Category Archives: Reviews

intuos2018review

New Wacom Intuos 2018: Can’t touch this

intuos2018review

image by Wacom

 

New Intuos 2018: Upgrade, or sideways move?

Wacom intuos 2018

New Intuos 2018 package. Image: Wacom

A new Wacom Intuos 2018 is here! The Wacom Intuos tablet design, up to now, has not been changed since the old days of 2015. (The Intuos line was formerly known as Bamboo). We’ll take a look at the difference between new and old and whether the new one is an upgrade or something that goes more… sideways.

In the last few years most art tablets, including tablet PCs, have gone far beyond 1,024 levels of pressure. The Intuos (non-Pro version) was starting to feel like a dinosaur in that respect. The new Intuos 2018  has 4,096 levels, plus a number of other changes to design and functionality. Most of these are for the better.

However, there is one major change that’s not great. Wacom has removed multitouch from the new Intuos. Only the Intuos Pro and older Pen and Touch models (and all Cintiqs) still have it. More on this below.

See our Intuos Draw review

See our Intuos Pen & Touch review

See our article on choosing an Intuos

 

New Wacom Intuos 2018 vs. old Intuos

What’s the same?

The active area takes up a greater percentage of the tablet, but the actual active area hasn’t changed–it just now goes almost to the edge of the surface.

There are still four customizable, application-specific Express Keys, even though their arrangement has been changed.

The new Intuoses, like the old one, come in only Small and Medium.

They still come bundled with drawing programs at no additional cost.

The pen’s reading speed (PPS) and tablet resolution (LPI) are still the same.

There’s still a tether so you can lock the tablet.

The pen is still battery-free. It still does not have rotation sensitivity and still does not have an eraser end. (In some markets, there was an Intuos pen with an eraser end; I’m referring to the U.S. market because that’s where I am.)

 

What’s different?

More pressure sensitivity

There are now 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. This way, there’s not such a huge difference from the Intuos Pro and Cintiqs, which have 8,192.

Wireless use with Bluetooth

This time, the Intuoses have Bluetooth. You no longer need to buy the optional Wi-fi kit to use your Intuos wirelessly. Only one model, the small, more affordable  Intuos S, does not have Bluetooth. All come with a USB cable so you can use them wired.

Bundled software

Newer: The new Intuos comes bundled with up to 3 programs: Currently, they are: Corel Painter Essentials 6, Corel Aftershot 3, and Clip Studio Paint Pro. With the Medium size, you get all three. With the Small with Bluetooth, you choose two. With the least expensive new Intuos, the Small without Bluetooth, you get just one–a choice between Corel Painter Essentials 3 or Corel Aftershot 3.S

So, they’re now offering a range of versatile programs that cover digital painting, drawing, and photo editing.

With the older Art Pen and Touch Wacom offered the same tablets with different software, some of which were programs in trial versions or were free anyway. I prefer the new way.

Older: The older Intuoses have different names according to what software they’re bundled with. I always found this a bit confusing. The customer may not even realize the tablets are the same.

Weight

The new Small with Bluetooth is 250g (8.8 oz.) and without Bluetooth, 230g (8.1oz.). The old Small weighed 290g (10.2 oz). The new Medium weighs 410g (14.4 oz.) and the old Medium weighed 480g (16.9 oz).

 

Pen differences

The pen is now called the Wacom Pen 4K (LP-1100K). It looks similar to the old Intuos Pen, but has 4096 pressure levels, or four times its predecessor. (For some reason, Wacom skips some multiples; it skipped 2048 in this new-generation Intuos ands skipped 4096 in the Pro tablets, going from 1024 to 8192). Now the nibs are stored in the barrel. It comes with a nib in the pen plus 3 replacement nibs. The compatible Felt and Flex nibs also will fit in the barrel. The Pen Ring that was sometimes available is gone.

wacom intuos 2018

Intuos 2018 with 4K pen. Image by Wacom

Design

Now, to keep the pen from wandering away, there’s a tray, an indent in the top of the tablet that will keep your pen in sight and not rolling off the table like a meatball off spaghetti.

