Wacom Active ES

Category Archives: Wacom Active ES

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

Wacom Active ES 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.



See at Amazon

Model no. 20FY0002US


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
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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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


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



Wacom Active ES 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 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.”


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

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.



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 Active ES

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.


Wacom Active ES

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

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2016: lithe spirit

by Tablets for Artists


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.


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
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


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


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.


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



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.


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

Wacom Active ES

Toshiba dynaPad review: light, exciting, Wacom

Toshiba dynaPad review: sketch and write on lightweight tablet

by Tablets for Artists

The Toshiba dynaPad is a thin, lighweight Windows 10 tablet with a Wacom pen that gets 2,048 levels of pressure. At 12″ and with an art-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio, this could be the portable drawing rig we’ve been waiting for. One caveat: its Atom processor is not ideal to use large programs such as Photoshop.


Toshiba dynaPad 

See it on Microsoft.com

2-in-1, keyboard is optional

Windows 10 Home

11.8″ x 8.0″ x 0.58″ (with keyboard)

1.27 lbs. (576 g) without keyboard, 2.2 lbs. (997 g) with keyboard

“Sandy Silver”

Excellent, as it’s so lightweight. Will need a case to protect it, unless you have the keyboard attached and covering the tablet face.

The TruNote handwriting app is set up for either hand, making this a good choice for southpaws.

Intel Atom x5-Z8300 (2MB Cache, up to 1.84 GHz), 1.44GHz base

12.0” WUXGA (1920×1280) 10-pt touchscreen,  IPS Gorilla Glass, Full HD
3:2 aspect ratio
Fingerprint-resistant coating to make it feel paperlike
4GB (cannot be upgraded by user)
64GB solid state flash memory

Tablet – Signature Edition, meaning much less bloatware

Rear 8MP camera, front 2MP HD, dual microphones
Dual-Band Wireless-AC + Bluetooth

The keyboard is not included (it was when Toshiba was selling this, but now it’s being sold by Microsoft and does not come with the keyboard)

Micro HDMI, 2-Micro USB 2.0 port
Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC Card slot
Headphone/microphone combo port

not replaceable by user (as is standard with tablets)

2.2 lbs (tablet with keyboard)
iconI have confirmed with Toshiba that the one for sale on their site comes with the pen and keyboard included. However, this will not be the case in retail stores when it goes on sale in those. I will be updating this post as more information and stores become available. UPDATE: the dynaPad is no longer directly for sale from Toshiba. You can get it from Microsoft. The keyboard is also for sale at Microsoft but is an extra purchase. See the keyboard at Microsoft.

This mobile Windows 10 tablet the product of a collaboration between Toshiba and Microsoft, was released last fall in Japan, and was released at CES 2016 for the U.S. market. It’s a 12″ Windows tablet with a Wacom digitizer and fine-tipped pen that affords 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. It’s more affordable than most tablet PCs. Its digital inking offers a pen-on-paper like experience. The digitizer is AES, with a battery-powered pen.

Though this tablet is drawing comparisons to the Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro, the Atom processor isn’t as powerful as processors on those, but this is a great digital sketchbook. It’s much more powerful than an Android or iPad for art, since you can run full programs on it, not just apps. It’s actually very, very similar to the Microsoft Surface 3.  CPU-hogging programs may lag or crash, especially if you are using a lot of filters and layers. It’s best for smaller art programs such as Photoshop Elements and Sketchbook Pro, or apps like Fresh Paint. You will be able to create high-res images and use layers.

The display is made of two sheets of glass and a metal mesh sensor. Gorilla Glass is on top. A fingerprint-resistant coating gives the screen surface a bit of bite, as on the Cintiq.

If you’re using the Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10, you can go to town doodling and writing notes on your captured Web pages.


toshiba dynapad review

Toshiba dynaPad with optional keyboard that connects via magnets. Click image to see more info at the Microsoft Store.

At release time, this is the thinnest, lightest Windows 10 tablet around.

The battery-powered, fine-tipped metal pen feels solid in the hand, yet is not heavy. It looks like a ballpoint pen, or like the Surface Pen. It conveniently attaches to the side via a plastic pen loop.

The tablet feels solid and well-built and has an attractive, square-cornered design. The 3:2 aspect ratio, replicating the classical artist’s concept of the Golden Mean, is a positive for drawing.

