Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

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  1. #1
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    Question Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?

    I'm trying to stay under $500 buying used or refurbished on eBay.

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?

    Absolutely. This is preferred for my budget.

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

    I need to run full software so I need a full Windows tablet PC, I think. I don't know what a notebook convertible is.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?

    10 to 13-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?

    No.

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?

    Long battery hours are nice, but it's not vital for me. At least 3 would be great.

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

    While I will probably check email and google things once in a while, it will be primarily for digital art - drawing, sketching, painting, coloring.

    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?

    I love my iMac, but an iPad does not have the pressure sensitivity I need, nor can it run my full software programs. I like my Android phone (Samsung), and my husband has an ASUS transformer. I had a little Acer netbook for a while that I really liked for portability. I've been looking at Windows tablet PCs, and trying some out.

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

    Sketchbook Pro and/or Paint Tool SAI. I don't need it to run Photoshop or Illustrator, I can probably transfer the art to my desktop and use those there if need be.

    11. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.

    No.

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?


    That sounds nice, but I wouldn't know how.

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?

    I don't think I'm techy enough to have a preference. For artwork, obviously I'd want the screen to be nice and crisp and bright, with good color.

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


    No.

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


    Yes, and yes. I've been using a Wacom Intuos 4 (small), though I've never gotten the hang (quite) of drawing on the tablet while looking at the screen. I don't know if I've had any experience with N-trig, but I've tried a few tablets, so I couldn't say.

    Component Specifics

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

    Not sure. I'd like it to be fast without drag and delay, but I won't be storing much on it. It just needs to run my programs well. The art will be transferred to my desktop for finishing, storing, and printing.

    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?

    Micros are okay. I think the HDMI is for the TV/movies thing, right? I think that sounds nice but I've never done it or used it, and don't know if I ever will.

    Misc
    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?

    I'd like the pen to have an eraser if possible -- or if there is a tablet PC that will work with my existing Wacom pen?

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?

    As I said above, I've used a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet for a year or so. I know lots of places I've read say that the jump from Wacom to the N-Trig or whatever that is, will be a jolt, but I'm not that great with the Wacom tablet. I'm not sure if I'd notice.

    I have tried a couple of cheap tablets I found on eBay: the old Motion Computing M1300 by Gateway and the Motion M1400, which are, apparently, very similar. One was running Windows 7, the other XP. I REALLY like being able to draw right on the screen, and I've played around with both tablets. They run quite hot, and they are rather thick and bulky -- maybe all tablet PCs are? but I know these are old, so they are probably clunkier than newer models.

    - I absolutely need pressure sensitivity. I don't know if I need a bajillion pressure points, but it needs to be decent for drawing.

    - I think I would like it if the tablet could 'dock' into a keyboard of some kind - the ASUS EP 121 / eee Slates do this, I believe and I think I would use this for writing more if I had this accessory.

    - I like the idea of the tablet being both finger-touch capable *and* pen capable, but I'd need the finger touch to turn off, so that I didn't accidentally draw with the side of my hand. I want to be able to rest my hand on the screen as I draw.

    I have a Motion Computing CL900 on its way to me off eBay. I'm very nervous after reading bad reviews on Amazon. I'm eyeing the ASUS EP 121 and wondering if it would be better for me.

    I feel utterly lost in a sea of techy specs I don't really understand. I just want to draw!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    Since nobody has responded, I'll update what I've been trying so far -

    I sold the M1300 and M1400 - they both had lighter screens and ran pretty hot. They were also really thick / heavy.

    Next, I tried the Motion Computing CL900 tablet. I got it for a great deal on eBay, but after fighting with it for 3 days, I sent it back. It came without important drivers, and wifi would not stay connected. After hours and hours online with helpful microsoft people, we just determined it was a lemon. The wifi was insane. I could get everything working, and then when the unit would go to sleep, it would shut down. I'd wake it up and it would be rebooting from bios, and the wifi drivers would be all disconnected / not working again. Insane. When I did have everything running, the drawing / sketching was extremely laggy and frustrating.