Another difference is the footprint and weight. The new Intuos 2018 is sleeker, taking up less space on the desk, and it’s a bit thinner, about the thickness of a smartphone. The models are all a bit lighter as well.

The top part of the Intuos is about an inch smaller than before. The pen tray doubles as the Express Keys. The pen, when lying in the tray, is sitting over the keys. By redesigning the buttons, Wacom saved some space.

Formerly, there was only the pen loop, which was rather tight and a bit annoying. The pen loop is still there, but you can now use it to carry the pen with the tablet and not as way to keep the pen from rollin’.

The tablet is also thinner, with the top part being thicker than the bottom.  It’s now 5 mm in the lower part and 8.5 mm in the upper part. Slender, man.

wacom intuos 2018

Medium and small; nibs in pen barrel; thinner footprint. Images: Wacom

This design, while not in itself a reason to get a new Intuos, uses less plastic and  is smarter and better than the old one.

What’s the disadvantage?

To keep the price down, Wacom has removed the multitouch feature. Yes, I was shocked too,You’ll have to buy the pricier Intuos Pro to get touch.

(See our Wacom Pen and Touch review about the 2015 models, which as of this writing are still for sale though no longer are on the Wacom site).

One unfortunate result of taking away touch was it was a nice feature for kids, who could use it to finger paint. It also made it so if you lost the pen, you could use your finger if you had to. Now you’ll have to use your mouse if you can’t find the pen.

Without touch, you don’t have gestures, which allow you to pan, zoom, and navigate. You’ll have to use the pen and your art software commands, or keyboard commands, or Express Keys.

Touch made it possible to use the tablet as a trackpad. And, you could take advantage of the growing amount of touch commands in Adobe and other software–commands that, arguably, are mostly used by professionals.

Handwringing aside, touch isn’t needed, it’s just useful. Wacom had almost branded themselves by offering it since it was only NOT available on one art tablet, the down-to-basics Intuos Draw.

The various non-Wacom, less expensive graphics tablets and screen tablets also don’t offer multitouch.

Ironically, it’s hard to get a tablet PC that does NOT have a touchscreen.

Is it worth upgrading to the new Intuos?

The levels of pressure, as I often remind people, don’t matter all that much. I can sense the difference in smoothness between 1024 and 2048, but not after that. Additional levels do offer more accuracy, but we’re talking millimeters. For most people, 1,024 levels are enough.

Bluetooth is a really nice feature. Some reported loose ports for the USB in the old Intuos, so it’s a good thing that you can stop using the USB. You’re saving money by not having to buy the Wi-fi kit. Working wirelessly, you can now put the computer at more of a distance away if you wish.

Storing extra nibs inside the pen stand is convenient, since you might not always keep the pen stand with you. This is another smart design move.

The new tablets come in black, pistachio, and berry, which may make artists run to the refrigerator instead of sitting down to work. (Berry, a vibrant pink, is only available in certain markets). Pistachio is an aqua color.

If you have a Pen and Touch, you’ll probably be fine keeping it. It’s an individual decision. Intuoses are solidly built and can last for years.

Wacom’s redefining of multitouch as a Pro feature feels a bit off. It seems strictly a budgetary decision, not one that should affect your perception of how useful or “professional” multitouch is. It’s useful if you use it; if you don’t use it you probably won’t miss it. Non-professionals are likely to get some use out of, it but it’s true that that use may be limited. Pros find it important in saving time, as they can master a workflow that uses Express Keys and gestures.

If  you’re puzzling over it, ask yourself whether you want to just draw, more like in real life, or also use gestures and use the tablet as a trackpad with your hand.

If you do like the touch feature, I suggest grabbing an Intuos Pen and Touch while they last. If you’re OK without it, then you’d probably be happy with the positive improvements found in the new Intuos 2018.

Note: the 2018 Intuos is still not for sale quite everywhere but you can see it at Wacom.

