Category Archives: Android Tablet

Android is an operating system made by Google. It’s mainly designed for touchscreen mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones and is based on Linux. There are also versions of the OS for cars, TVs, and watches, as well as versions for gaming consoles, cameras, laptops, and more. There are more installations of Android than any other OS. Its source code is open source. There are over a million Android apps in the Google Play store. It was created by some Palo Alto, Calif. developers in 2003, and two years later, purchased by Google for 50 million dollars. While its integration into tablets was initially slow, in 2012 it started to get more popular and now the majority of tablets run Android. There are some computers and tablet that offer dual boot of Android and Windows. Android is pretty much ubiquitous now, and less restrictive than Apple toward developers who want to get their app into the Google Play store.

Lenovo Yoga_Book_review

Lenovo Yoga Book review

Lenovo Yoga Book Review: Windows and Android

lenovoyogabookreview

A while back, I wrote a fairly detailed Lenovo Yoga Book article when the product was announced, including specs. So here I’ll focus on my experience with it.  I have to say that it was as expected, and in some ways better–it’s a cool and very portable device that delivers in the art area. It comes in both WIndows and Android versions.

lenovo-yoga-book

Lenovo Yoga Book and Real Pen

See the Lenovo Yoga Book on Amazon

The Windows version comes only in black, while the Android Yoga Book’s hues are black, gray, and gold. Perhaps that’s a clue that they expect to sell more of the Android.

Specs

Wacom digitizer, 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
EMR pen
100 degrees of tilt sensitivity
Screen: 10.1″ IPS LCD with Lenovo Anypen, multitouch,  HD1920×1200
OS: Android or Windows
Dimensions: 10.1″ × 6.72″ × 0.38″ (256.6 × 170.8 × 9.6 mm)
Build: Magnesium aluminum alloy
Processor: Atom X5, 2.4GHz
Weight: 1.52 lbs (.69 kg)
RAM: 4GB, 64GB storage, microSD can be added
Memory: LPDDR3
Dolby speakers

Comes with:

Yoga Book
Charger
micro USB cord
Documentation
Real Pen
3 ink-cartridge refills
Paper pad with 15 sheets of paper (refill pads have 75 sheets)
Book Pad (metal clipboard accessory)

On Feb. 8, 2017, he A12, a lower-specced, Android version of this was released but it does NOT have a digitizer.

Design

Needless to say, the Yoga Book is really cool-looking and the hinge is beautiful, with a bit of Steampunk sensibility. Lenovo is known for its utilitarian style. Here, the design has lightened and become whimsical.

As with all Yogas, the device bends into myriad poses. The smallness of it makes posing it easier and more fun than with the large ones. The large bezel lets you hold it without touching the screen, and visually sets off the display from its surroundings.

yogabookmodes

Tent pose would be great for showing your portfolio, letting an art director finger-scroll through your work. Or you could prop it on an airplane tray table and watch a movie.

yogabooksize

Ports

There’s a micro-USB and micro-HDMI, a conventional mic-headphone jack, as well as a microSD slot for a card up to 128GB. There’s no USB-C. To use USB peripherals, you will need to provide your own adapter, such as a USB to Go. You won’t be able to simultaneously charge the computer and use a peripheral unless you use a USB hub.

While some people are wishing for more ports, they wouldn’t fit into the skinny tablet body that gives the Yoga Book such great portability.

Display

It’s a bright 400 nits. It’s just HD, but I think at a small size, that matters less than it would at a large size. It also makes the battery last longer. Lenovo reports 70% of Adobe RGB though some places are finding up to 90%. It doesn’t have professional-level color accuracy, but is fine for a digital sketchbook.

You can write or draw on the multi-touch Lenovo AnyPen touchscreen with the stylus tip of the Real Pen, or with anything conducive, from a fork to a banana, because the screen uses Lenovo AnyPen. The one thing that will not work is pure plastic. No matter what, though, you won’t get pressure sensitivity or palm rejection on the screen.

Portability

At about 1.5 lbs., it’s very light and easy to carry in a small bag. The Yoga Book feels more like carrying a paperback book or Kindle with a protective cover. To compare, a 13″ MacBook Air weighs about twice as much. I find my MacBook Air starts to feel heavy after a while so if I have to cover a lot of ground I leave it at home.

Since the Yoga Book is a clamshell, the screen is protected. This means savings, as with an open tablet like an iPad, you have to invest in serious armor or padding.

Comparatively, the large iPad Pro weighs about the same as this, and the small one less than a pound. But then you have to figure in the weight of a case, and the Apple Pencil adds about 3/4 ounce.