    So, I'm back to researching. I know there are other art / drawing / sketching threads on here, and that's probably why I received no responses. I've read them all and I'm still just as lost as ever. One minute I'll have my mind made up, and the next, I've changed it.

    I have raised my budget to $1000 or thereabouts. I'd prefer to stay under that, of course.

    After a lot of thought, I *think* I'd like a convertible tablet best. Or something that docks to a keyboard that can shut like a laptop. The tablet will be used for:

    Drawing, sketching, painting - no 3D rendering.
    Word or similar for novel writing.
    Checking email, casual web browsing, maybe streaming movies from Netflix or similar.

    Because I'd like to do the writing on it, I think the convertible might be best for me, as typing on a tablet screen for long periods isn't fun.

    I'm currently torn up between: HP Elitebook 2760p and the older 2730p and 2740p. I can purchase the two latter on ebay for pretty great prices ($200 - $500). The newer one sells for just under $1000 on ebay. I can't tell if it's worth it to pay more for the newer one based on my needs.

    I think I've ruled out the Asus EP 121 due to the awkward bluetooth keyboard that doesn't actually attach.

    I'm trying to stay away from Windows 8 as Sketchbook Pro won't run on it yet. So Windows 7 is fine.

    I've looked through all the Fujitsu tablets, and ruled out the Samsung Series 7 tablet based on bad reviews for the keyboard dock.

    Any other suggestions? Anyone using the HP Elitebooks for drawing? They're thicker/bulkier but maybe that'd be okay? I wonder if I'll miss being able to completely 'undock' the tablet.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    Also, since I'm having so much fun talking to myself over here -- do you think the SSD vs HDD matters if I go with the newer 2760p? I'll mostly be at a desk or on a sofa / couch etc. Not dragging it all over the planet. But I read the older HP Elitebooks with HDD ran too slow for drawing.

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    Default Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    Quote Originally Posted by attagirl View Post
    I'm trying to stay away from Windows 8 as Sketchbook Pro won't run on it yet. So Windows 7 is fine.
    This is not true. I use Sketchbook Pro 6 daily on my Fujitsu T902 with Windows 8 Pro :-)

  5. #5
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    Default Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    If you have a Microsoft Store near you, it would be worth a trip there. If you want a tablet, you could try a number of them there. They don't have convertible pcs though, they are almost impossible to find in the wild.

    For tablets, I have my hopes on a Surface Pro to fit the "drawing tablet" space, but it isn't out yet. Maybe the end of the month.

    Depending on how big the canvases you run, you might get away with the Samsung Ativ 500. I tested it for about a week with Sketchbook Pro and I thought it was pretty capable, but certainly a bit under powered.

    Search around the forums here and in specific forums like HP, Lenovo etc to get specific feedback from real users here.

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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    Quote Originally Posted by cmenice View Post
    This is not true. I use Sketchbook Pro 6 daily on my Fujitsu T902 with Windows 8 Pro :-)
    Oh! That is excellent information - Autodesk told me that it wasn't compatible yet, and I only did a little half hearted search to see if anyone had gotten it to work.

    No problems?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    Quote Originally Posted by cmenice View Post
    If you have a Microsoft Store near you, it would be worth a trip there. If you want a tablet, you could try a number of them there. They don't have convertible pcs though, they are almost impossible to find in the wild.

    For tablets, I have my hopes on a Surface Pro to fit the "drawing tablet" space, but it isn't out yet. Maybe the end of the month.

    Depending on how big the canvases you run, you might get away with the Samsung Ativ 500. I tested it for about a week with Sketchbook Pro and I thought it was pretty capable, but certainly a bit under powered.

    Search around the forums here and in specific forums like HP, Lenovo etc to get specific feedback from real users here.
    I live out in the sticks, I didn't even know there *were* Microsoft stores, ha! There is a Best Buy an hour away, I did go there before Christmas and try out what they had. No actual tablet PCs though, just androids and ipads. Everything I've read on the Samsung tablet / pc family says the dock is buggy, the keyboard just has too many bugs to let me take the leap in that direction.

