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Considering a tablet PC

Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
My current graphics tablet is small and the pen is wearing down. The tablet is so old, in fact, that I can't get a replacement pen. Nobody stocks them, and new pens are incompatible.

Besides, a direct-screen tablet PC would be much more like drawing for real, and I would love that.

So I want a tablet PC for digital art purposes. I suppose that, as a laptop, it would also serve standard laptop functions - word processing, browsing, instant messaging, playing videos, etc.

I have no idea what kinds of tablet PCs are out there and what they offer, nor do I know the average prices.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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  • DHS OdiumDHS Odium Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    I've owned two tablet PCs, both supplied by Microsoft for my job as a Student Partner. Both used Vista, which has great touchscreen support. They'll only be improving this in Windows 7. I also happen to be a graphic designer now, and that is what I focused on in college, so I've used them to draw.

    The first one was a Gateway, and it was pretty awesome. It was a true tablet, unlike the HP they gave me the next year. The HP was a touchscreen, and there is a difference. The HP has a stylus, but you could also use your finger, or anything really. It was a piece of junk, and had no sensitivity settings, so you really couldn't draw with it at all, everything looks like the pencil mode in Paint. The Gateway had the digitizer or whatever it was called, I think it supported 256 points of pressure. You want something with at least that. The specific pen it came with was the only thing that would work on the screen, no fingers or anything. A down side was the pen had a shelf life, and had to be replaced by Gateway after a certain period of time. I never experienced this as I only had it for a year.

    Photoshop, and other similar programs, accepted the tablet and pressure sensitivity settings just fine. I did notice however, that there was an odd dropoff, it was much easier to make a thin line just how you want than a thicker one. It's hard to explain, but it felt like the first 200 points of pressure were for thinner strokes, with the last 56 being big thick ones. This was noticable to me coming off of a Wacom tablet, it wasn't as smooth or gradual.

    Based on my experiences, the Wacom tablet had better pressure sensitivity overall than the tablet pc did. The Gateway was quite serviceable however, and I know it was never meant to be used purely for drawing, so I always saw it as a nice plus.

    There are also stand alone monitors that you can get where you can draw on the screen, but those might end up being as expensive as a whole tablet PC. I'm not sure, search around. I'd try to go to stores that have display units and test them out. I doubt they'll have the software you can use, but maybe you can bring a USB stick with a portable version of an art program.

    Wii U: DHS-Odium // Live: DHS Odium // PSN: DHSOdium // Steam: dhsykes // 3DS: 0318-6615-5294
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    The Cintiq stand-alone tablet monitors are the ones you're thinking, and they are exactly what I want, but they are massively expensive. $2000 for the big, 23 pound 21" screen. That is the perfect device for what I want, but it's a massive fucking investment for a hobby, especially when I already spend significant amounts of money on video games and musical instruments/recording technology.

    The $1000 tablet screen is 12" and closer to what I want, but it has a glitchy interaction between screen and power supply that results in your calibration failing, inevitably, the farther you get from the centre of the screen. That is pretty much intolerable. It's also a fairly small drawing surface.

    Since I'm furnishing an apartment, I can't justify 2000 dollars. Maybe eventually. That's why I'm curious about graphics-tablet quality tablet PCs.

    Your advice about tablet screen vs touch screen is good to know and really important, thanks.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • GrobianGrobian What's on sale? Pliers!Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Maybe you found it yourself already but http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/ is a nice resource for everything tablet-related. While the usual caveats for forums apply it has solid info on all kinds of tablets and an entire subforum titled "What tablet pc should I buy?" (read their FAQ before posting). They also have a short guide.

    I'm no artist myself so I have different needs, but to quote from the guide:
    Which tablet is best for someone who is an artist?
    Fujitsu t4220

    Great battery life, high resolution screen which will help you with your editing/drawing/composing or whatever you want to do.

  • narv107narv107 Registered User
    edited October 2008
    I'm a graphic designer as well and I've got one of these (albeit I got mine back when they offered hardware customization so the specs aren't quite the same) and it does everything I could want it to do. Gateway is a WACOM partner so any WACOM pen works with it. It has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity so it is like a portable on screen Graphire tablet. The standard battery easily lasts 5 hours of Photoshop work.

    It's a solid Graphic Design tool.

  • GrobianGrobian What's on sale? Pliers!Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Just to clarify: All Tablet PC manufacturers except Dell use WACOM-touchscreens for their active digitizers. Still, there are differences between the models, mostly regarding calibrating.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    So it looks as though I'd be spending at least 1000 dollars for a tablet pc of the lowest grade, and 1500 to 3000 for the higher-end tablet PCs you guys are recommending.

    This is compared to 1000 for the low end Cintiq, and 2000 for the higher end one, with the advantage of awesome graphical use, and the disadvantage of not being a laptop.

    So basically if I want one of these things, I will need to drop some fat stacks. Dammit.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • GrobianGrobian What's on sale? Pliers!Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Tablet PCs are not cheap. Many are built to be used as a replacement for a (paper-) notebook, so they have to be very portable. If you only use it stationary you can make some concessions regarding battery life and weight. Look into HP-tablets, I have several friends or family members using them and there are not-so-expensive models (mostly with AMD cpu, I think).

  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Get groovy, now turn it on and fight Seal the deal, and let's boogie for a whileRegistered User regular
    Is there any way you could hold off until the Windows 8 tablets make the rounds? They're supposed to be quite nice, feature loaded, and powerful machines. The ARM ones are probably not going to fulfill your needs, but the new Intel Win8 tabs look to change the way people use their tablets (As a main device, as opposed to a secondary/accessory/auxiliary).

    I'm not sure how many will come with stylus options as it hasn't been announced.

    Bama wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    complacency sucks.
    It's not so bad once you get used to it.
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Jungle, this is a very old thread seemingly ressurected by a spambot. I reported it to a mod.

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This discussion has been closed.