Category Archives: Wacom Active ES

Wacom Active ES is Wacom Active Electrostatic Solution, a type of digitizer found on tablet PCs and art tablets.

lenovomiix720review

Lenovo Miix 720 coming April 2017

miix720review

Lenovo Miix 720

Lenovo Miix 720 goes to art studio and office

Lenovo has put out several Miixes with active pens–the Miix 510, 520, and IdeaPad Miix 700. The Miixes have been somewhat quiet competition to the Surface Pro. Now the Miix 720 has come.

Lenovo has gone on a listening tour, and is trying to deliver what people want. The Miix 720’s assortment of varying USB ports makes it so you can use your existing peripherals without dongles.  

Download the Miix 720_Spec Sheet (PDF)

This tablet is aimed at artists, designers, writers, business, and general use. Its integrated graphics can handle 4K video. It has the latest Kaby Lake processor. And it has fast memory.

Storage goes all the way up to 1TB. That way, you can be choosy about what you save to the Cloud. As well, you can work offline.

Lenovo Active Pen 2

The new Lenovo Active Pen 2 now has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It’s not hiked to the 8,192 of the newer Wacom Pro Pen 2 for the art-specific Intuos Pro (2017) and MobileStudio Pro, but it’s plenty. Even 1,024 wasn’t bad. 

 

Lenovo-Miix-720-review

The tablet will be out in April 2017, and the Active Pen 2 in February 2017.

Lenovo has long used Wacom digitizers in its PCs. Lenovo went from using Wacom EMR to Wacom AES in laptops and 2-in-1s. It switched back to EMR in the Yoga Book (which is really a graphics tablet with a separate screen), but is continuing to use AES on the Miix.

Lenovo’s Pro Pen and Active Pen 1 and 2 are both AES. The Active Pen 2 has raised the pressure levels to 4,192.

The Miix 720 comes in two colors, Champagne and Iron Gray.

Lenovo Miix 720 vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Though it’s certainly thin, the computer part is a hair thicker than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, at .35″ to the Microsoft’s skinny-Minnie .33.” There is little weight difference. The 12″ screen is a bit smaller than the SP4’s 12.3, but the Miix’s resolution is higher. The Miix, as far as I know, will not have a version with dedicated graphics the way the Surface Pro 4 does.

The Surface Pro 4’s pen is the less-sensitive N-trig, but perhaps the Surface Pro 5 will sport the long-awaited Wacom-Microsoft pen.

The dual watchband hinge on the kickstand is adjustable up to 150 degrees, as well as aesthetically appealing.

Features

Type of tablet: detachable 2-in-1
Display: 12″ QHD (2880 x 1920)
400 nits with Gorilla Glass
Digitizer: Wacom (probably will be ES), 4,096 levels
Processor: Intel up to  i7, Kaby Lake
Graphics: integrated
Build: one-piece metal alloy
dual-watchband hinge
RAM: Up to 16 GB DDR4
Dimensions
inches : 11.5″ x 8.27″ x 0.35″
mm: 292 x 210 x 8.9
With Keyboard
inches : 11.53″ x 8.5″ x 0.57″
mm): 293 x 216 x 14.6

One USB 3.1 (Type-C1)
One USB 3.0
One USB 2.0
microSD
Audio Combo Jack
Cameras: front 1MP, rear 5MP

Storage: up to 1 TB PCIe SSD
Dolby speakers

Weight: tablet starts at 1.72 lbs (780 g). With keyboard, starts at 2.42 lbs (1.1 kg)

Full-sized Backlit Keyboard
Lenovo Active Pen 2

WIndows Hello
Colors: Champagne Iron Gray

What’s included:

Miix 720
Keyboard
Power supply
Documentation

The Lenovo Active Pen 2 will likely be a separate purchase.

Battery Life:
Up to 8 hours of mixed use

lenovomiix720pin

Portability

It’s very thin. At a little over half an inch thick and a little under 2 1/2 lbs. including the keyboard, it can fit into bags and backpacks without a bulge. The penholder keeps the pen where you can find it.

It has Windows Hello, the somewhat creepy facial-recognition program that keeps you from the sweat of typing in a password. It’s optional. Here’s some privacy info about Windows Hello if you’re concerned.

Here’s a neat factoid from Lenovo: 20% of 2-in-1 users use a pen every day.

With the Thunderbolt 3 has a download speed of 40 GBps, you could attach this to a 4K monitor for video feed, and download stuff at the same time.