Light as the Yoga Book is, though, you also have the paper pad, pen, and additional nib to carry around. There’s no silo for the pen. So having a sleeve that holds everything, and closes would be a good solution.

Lenovo Real Pen

lenovo yoga book pen tips

Yoga Book Wacom EMR Real Pen with stylus tip (top) and ink pen tip

The Yoga Book Real Pen is a batterlyess, Wacom EMR pen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and 100 degrees of tilt. Lenovo tried over 200 pen designs to get one that fulfilled the Real Pen’s dual functions. While on the large side, the pen is light and comfortable to hold. There’s no eraser tip, so you’ll need to use your program’s eraser brush.

lenovo yoga book pen styluses

If you want to draw for a while on the Create Pad, then change to drawing on the screen, you switch out the nibs, from the digitizer nib to the real ink nib. To switch them out requires using a little hole in the cap to pry out one nib. It’s reminiscent of the hole in the top of the Intuos that you use to pull out nibs.

Notice the fine tip of the top pen, which is the stylus to use on the AnyPen screen. The tip is coated with conduction polyoxymethylene (POM).

yogabookrealpen

Yoga Book Real Pen interior

If you’re a frequent switcher, getting an extra pen isn’t a bad idea. If you don’t like the nib remover you can use a ring one that comes with a Wacom pen. (photo illustration by Lenovo) Or, you can use just about anything to draw on the screen.

 Drawing on the Yoga Book

Here is a super-short pen demo. You can see how the line appears with my pen strokes with no lag. This is just one layer, though. If you have a very large file, you could get some lag as the Atom processor catches up.

Yoga Book Create Pad

The Create Pad is the black drawing tablet. Pushing a button switches it to stylus mode from keyboard mode.

Drawing is where the Lenovo Yoga Book shines. The Creator Pad is very responsive, perfectly mimicking what you draw or write. The Wacom digitizer works great, offering 2,048 levels of pressure and 100 degrees of tilt. There are no hotkeys.

Create Pad with paper pad (right) and color art on the screen (left)

It would be nice if the EMR pen offered nibs other than a ballpoint, but it has to conduct electricity.

There is something nice about getting back to paper.  I found myself keeping my eyes on the paper, whereas with a graphics tablet you have to look at the screen. (Though the new Intuous Pro includes a paper option). If the paper or just the novelty of it inspires you to draw more, than that’s a good thing. You can use any normal paper. To get retro, you could use tracing paper to build up your drawing on paper.

If you didn’t bring paper, you can draw straight onto the Create Pad with no paper. TheCreate Pad is actually the surface of the drawing tablet, not the paper pad. Then you can wipe off the ink. Similarly, you could use the ink pen on the AnyPen screen then wash it off. But I don’t like washing off ink, so I stick to the paper and Real Pen tip.

The ink refills are regular ink refills. You can buy them at stationery stores or from Lenovo or other places.

yogabookkeyboard

Halo keyboard

The keyboard is cool-looking, but difficult to type on, not a whole lot better than texting or typing on an on-screen keyboard. There’s a vibration when you hit the keys. It’s not good ergonomics to type on a flat keyboard. The haptic vibration may help you reflexively not strike as hard, but I’d still be careful and use this just for emails or short items. The size of the keyboard is also challenging to type.

I asked Lenovo if they considered adding more keyboards, such as those for other languages, but they said that wasn’t a possibility right now, since the keyboard is etched in.

Battery Life

Lenovo estimates 12-15 hours, which is really long; realistically, using art apps,. 9 for Windows and 11 for Android. The device doesn’t get very hot.

Art Software

Since the processor is Atom, there’s no point in trying to run heavy-duty programs such as Photoshop or Gimp. You can use them but only in the lightest way before you run into problems.

The Yoga Book comes bundled with a trial of ArtRage Lite, a versatile art program with loads of realistic brushes and effects, even glitter and impasto. It’s a very affordable program to purchase.

Lenovo Yoga Book Windows vs. Android

lenovo yoga book keyboard

Lenovo Yoga Book, Android version

The hardware for both are the same. The one difference you can see is that on the Android, you can’t see the touchpad as well because it isn’t outlined; there are just markings on the corners.

With the Android version you can use any app in the Google Play store, such as Procreate. With Windows, you could use ArtRage desktop, Photoshop Elements, Sketchbook Pro, Mischief, Krita, Sketchable, and other art programs that are not too resource-intensive.

Which is best? If you’re used to Windows, you might want to stick with the familiar. But the Android actually has more going for it. The Yoga Book is a tablet-first laptop. Its specs are low for a Windows machine, but high for an Android tablet.

