Cheap tablet PC for drawing in 2017? Acer Spin 1 and Lenovo Miix 320 fill the bill
Are you looking for a lightweight, powerful, low-cost digital-sketchbook with a pressure-sensitive pen that runs Windows? Now, a cheap tablet PC for drawing and general use can be had.
These affordable tablet PCs in 2017 are filling the recent void. Both have active pen support and use Windows Ink to keep you inking happily. These are perfect for commuting, taking to class, or backpacking.
These two art-capable PCs are actually both economical and decent. Usually, a cheap tablet PC has a low-res display, but these both have HD. