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March 14, 2013


Replies: 12

PC Tablet, Convertable Laptop, or Good Laptop?

So, I was checking out a great friend of mine's artwork on Deviantart and she is beginning (once again) to bud into digital art from traditional hand style drawing. However, she is using a very old laptop (AMD Sempron core..) that I gave her to work on her art. I've even thrown in my very old Wacom Bamboo.

For now, she is using Corel Painter Essentials. I keep on urging her to try out and learn Autodesk Sketchbook Pro however

Over time, I was planning on helping her save up for a good replacement that could suit her fancy. Thing is she's much used to drawing on surfaces and I believe she would like a touchscreen monitor with digitizer input. I was wondering whether:
-I should get her a simple tablet such as the Asus Nexus 7
-If she should simply acquire a much more powerful Intel Core i5 laptop such as an HP computer (with hopefully an intuos later on)
-Or if I should help her purchase a future convertable laptop-tablet/Slate PC (I plan on waiting and saving up of course.) so she can use the touchscreen, windows 8 and get the best of both worlds?

I know quite a thing or two about technology so I could easily find the computer whose specs matches what we're looking for. But with three different groups its hard to settle into one without advice from some artists (And I'm no artist :/)

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Devious Comments

Also, another contender for hybrids later on may just be the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix with a digitizer pen, but of course I do not believe it will be supporting art software..though I don't know much of art software in the first place :x.
ive been researching this a lot over the past week and here's what ive found out:

for a tablet there is no real contender except the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. it comes with a stylus that slips into the body of the tablet for storage. the tablet/pen has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. you can purchase a case/cover for this device that will have a bluetooth connected keyboard. you have to use it on a table of some kind though and not your lap.

as for laptops if you are getting a laptop you will be far more satisfied with pairing it to a Wacom Bamboo or Intuos 5. the reason is that the pressure sensitivity doubles to over 2000 giving an artist far more detailed control over their work.

the laptop itself should have an HD or HD+ screen that is IPS LED backlit. this helps somewhat with glare as well as doing the obvious chore of giving you far better image quality.

its specs should be an i5 or i7 processor. with the i7 you might be able to get away with 6GB of RAM using programs like Photoshop. if you have to get an i5 you simply have to go up to 8GB of RAM. the reason for this is that Windows8 requires a *minimum* of 2GB of RAM just to run the operating system. add to that the other functions that any machine has to run in the background and you are going to begin noticing some real lag issues.

the real question is what is she going to use it for:
1. for fullblown digital art creation the high powered laptop + Wacom pad are the absolute best way to go.
2. if she simply needs a portable solution to sketch in and to carry around for web access and document reading then the Galaxy Note 10.1, from what ive been reading, is your best bet.

i will add one more thought: a well known photographer was once asked, "What is the best camera for doing photography?" she replied, "The one that's in front of you."
Kuroudy Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
But it also looks like fefe31611's friend wants the tablet for artistic purposes and I'm not sure how the little Galaxy Note would compared. It's intended use is as a phone - and for a cell phone it's decent.

My suggestion would be that if a) he/she still has the Wacom Bamboo then it's fine, get her/him a new computer. Bamboo will get you far but a new computer is needed if she wants to get more serious and try other softwares. I know that Corel Painter, while an exceptional program, would crash your computer a lot - unless you know how to fix it. Photoshop can also start to take a toll on old computers.

Bottom line: No one wants to draw digitally with the constant fear that your computer could freeze up and crash before you have a chance to save.
as far as i can tell my Galaxy Note 10.1 has no phone capabilities.

here is a great review of several options that I-Huei (Skylanders) uses:

Thanks for the information guys. It really helps out in singleing out a few set of specific laptops. Now I'm wondering whether an Intel Atom touchpad convertible would be best due to longer life and less heat at the expense of power, or go full blown i5 at the risk of more money, less life, more heat, and a vast amount of power.

Of course (For convertables only), I'm guessing if photoshop were to be run an i5 would work out though I bet my friend enjoys the use of Sai, Corel Painter and Sketchbook Pro so I was leaning more on the Atom side. Of course if art programs are very resource intensive we could look into stronger options.
As for windows 8, sadly I think we're going to get it forced down out throats. I hope the WB update would do it well in the future. As for touch screen issues I forgot to mention, any kind of touchpad pen would work with a convertable/Tablet PC hands down? I don't think finger painting will always be a fun option :).
first off, apologies for lecturing you on Win8 memory usage, for some reason i just missed the part of your post where you said you were a techie.

the issues they are talking about have to do with an API/driver pissing contest between Adobe, MS, and a company called NRG. they currently are one of the main suppliers of tablet pens and they use the MS driver rather than the MS Wintab driver. for some reason it interferes with the communication between some art software and the pen/touch screen.
most tablets use the MS driver b/c it is free. Adobe over the past 3 years has made regular promises to address this, but they are far too mac oriented to really care it appears.
anyways i hope this helps.
Yes, this does help greatly honestly. And it's alright, I've never used Win8 and any information and detail is always appreciated. I also enjoy that others have placed time to research on this too.
I've checked out the note 10.1 a few days ago. I've been checking out every website for hybrid information and the only nice one I've seen was the Surface Pro at a Penny Arcade review at the moment. As for laptops..well, looking at the few stores I've went to I've figured it'd be much more user-friendly for a touchscreen to be able to utilize full Windows 8 for the moment and my friend would enjoy it much more so.

We went to PC richards and she loved the touchscreen Windows 8 computers, so I think I should get her what she loves :). I've expected the 2 GB usage for Win8, though I believe 4 GB should suffice for less resource-intensive programs.

I guess I have my opinion for each type of tech so:

Tablet = Galaxy Note 10.1, with stylus for around $450 + some other features perhaps, albeit it does not have access to lap/desktop programs (I believe..Tablets and I haven't met much yet.) Great portability and use.

Laptop = Generic core i5 with 4-8 GB ram and Wacom med Intuos 5 (My old bamboo is showing it's wear.) for about $900 or more with HD screen perhaps going over. Quite pricy yet provides the greatest power and resources.

Hybrid = Still too new at the moment to find out it's direction..
For now, Windows Surface Pro at $1000 or more, though it's still blehish for the drawing issues of certain programs following some reviews and is too pricy to consider but the hybrid market may just grow and we may see cheaper or better options..I'm surprised they don't direct this type of market to artistic students even.

I'd probably look into hybrid in the future since we're still saving up, with a side-tablet in case it would be better off. Plus, my friend loves the look and feel of Win8 and being able to go touchscreen. If it doesn't work out so swell then I could be generous and chip in for a drawing tablet later later on. Comments are still appreciated from anyone and thanks for the aid Aspekx.
sounds good. question, i thought the Surface was running Windows RT. if it is i dont believe its capable of running certain software. i may be wrong, but at least check just in case.

i just got my note 10.1 and frankly im loving it. the battery life is admirable. since .docx files were released from patent by Microsoft there are Android alternatives, the note comes Polaris. the response time is fabulous for drawing. albeit 10" screen space can be a bit small feeling.

looks like a good deal on the lappy. all the ones ive found are 1000$ or more.

if you do end up waiting dont forget the Haswell processors will be out around June and most companies are making their products with that processor in order to be ready. it's sposed to save quite a bit of battery life.

good luck! i hope you all find a great deal.
There are two types of Surfaces. Windows Surface RT which, as you state, runs Windows RT and the Windows Surface Pro at 128 GB which runs Windows 8 Pro ( [link] ) Priced at around 1,000 (The one you see in there is the 64 GB one, of course some of that space is already taken.)

I'm an intel processor guy, so I haven't really checked out Haswell. Could you provide a link with any info if possible and its meant to be used for tabletlike devices?

I've all but settled on the choice of hybrids at the moment with the strongest contender being the Surface Pro. Since we've got to still be saving up I believe that there may be new alternatives probably from Lenovo. They provide great casual use for drawing and relaxing it looks and if a drawing tablet was recommended then a small Intuos 5 or such could work out. As for programs, she is settling down on Sketchbook Pro.
well the good news for you then is that the Haswell is that it is an Intel chip! [link]

heres a quick review from one source:

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