The Android version lets you use anything in the Google Play store, including Procreate, Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop Express, and tons more. The Android apps are smaller, hence run faster. In the Android you can turn off the screen to save battery while you draw on the Create Pad, with the image still getting digitized.

In the Windows version, there is two-fingered scroll. You will also get Windows Ink and handwriting to text. And you can use Microsoft Office or Open Office. However, if writing is your main thing, I doubt this can replace a full-size laptop.

lenovo yoga book review

Converting handwriting to text on the Yoga Book.

All in all, the Android is  bit better, but there’s not a huge difference, so get whichever one you’re more comfortable with. Just realize that large Windows applications aren’t going to work well. There are Windows mobile apps (the apps formerly known as Metro) in the Windows Store, but nowhere near the amount for Android.

User Reactions

A lot of people are enjoying this tablet. Some Lenovo Yoga Book reviews say the Dolby speakers are louder in the Windows version. Some are also reporting problems with pressure sensitivity in full Photoshop and Corel Draw, but I think those are too large to run on this tablet anyway. The device seems to be sort of “comfort food” for some users.

The biggest sticking points are the trackpad and keyboard.

Pros

Lightness, portability
Multi-positions
Multi-functions
Display
Responsiveness of tablet
Touchscreen
Pen refills are affordable and easy to find

Cons

Typing is difficult
Processor and storage not very high
Create Pad limited to ballpoint pen

The Verdict

The design of the Lenovo Yoga Book is excellent, the hinge is beautiful, and it’s fun to tote around and show off. It’s a neat digital sketchbook, and nice to have a graphics tablet that’s already connected without dealing with cords.

You could get a Wacom Spark for less money if your main goal is to digitize your ink drawings as you draw.  If you want a very portable device to draw and do light typing on, the Book is a fun, versatile digital sketchbook. The main draws for me are the si

What the Yoga Book has done is combine a bunch of functions. Some call it gimmicky, others just enjoy it. I think there’s a bit of that old Apple charm going on here–though it may not give you a ton of power, it’s got a certain charisma and ease of use that’s getting it a lot of fans (and some detractors).

This functions somewhat better with Android, but go with your needs and preferences.

This artist, Arthur Walker, has created this great time-lapse video of drawing on the Yoga Book. He has even mastered touch typing.

See the Lenovo Yoga Book  (Android and Windows) on Amazon

 

Optional accessories include extra paper, ink refills, carrying case.

 

End of Lenovo Yoga Book review

tabletswithusbports

Tablets with USB Ports 2016

Full size, 3.0, 2.0, C, micro USB… what does that have to do with tablets?

tablets with usb ports

Surface tablet with USB stick

This article will give you the basics about tablets with USB ports. A tablet is a lot more useful when you can connect other devices into it. Different types of tablets have different sizes and speeds of ports.

You may be looking for a tablet with a USB port that’s full-size so you can hook up a mouse and keyboard, hard drives, printers, card readers, USB sticks, other peripherals, or even fun USB gadgets.

To use these devices, your tablet must become a USB host. Most portable tablets have micro-USB ports. If a tablet says it has USB 2.0, 3.0 etc., that refers to speed, not size, so you can’t assume it means a standard, full-size port. So if a full-size port is important to you, you need to choose your tablet according to this need.

OTG (On-the-Go)

To make your Android tablet into a host, you can usually use an inexpensive Micro USB OTG (On the Go) cable, thus named because of the portability of tablets. Some tablets come with the cable. Not every tablet supports OTG, so you need to check first.

OTG does have some power limitations. The devices you connect via the cable are the USB clients.

USB hubs

The tablet’s battery will be the power source for the peripheral (which is the thing you’ll be connecting to the tablet). If the peripheral’s power needs are more than the OTG cable can handle, you can use a powered USB hub.

A USB hub, powered or not, will also let you connect several devices at once.

Some cheap Android tablets may have a micro USB port that cannot become a host and is only there for charging the tablet, but most are capable of accepting OTG and many come with the OTG cable.

Tablet with USB port: Windows

The main tablets with USB ports are full Windows tablets and tablet PCs, such as the Surface Pro and Vaio Z Canvas and Lenovo Yoga 900. You can also use the older Surface 3 and Surface RT. These full tablet PCs will also have other ports such as HDMI to support external monitors and TVs.

The Windows 10 tablet by Fusion 5 is a portable tablet (not an art tablet) with a full-size USB.

Most Android tablets have USB 2.0, which doesn’t transfer data as quickly. Some Windows portable tablets, such as the Cube i7, have micro USB 3.0.