Also, the TruPen for the Encore 2 Write is different from the TruPen for the dynaPad. You cannot use the TruPen on the dynaPad, according to Toshiba.

This tablet also won’t work with the pen from the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14, which is also ES (I know someone will ask!) It may have limited use with other ES pens, but we recommend only using the TruPen.

Extra dynaPad pens are not yet for sale, but I expect they will be. It did take a little while for replacement pens to come out after this tablet’s predecessor, the Encore 2 Write, was released.


toshiba dynapad wacom


The dynaPad comes with Toshiba’s TruNote, TruCapture, and TruRecorder, TruNote Clip and TruNote share apps. You can share handwriting in real time, and make screenshots. This suite of apps is made to integrate with Microsoft Office. (It does not come with Office; that must be purchased separately.) Collaborative projects with digital inking is growing, as designers, artists, and architects come up with new uses for it. (For a bit more info on Wacom’s role in this, see my CES post)


The keyboard is optional and attaches by magnets. fold the tablet over the keyboard to make it all one piece, thus protecting the screen. You cannot, however, adjust the angle of the tablet when it’s attached to the keyboard. The keys are deep and type comfortably. Toshiba has paid great attention to detail and user experience.


Because this has just been released, there aren’t too many yet. One initial Toshiba dynaPad review praised it as being very comfortable to hold. The high-grade plastic casing’s rubberized texture, and the light weight of the tablet, provide this comfort.

generous 12″ size good for drawing
3:2 aspect ratio good for drawing
maximum pressure sensitivity
metal, fine-tipped pen
Microsoft Signature Edition, less bloatware

Atom processor decent, but not like tablet PC
4GB memory not upgradeable
battery can’t be replaced by user
sound quality from speakers not that good

Microsoft Surface 3 vs. Toshiba dynaPad

The Toshiba is a rival to the Microsoft Surface 3 (even though Microsoft had a hand in the Toshiba), which has an Atom X7 processor and comes with configurations of 2GB and 4GB RAM and 64 and 128GB flash storage. Both have fine-tipped pens and palm rejection works well. The specs are not that different. The main difference is really the digitizer.

Surface 3: 622g (tablet only); dimensions 10.52″ x 7.36″ x 0.34″; resolution also 1920×1280 HD

dynaPad: 576g (tablet only), 12″ screen

Surface 3 has an LTE option and more storage options. It has an N-trig pen that will give you 256 levels of pressure. The pen and keyboard are sold separately.

The dynaPad has a Wacom pen with 2,048 levels of pressure. If you order from Toshiba, the pen and keyboard are included. The Surface 3’s kickstand is adjustable but the dynaPad’s keyboard does not allow adjusting the position.

For art, I would pick the dynaPad over the Surface 3 because of the Wacom pen with more pressure levels. As well, handwriting feels more like writing on paper.

If LTE and/or an adjustable kickstand are important to you, you might want the Surface 3. That’s also good for drawing and note-taking, but I find the Surface pen drawing and writing to be less fluid.

iPad Pro vs. dynaPad

Tough comparison; the Apple Pencil is unique because you can draw with the side of the pencil “lead,” making it the most natural-feeling stylus, but I think it’s more important to be able to use full programs or full “middle” ones such as Photoshop Elements or Sketchbook Pro. The iPadPro has a powerful chip, but you’re still stuck only with art apps. If art apps are OK for you, then you might love the iPad Pro just for the Apple Pencil.


This is an exciting development and more power and pressure sensitivity than we usually see in a mobile device. It’s an excellent and forward-looking drawing tablet designed with both drawing and writing/business use in mind. The collaborative features open a new world, not one everyone needs, but you never know. The pen is responsive and the tablet has a generous screen size that’s like a sheet of regular paper. The prime benefits are quality and convenience, not the computing power, which is not that powerful. This is a great tote-around. This Toshiba dynaPad review is a thumbs-up.

See it at Microsoft

Keyboard (Microsoft.com)


If you’ve gotten a dynaPad and now need a carrying case and other accessories, there are some, such as this IVSO bag that comes in four colors, on Amazon.


End of Toshiba dynaPad review

See also Toshiba Encore 2 Write review

For a general introductory article and description of types of tablets, visit our homepage.