Keyboard

The keyboard is full-sized and has 1.5″ of key travel, just a shade (.1″) over the Surface Pro 4’s detachable keyboard. Unlike the Surface Pro 4’s bouncy slab, the Miix’s keyboard is rigid, and fully backlit.

Kickstand with dual-watchband hinge

miix720kickstand

The kickstand goes up to 150 degrees, which is almost upright, so you can watch movies or videoconference. Or you can adjust it down to draw on.

Multimonitor

You can use this in a multi-monitor setting, connecting up to two displays.

If this is as it sounds, if the price is right it could be pretty appealing.

Lenovo Miix 720 review to come

Right now the Miix 720 is a bit ahead of the Surface Pro 4 on most counts but a Surface Pro 5 is probably around the corner.

It’s still early (Feb. as I write) but I’ll update with a Lenovo Miix 720 review.

 

newthinkpadyoga14

Newer model ThinkPad Yoga 14 / ThinkPad Yoga 460 review

New Model Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 (also ThinkPad Yoga 460) review: pen included

 

Type of tablet

Laptop Ultrabook (nondetachable keyboard) 2-in-1
Digitizer: Wacom ES with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Pen included.

newthinkpadyoga14

 

See at Amazon

Model no. 20FY0002US

Features

Display 14″ diagonal, 1920 x 1080 IPS
Processor: 6th-gen. Skylake Intel Core i5-6200U
Graphics: dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics with 2GB dedicated video memory
Folds 360 degrees, into laptop, stand, tent, tablet modes
8GBDDR3L RAM
256GB SSD
Ports: 4-in 1 media card reader
Three USB 3.0 and two 2.0, though some say they got three 3.0 USB ports. The 3.0 ports are backward-compatible with 2.0 devices, at 2.0 speeds.
HDMI, miniDisplayPort
Weight: 3.85 lbs
backlit keyboard
Touchpad and ThinkPad red TrackPoint button
Dimensions: 13.31″ width x 9.37″ x .75″ (depth)

It is the same as the Lenovo Yoga 460, so you could read this as a Yoga 460 review as well. The 460 actually does have an i7 model. That listing is lacking in further detail.

As of April, 2016: the Yoga 460 now on the Lenovo site does not have the discrete (separate) graphics card, only integrated graphics. That 460 features up to a 6th-gen processor.

Windows 10, comes with Home edition

This Lenovo Yoga 14 has an i5 processor, powerful enough to run Photoshop and all the Adobe programs. The dedicated graphics card offers a speed boost, and the Skylake i5 is the equivalent of an i7 from the previous generation. That being said, it would be nice if there were an i7 model.

The RAM and SSD on this ThinkPad Yoga are both upgradeable, though there is just one RAM slot, so you can take out the 8GB stick and put in a 16.

Thanks to the dedicated graphics, you’ll be able to do moderate gaming and video editing, and get better results in Photoshop operations that use a lot of rendering, such as filters. This is still not a heavy-duty gaming monster machine, but a general overall Ultrabook with wide capabilities.

Screen

While it’s HD, 1920 x 1080p is not that high-res compared to a lot of computers coming out. However, the fact that it’s not 4K makes battery life last longer. The resolution is fine for looking at artwork, reading text, and watching video. The colors are clear and bright. It’s not overly glossy. The IPA screen supplies good viewing angles.

You can add two more displays, such as a monitor or TV to it via the HDMI and miniDisplayPort.

Portability

At 3.85 lbs., it’s not bad to carry around for short periods, but feels heavy holding in one hand or resting on the lap.

Pen
The ThinkPad Pen Pro Pen is a Wacom AES active capacitive pen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. It comes included in a silo in the left front edge of the chassis. The pen requires an AAAA battery (replacements found at hardware stores and online). It charges in its silo, taking 15 seconds to charge, which powers it for a couple of hours of use.

thinkpad active capacitive-pen

The thicker pen: ThinkPad Pro Pen, takes an AAAA battery. See it on Amazon

The pen is not miniature or very short, but it’s skinny and not optimal to draw or write with for long periods. You can purchase a  more normal-sized pen (both thicker and longer) if you prefer. This pen needs a battery, but the one included with the tablet PC does not, because it charges from the computer.

