Toshiba dynaPad review: light, exciting, Wacom

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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.

toshibadynapadreviewpin

Toshiba dynaPad 

See it on Microsoft.com

TYPE OF TABLET
2-in-1, keyboard is optional

OPERATING SYSTEM
Windows 10 Home

DIMENSIONS
11.8″ x 8.0″ x 0.58″ (with keyboard)

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

COLOR
“Sandy Silver”

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

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

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

DISPLAY
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
MEMORY
4GB (cannot be upgraded by user)
64GB solid state flash memory

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
Tablet – Signature Edition, meaning much less bloatware
TruPen
Charger
Documents

FEATURES
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)

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

BATTERY
not replaceable by user (as is standard with tablets)

WEIGHT
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.

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

PEN
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

DRAWING ON THE DYNAPAD

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)

KEYBOARD

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.

USER COMMENTS AND REVIEWS

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.

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

CONS
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.

VERDICT

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
ACCESSORIES

Keyboard (Microsoft.com)

OTHER ACCESSORIES

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.

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27 thoughts on “Toshiba dynaPad review: light, exciting, Wacom

  1. Mi Ta

    Dear Sir/Madam
    I want to buy Toshiba dynaPad WT12PE-A64 from Microsoft site, because it is light and seems suitable for me. Because it just ships free to USA (Not Iran) I should pay additional for shipping it and find a person or company in USA for re-sending it to Iran. And in Iran there isn’t any support or re-seller for any problem. Now I want to sure that it will be work after buying.
    Can I use Virtual Keyboard in Toshiba dynaPad WT12PE-A64? If the answer is yes, does its VIRTUAL KEYBOARD SUPPORT PERSIAN (Farsi or Iran language)? Is the using easy (for Persian)? Or is there any problem with language that I may forget?
    I don’t know who can answer me? I emailed to ToshibaDirect@CDW.com, nobody answered, asked Toshiba reseller in Iran, they didn’t know anything about this product, asked the support of Microsoft via chatting, she kindly answered but she didn’t know about VIRTUAL KEYBOARD and SUPPORTTING PERSIAN.
    TX

    Reply
    1. tablet@tabletsforartists.com Post author

      Hi, this should not be a problem. The Toshiba runs Windows 10, which comes with a built-in onscreen keyboard that shows in the menu bar as an icon that looks like a keyboard. To find Persian, go to Start (the Microsoft Logo), then Settings, then Region & Language (or just click Region into Search and Region & Language settings will come up), then Iran, then click Add Keyboard, and where it says Options, go to Download Language Pack. They have both Persian and Persian (standard) as well as related languages.

      Download the language pack you want and the new keyboard should show up in the menu bar (click on the icon to see it, it may show under the English one). Click on the one you want and the letters under the icon should change from the ENG (English, the default) to Persian (the letters are FA, and FAS for standard–I put them on my computer to see). Most words in the menus (except for some words such as application proper names) will change to Persian, as well as the language displayed in the browser. The Toshiba has a touchscreen, so you can just type on the keyboard with your fingers, the pen, or touchpad on the optional keyboard dock . ََ

      Here are some of the characters: ۱۲۳۴۵۶ضصثقغ (Just some numbers and letters!). As I don’t know any Persian, I can’t say on how the keyboard itself works with the language, but as far as I can see it’s just a standard keyboard.

      If for some reason you have trouble finding the on-screen keyboard, just type on-screen keyboard into Search. Right-click in the menu it to pin it the taskbar.

      Reply
  2. Jabba

    i have this tablet and the stylus uses a battery. Did you receive a stylus without a battery? I don’t understand.

    Reply
    1. tablet@tabletsforartists.com Post author

      Hi, Sorry about the error. I had tested it at a trade show pre-release, but didn’t open up the pen. Later, I called Toshiba and they told me the pen was battery-free. They seemed very sure of it. I wrote the review back then. Sometimes info is murky in the beginning and changes later. Have corrected the review. Thanks for writing!