Wacom Active ES

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 review: a twist of Wacom ES

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 Review

by Tablets for Artists

Update, Spring 2016: There is a newer version, the 20FY0002US.  I have written a separate review of it you can read here. Click to see it at Amazon. This newer one doesn’t have the battery issues some of the units from the earlier model did, and this one comes with the Wacom ES pen in a silo in the body. Recommended.

Type of Tablet

Convertible Tablet PC (Laptop that turns into a tablet via a hinge. Keyboard is not detachable).

The rumored 15″ version that works with the pen never happened.

UPDATE: This computer in Windows 10 is now available at Best Buy.

NOTE: There are several versions of the Yoga ThinkPad 14 and some do not have the Wacom digitizer. The ones that do are: the 20DM008UUS, which has Windows 8.1, and the 20DM009GUS with Windows 10. It is confusing, the salespeople aren’t informed, and the info doesn’t appear in the product info. 

lenovo thinkpad yoga 14 review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14



The computer, made of magnesium alloy with a plastic keyboard, is solid and good-looking, as well as slim. The display is bright and clear with deep colors. The hinge works well in all the positions. The trackpad is large and responds well. The extra screen space is a great addition for drawing. The ThinkPad Yoga 12 weighed 3.5 lbs., and the 14 weighs in at 4.2 lbs. The 12 actually had a brighter screen at 324 nits, but to me it did not look as bright, maybe because the 14 has a smudge-and-fingerprint-resistant coating that adds to the glossy sheen, whereas the 12 was matte. Glossy as it is, the surface is not too slippery for drawing, though I prefer drawing on the matte. So there is a tradeoff here between brightness and texture.

It boots up and shuts down quickly. Programs open quickly, too. There is just a single slot of RAM, and the 8GB is not expandable. But 8GB is plenty to run Adobe CC and other graphics programs. Bootup and shutdown are quick.

thinkpad yoga 14 opens flat

The Yoga 14 can open to a flat position, so you could draw on it like this and keep access to the keyboard.


Or you can push the screen down so it’s flat, with the keyboard on the bottom. Keys will be locked, so it’s helpful to use an external keyboard to access keyboard shortcuts.




IPS display with 10-point multitouch, screen size 14″
Screen resolution 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
brightness: 267 nits
1 TB hybrid hard drive with 16GB solid state drive
360-degree design to fold into 5 settings: laptop, tablet, tent, table, stand
Intel 4th Generation Core i5-4210U processor
8 GB RAM, non-expandable, soldered in (possibly could be expanded with some difficulty)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 840M graphics that will switch on automatically when you open a program that uses it (or you can change options in the NVIDIA settings)
720p Webcam
keys that retract when in tablet mode
backlit keyboard (user turns on backlighting when wanted)
Dolby Home Theater audio

Height: 0.8″
Width: 13.3″
Depth: 9.4
Weight: 4.2 lbs.

3 USB ports: two 3.0 and one 2.0
No Ethernet port
1 full HDMI output

What’s in the Box

Thinkpad Yoga 14 2-in-1 14″ Touch-Screen Laptop
4-cell lithium-polymer battery
Power cord, AC adapter
Owner’s manual


The Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14 has military-grade protection for shock, vibration, sand and dust. The computer is solid and should be a brawny travel companion.


The PC’s weight, while light for its size, it’s a lot to tote around for long periods of time.

Wacom ES Digitizer

The 14 uses Wacom ES, which is sort of like a marriage between Wacom EMR and N-trig. The pen takes batteries. The ThinkPad Yoga 12 uses traditional Wacom EMR technology, so you could use a regular Wacom pen such as the type you use for the original Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, and attain 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. You cannot use that kind of pen with the 14.

Wacom ES feels somewhere in between N-trig and traditional Wacom EMR. It has the 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity of Wacom, with the better edge accuracy of N-trig. It’s the same tech used in the Toshiba Encore 2 Write. (That does not mean that all the pens will work on all of them.) The drawing/painting experience won’t be quite as fluid as Wacom EMR, but it requires less initial activation force (amount you have to press down to get a mark) than the Surface Pro 3, which is N-Trig, so you won’t have to worry about having to press hard. ES (also called AES) tends to have a lower hover distance.

If you go to see this computer and want to see that it actually has Wacom, simply type the word Wacom into the Windows search box and the Wacom settings will pop up in the search results.