 

 

samsung notebook 9 pen review

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro Review, S Pen included

samsungnotebook9proreview

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review: an all-you-need 2-in-1

This relatively powerful, relatively affordable, art-friendly 2-in-1 tablet PC laptop is on my list of top drawing tablet PCs. This is the second generation and came out in late 2017.  It comes in 13.3 and 15″ versions. This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review focuses on the 15.”.

(There is no upcoming 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, but the soon-to-be-released Notebook 9 Pen will be similar).

The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro is one of the lightest in its class on the market, and the included S pen saves you money on an extra pen purchase. It also rests in a built-in silo, so you don’t have to keep looking for a place to stow it.

It’s not super powerful, but it can handle Photoshop, light gaming, and general use. The best thing about it, and Samsung’s myriad other S-Pen offerings, is the smooth Wacom EMR pen experience.

Type of tablet

2-in-1, nondetachable
Runs: Windows, comes with Windows 10 Home and Creator Update

Digitizer

Wacom EMR, S Pen, 4096 levels, tilt sensitivity
Uses Windows Ink

Features

Comes in 13.3″ and 15″
Nondetachable keyboard
360-degree hinge
8th-gen Intel i7 processor (on Best Buy model, only on the 15″)
The 13 also has an i5 version.
Aspect ratio 16:9
Can charge with portable charger
Display: LED LCD. HD 1920 x 1080p
Brightness 350 nits
Color gamut: 106% sRGB, 77% Adobe RGB
Windows Ink
Weight: 3.79 lbs (15″)
2.91 lbs (13″)

Graphics:
AMD Radeon 540 (15″ – 15 also discrete graphics (2GB GDDR5, switchable).
Integrated Intel UHD graphics 620 (13)
Backlit keyboard

RAM: 16GB (15) 8 GB (13). RAM not upgradeable
Storage: 256 GB (can swap to larger hard drive)
720p HD Webcam with microphone
Samsung’s Dual Channel Memory (quickens multitasking, viewing, and rendering)
Windows Hello facial recognition
Modes: Outdoor, quiet, HDR mode for videos

Ports

1 USB-C
2 USB 3.0
headphone,
Micro SD
HDMI
Dimensions:
13.7 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches (15)
12.21″ x 8.54″ x 0.63″ (13)

What’s in the Box

Notebook Pro 9
Battery (3-cell)
Charger

Build

The Notebook 9 Pro has a solid build quality with utilitarian style, meaning, not  much style. It has an all-metal, aluminum alloy body. It’s slender but solidly built, doesn’t bend, and has nicely rounded edges that won’t dig into your hands and thighs.

Its two hinges let you pose it into laptop/tent/stand/tablet.The hinges are sturdy and hold the positions without making the screen wiggle. It takes a little effort to open it from a closed position.

When bending the laptop into a tablet, I immediately accidentally shut off the power key, which sits on the right side where it’s easy to do that.

The other easy accident is putting the S Pen back upside-down, which I also immediately did. If you put it in wrong, it can get stuck and even cause damage.

For lefties

It’s fine for lefties, but as one Samsung Notebook Pro review observed, lefties may do well to get a longer pen to be able to reach scrollbars.

Display

The screen has really good color to the eye, bright without being oversaturated. It’s sharp (though not 4K) with realistic colors and deep blacks. You can pick different color profiles.

It’s glossy but not overly slippery or glarey and doesn’t attract a lot of fingerprints.

The display is bright at 350 nits, and colors are faithful, with deep, rich blacks.

The slightly raised bezel is thin, not the minimal “infinity” style, but i I don’t mind having what I’m doing separated from the environment around it.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard is backlit. Keys are comfortable and quiet, chicklet with each key slightly curved. It would be nice if they had more travel.

The keyboard when on the bottom, does not retract, but the keyboard and trackpad both stop working when folded back. So, if you want keyboard shortcuts you would need an external Bluetooth or USB-connected keyboard.

The trackpad is large, accurate, and accepts gestures.

The 1.5-watt speakers don’t seem to be a priority. They don’t have much bass or oomph.

The machine boots up really fast, and it’s fast and responsive; I didn’t get any annoying blue circles as can happen on lower-power computers even with undemanding tasks.