Wacom ES has excellent accuracy and pressure sensitivity, second only to Wacom EMR in terms of sensitivity (ES requires a little more force to get a mark). Its accuracy exceeds EMR, with no parallax and no jitter around the edges as Wacom EMR gets. I did notice a little more jitter when drawing slow lines than with traditional EMR. Palm rejection works well. The pressure curve is smooth, no blobs, no little “tails.” You will not be able to use a traditional EMR pen on this.

Keyboard

The backlit, chiclet-style keyboard is comfortable and easy to type on. If you type a lot, but also want an art tablet, this is a good choice. The keyboard is Lift and Lock, so when you have it folded into Tablet mode, the frame rises around the keys and the keyboard is disabled. So you won’t be able to reach back for keyboard shortcuts. Instead, you could use an external keyboard, either Bluetooth or USB. The ThinkPad red TrackPoint nub lets you move the cursor long distances with a small finger movement. Its sporelike top with tiny bumps gives your fingertip traction (and a little massage).

Battery life
6-8 hours, depending what you’re doing.

User reviews

Most users have been very happy with this computer, feeling it’s a great value with its many features, bright screen, speed, and build quality. A few got ones with glitches but managed to address them. Aside from irregular complaints, this has been a successful release.  I haven’t seen any complaints about overheating or battery problems, though some wish the battery lasted longer.

Pros

solid, durable, well-built
dedicated graphics
nice keyboard
pen is included and fits into a slot in the body
value

Cons

on the heavy side for drawing
single RAM slot (upgradeable, but would be nice if there were two slots)
pen that comes with it is thin
some have reported touchscreen glitches

 

yoga 460 review

The Verdict
This new Lenovo Yoga 14 review is a drawing-hand thumb’s up. It doesn’t have the issues of the last release, which included some that shipped with bad batteries. It’s a solid, portable, and versatile machine.

Weird facts: did you know the ThinkPad’s design was inspired by the Japanese Bento box? This post on Lenovo’s blog explains.

I think the simple design is one of the main appeals of the ThinkPad. The box shape offers protection. The ThinkPad has a utilitarian look. It’s easy to not notice it much at first, but the details show a great deal of thought, and the many poses add new uses. You can also open it flat if you wish to draw using the keyboard shortcuts without a spare keyboard.

The Yogas have more Penabled devices than anyplace else and continue to offer them.

This is a great choice for an art tablet that’s an all-around tablet. It’s not super duper powerful, but powerful enough to run Photoshop and do moderate gaming. You can add more RAM and a faster hard drive. This computer can be your whole office and art studio.

In some ways I prefer the previous ThinkPad Yoga 14, which had a discrete GPU and superior color gamut. This is one is more of a general-use machine that’s suitable for drawing.

Here’s a detailed drawing test by Shogmaster.

end of New Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 / ThinkPad Yoga 460 review

 

 

dell-active-pen-new-venue

New Dell Active Pen and Stylus: Wacom ES for New Venue 8 and 10 Pro

New Dell Active Pen and Dell Active Stylus: New Venue 8 Pro and Venue 10 Pro get Wacom ES

Dell unveiled revamped Venue 8 and 10 tablets at CES 2016 in January. They included the New Venue 8 Pro 5000, now with a Wacom ES digitizer and the New Dell Venue 10 Pro (5055) and Venue 10 (5050).

“New” is part of the name of the New Venue 10 Pro, but not part of the name of the revamped Venue 10, though they refer to it as  a ‘new’ Venue 10 with a lower-case “n” in the product info. Sigh. So, in with the New.

These new models are  currently sold only through Dell.

New Venue 8 Pro 5000 (see at Dell.com):

dell-active-pen-new-venue

Dell New Venue 8 Pro

The New Venue 8 Pro comes in 32 and 64GB storage and 2GB and 4GB RAM, runs Windows, and has an Atom processor and 8″ screen.

 

Dell Active Pen

The New Venue 8 Pro 5000 (5855) now uses  a Wacom ES pen, the Dell Active Pen. See it on Dell.com. The pen is sold separately. You cannot use the Dell Active Stylus from the old Venue Pro line on the New Venue Pro line. The old ones used Synaptics tech and Dell has now switched over to Wacom and is using the term “pen” rather than “stylus.”

dell-active-pen

Manufacturer Part# : N1DNK
Dell Part# : 750-AAMI
PN556W

The Dell Active Pen is also compatible with some other Dell 2-in-1 laptops and tablets. It uses Bluetooth and takes an AAAA battery and 319-type coin-cell batteries. It has an LED light that indicates pairing. Its tip is 3 mm, which is still pretty fine-tipped.