To get pressure sensitivity, you must use the ThinkPad Active Capacitive Pen, also called the Lenovo ThinkPad Pen Pro. (Since this is multitouch, you can use any old capacitive stylus–such as for the iPad–on this, but with no pressure sensitivity).

thinkpad active capacitive-pen

Here’s the pen on Amazon.

The pen takes an AAAA battery. It has two programmable buttons. It also has a holder that attaches to the laptop via a USB port.

On Amazon and other sites, there is something called the Lenovo ThinkPad Active Digitizer Pen. Do not buy that. That is a traditional Wacom pen and will work on the ThinkPad Yoga 12 2-in 1, but not on the 14. The name is very confusing. To make things even more confusing, there is an earlier version of the 14 that has no active digitizer. So be sure you are getting this 2nd-generation model. There is also a Yoga 15 without the digitizer. Best Buy and Lenovo are not much help with providing info on what pen goes with what. The Lenovo Web site contains very little info. Lenovo’s Helix pens will also not work on the ThinkPad Yoga 14.

Drawing on the ThinkPad Yoga 14

Wacom ES is not too big of a compromise from traditional Wacom. If you’d rather have an all-in-one than a Cintiq13, and a Cintiq Companion isn’t affordable or what you want, and you want something larger than most options, this is a reasonable choice as far as drawing.  The 8GB of RAM lets you easily multitask and use Adobe Photoshop and all the CC programs. In Photoshop CC, you can select to run the NVIDIA dedicated graphics GPU (watch the video below)–actually, it will go on by itself but some people choose to control the settings more.

The Lenovo’s screen is bright, and images look crisp. Using keyboard shortcuts on the Yoga 14 is tricky because the keys retract once out of laptop mode so you’d have to unfold the tablet or use the on-screen keyboard, or, better, use a Bluetooth keyboard. In Photoshop CC, you can create Photoshop Actions to avoid keyboard commands.


Watch this video to see a drawing demonstration, and see how to run the dedicated NVidia graphics GPU in Photoshop CC for better performance.

As far as typing, the keyboard is comfortable and well-made, and the ThinkPad little red button nested in the keys can be used as a pointer. The trackpad is large and has buttons on it than can be used as selection and right-click tools.


The 1080 IPS High Definition screen is bright and cheery with excellent viewing angles, good contrast and a smudge-and-fingerprint antiglare coating. It’s glossy, but not too slippery to draw on. The colors are rich and contrast is deep.

The Dolby sound can get very loud, but it has a bit of tinniness.

As you can see, the screen is pretty glossy and bright. Photodon.com has screen protectors especially made for this computer. You can try one that’s not too matte, such as the 25% anti-glare one, to preserve image sharpness.

Here you can verify that it has a Wacom driver–when in doubt, just type Wacom into the search box.

yoga 14 screen

Battery life

around 6.5 hours

The battery life is a good 90 mins. less than the ThinkPad Yoga 12s.

Battery issues

There are serious concerns with the battery beyond that it doesn’t last a full workday. Many users had battery problems, causing inconsistent brightness, power drain, and random shutdowns. The Lenovo forums contain a long thread by stressed-out users. One person figured out the issue and the fix, but it’s not something everyone can do themselves, plus the method may void the warranty. These complaints are not showing up a lot in the Lenovo Yoga ThinkPad 14 reviews so far, so I don’t think this is incredibly widespread, but it’s hard to say because the release of this model is relatively recent as of this writing. Lenovo is aware of it and perhaps they will do something about it. We will follow the issue and add updates. A couple of commenters here and elsewhere have said that they got ones with no problems and really like them. Still, pay close attention to any return policies.

Tip: disable adaptive brightness and power management to get more consistent brightness.



fast processor
dedicated graphics
2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity with pen
great display
nice keyboard
large screen


glossiness of screen not ideal for drawing
have to buy pen separately, lack of information from dealers
not as fluid as traditional Wacom
battery life of 6.5 hours relatively short
weight of 4.2 lbs. hefty to carry
risk of getting one with bad battery


User reviews

Many people are really happy with the Yoga 14 because it’s fast, the pressure sensitivity works well, and it can run Photoshop and other programs breezily. One Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 review described it as “amazing.”

This is it in tent “pose”:



The Verdict

This laptop is a very good choice for an artist, if you get one without the battery issues. So it’s hard to give a clear recommendation in this Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 review, because as an art tablet it’s pretty great, so it gets a qualified “Namaste” (recommendation). If you feel life’s about taking risks, it may be worth it. The ThinkPad Yoga 12 (also called the ThinkPad Yoga 2 in 1) has a smaller, 12.5″ screen, but these battery issues haven’t been reported and it has traditional Wacom. As far as the 14, the price is great for the features it offers.