IPads have a Lightning port and come with a Lightning to USB cable, whether iPad Pro, regular iPad, or mini.

In PCs and desktop computers, USB 3.1 is the current standard. This is faster in transmitting data than 3.0 and 2.0. USB-C is a newer type of port that will likely become the standard for many types of devices. It can take the place of other ports, including one for charging and HDMI. Some Android tablets have USB-C.

Want more info? This Wikipedia article  goes into much more detail about USBs. This Forbes story tells you all about USB-C and why it’s turning things upside-down.

Android

Here are some Android tablets that have full-size USB ports. These are NOT art tablets–while they are touchscreens, to be art tablets they would need a pressure-sensitive touchscreen.

Google Pixel C

The Google Pixel C has a USB-C port, so it’s ready for anything. This Android tablet is thin and powerful, with a battery life of 10 hours. It’s got a really sharp screen: 10.2″ with 2560 x 1800 (308 PPI), and an NVIDIA Tegra X1 with Maxwell GPU. Would that our art tablets had these kinds of specs.

Dragon Touch X10

Dragon Touch X10 octacore Android tablet PC

Dragon Touch X10 octacore Android tablet with USB port

The Dragon Touch X10 has both a standard USB port and a mini HDMI port. Its Octa-Core CPU and  Octa-Core high-speed PowerVR SGX544 GPU will keep games going fast. It’s got a 10″ IPS screen that’s not high-res, but has good viewing angles.

If a tablet with a USB port is important to you for reasons such as attaching printers, you may be better off with one of the full Windows tablet computers above.

Pretty soon we’re likely to see lots of tablets with USB-C’s, but for now they’re still relatively rare.

It’s a good idea to have something like this Sabrent USB hub so you can use your port to multitask. The Sabrent is compatible with both USB 2.0 and 3.0. When buying accessories, be sure to check your device’s compatibility.


end of tablets with usb ports

 

 

 

 

 

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 released: a tablet for gamers

NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1 just released

It’s baaaaackkk!  The NVIDIA Shield K1 has just been released following the recall of the old NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet for fire-hazard issues. This time though, just the 16GB model, and it’s bring your own stylus. This tablet is aimed at gamers and has a Tegra processor that makes it really fast, faster than other Android tablets. The art app Dabbler that came in the first version provides real-time dripping paint effects, so you can do a mini Jackson Pollack Action Painting.

nvidia shield tablet k1

This time there’s no micro-USB, charger, or stylus included: It’s bring your own accessories. This has allowed the company to introduce it with a far lower price than the last version. But even if it lacks both a stylus and a slot for it, this version still compatible with the Shield DirectStylus 2, which offered sort of an artificial yet effective pressure sensitivity.

At 8″ it’s a little bit small to draw on, but at least lag shouldn’t be an issue.

Specs:

8 inches
1920×1200 pixels
2.2 GHz Tegra K1 192-core NVIDIA Kepler CPU
2.2 GHz quad-core CPU
2 GB RAM
16 GB storage
Wifi (no LTE)
Bluetooth
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Weight 12.5 ounces
8.80 x 5 x 0.36 inches
mini HDMI port
micro SD port takes card of up to 128 GB

It can be turned into a gaming console with the SHIELD controller (optional) and also has an optional kickstand.

Best of all, the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet is very affordable and considerably less than the last version. They are not including the stylus, the Shield DirectStylus 2 with this release, but you can buy it separately.

See the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 on Amazon.

See the Shield DirectStylus 2.

For more info on the art capabilities, please see this related post.

 

 

samsung galaxy tab a s pen review

Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review: an affordable drawing tablet

Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review : an affordable drawing tablet

by Tablets for Artists

Update: In Oct. 2016, Samsung released this updated version that’s got an HD screen, more memory, and is larger at 10.1.”

2014 Galaxy Tab A with S Pen 9.7"2016 Galaxy Tab A with S Pen 10.1"
Screen size: 9.7"
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Processor: 1.2 GHz, quadcore
OS: Android 5.0.2 Lollipop
RAM: 1.5 GB
Storage: 16 GB, expandable to 128 GB with MicroSD card
Weight: 1.07 lbs.
Micro USB 2.0 port
Battery life: up to 15 hrs. Web browsing


Screen size: 10.1"
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Processor: 1.6 GHz, octacore
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
RAM: 3 GB
Storage: 16 GB, expandable to 256 GB with MicroSD card
Weight: 1 lb.
Micro USB 2.0 port
Battery life: about 14 hrs. Web browsing