The 8th generation Intel chip, the dual core  i7-8500, is the same  used in the most recent MacBook Pro 15. The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro has a 2GB dedicated graphics chip that’s about half again as fast as the 13’s integrated chip. Both sizes are fine for Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite, video editing, and light gaming.

The 9 Pro is not a super powerhouse but it’s fine for digital art, students, and general productivity or busness.The quadcore Lenovo Yoga 720 is more powerful, but heavier.

It comes with some bloatware, such as Samsung apps you may not have much use for and can remove.

Portability

At 3.9 lbs., the 15″ is lighter than the same size Yoga 720 or HP Spectre. It’s still a little heavy to carry around but you won’t find something lighter at that size. The 13″ is a pound lighter and easier to slip into a messenger bag. The pen weighs hardly anything and the included charger is compact. The Notebook 9 Pro is lighter than Yoga 720 15 or HP Spectre 15.

You can charge it with a portable battery charger (not included) via the USB-C port.

Battery life

About 7 hours of mixed use on both models.

 

Pen

The battery-free, Refined S pen fits into a silo in the front of the laptop base. The pen is skinny and short, and very light. Its fine point is .07mm.

Having a silo is super convenient since you don’t need to worry about keeping a separate pen someplace.

Should you want a larger implement, older Wacom EMR tablet-PC pens as well as the golden Staedtler Noris are compatible. The tilt sensitivity works with these pens as well as the S-Pen.The older tablet PC pen I tried on it didn’t produce an offset.

As with the Galaxy Note, the pen opens up Air Command, where you can do things like screenshot and annotate. Beyond the usual Windows Ink settings, there aren’t specialized pen settings.

Drawing on the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Having a 15″ display is almost like having a Cintiq MobileStudio Pro 16, without quite the power so many art features, but the size makes up for it in many ways.

Being able to stow the stylus right in it makes working less fraught with anxiety over losing the little devil. Though you may definitely want a larger, slightly heavier pen for heavier work.

The pen has great accuracy, nearly no parallax (offset), and is calibrated right out of the box. It’s also very sensitive. Even though it’s superlight, gently running it over the screen produces a line.  Lines come out fluidly, almost like ink. The fine tip makes it precise in hitting icons. Palm rejection works fine.

Tilt sensitivity doesn’t seem as obvious as with a Cintiq pen. I’ve gotten something resembling barrel roll with some apps using the S Pen, but I don’t think this is a feature intended to create designs the way it was in the old Wacom Art Pen for Cintiqs.

If you want to do 3D, it comes with Microsoft 3D, which is, as they say, fun for all ages. It’s sort of a premade way for young Makers to assemble a quick monster or robot. You can also go a lot farther with it.

User Reactions

Most who penned a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review were very satisfied. Some praised the color quality as well as speed. While some wish the screen were 4K, others don’t mind. One pointed out that a higher resolution screen would cause issues with scaling Adobe icons. Most thought the speakers were just OK.

Pros

lightweight
can charge via portable charger (not included) via USB-C
well-built
value
fast, smooth
Wacom EMR, S Pen included

Cons

Must remember to put pen in silo the right way or can get stuck
RAM not upgradeable
Speakers lack oomph
Bloatware

The Verdict

This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review is a pen’s-up. It’s speedy, affordable, portable and all you need for general art use. If you had one of the old Samsung slates, this will replace that with the same drawing experience and a lot more power.

Still, you might want to wait for the Notebook 9 Pen which you might think of as the 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. It’s not that different from the Pro but will weigh only 2.2 pounds because it’s built with a lighter-than-aluminum alloy called Metal12. You can see what’s ahead for Samsung’s new lineup.

See Samsung Notebook Pro 9 at Best Buy

Save $100 on a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 13″ (256GB SSD) (1/28 – 2/3 only!) Reg. $1,099.99. Plus free shipping! (Samsung)

See on Amazon

Optional, if you want a longer pen than the one it comes with:

End of Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review

See best 2-in-1s for drawing

best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap drawing tablets: 10 for [2017-2018]

best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap drawing tablets: our favorites for 2017-2018

Starving artist seeking the best cheap drawing tablets? Look no farther. Going digital without breaking the bank is a question on the minds of many. I’ve been lucky to be able to test quite a few cheap tablets and I’m a believer. I do not agree with reviewers who say you have to buy a Cintiq.