BUY ON AMAZON — The one for sale on Amazon is model 20DM000VUS, which is the Windows 8.1 version. You can easily upgrade for free to Windows 10. As with all the models of this computer, it does not come with the pen, you have to order the pen from the link right below.
See more info/buy the Lenovo Active Capacitive Pen here (Lenovo).
Read our review of the ThinkPad Yoga 2-in-1 (ThinkPad Yoga 12)
See the ThinkPad Yoga 12 on Amazon (same as ThinkPad Yoga 2 in 1. The 12 is an informal name to distinguish it from the 14).
 The Yoga 14 works with Lenovo’s OneLink and OneLink Pro docks.



Lenovo ThinkPad One Link Pro Dock (pictured) (Amazon)

Lenovo ThinkPad Pro Dock




end of Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 review

Read review of the newer version of the TP Yoga 14.


Wacom Active ES

Toshiba Encore 2 Write review: a Wacom-powered sketchbook

Toshiba Encore 2 Write Review: affordable Wacom tech

by Tablets for Artists



Toshiba Encore 2 Write. See it on Amazon.

Type of Tablet

Windows 8.1 tablet with digitizer pen

About the Encore 2 Write

If Toshiba’s new Encore 2 Write is the shape of things to come, then this is an encouraging time to be a digital artist. The Encore 2 Write was featured at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES),  an annual international convention held in Las Vegas that showcases the latest in gadgety innovations.

This tablet’s price point and features are comparable to the Asus Vivotab (read our review), which is no longer being manufactured. The Write is newer and has received more favorable reviews than the Vivotab. Like the Vivotab, it’s a portable tablet that runs full Windows 8.1 and has a Wacom digitizer. While the Vivotab gave you 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, the Encore 2 gives you the maximum, 2,048. The VivoTab only had a thin pen, but the Write has a full-size pen; the tablet does not have a slot to old it. Unlike Wacom pens for the Cintiq and Intuos tablets, the Encore 2 Write’s stylus takes a battery, size AAAA. The battery should last a few months with regular usage. It has two hi-res cameras and dual mics.


Intel Atom Z3735F processor
Windows 8.1
micro-USB port
16:10 aspect ratio
64 GB storage
dual mics
two hi-res cameras
active Wacom digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
comes in 8″ or 10″ screen
Dimensions: 6.9 x 10.2 x .35″
screen resolution 1280 x 800
Micro SD slot takes up to 128GB Micro SD storage, tablet
supports MSDXC standard
HDMI video out
Pen does not have removeable nibs.

What’s Included

The tablet, pen (called Trupen) with lanyard

One-year subscription to Office 365™ Personal plus unlimited OneDrive storage (subject to change)


Reset pin



The digitizer is not EMR (electromagnetic radiation) like a Cintiq. Instead, it is called “Active ES” (electrostatic) digitizer, which makes for a lighter tablet, as an EMR tablet requires a separate layer. The ES is a capacitive digitizer that is in front of the LCD screen. It’s somewhat like the N-Trig, and the metal pen that resembles a ballpoint pen also has the feel and look of the N-Trig pen. The screen is touch-screen and you could use it without the pen.

Though the Encore 2  does not currently support Wacom’s Wintab Feel It driver, which allows you to get pressure sensitivity in all the art apps that support it as well as map the pen,Wacom has unofficially said it will be getting this valuable feature. The Surface Pro 3 with its N-trig “dual sense” does not have this feature. The ES digitizers could in the future be the norm for lower cost (under $1,000), more portable, lighter-weight tablets.

Drawing on the Encore 2

With some programs  you will get an initial blob, as with the Surface Pro 3, as the tablet decides whether you are touching it with a finger or pen. The pressure curve is very good. The hover is a bit higher than on the Surface Pro 3, so it might seem like the palm recognition isn’t quite as good, but it works. The “hover tracking” is better, so there is less parallax with this than the Surface Pro 3. According to the video below, shot at CES, the initial activation force (geekspeak for how hard you have to press on it) is a light 3 grams. The line does not get jittery around the edges as it would in a Cintiq or the Vivotab. Both the N-trig and ES are fine even right near the edges. The pen provides some “bite” which gives a paperlike feel.


