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Old 2007-08-23, 09:49   Link #1
Zero Shinohara
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Tablet PC vs Laptop + Tablet.

Hey guys.

I have a bit of a dilemma here. As some of you might now, drawing is my favorite hobbie, and I spend a lot of time trying to improve my skills and looking for better and faster ways to work. About a year ago, I got myself a nice 6x8 Wacom tablet, which has served me well since then. However, it's a small drawing surface and not being able to see directly where I'm drawing makes things difficult sometimes.

And so, added to the fact that I'm starting most of my tech classes this semester, I decided to get myself a laptop. Of course, I opted for the TabletPC in the hopes that it would help me get more drawings finished while still giving me good business features and the ability to take quick notes whenever I need them. And so, I did a bit of research and realized that the HP TX1000 series would be a good start - it's somewhat cheaper than most other tablets, and the 1220US I got has lots of nice features (2gb Ram, 2.2ghz Processor, 200 gb HD and 802.11n ). I expected its arrival with a heart filled of hope!

Then, it arrived yesterday. I did some tweaking, removed some bloatware and configured Vista(bleh) to usable configs ( disabling most of the Aero stuff and etc. ), and it turned out to be a very fast and reliable machine. And then, came the time to try the tablet features out. However, to my surprise, it wouldn't write anything. I had read the reviews and knew the screen would need to be pressed hard, but I wasn't expecting that I'd have to apply 5x the force I'm used to apply against a piece of paper for it to work. At that moment, I became really dissatisfied with the purchase, since I bought it mainly because of the tablet features.

Then, I did a bit of research - turns out that the Screen used on the TX is actually Passive, and not the Active Screen type used in most tablets and in all of the >good< TabletPCs. If I had known this before, I wouldn't have purchased this piece, that's for sure.

And now, I'm in a pretty bad situation. First, Newegg doesn't give refunds to laptops - If I'm to get one, I'll have to see if I can persuade them to accept the return. Secondly, the TabletPC with the closest configuration is the ASUS R1F , roughly 500 USD more than what I paid for my TX1220. To get a computer so higly priced, I'd have to compromise myself to pay more interest on my student loan and ultimately be deeper in debt - although I don't plan on using more than $500 a year after the purchase of this notebook, which will serve me for a good few years.

Thirdly and probably the most important to me is: Is the TabletPC a viable solution to those going into the art/design field? Obviously, the 13'' screen is less than a professional-grade 12x19 Wacom Tablet that goes for less than half the price, but the ability to look at what you're drawing on screen is a big plus. Besides that, the fact that the laptop is rather bulky would also be something to be concerned about, although I haven't tried drawing on it yet ( I can't, basically, since my strokes just don't come out anyway. ).

So, basically I am split between getting an expensive $1800+ TabletPC and getting a mid-range Notebook with similar specs along a good 12x12/12x19 Wacom tablet.

It's a hard choice, since I have never used either a TabletPC or a Tablet with a large surface area. It's even worse considering that I'm buying most of these off of the internet and returns/refunds are particularly hard to get. But if I'm going to spend the money, I'd rather spend it in a way that'll satisfy all of my needs. So, what do you guys suggest?
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Old 2007-08-23, 12:02   Link #2
Gundam Zero Force
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While I don't know much about the Tablet PC itself I can answer this . . .

Quote:
Is the TabletPC a viable solution to those going into the art/design field?
Personally I don't think so, I may not be in the same field as you but I am in Media Arts and Animation and I do a LOT of Tablet work for 3D Models and backgrounds. I find using my Intuos 3 6x8 Wacom tablet on my computer at home to be quite fine to finish all the required work.

Quote:
I had read the reviews and knew the screen would need to be pressed hard, but I wasn't expecting that I'd have to apply 5x the force I'm used to apply against a piece of paper for it to work.
I don't know much about those Tablet PC things but maybe that new labtop you bought has some sort of adjustment for sensitivity?? Maybe there is an option somewhere in the control panel or something that can made the pressure a lot less and easier to write . . .
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Old 2007-08-23, 13:40   Link #3
Ledgem
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I agree with Gundam Zero Force on saying that Tablet PCs are not geared for media professionals. I'm not in the media field myself, but based off of all those "behind the scenes" videos and such that you see, they're always working with tablets. Heavy-duty stuff is never done on laptops, which probably contributes to why tablet PCs wouldn't be employed. If your focus is the media field, you might be better off getting used to working with a tablet. I use a super-cheap tablet off of eBay to enhance my note-taking abilities (allows me to draw graphs and figures from lecture), and I'd have much preferred to be able to see what I'm drawing directly beneath my pen. If you do that, you'd probably have to re-learn the whole synchrony between writing on a tablet and coordinating it with what's happening on the screen.