Here are top picks and links to our reviews.

CHEAP GRAPHICS PADS FOR PC OR MAC
  
Huion 610 Pro
Read Huion 610 Pro review
International customers
Wacom Intuos Draw
wacom-intuos-draw
Read Intuos Draw reviewInternational customers
Wacom Intuos Art Pen & Touch
Read Intuos Pen & Touch review
International customers
BUDGET PEN DISPLAYS
XP-Pen Artist 22E

Read XP-Pen Artist 22E review
International customers
PNBOO PN2150
Read PNBOO PN2150 reviewUK customers
(only in US and UK right now)
Ugee 1910B
Read Ugee 1910B review
International customers
Artisul D13
Artisul D13 reviewInternational customers
STANDALONE MOBILE AND 2-in-1s
Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen
Read Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review
International customers
Lenovo Yoga Book
Read Yoga Book review

International customers
Lenovo Miix 320
Read about Miix 320International customers

I’ve made a list that includes the 3 different types: cheap graphics tablets without screens, budget tablet monitors, and cheap drawing tablets with screen–Android tablets or cheap 2-in-1 tablet PCs. All come with an active pen.

If we were talking about traditional art supplies, I would say to spend more, because of factors such as pigment, fillers, and lightfastness. But pixels are pixels. It’s the experience of using the tablet, and its reliability, that matter the most.

A good cheap drawing tablet does most of the same thing as an expensive drawing tablet. Some might say you shouldn’t penny pinch, but the price difference can be huge.

Below I go over the differences and want to look for.

Ultra cheap pen display

I’ve tested and reviewed this PNBoo PN10 as a small ultra-cheap tablet monitor. It has Express Keys. I think this is a good choice for a small cheap drawing tablet with screen.

A cheaper graphics tablet is the Turcom TS 6610, which is similar (with small hardware and driver differences) to the Huion 610Pro. If you use the Huion driver, you’re better off.

 

bestcheapdrawingtablets (1)

Dog knows.

Cheap tablets vs. Wacom

Build

Cheap drawing tablets, and their pens, are made mostly of plastic and thus are lighter. Parts are metal, including the stand. Expensive drawing tablets have more metal alloy and tend to weigh more.

Features and hardware

These budget brands, and most others, use EMR, which is the same type of technology that Wacom uses in their digitizers. EMR is highly sensitive, so you will not be missing out in terms of pen responsiveness.

Lower-cost tablets usually have no tilt sensitivity, no multitouch (ability to finger paint). A cheap drawing tablet won’t get pressure sensitivity in vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.

For vector art, the best option is to use Clip Studio Paint, where you can get pressure sensitivity with a budget tablet. Though those files stay in their native file type and can’t be exported to .eps or .ai files.

Cheap graphics tablets don’t have a wireless kit the way the Intuos non-Pro models do (note, that costs extra).

Most budget tablet monitors lack external, customizable Express Keys. Some do, though.

Cheap tablet monitors come with a stand, but the stand doesn’t swivel the way Wacoms do.

Budget tablets usually have 2048 levels of pressure and Wacoms have up to 8192, though some still have 1024. All are fine.

Generally, a cheap drawing tablet won’t come with bundled art software. Wacom Intuoses do, though.

Wacom Intuos as a cheap drawing tablet

As you can see, two Wacom Intuoses are named as a best cheap graphics tablet. That may seem strange, but the small non-Pro Intuoses really aren’t that expensive. They don’t have all the features of the Pro line, but that’s OK for most people.  I think Medium is the best size for drawing, but it depends. With the Intuos you get bundled art software.

(See  best Wacom tablets.)

Drivers

Drivers for budget tablet brands do not offer as much customization as more expensive ones. They can also be harder to install or have occasional hiccups.

Wacom drivers are not immune from hiccups, but the installation process takes you by the hand more. Usually I find the budget ones to install quickly, but now and then there’s a hitch.