The screen resolution is not that high, but for this price you would not expect it to be.




The metal TruPen is fine-tipped, “pro grade,” and takes a AAAA battery. The eraser is a button on the side. The palm rejection kicks in when the pen is hovering at about 3/8″ above the screen.




Windows 10 will allow desktop apps on tablets 8″ or over. You can run desktop apps on this, since it’s a full Windows tablet, but it’s a little hard to use Photoshop since the tablet is small. As well, since it is an Atom processor, doing serious digital painting in Photoshop could be laggy, though basic image editing is OK. What will work best are apps such as Fresh Paint and the Sketchbook Express app, which are optimized for a tablet. One user who wrote an Encore 2 Write review praised using Manga Studio (desktop) with this, so by all means, try it.

The tablet is centered around note-taking. It comes with the preinstalled apps TruNote, TruCapture, and TruRecord. TruNote lets you take and organize handwritten notes, TruCapture is to take hi-res photos of text in books or from a blackboard, chalkboard, or whiteboard and do OCR, and TruRecord lets you record sound. There is an organizing and tagging system, kind of like Evernote. So you can not only draw on it, but use it as a multimedia creative diary.

Microsoft Office and OneNote work fine with this tablet.



It’s super slim at .04″ thick, and easy to carry at 13.4 oz. for the 8″ model and 1.2 lbs. for the 10″ model.


User reviews

Many people enthusiastically recommend this tablet as a digital sketchbook. One Encore 2 Write review praised its ability to work with Manga Studio. The high-res cameras, dual mics, and other features add appeal.



relatively affordable art tablet with screen
portable, lightweight
cameras do OK in low light
Pen and tablet are both fast and responsive



The screen resolution is not that high.
Atom processor works pretty well, but is not as fast as a full computer when you run graphics-heavy full Windows programs.
Cannot access battery.

Customer Service

I found them pleasant and professional when I did a chat to ask questions. If you happen to get a faulty one, Toshiba or Amazon will send you a new tablet.


The Verdict

This is an exciting development in tablets. It would be great if there were one that was a little larger. But this is a great portable sketchbook with pressure sensitivity that allows you to run both desktop and Metro apps. You can also use OneNote, play games, watch videos, and use a Bluetooth keyboard. I don’t see it as quite a Cintiq replacement, because of the size and there is not as much memory as with a full computer, so large programs such as Photoshop would not be ideal, though you could run Photoshop to an extent. For artists, this is overall better than an Android tablet or iPad because of the digitizer and ability to run desktop programs. It doesn’t have the great screen resolution of an iPad, but is more of a productivity tool.


Optional Accessories


iLLumiShield – Toshiba Encore 2 Write 8 Screen Protector

Cooper Cases Encore 2 Write Folio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard 

More Encore 2 Write opinions, price, and info on Amazon


End of Toshiba Encore 2 Write Review


Consumer Electronics Show, Wikipedia

official CES site

Wacom Active ES

Dell Venue 8 Pro review: the latest Active Stylus helps UPDATED

Dell Venue 8 Pro Review: the latest Active Stylus helpsdell venue 8 pro review

Dell Venue 8 Pro (5830)

by Tablets for Artists

UPDATE: Dell has refreshed this line with a new Dell Venue 8 Pro and Dell Venue 10 Pro that both have Wacom ES. Please see this post about the New Venue Pros and pens.


Type of Tablet

The Venue 8 Pro is a Windows 8.1 tablet.  It offers both touch and pen input.
Just to be clear, what we are reviewing is the 5830, part of the 5000 line. The “newer” Venue 8 Pro, the 3000, doesn’t offer a digitizer (so has no pressure sensitivity). Nor does the plain old non-Pro Venue 8, which is an Android tablet. Some sites are selling the 3000 line but not making it clear that that one lacks the digitizer. Some also sell the 5830 without making it clear that it HAS the digitizer. If it says the 5000 line, it’s OK even if it doesn’t specify it’s a 5830. If you’re unsure which Venue tablet you’re seeing, check with the seller.

There is a 32GB and 64GB model, the 64GB will do you more good; Windows alone takes up substantial RAM.


For Lefties

It’s fine for left-handers, though the Windows button is on the top right edge.