The Galaxy Tab A with S Pen is an affordable drawing tablet you can tote anywhere. Its 4:3 aspect ratio is a benefit for artists. Its size is large enough to draw comfortably on, and you have your pick of Galaxy Apps and apps from the Google Play store. The S pen is Wacom, and you’ll get pressure sensitivity and palm rejection, which are important for creating art.

galaxytabawithspenreviewpin

 

Galaxy Tab A with S Pen (new, 2016 version)

 

Type of Tablet

Android tablet

Features

1.2 GHz Quad-Core, Qualcomm APQ 8016
runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop
screen resolution: 1024 x 768 (12 ppi)
4:3 aspect ratio
9.55″ x 6.57″ x 0.29″ (242 x 166.8 x 7.3 mm)
weight: 1.07 lbs. (485 g)
micro-USB 2.0 port
Smooth plastic casing
Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 1.2GHz 64-bit Quad Core processor
Adreno 306 GPU
Samsung TouchWiz overlay to the OS
16 GB storage
MicroSD slot allows up to 128 GB memory card for media and some apps
PLS LCD screen
5 MP front camera, 2 MP rear camera. 4x digital optical zoom; autofocus
shoots 720p HD video
GPS
Wi-fi and 4G models
Bluetooth
Microsoft Office pre-installed, plus 100GB free OneDrive cloud storage (two years free)
Allows separate, private user accounts
Samsung KidsTime content with parental controls, one free month of learning apps and ebooks
Syncs with Samsung phone and pairs with Samsung Smart TV, or use Chromecast. No HDMI.
On-screen keyboard has numbers over the letters

What’s in the box

Tablet, S pen, charger head (power plug), micro-USB cable, Quickstart Guide, warranty info

Reminder: only the Tab A that has “with S Pen” in the name uses an S Pen, and it comes with it. The regular Galaxy Tab A does not have the S Pen and will not work with it, nor get pressure sensitivity.

Using the tablet

Samsung’s tablets have a lot of nifty abilities, such as being able to multitask, with up to 5 windows open at once, use split-screen with apps (you can have two apps open at once and even drag things from one to another), handwriting recognition, a mic, and more. There are two power-saving modes, one called Ultra Power Saver, which simplifies the interface to save battery life.

When you remove the S Pen from its sheath, Air Command, a steering-wheel-like dashboard, pops up and lets you use the pen to perform operations such as take a screenshot or open an app. You can handwrite something to put into an app, such as email or notes.

The S pen is not simply an addition that happens to make marks; its functionality is an integral part of S pen-enabled tablets. You can draw, write, crop, and capture. The S Pen writing app has digital fountain and calligraphy pens. Having a wide range of digital pen nibs is a familiar experience to art-app users, but may be new for people who have been stuck with one basic pen in the main tablet interface until now. The Calligraphy and Fountain pens allow you to go formal or lay down a digital signature with gravitas.

The on-screen keyboard has a row of numbers over the letters, which is convenient for typing in passwords, so you don’t have to switch to a numerical keyboard. There is also a handwriting keyboard that converts handwriting to typed text and even a voice keyboard that turns utterings into text.

Screen

The 4:3 aspect ratio is new for Samsung tablets and makes the Tab A resemble an iPad. This aspect ratio is more similar to proportions of paper and canvas that most artists draw on, so it’s preferable for drawing than the more common 16:9 or 16:10 of most Android (and some Windows) tablets. 4:3 also good for reading, as you don’t have to scroll the page sideways when using it in landscape orientation.

The PLS (plane line switching) TFT Gorilla Glass screen is nice and bright, with good color accuracy. It’s not quite as high-end as the AMOLED screen of the pricier Note.

The most frequently voiced complaint about this tablet by far is about the low resolution. It’s 132 ppi, the same as on the iPad1 and iPad2 and about the same as the old Cintiq 12ux (125 ppi). Over the past few years, people have gotten used to higher-res screens, and it can be hard to go back. When you compare them side to side, there is a noticeable difference. I find the Tab A fine for reading and drawing, personally, especially drawing. It’s the same res common in the early 2010s.

The Adaptive Display feature is a light sensor that adjusts the tablet’s brightness, color, and sharpness to your environment.

The glass surface is slick and toothless and the S Pen’s hard plastic tip glides over it. If you prefer to have a bit of tooth to draw with, try a matte screen protector. It really makes a difference.

Pen

galaxytabawithspenreview2

You must use the pen that comes with it with the Tab A. The Note S pen will not work with the Galaxy Tab A (though a regular Wacom pen will work on the Wacom Note devices as well as the Galaxy Tab A with S pen). Palm rejection works well.