Low-cost tablets usually do not come with bundled art software. Wacom’s do, so that adds value.

Other differences are simply in the packaging. Some budget pen displays come in plain boxes without printing on them. The manuals may not be written in perfect English or may say “works with Windows 8” when the world is on Windows 10.

Don’t worry about that. Companies keep the drivers updated even if they don’t always keep the printed matter up to date. Download the drivers from their sites.

The screen tends to be smooth; there’s no texture as there is on some Cintiqs.

Many of the budget graphics pads and pen displays come with a generous assortment of accessories such as a drawing glove, bag, screen protector, and extra pen.

Tip:

A lot of the low-cost tablet brands have interchangeable drivers, meaning those from one company can work on another’s. That’s a positive. If you have trouble with a driver, you can sometimes download a driver from a different site. In some of my reviews, I’ve noted where I had difficulties with drivers and tried alternative ones that worked better.

Support

As far as support, most of the companies have ways of reaching them online, including forums, phone, and Skype chats. Some have offices in the U.S. and other countries and some don’t. Not all have Facebook pages and Twitter, as some are in countries where those are blocked. So you may need to use email or Skype.

Buying on Amazon is probably your best bet since you will have their return policy and guarantees.

Most of these are for sale only online, except the Wacoms. You won’t find cheap drawing tablets at Best Buy or other big box stores.

What to look for (and look out for) in an affordable art tablet:

Drivers should install without a struggle. Be sure you have deleted all previously installed tablet drivers first. (If you’re on a tablet PC, you can leave the tablet PC software. Only delete drivers that you or someone else installed onto the computer.)

If you do have a struggle, contact support of that particular company. You can also try deleting and reinstalling. It seems to me that installation is getting easier.

Drivers should work well across programs and for Windows and Mac.

Ports should not be loose. Loose ports are even a problem in some Wacom tablets. Cables should fit snugly into ports.

Don’t be alarmed if the screen squeaks at first when you use the pen; rub the screen with your hands a few times to quiet it down.

 

cheap drawing tablet

 

Cheap Android and 2-in-1s

I’ve included standalone, direct drawing tablets on my list too, including the Lenovo Yoga Book and Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, an excellent choice for a relatively cheap 10″ tablet.. There are some relatively inexpensive tablet PCs and Android tablets.

A lot of people want a 2-in-1. None are super powerful, though. If you want a lot of processing power at the lowest price, you may be better off using a PC with an attached graphics pad.

Students, beginners, hobbyists, and artists on a budget–including professional ones–all can benefit by saving money. Many people have been using these best cheap drawing tablets and are happy with them. I’ve been glad to have had the opportunity to try some.

You can always start out with an affordable option then move up. Or you may just decide to keep it.

You will find you can get good results without spending so much.

Read more drawing tablet reviews.

end of Best Cheap Drawing Tablets

 

 

 

PNBOO PN10 review

PNBOO PN10 review: pen display under $250. Testing and video

PNBOO PN10 review

Image courtesy PNBOO

PNBOO PN10 review: Amazingly affordable

The PNBoo PN10 is a small, lightweight tablet monitor with screen that costs under $250 as of this writing (Dec. 2017).  It’s just 10″ diagonal, with an active area of 8.5 x 5.3″ (217 x 136 mm). It’s amazingly affordable.  PNBoo sent me the PN10 to review.

pnboo pn10 review

Click image if you’re already ready to see it on Amazon

Type of tablet

Pen display/Cintiq alternative

You have to attach it to a computer.

PNBoo also makes the 21″ PN2150 (review here).

Features

Active area: 8.5 x 5.3″
Pen: batteryless, lightweight
Display: HD (1280×800)
Pen pressure: 2048 levels
Resolution/Report Rate: 5080 LPI, 220 pps
ms 5

What’s in the box?

The PNBOO comes in an attractive white box with graphics. (Unlike some budget ones that come in plain cardboard). You can see the box at the bottom of this page where it says unboxing video (you don’t have to watch the video to see it).