Intel Bay trail Atom Z3740D processor (quad core)
2GB memory
64 GB hard drive (there’s also a 32GB model)
8″ HD display 8.0 (WXGA 1280 x 800)
Used with Dell Active Stylus (optional; not included)
Multitouch touchscreen with 10-pt capacitive touch,
Two cameras (5 MP rear-facing, 1.2 MP front)
Can take MicroSD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards of up to 128GB
includes MS Office Home and Student edition
Micro USB port (just one)
8.50 x 5.12 x 0.35 inches
weight 13.9 oz. (395 g), thickness about 3/8″ (9mm)
Windows 8.1 (32 bit, as is normal for this size tablet)
Bluetooth 4.0
Palm rejection
Color: Black

Supports Miracast wireless tech, which lets you stream to TV even if you don’t have local wifi. does not have HDMI, you’d have to buy an HDMI adapter (or see the cool Plugable dock below, under Optional Accessories) if you want to beam images from tablet to TV.

Does not come with GPS. You would have to use a GPS app; there are free ones.

Since the stylus is optional and not included, there’s no silo for it in the tablet.

The Windows button is on the top right edge instead of on the front, so that’s something unusual that takes some getting used to; it’s not a bad thing, because the button isn’t in the way of anything you’re doing.. The back has a ridged texture, and feels rubberized and not that rigid, making the tablet easy to grip. The texture also keeps fingerprints away. The bezel doesn’t cover much of the screen. The tablet has a pleasing design and for the price, the materials and build are of high quality.

Intel Bay Trail Atom processors are much faster than the older Atoms, and for ordinary use, the 8 Pro runs without hiccups. You can use programs like  Photoshop and Manga Studio 5, but some CPU-havey effects and filters may lag. We recommend the 64GB model over the 32GB; Windows alone takes up substantial RAM.

Here’s info from Wikipedia on Atom processors.


At 13.9 oz and slightly under 3/8″ thick, it’s compact, thin, and easy to tote.

What’s Included

The tablet, micro USB cord, wall charger, quickstart guide, registration/warranty info. Stylus not included.



The 1280×800 resolution with a pixel density of 200ppi is decent for a screen this size, though it’s not the highest. (Compare it to the iPad retina at 264ppi, though 240 could also qualify as Retina; the original iPad and  iPad2 had a ppi of only 132). The Venue 8 Pro’s IPS screen offers good viewing angles. The colors are bright in the Dell, and at this screen size, the display is fine for reading, drawing, and video.

The previous issue of the light sensor defaulting to too dim a setting has been fixed via a firmware update. allows you to tap, slide, swipe, pinch

The palm rejection works well; the screen senses when you are holding the pen.

The on-screen keyboard has frustrated some users, as it will sometimes be oversensitive and do things like type extra characters.


Dell Active Stylus

 dell active stylus a03

Dell Active Stylus A03: ta-daa!

At 0.4 in. thick x 5.7 in, this is thicker than the average wood pencil, so is really is more of a pen than a stylus, but Dell calls it a stylus. I’ll call it a stylus pen. It has a fine, 1mm tip and two buttons that you can use to erase, click, and highlight.

The digitizer uses Synaptics technology, which is closer to N-trig than to Wacom, and like N-trig, there are 256 levels of pressure sensitivity.  Dell active stylii are metal and take a single AAAA battery, which should last about a year with regular usage.

The stylus pen is not included with the tablet, and there is no set place on or in the tablet to store it. You could try getting creative with Velcro.

The Dell Active Stylus has quite a saga. The first two versions had issues with ghosting and leaving trails and were met with many complaints. Though firmware updates fixed some problems in the second pen, problems remained. The latest pen is a huge improvement. This new pen, the AO3, is silver and gray; the previous two were all-black. Odd as it may sound, the new stylus uses Wacom technology, and works with the Venue Pro 8, the Venue Pro 10, and the Venue Pro 11.

The Dell part no. for the A03  is 750-AAGN.

You will not be able to use other Wacom pens, or the N-trig pen, with the Venue Pro line; only the Dell Active Stylus. You can, however, use a capacitive stylus (like an iPad stylus) or even finger paint on the Venues.

The Dell Active Stylus pen works with the Venue 8 Pro (5830, the one we’re reviewing here), the Venue 11 Pro (5130, 7130, 7139, 7140),  and Latitude 2-in-1 7000 Series (7350). It will not work with other tablets regardless of model or brand.