      Reply
  3. Alexey

    Hello! Thank you so much for all your work, such a great resource! I wanted to ask what is yours most anticipated device and what is your expectations in tablet industry for this year?
    Toshiba sounds like a perfect tablet except Intel Atom chip.. I read many articles, and it seems Surface is a best value for today, but i dont know maybe its just because popularity of this tablet, it has big user base, more users, more opinions e.t.c. I personally love to have this device but i have concerns about this known Jittery performance since i prefer slow drawing. Is this N-trig only problem? I wanted to ask you how much differs drawing performance, between N-trig and Wacom es, Apple in your expirience?
    For today i considering three options, Surface, Dynapad and Mytrix tablets. Is Dynapad noticeble better in drawing performance than Surface? And how tey compared ro Mytrix? I heard that some peoples says that they are not really sense any big difference between levels of pressure.
    And based on all the news and Wacom pen announcement earlier this year… i have a sense that 2016 is somehow turning point for industry and its worth to just wait a little bit longer for new exciting announements. What do you think?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. tablets@tabletsforartists.com Post author

      Hi, thanks! I think the new smaller iPad Pro will make a splash, and the Huawei Matebook seems to be generating attention. The Lenovo X1 Yoga too. A tablet with a projector just came out, but it’s not an art tablet. It seems like digitizing is heading more and more into the 3D space with 3D printing and advanced optics (such as scanning 3D objects and manipulating them). Also, it’s getting more common for computers to have digitizers. And touchscreens are getting to be everywhere with Smart Homes and Smart everything, the Internet of Things.
      Jitters are really in all tablets but it’s worse in N-trig and not as bad in Wacom ES. I don’t see it as a huge problem, and it’s native to the way the digitizer works–when the pen moves slowly, the computer is collecting more data and marking down each step more. There is less of it in Wacom EMR, and the least in the iPad Pro force touch digitizer.
      I think the choice is personal, lots of people like the Surface line, but you do have to press down quite a bit harder to get a line. The Mytrix has traditional EMR, so is very sensitive and most exact; the Dynapad with ES has more accuracy and is sensitive. The hover point is lower with ES, which bothers some people and they wear a glove, but it would really depend on the individual. Yes, the levels of pressure thing is not that big a deal. You are not going to use most of them. I do think after a while your muscle memory adjusts to any of it. I’m more used to EMR but I like ES too, I haven’t quite been able to embrace N-trig too much as I find it harder to do handwriting, which best shows the little diversions from your intent. But I certainly think it’s decent for drawing–it’s a bit harder to get light lines, but people do, the brain adjusts. The newer Surfaces have 1,024 levels.
      It does seems like digitizers are getting more common. I’m reminded of when the first tablet PCs came out and Microsoft thought everyone would want one-and they didn’t. Now after all these years of touchscreens maybe the time is right for the public to take it up for the handwriting ability. (And maybe schools should end their plan to not teach cursive anymore…)

      Reply
      1. Alexey

        Thank you for detailed answer! Matebook sounds very promising, thank you for heads up, i did not know about this new product, i think this might be right up in my alley. I found also that Samsung just recently launched Tablet Pro S which is one more contender. Looking forward for reviews, so exciting)
        I love the tendency, the art is more accessible every year with all those phone apps and growing tablet market. Much more lower barriers to entry for anyone, you can use phone or tablet and start to learn things naturally, just having fun with all available pieces of software. You dont need pencils, pens, brushes, paper, desks.. you have all kind of things (well, kinda) in one device and you can create everywhere without much preparations. I think drawing in the future will be much more common and we will have greater quantity of artists.

        Reply
        1. tablets@tabletsforartists.com Post author

          Hi, sure. I look forward to the Matebook too. The Samsung Tablet Pro S doesn’t have a pen or pressure sensitivity, unfortunately–it’s confusing because S sounds like it means S Pen. Yes, it’s a much more portable world now!

          Reply
          1. Alexey

            Hello again! Recently I stumbled upon Matebook video from MWC with demonstration of drawing capabilities:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CPvygkOKJ8
            I would love to hear what do you think about drawing performance in this video? Looks really decent! There is some parallax but i bet ths can be calibrated.

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