An ordinary Wacom pen made for a penabled Wacom tablet works with it may be a more comfortable choice to draw with. Testing the S pen showed that it has rotation sensitivity.

The pen has a hard plastic tip, making it glide over the Gorilla Glass screen.

Converting handwriting is encouraged with this tablet. With a bit of practice on both your parts, the tablet will recognize your handwriting, and you will learn to tailor your penmanship to what the tablet can read.

Setup is easy, and you can import your data from other Android tablets via your Google account.

Portability

At about a pound, this is quite portable. Of course, you need to carry it in some kind of protective case or sleeve, and that will add weight too.

For Lefties

The tablet controls and setup should be fine for the left-handed. Most controls are on the right, with the S Pen slot at the upper right corner. The rest are on the bottom, leaving the top and left edges with no controls.

Controls

The important Back and Recent Apps buttons on either side of the Home button are hard to see. They are harder to see in the Smokey Titanium color than the white. I would think people would soon remember where these buttons are. If you’ve never had an Android tablet, these are frequently used buttons. They allow you to back out of an app when you have lost your way. On the right side of the tablet is the volume button.

The tablet recognizes gesture, allowing you to take a photo without actually touching the screen.

Software

About 6GB of space is taken up by the OS. Fortunately, the storage is expandable via MicroSD card of up to 128 GB. You can keep apps and media on that.

Many Android art apps allow multiple layers, creating and editing of high-res files, and offer options to adjust sizes and export and import certain file types, just as full desktop apps do. 3-D modeling apps are also available. No mobile art app offers the power of a desktop program like Photoshop–but not everyone needs all that power all the time. An artist with the Galaxy Tab A with S Pen can do more with than than they can with an iPad because of the Tab A’s native pressure sensitivity.

The Galaxy Tab A with S Pen does have some non-removable bloatware, but not as much as some previous Samsung tablets.

Samsung has included Microsoft Office preinstalled, which is handy, even handier if you’ve got a Bluetooth Keyboard or type cover. OneDrive gives you 200 GB of free online storage.

If you’re selling your wares at, say, an art fair, you can use the Square App to accept credit-card payments. (The old-fashioned, pre-app way was to do it in the browser using PayPal).

The Side Sync apps mirrors your Samsung phone, so that if you get a text on your phone, you can answer it on your tablet.

And if you need a break to play Angry Birds, you can do light gaming such as that on this tablet, but nothing too processor-heavy. Sorry, gamers, there is no haptic feedback.

Because of the 4:3 aspect ratio, movies will have a black bar on the top and bottom because movies have a 16:9 aspect ratio. Just pretend you’re at a drive-in.

Battery Life

Excellent. 15 hours of Internet use

One Galaxy Tab A with S pen review writer said after charging the Tab A and leaving it alone for a week, the battery held almost all of its charge.

User Ratings and Reviews

Customer feedback has been very positive, with the biggest complaint by far being the resolution. I got the idea a lot of people who bought this tablet were using a tablet with a stylus for the first time and loved it. Remember that this is a budget art tablet. Without the S pen, it’s not the biggest bargain, but when you add the S Pen in, it becomes attractive to artists who want a digital sketchbook, and to those those just dipping their brushes into the digital-art jar.

This is being marketed as a general use, versatile tablet for everyone. It’s a positive development that pressure sensitivity is now available in an affordable art tablet, and this feature is getting more widespread. Paired with a keyboard, this can be a productive all-in-one tablet.

Gadgets should reflect the organic qualities of humans, such as the way we vary the weight we exert while writing. A handwriting expert would have a hard time analyzing a line weight that never varies. And for artists throughout history, line itself is a signature. (Remember when Rapidograph technical pens were the way to NOT get a varied line width?)

Pressure sensitivity will vary from app to app.

Pros

S pen with ability to edit, hover, use Air Command, copy text or other content between apps
Multitasking–can use multiple apps at once
Affordable drawing tablet
Comfortable drawing size
Wacom-powered; usable with other Wacom pens
4:3 aspect ratio
Fast
expandable storage

Cons

Screen resolution lower than many current devices
Android navigation buttons are not backlit
No haptic (vibrational) feedback
Not the fastest tablet; limited memory, so use the microSD card

The Verdict

Thumbs-up for the Galaxy Tab A with S Pen as a digital sketchbook. This is a fine entry-level art tablet that offers useful apps such as ArtRage and Sketchbook Pro as well as many others. The size and aspect ratio make it good to draw, read, and write on. The colors are bright.