10intabletaccessories

PNBoo PN10 with pen, pen holder, glove, CD

Pen display monitor
1 Pen
Pen holder
8 extra nibs
1 pen page
USB cable
HDMI cable
Plug
2 in 1 cable

Like other budget graphics monitors, it has no multitouch (can’t finger paint on it), no tilt sensitivity, and no pressure sensitivity in Illustrator. Palm rejection is not an issue since it doesn’t have multitouch.

I recently reviewed the PNBOO PN2150, a 21″ tablet monitor. The PN10 is around a couple hundred bucks at this writing.

pnboo 10 small tablet

Tablet

The build quality is nice. The PNBOO is really lightweight, lighter than an iPad Pro. It’s made of plastic and pretty solid, with two rubber grips along the back so you can grab it easily. There’s a raised bezel around the screen. Unlike most budget drawing monitors, there are six Express Keys that are programmable in the driver. The driver has presets to some popular drawing programs.

You can use any art software with it, including Photoshop, Sketchbook, Gimp, Blender, Illustrator and more. It gets pressure sensitivity (not in Illustrator or Inkscape though–for pressure in vector, use Manga Studio). You can’t finger paint on it, though, you have to use a stylus.

On a Mac, you will need a MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

There’s no need to plug the PNBOO PN10 tablet into a wall, which gives it a lot more mobility. I was easily able to sit on the couch and draw, and at the desk, it doesn’t take up much space.

The best thing about it (besides the price) is how light it is. The pen is very light, too. It’s thin, more like a ballpoint pen. It’s similar (perhaps the same) as the pen that comes with the ArtisulD13. The driver says Artisul, so there’s some connection there.

Pen

The pen has a more premium quality than the thick pens that come with most budget tablets. It has a chrome band at the place you can unscrew and open the two sides (though there’s no good reason to open it). The pen doesn’t need a battery or charging.

The pen is accurate, without much parallax. I did recalibrate it, but it was fine out of the box. The plastic on the screen is pretty thin so there’s not a lot of distance between the surface and the digitizer layer, thus, not much parallax. It’s not possible to have zero.

Driver

Driver installation was simple. I used the site to get the driver, rather than the included CD, since my computers lack a CD drive. It’s always better to use downloaded ones anyway, because they are kept updated.

The driver says Artisul, and as mentioned, it has shortcuts for the express keys and pen buttons. More on the driver later.

pnboopn10driver

Screen

The drawing surface is plastic. It’s not too slippery. It’s a lot less slippery than the iPad Pro. In fact, when home, I find myself using this instead of the iPad Pro, which surprised me. I like that I can use desktop programs, that it’s not too slippery, and that it feels like a dedicated drawing surface rather than something that invariably distracts me with all the online temptations (even though I can on those on the tablet screen, the icons are so small on it that it’s less tempting.

Colors on the IPS LED screen are rich and bright, with deep blacks.

Changing the brightness on the computer screen does not affect the brightness or color on the PnBoo.

The pen is thinner than most budget pens. It’s like the Artisul D13’s pen.

Drawing on the PNBOO PN10

pnboo pn10 drawing

lines done in Clip Studio Paint

At first the driver was fine but then it started to behave inconsistently. I deleted, then reinstalled it, and since then it has been fine. Pressure sensitivity works well and there’s good pen accuracy. You have to press a little bit but it’s fine.

I also tried the Artisul D13 driver from the Artisul site (Artisul.com) and that one worked well, so if you have any driver issues, or just want to compare, try that one.

PNBoo PN10 review: the verdict

I’d recommend the PNBOO PN10 for people who want something small, light, and cheap, who want to use desktop programs as opposed to apps. The PNBOO could be a good travel pick if you are working on a larger Cintiq type of tablet but can’t bring it with you. It also could be good for a starter tablet for a student. The size makes it more like a sketchbook.

Here’s a quick pen test from the outside of the tablet:

Here’s my unboxing video.

See it on Amazon: click for US

See on Amazon: click for UK

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HP Sprout Pro G2 hands-on with inventor Brad Short

HP Sprout Pro G2: overview and video demo

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The first HP Sprout was launched two years ago (with Windows 8) after a development period of about 4 years. This article shows the HP Sprout Pro G2 in action. The non-Pro Sprout is quite affordable, at about the cost of a laptop.