With the benefit of the improved Active Stylus, this Dell Venue 8 Pro review has become more
positive than it would have been otherwise. It did take Dell a while, but it’s commendable that they listened to customer feedback about both the stylus and the auto-brightness and did something about it. The stylus pen is now responsive and accurate, and makes the Venue 8 into a good drawing tool. The tablet isn’t as powerful as a Surface Pro or using a Cintiq with a computer, but it’s peppy and portable.

Battery life

Excellent; up to 10 hours.


Buttons and volume rocker are on the side. Accelerometer lets you switch from portrait to landscape.



You can put any Windows 8.1-compatible software on. It comes with 2013 MS Home and Student Office.


Customer Reviews and Ratings

The Venue 8 Pro has been generally favorably received. But, some have had negative experiences, such as having the tablet fail, or problems with the charger not fitting well into the micro USB. The old stylus was a major source of problems, too. One positive Dell Venue 8 Pro review praised it as a tool for both content creation and consumption. Many praised both its design and performance.


Excellent battery life

bright screen with good viewing angles

Good handwriting recognition; will convert handwriting to text




Nice materials and build for the price



On-screen keyboard buggy for some people

Iffy USB port and charger, with some people saying the shipped chargers did not fit into the USB socket the right way, resulting in broken pins.  Some are saying it’s a Micro A charger with a Micro B cable and others are saying it’s a Micro AB charger that takes an A or B cable. I will provide an update if I can get a definite answer. Do not try to force the charger. If you have problems, contact Dell.

Customer Service

I did several chats to confirm information, and it was a combination of pleasant (they’re very polite) and frustrating (they’re not that well informed, but no worse than at other computer companies). Customers with complex issues have reported some pretty serious problems, including language barriers, and being transferred from rep to rep for hours. Others had positive interactions. So, service is inconsistent. There is both Dell Home and Dell Small Business, and you should remember which one you purchased from, as the two arms don’t always communicate with each other. There is a lack of detailed information on the site in general. The Dell Community forum can be helpful, and Dell does answer questions there.


Newer in town: The Dell Venue Pro 10 and
Dell Venue Pro 11

Dell Venue 8 Pro vs. Dell Venue Pro 11

The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 is a high-end Windows tablet with a larger, 10.8″ Windows tablet with a more powerful processor, one you would find in a laptop, up to Intel Core 5. It boasts a full HD screen at 1920 x 1080p. It has an HDMI port. Dell calls it “three devices in one,” meaning a tablet, an Ultrabook, and desktop (when used with the keyboard). It’s certainly not the only device you could call a 3-in-1.

(Note: An Ultrabook is a high-end Intel-powered subnotebook. A subnotebook is a notebook that’s thinner and lighter than a laptop.)


The Dell Venue 10 Pro is aimed at the academic market and has a detachable keyboard, a multitouch, high-res screen, and an Atom processor.

All these use the Dell Active Stylus and have pressure sensitivity.

The Verdict

It’s got a lot of great qualities at an affordable price, and artists can use it as a digital sketchbook; it doesn’t take the place of a Cintiq or full-fledged tablet PC. But it’s more versatile than an Android tablet, and it’s fast. It doesn’t have an extremely high-res screen, but for this size tablet it’s not a big issue–I would not use this size for my main drawing tablet. On the downside, there are some potential bugs, as noted, with the on-screen keyboard and the USB port; not everyone will have these problems. Like the Surface Pro 3, the Venue 8 Pro has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, not as many as Wacom tablets, but it doesn’t make an enormous difference. The build quality, speed, price, and improved stylus make this a nice little portable art tool, as long as you don’t run into the aforementioned problems.

It’s comparable in price and overall functionality to the Asus VivoTab 8 and the Toshiba Encore 2 Write. (Click the links to read our reviews.)

Optional Accessories

(Again), the newest Active Stylus.

Startech Micro USB to USB Adapter

IVSO Bluetooth Keyboard Portfolio Case, made especially for the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

dell venue 8 pro review ivso keyboard cover

Also, the Fintie Stand Cover with Detachable Keyboard.

This Plugable docking station, which came to life via Kickstarter, allows you to charge your tablet and attach various USB and other devices, including HDMI. It’s about 6″ tall. Reviews are positive.


Here’s a video by Plugable:


End of Dell Venue 8 Pro review