Here is the list of compatible Dell devices:

Inspiron 7568, Latitude 11 5715, Latitude 11 5179, Latitude 7275, Venue 10 Pro 5056, Venue 8 Pro 5855, and XPS 12 9250.

The new system is an improvement over the old Venue Pro line. The new one has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and good palm rejection.

New Dell Active Stylus for New Venue 10 Pro

There’s also a new Dell Active Stylus, the 750-AAIZ, (click to see it on Amazon) for the also-revamped Venue 10  (5050) and Venue 10 Pro (5055). “New” is not part of the name of the stylus. Same name, different stylus than the old one. Double sigh.

Wish they could at least call it “Dell Active Stylus 2” or something–they already caused heaps of confusion with the three versions of Dell Active Stylus for the old Venue Pro. Maybe “Son of Dell Active Stylus”? If you’re confused now, try finding info on their site–it’s a haystack! So I’ve compiled the relevant info in this post.

dellactivestylus

 

The new “universal” Wacom Bamboo Smart Stylus, a Wacom ES pen, will work on the Venue 10 5000 Series (5050) and the Venue 10 Pro 5000 Series (5055). That one comes with two swappable tips, one firm and one soft. Since the tablets don’t come to a pen, you could get this one instead, then you would have the two tips.

Even though the new Dell pens are both Wacom ES, they are not interchangeable.

Here’s the Bamboo Smart Stylus on the Wacom site.

 

dell active pen 5055

New Dell Venue 10 Pro (5055)

The New Dell Venue 10 Pros also have 2GB and 4GB models with a 10.1″ screen.

These tablets, which run on Atom processors, are for sale only at Dell. See them

See our review of the old Venue 8 Pro

Comparable: Asus VivoTab Note 8
Toshiba Encore 2 Write
Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen

Wacom Bamboo Smart stylus: Universal AES

Wacom Bamboo Smart Stylus

The Wacom Bamboo Smart stylus is one of the smallest, yet biggest developments unveiled at CES 2016. It’s a universal stylus for AES devices–well, not totally universal, since Wacom is only listing 5 devices it has tested it on, but it’s a great start, as that’s a good chunk of existing AES devices. And, perhaps it will work with other AES devices as well.

AES, Active Electrostatic, has really caught on in digitizers. It’s less expensive for companies to make than traditional Wacom EMR, and it’s more sensitive than N-trig as a drawing and note-taking pen. It’s a happy medium between N-trig and traditional Wacom EMR.

The long name for the pen is “Bamboo Smart for Select Tablets and 2-in-1 Convertible Devices,” (really trips off the tongue, huh?) which should not be confused with the Bamboo Smart for Samsung Galaxy Note, though they look similar. (To avoid other potential confusion, if you’re using a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet, it will not work on that, it just uses the name Bamboo).

bamboo smart stylus

The Bamboo Smart stylus will be compatible with the Dell Venue 10 and Dell Venue 10 Pro 5000 series, the HP Elite X2 1012 G1, the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga, and the new Toshiba dynaPad N72.

It’s a bit fancier in build than a regular Wacom pen and has two programmable side buttons. The nibs are replaceable. The top has a cap that actually fits on the bottom (take that, Apple Pencil). The AAAA battery should keep you inking for a year if you use it 3 hours a day (of course, a lot of people might use it far more than that, so it’s good to have rechargeable batteries or keep spares). Note: AAAA batteries aren’t always for sale at the local drugstore–to find them, you might have to go to an electronics store or order them online.

The pen has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. It does not offer tilt sensitivity.

This is a valuable development, as is anything that makes life simpler. While people won’t necessarily need the smart stylus, it’s good to have an extra stylus other than the one that comes with a device.

It will be released from Wacom sometime this month (Feb. 2016) and I will update this post when it’s out.

You can see it Bamboo Smart Stylus in its packaging on the Wacom blog.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016: light, slim, and Wacom

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016: lithe spirit

by Tablets for Artists

thinkpadx1yoga2016

ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016 on display at CES

See it on Amazon.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016 was released at CES this year. I’s a business laptop very similar to the X1 Carbon but with a touchscreen and active pen. It has several innovations. One is that one model sports an optional OLED display. That model will be released in April, 2016. OLED offers richer colors and deeper silky blacks. The second innovation is that the pen, which is battery-free and has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, can be charged in the chassis. This is already done with the iPad Pro using their digitizer, but it’s new for a PC with a Wacom digitizer. The third “first” is that at release time, it’s the thinnest and lightest 2-in-1 out there. Preliminary feedback has been positive for both the computer itself and the drawing experience. You don’t have to worry about pen batteries, and the laptop is plenty powerful enough for Photoshop and more. Like other ThinkPad Yogas, it bends into the traditional ThinkPad Yoga’s four modes and  has the 360-degree swiveling hinge.

