an excellent Clip Studio Tablet. You can also get the more expensive Tab S7 proper and Tab S7+ which will be more expensive. They also make great supplements for Windows devices. Like if you got a Galaxy Book Pro 360, a Tab S6/7 would pair nicely with it. With the Superdisplay app, they jury rig as secondary monitors quite well.
     
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  7. Ghostship Matt

    Ghostship Matt Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Cool, thanks for the insight! I just ordered up a Galaxy Book Pro 360 today. Excited to get it up and running when it arrives. Seems like a good value for the build-spec + Wacom partnered-touch-screen. It's been so hard to sort out which brands partnered with Wacom on their screens as of late. Glad to hear that I made the right decision!

    Yep, CSP is my go-to for illustration work. I'll dip into PS occasionally, or into Illustrator when I need to clean up and vector my work. I've been using the Frenden brushes now for a bunch of years, and those combined with the CSP brush-engine have been killer. I've really enjoyed the vast array of choice, and the way he made "analog" style brushes for digital application.

    Thanks again for the vote of confidence, and the info about their tablets.
     
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  8. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    One thing to keep in mind if you go the Android tablet route (and don't want to be tethered via SuperDisplay) is that CSP is subscription-only on mobile.

    The cost is only $25/year for CSP Pro (single device), but if you need the animation or comic layout features of the EX version, it's $72/year and that's when it can start to add up. Over the course of say a 3-year device lifespan, that's effectively ~$200 added to the cost of the Tab S6/S7.

    Also if you're into the slate form factor, an alternative to the Samsung convertibles is the Galaxy Book 12", which can sometimes go for affordable prices (eg. ~$250 refurbished). However, that comes with RAM and dual-core CPU limitations, so for a main work device the convertibles would be recommended. But if you want side sketching device with no added software costs (CSP PC license is good for 2 devices) it may be worth considering. ;)
     
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  9. Ghostship Matt

    Ghostship Matt Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the reply! This is a major factor in why I went with a 2 in 1 that's Windows based, vs a tablet that only has access to app-store programs (I'd rather purchase my software outright). Definitely a good consideration that most folks who haven't researched the pricing might not be aware of.
     
  10. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yeah, the subscription model totally sucks, I'm kind of surprised they haven't forced that on Windows users yet. They already have the framework in place, because one of the options with the subscription is Multi-device usage or something which does include windows as an option. I have Two Windows licenses for CSP Pro, although the older license I more or less have to jump thru hoopss to get the authentication to register. Between my iPad Mini and iPad Pro 12.9, I did the multi-device subscription but somehow got the one-device plan to work on both iPads. However they do give you either 6 months or 3 months free the first time you do it. My Tab S6 lite is still on the the free period, but subscriptions are so tiring. Eventually I will have to subscribe the Tab S6 lite as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2021
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