    I've searched the forums and read everything I can on using tablets and convertibles for art. I'm still so lost! I'm great at designing websites and illustration but not very comfy with computer specs. I had to look up what SSD even meant. *grin*

    Thanks for replying, though. It was pretty lonely on this thread.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    Quote Originally Posted by attagirl View Post
    Also, since I'm having so much fun talking to myself over here -- do you think the SSD vs HDD matters if I go with the newer 2760p? I'll mostly be at a desk or on a sofa / couch etc. Not dragging it all over the planet. But I read the older HP Elitebooks with HDD ran too slow for drawing.
    SSD will make the OS load faster (not sure about program performance) and there is no platter/moving mechanical parts to break. An SSD isn't "immune" to failure/wearing out but, it does lack the parts that break in a HDD. You can get a far more storage size on a HDD for less money though. It really just depends on what suits your needs the best compared to what you want to spend.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    I've used a Fujitsu T5010 and more recently a T901, and they've done me pretty good as a freelance illustrator. The T5010 felt sturdier, but the T901 has better speaker positioning and, of course, better hardware. If you do get a T901, try to find one that comes with the Nvidia graphics card.

    I haven't played around with the T902; the screen dimensions are more widescreen, so not as tall but wider.

    If Photoshop is your program to use, get an SSD. The performance improvement with an SSD is staggering. I replaced my stock platter hard drive with an SSD about two months ago, and it was a better performance boost than going from 4 to 8 gigs of low latency ram.

    Photoshop uses a ridiculous amount of hard drive space for the scratch disk, so if you can speed up access times you win. I don't know if Sketchbook pro uses a scratch disk in the same way; I don't think it's as heavy as photoshop, but it can't hurt. No worries about dropping it and killing the harddrive that way either.


    Fujitsu has really good quality screens
    There are a couple things to warn you about though.
    One: the touchpads aren't great. But with a PC, no touchpads are good. All the manufacturers use crappy, outdated touchpads with shared PS/2 mouse connections.
    Two: windows 8 driver support. Windows 8 works nicely... most of the time. It's very new, so driver availability is spotty, especially for the pen and touchpad. Working versions are available, but it may take a little digging to get the right ones installed.
    Three: Touch is nice, but you may learn quickly that you want to disable it while drawing. Palm recognition and pen recognition can be a little iffy until you get used to it. I still have issues now and then when I flip the pen to use the eraser with my had still resting on the screen.

    None of these issues are unique to Fujitsu though; these are probelms with all tablet PC's I know of, since the hardware is pretty consistent across all manufacturers. They all use Wacom penabled screens and Synaptics touchpads. I know there are some Ntrig machines, but I've never used one.

    Anyway, I think you get the idea. Tablet PC's can be a pain in the ass, but Fujitsu makes one of the better ones from an artist's perspective, so you wouldn't be missing out going with their machines.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tablet PC for drawing / sketching / painting

    There's Sketchbook Pro, which is the Android App, and Sketchbook Pro 6, which is the fully loaded Windows program. So, there might be some confusion on that.

    All the elite books are good, quality products. The 2730p is the best of the older ones, but it has awkwardly sized HDDs that are very expensive to upgrade to SSD, so I'd avoid that model. IMO, unless you're blowing things out of the water with full sized PS files, the 2740p should easily be able to do what most people are doing on a laptop, and shouldn't have issues running art files.

    If you write as well as draw, I'd get a convertible. That's what I did.

    If you want to have a "hybrid"/separatable tablet, where the screen docks into the base, then you'll need to buy a brand new unit with Windows 8. There are enough issues right now getting pressure sensitivity to regularly work in Windows 8 on some of the tablets that I'd pause on that, personally.

    The 2740p is a good buy, and a good upgrade/entry point to convertibles.
    Currently own:
    x230t Outdoor-- Win 7 x64, 256 gb ssd, 16 gb ram, 6-cell
    q552 -- Win7 x32, 2 gb ram, outdoor slate for work

    Owned: Motion le1600 VA, le1700/ VA/ UVA, and j3400, Lenovo X200t Superbright, x200t/ x201t Superbright Outdoor, Fujitsu t5010, t902

    Outdoor Viewable Screens- Comparison Thread with Pics

 

 

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