If the resolution is too low for you, of if you would prefer a small Windows tablet, there are other options in this price range, but I think this is one of the better options due to its size and the fact it has Wacom. You get Galaxy Tab responsiveness and multitasking.

In addition to reading this Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review, you might want to check out the Galaxy Note 10.1 with S Pen review if you want a more high-end version with better screen resolution.

 

See additional reviews and info about the Galaxy Tab A 9.7″ with S Pen on Amazon

Galaxy Tab A 9.7 ” with S Pen Bundle with headset, sleeve, and more

This Samsung video shows the various uses of the S Pen:

 

Optional Accessories

 

logitech keyboard case

 

 

 

 

 

Logitech keyboard case

 

affordable drawing tablet

 

 

 

 

Micro SD chip to expand storage

 

matte screen protector

Matte screen protector

 

 

 

 

 

 

wacom pen

Wacom pen (Note: there is not a way to store this pen on the tablet, and it’s not an “official” accessory, but it works.)

For other options for a good digital sketchbook, see them in the comparison chart.

If you’re trying to figure out which tablet to get, see this informational article, The Best Drawing Tablet for You.

End of Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review: an affordable drawing tablet

samsunggalaxynotereview

2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review: S Pen in Command

2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review: draw and multitask

by Tablets for Artists
There’s a parsec of products in the Samsung Galaxy line. This review will focus on the 2014 Galaxy Note 10, which comes with a built-in S pen stylus. The 2014 Galaxy Note 10.1 features a 10.1″ screen.

samsunggalaxynote10.1review

2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. See it on Amazon.

Note: The Galaxy Note is different than the Galaxy Tab. The regular Galaxy Tab does not have pressure sensitivity and does not come with a pen. If you want to use a stylus to use with a Galaxy Tab, you have to buy one separately, and it will be more like a iPad stylus.

The Galaxy Tab A with S Pen does have pressure sensitivity and a pen, as does the Galaxy TabPro S, which runs Windows.

As of 2013, Samsung has bought 5% of Wacom, so expect a continuing partnership. (Wacom tech is also found in other companies’ tablets.)

Type of Tablet

The Galaxy Note 10.1 is an Android tablet running Android 4.3, Jelly Bean.

For Lefties

It’s fine for left-handers. (The Galaxy Note Edge is another story, as it has a curved screen on one side).

Features

S Pen with eraser and Wacom integration
Wacom digitizer gives you 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity
WQXGA (2560 x 1600)
1.26 pounds
10.1-Inch high-res TFT display
9.57 x 6.75 x 0.31 inches
3 GB RAM
8MP rear camera, 2MP front
(1080p video recording), LED flash
MicroSD card slot can hold card of up to 64GB
USB 2.0
Octacore Exynos processor (eight processors, but they are not all used at once; it’s two four-core processors)
Samsung’s AllShare, which can put what’s on your tablet on a Samsung TV
Dolby Surround Sound speakers

This 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review is of the Wi-fi model only, but you can get the Galaxy Note 10.1 with 4G from a variety of carriers.

The multi-window function is a great boon to multitaskers. It lets you have two windows open into which you can drag and drop certain apps.  You can also take a screenshot and write or draw on it.

Using a 10″ tablet gives you twice as much screen as a 7″ tablet, so there’s enough space to multitask. The tablet comes with quite a bit of free content. We like the two free years of 50GB Dropbox.

 

Portability

At one and a quarter pounds, that’s not much weight considering how much productivity you can get with it.

 

What’s Included

The tablet, S Pen, USB charging cable, travel adapter, quickstart guide.

 

Screen

The Galaxy Note 10.1 screen is high-resolution, with over 4 million pixels, which is double that of HDTV, according to Samsung. The 299ppi is dense, denser than the iPad Air Retina, which boasts 264ppi. The Note’s resolution is really as high as the eye can perceive high resolution. The screen is so bright that it gets good visibility outdoors. So, the display is awesome.

S Pen

galaxy note 10.1 review s pen

The S pen conveniently fits into the side top.

Wacom’s FEEL technology has been integrated into many aspects of the Note. When you use Air Command with the S Pen, a small round window pops up, giving you five functions. With Air Command you can convert handwriting to text you can then format, also make a call, add contacts (such as jotting down a phone number with the pen and converting it), use maps, search, or add to your to-do list.

A nifty feature called Pen Window lets you draw a square which becomes a small multitasking window where you can then open YouTube, the browser or other apps while remaining in your screen. Multitasking is the name of the game; you can drag and drop content and have multiple windows open. This is a major benefit over the one-thing-at-a-time iPad.