The computer is lightweight and downright skinny with a .66″ profile, and the The ThinkPad X1 Yoga could make artists very happy, if they can afford the price tag.

Features

Display: 14″ screen, IPS (OLED option coming in April, 2016), 2K display (2560 x 1440), antiglare touchscreen
Dimensions (width, depth, height):
16.8″ width x 13.11″ x 9.01″ x 0.66″
mm: 333 x 229 x 16.8
OLED Version 17 13.11″ x 9.01″ x 0.67″
mm : 333 x 229 x 17
OS: WIndows 10, Home and Pro versions available
Weight: 2.8  lbs
Dockable Wacom ES active pen included
pen: 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory: Up to 16GB RAM and 1TB NVMe storage (that’s storage designed for SSDs). RAM not upgradeable after purchase.
Processor: i5 to i7
3 USB-3 ports (no USB-C)
full HDMI displayport
Graphics: Intel HD 520
360-degree hinge turns around; hinge opens and closes to 180 degrees (can open flat)
Retractable Lift-n-Lock keys (auto-retracts when folded to tablet mode)
Pen stored and charges in laptop body
Fingerprint sensor
WRITE-IT software understands and corrects your handwriting across apps
MicroSD and SIM card slots
optional 4G LTE
optional wireless dock

Battery Life

8 hours

Portability

Lightweight, very portable weightwise at 2.8 lbs. and .66″ depth. Sizewise, the 14″ screen takes up more space.

Pen

Going back to earlier ThinkPads, the pen, with 2,048 pressure levels, gets stored inside the laptop body. But differing from earlier ThinkPads, this pen does not have a battery, but a tiny capacitor. To charge the pen, you can insert it into a port in the laptop (as with the iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil) and it only takes 15 seconds to get a charge that lasts up to 100 minutes. So you’ll never need to worry about pen downtime or pen batteries. AES pens do have a bit of jitter, as you can see in the video below, but it’s manageable. They do not suffer from the bad jitter around the edges of the screen that plagues traditional Wacom EMR. There is less parallax than EMR, and a slightly lower hover distance, the distance at which the pen causes anything to happen. It’s high enough to still have good palm rejection. The initial activation force is low–even though AES is similar to N-trig, to me it feels more on the Wacom side even when compared with the new Surface Pen.

Modes

Like other ThinkPad Yogas, this one has 4 modes, or positions: Laptop, Stand, Tablet, and Tent.

lenovo-thinkpad-x1-yoga

Keyboard

Because the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016 has Lift-n-Lock keys that disable the keyboard when folded into tablet mode, you will probably want to use an external USB or Bluetooth keyboard to access keyboard shortcuts when drawing in tablet mode. You could open the whole thing up into an open clamshell, since the hinge opens to 180 degrees, but it’s awkward to draw that way. The keyboard is full-size and backlit.

Screen

You might not want the OLED model, because the screen can burn in.

The pen that comes with the Yoga skinny, though the length is decent. You might want to buy a thicker pen if you prefer to draw with one. (I’m searching for a link to that pen).

Traditionally, Ultrabooks have exchanged power for portablity, but this one has plenty of power.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga can run full desktop programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Manga, and all that, as well as Metro Apps such as Fresh Paint.

The poor laptop was put to military-grade endurance tests against moisture, drops, fungus, and more. The full-size, backlit keyboard is spillproof. Speaking as one who once fried a motherboard with lemonade, I appreciate that.

Here’s Lisa Gade’s video Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016 drawing demo. As you can see, the Wacom pen settings are pretty much the same as for traditional EMR Wacom pen settings.

See it on Amazon.

 

 

See review of ThinkPad Yoga 14 (also Wacom AES)

See review of ThinkPad Yoga 2-in-1 (traditional Wacom)

For more explanation of the different types of art tablets, see our front page article.

This high-quality all-in-one should be a good bet for artists.

This is a preliminary review/article, since it just came out.

end of ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016 just released