If you're set on having a tablet PC, there is a potential modification you could use. I remember seeing an advertisement about two, maybe four small devices that you clip to the edges of your screen, and that are used with a digital pen. Not as good as having it built-in, but it's another way of getting it done, I suppose. In theory it'd work even better for you because your PC has the tablet form, allowing you to write on it properly. I don't know that you could fold it as long as the motion detectors were in place, though. I did a brief search for it but couldn't find it, so I'm not sure how well they work or what the pricing is like.
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Old 2007-08-23, 13:49   Link #4
Zero Shinohara
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Quote:
Personally I don't think so, I may not be in the same field as you but I am in Media Arts and Animation and I do a LOT of Tablet work for 3D Models and backgrounds. I find using my Intuos 3 6x8 Wacom tablet on my computer at home to be quite fine to finish all the required work.
Well, it's not that I'm not being able to work with my 6x8, but I have pretty bad eye/hand coordination, so being able to draw a line while looking directly where I'm going is what the tabletpc would be all about.

Quote:
I don't know much about those Tablet PC things but maybe that new labtop you bought has some sort of adjustment for sensitivity?? Maybe there is an option somewhere in the control panel or something that can made the pressure a lot less and easier to write . . .
I also thought that at first, since some people are saying the screen is just fine, but I tend to make very light strokes in both the paper and my tablet, and since the screen is heavily coated with a protective layer, it's to be expected that it'd be hard for the pen to be recognized. I did a little research around on this particular tablet and what I've learned is that everyone has the same problem, but that after a few weeks of use, the screen will "break-in" and become easier to write on.

And as an update, as for the difficulty drawing over it because of the 1'' thickness of the tablet, I had no problems with it. It might be hard to draw on corners and things like that, but that's why scrolling exists. However, as a piece of advice to anyone out there, this type of machine might take a lot of time to get used to, mainly because there're no buttons around with which you can access the commands in your program, be it Photoshop, Illustrator & etc - remember that the screen covers the keyboard completely.

However, this might be easily fixed with the purchase of an external numeric/gaming pad, which connects via USB and with proper configuration in your program of choice. It's just not something I'll be doing for now.

And as an update on my situation, here's the thing: Newegg will accept my return and refund me my money in full, as long as I pay a 15% restocking fee - which means that this is a no-no. Basically, on a laptop that's worth $1400, this restocking fee is basically throwing $210 directly in the trash. I can do a lot of things with this money, including paying for part of a 12x19 Wacom tablet. So, as I stand right now, I'm keeping this laptop and, after I pay for all my books and extra fees next week, I'll use whatever is left on my loan to buy myself a better Tablet in the hopes that, with a bigger drawing area, I won't have so much trouble during the finishing/painting/cging process.

If you're asking yourself "Why spend so much monay?11!", basically I want to create a 90-110 second "Opening Theme" for a series I'm writing/developing. So I'll need to work on it for a while and whenever possible, including away from home. So... Hopefully it wont be a waste of money.
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Old 2007-08-23, 14:38   Link #5
Gundam Zero Force
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Well whatever your decision is, I am sure you'll find what you need good luck!
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Old 2007-08-23, 22:02   Link #6
Zero Shinohara
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Thanks!

And yep, seems like I'll be keeping it. After all, a laptop with similar specs won't go for less than 1000 bucks anyway, and returning it and losing 200+ is definitely not worth it. I'd rather save up and use it for a good cause. ( New rims for the car, a 12x19 tablet, you know... public service stuff ).

And, though it's a little off-topic... I noticed you became a Lacus fan! Hah! I knew no one could resist Lacus-sama!
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Old 2007-08-23, 22:37   Link #7
Gundam Zero Force
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Quote:
And yep, seems like I'll be keeping it. After all, a laptop with similar specs won't go for less than 1000 bucks anyway, and returning it and losing 200+ is definitely not worth it. I'd rather save up and use it for a good cause. ( New rims for the car, a 12x19 tablet, you know... public service stuff ).
Then it looks like you made the right choice. I'm sure after time you'll get used to the pressure/sensitiviy issues. =)