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HP Sprout Pro G2 3D image capture in action

HP Sprout is a dual-screen PC that runs Windows 10 Pro. It’s meant to allow an immersive computing experience that breaks the boundaries between physical objects and the digital world.

It’s got an i7 processor, a camera/projector, an amazingly thin, flexible 20-point touch screen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity (HP Active Pen included), and a scanner that scans both 2D and 3D objects.

Brad Short,  HP Distinguished Technologist and the inventor and creator of the HP Sprout, showed off the HP Sprout Pro G2 at CES Unveiled NY 2017. I was on hand to watch and try out the drawing touchpad.

Here’s the creator himself doing a demo of the Sprout Pro G2.

Drawing demo on the HP Sprout touchpad. The included pen gets 2,048 levels of pressure.

What can artists do with the HP Sprout?

What can we not do? Artists can draw on the touchpad, scan objects and immediately place them into a 2D or 3D image, create 2D and 3D art, edit music and video, and send files to a 3D printer such as a Dremel. We can incorporate blended reality, VR (virtual reality), and AR (augmented reality).

It’s not just for artists. Short says blended reality will soon be a common way of communicating. Instead of a photograph, people will take a 3D scan and post it on social media. The HP Sprout isn’t meant for super-heavy-duty 3D scans but to create something that looks nice and is manageable in many apps. Here, Brad Short demos creative uses for 3D scans, such as putting the images into a video or into PowerPoint 3D. (Microsoft Office now supports 3D).

The Sprout runs Windows 10 Pro, has an i7 processor and 21.3″ HD display.

Basic specs:
Windows 10 Pro
i7, Intel HD graphics 630
21.3″ screen, HD 1920×1020
wide viewing angle
full keyboard
Ports: SD media card slot, 4 usb 3.0, HDMI 2.0, RJ-45, audio, controller


Bottom monitor:
Intel HD Graphics 6305
discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
wireless mouse, active pen that uses Wacom
camera: HP High def 14MP
Top screen is touchscreen

The Sprout has real-time tracking of the object. You can move it around and it will capture.

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HP Sprout Pro G2 captures objects and creates 3D scans.

The camera somehow ignores your hands and fingers, if you are holding up the object. If you’re holding it and you put down the object or otherwise let it lose tracking, it easily regains it.

At the end of the scan, you can see a mesh version with superimposed high-res photos of the surface. The files are .obj files you can open in surface mesh editing software, or AR and VR programs. The files are not very large at all.

You can also open the files in Photoshop and 3D Builder in Windows Creator. Short talks about how “fun” is an important part of Sprout ,and the idea of bringing 3D to everyone. “Sprout is a creative product for creativity,” he says.

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The HP Sprout Pro G2 captures an elephant

Accuracy: The 2d aspect is more accurate than the 3D in the camera used here; here, the 3D has 1mm accuracy. But if you use the the other 3D scanner that comes with the HP Sprout Pro G2, which is a higher-end, professional one, you get a high 10 to 15 micron accuracy.

You can then print it on a 3D printer such as a Dremel. You can also use it to create textures for your own 3D creations. You can quickly drag it to the touch mat and draw on it using the Active Pen or your finger on the touch mat.

Using it with Microsoft Creator Studio, you can integrate it into their videos or add your own 3D objects to libraries. You can edit music and video.

The HP Sprout is a tool, but also can be a fun a toy; a kid can use it.

The HP Sprout Pro G2 is a remarkable machine with a ton of potential. I find the flexible touchpad to be amazing.

The HP Sprout’s main use has been in the educational and manufacturing areas, but as it evolves, and consumers are more used to using 3D, AR, and VR, we could see more of these machines in homes. For artists who create game art, 3D models, or use AR and VR, it’s already extremely useful. Paired with Microsoft’s 3D tools, the Sprout may become a household word.

See the Amazon listing for more about the HP Sprout and HP Sprout Pro G2.