There’s also a side window that slides out from the left that serves up maps, YouTube, Evernote, and other apps. Handwriting works smoothly on the Note, even if you’ve got little tiny handwriting.

As art apps get more sophisticated, artists can do a lot without using full Photoshop, including using layers, creating high-resolution files, and exporting files as JPGs. There are many Android drawing and painting apps.

The Galaxy Note could be a go-to tablet for sketching, general productivity, and for some artists it’s enough for finished art for print. Drawing on it is a pleasure. Though some users reported lag, we did not experience any.

 

Alternatives to the S Pen

Nice as the S-pen is, face it, it’s thin. Though fine for note-taking, doodling, and sketching, it can cramp your hand when drawing for hours on end. And you might prefer the stroke quality of other pens; if you can, try a few and draw holding the pen at different angles.

If you prefer a writing implement that’s a little more solid, there are some alternatives. One is the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Feel for Samsung Galaxy Note. It lacks an eraser, so you’d have to use the eraser in your art app.

Or there’s the the Galaxy Note Genuine Wacom Touch Pen 8pi Stylus. This sports an eraser on the non-writing end.

Since it’s a regular Wacom digitizer, you could use any pen for Wacom-penabled PCs, such as this one, a full-size pen that’s comfortable to write with. This one will not fit into the S Pen slot.

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Samsung pen

One article suggested calibration may be off with non-S pens. I did not find this to be true in testing it.

 

Controls

Since the nifty multi-window lets you do two completely different things at once, you could draw and do image research at the same time.

Besides being your portable art studio, you can use the tablet as an e-reader as well as a universal remote control and TV guide.

The buttons are on the side, so they don’t change depending how you’re holding the tablet, portrait or landscape. You have to be a little careful to not push them by accident.

 

Software

Android apps are available on the Google Play store. Most cost a few dollars, with many free ones. Apps such as Sketchbook Pro and Layer Paint HD will let you open large files, even 10,000 x 10,000 pixels. The number of layers you can create varies with canvas size. Try GIMP for Android; this free, open source alternative to Photoshop is now in Google Play.

 

Battery Life

Long; up to 9 hours, even 10 if you’re not doing power-intensive stuff like gaming. With gaming, the tablet works fine and can go about 4 hours.

 

Customer Ratings and Reviews

Almost every 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review is positive. The Note is a popular item among both artists and nonartists. The handwriting capabilities receive praise. Most lag issues have been fixed by updates, according to reviewers–some of the first ones out were sluggish. One  2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review calls it “smoking fast,” another “a beast.” At this fairly high price, consumers should demand excellent performance.

TIP:

In Developer Settings, turning the animation scales off or to the lowest setting should speed up performance even more.

 

Pros

Excellent battery life

High-resolution, bright screen

Good handwriting recognition; will convert handwriting to text

Can be used with a Bluetooth keyboard or even an external monitor

Multitasking

Fast

 

Cons

Some experience lag with TouchWiz, or don’t like TouchWiz. There’s no easy way to disable it.

Not cheap

All plastic with the back being faux leather with “stitching.” Depending how you look at it, that’s refreshingly creative or slightly tacky. I kind of like it, myself.

As with any device, some people’s failed, but there is not a high rate of complaints.

 

Should you get this or an iPad Pro?

Update:  (When this article was first written, it was before the iPad Pro). The Galaxy Note is a better choice for artists than a regular iPad, it’s more of a competitor to an iPad Pro. The main advantages of the Galaxy Note over iPad Pro are that the S Pen is included, and the memory is expandable. There is no pen battery to worry about with the Note. It also would not be too expensive to get a new pen if yours gets lost.

However, at this point, I’d recommend the iPad Pro because it’s newer and more up to date. If you’re more of an Android fan, the Note is still viable, but it’s aging. A new Note may be in the pipeline.

With a regular iPad you can now get pressure sensitivity via Bluetooth in certain apps, but you are limited to a fairly small lineup of apps; some iPad styluses for art are more accurate than others.

The Verdict

This is a premium tablet that makes a powerful little sketchbook or portable art studio. It does not replace a Wacom Cintiq or full tablet PC. The pens do not have the tilt sensitivity like the more costly professional art tablets such as the Cintiq or Intuos.

 

Optional Accessories

 

galaxynote10.1review

Professional Ultra SanDisk 64GB MicroSDXC Card

 

 

 

See the Galaxy Note 10.1 on Amazon.

 

Now that you’ve read this Galaxy Note 10.1 review, it’s time to check out some artmaking!

 

 

End of 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review