Quote:
And, though it's a little off-topic... I noticed you became a Lacus fan! Hah! I knew no one could resist Lacus-sama!
what can I say lol After Watching Gundam Seed she is kinda like Relena from Gundam Wing except more alive lol
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Old 2007-08-28, 22:24   Link #8
GundamZZ
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I am partially convinced tablet users just want to play with physics illustrator.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=d7eGypGOl...elated&search=

Off-topic: lacus is becoming like raito yagami. Sunrise finally figure out gundam fanboys dig bad girls. Look at hama and cima.[/end off-topic]
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Old 2007-08-30, 19:24   Link #9
Dkong1026
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All in all, I'd sell it on ebay. That way, you'll probably get back most of what you paid for.
After that, get a laptop or PC for less than $1000, then get a regular tablet.
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Old 2007-08-30, 21:51   Link #10
Zero Shinohara
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Quote:
I am partially convinced tablet users just want to play with physics illustrator.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=d7eGypGOl...elated&search=
Lol, well I think you could use it with a regular tablet or a mouse, anyway.

Quote:
All in all, I'd sell it on ebay. That way, you'll probably get back most of what you paid for.
After that, get a laptop or PC for less than $1000, then get a regular tablet.
If I can't get what I paid for it in full, then there's no reason why I should return it. Of course it'd be nice to get a more expensive one with a Wacom tablet, but I'm on a small budget so losing any money at all is not permitted.

Fortunately, though, I'm starting to get the hang of it. I'm using paint to draw whenever I have free time at school, which isn't very often, but I can feel that I'm getting accustomed to it little by little. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to install Manga Studio or Photoshop in it yet, and doing things on Paint makes it hard for you to see real progress. My main idea is to: 1) Buy as little books as possible, 2) Maintain most of what's left of my finantial aid to pay for the laptop 3) Use whatever's left to buy a large surface-area tablet. I have my eyes on the 12x19, but that mofo' is HUGE, and if I'm having trouble finding somewhere to put my 8x6 at, just imagine what that monster's gonna do. But hey, at least it's an investiment for the future. ( Yeah right, I'll just draw Anime in it anyway. )
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Old 2007-09-01, 10:27   Link #11
Dkong1026
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At this point, if Newegg won't take a full refund, you're either faced with keeping your Tablet PC or losing some money by selling it on ebay.
But hell, if you sell it on ebay for $1000, but then buy an $800 laptop afterwards, you're not actually losing money in the long run (you said the tablet PC was $1200, right?).

Also, why the hell do you want a 12x19? What's wrong with 6x8? Or even just one level up from 6x8?
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Old 2007-09-03, 13:14   Link #12
Zero Shinohara
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Quote:
Also, why the hell do you want a 12x19? What's wrong with 6x8? Or even just one level up from 6x8?
Let's say I'm one to exaggerate... Anyway, personally I think 12x19 is going overboard and that maybe a 12x12 would be good enough. But for 150 more, those 7 inches really sound sweet.

And nope, paid 1400 for it and waiting for a $50 rebate to process. Let's just say that no laptop on the $600 line will meet my expectations, especially now with super-resourcehog Vista coming installed in most laptops in the market.

However, I'm not really sweating about this purchase anymore since I just got an additional 2 grand for this semester because I'm such a hueg n3rd. Not only I'll free myself from a loan I'll have to repay, but I can just download my books online and spend what's left on my account with stuff that has nothing to do with my academic endeavours. ( I.e.: A 1/8 PVC image of Shana, a few DVDs I wanted to buy and, of course, a huge poster of her to put in my room )

And then I can do the same next semester, save as much as I can and woot, round trip to Japan!

Yeah, I realize what I'm saying has nothing to do with the topic, but gimme a break.
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Old 2007-09-03, 15:38   Link #13
Gundam Zero Force
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Quote:
However, I'm not really sweating about this purchase anymore since I just got an additional 2 grand for this semester because I'm such a hueg n3rd. Not only I'll free myself from a loan I'll have to repay, but I can just download my books online and spend what's left on my account with stuff that has nothing to do with my academic endeavours. ( I.e.: A 1/8 PVC image of Shana, a few DVDs I wanted to buy and, of course, a huge poster of her to put in my room )
Awesome! Yeah I am somewhat of a n3rd myself too lol. So I understand what you mean.

And to keep it on topic: I'd say a 6x8 works fine really, I bet the extra space those larger tablets have are great but I like the ability to not have to move my entire arm to get from one end of the tablet to the other. Also I think the 6x8 fits nice in my lap which makes it more comfortable for me to work with.
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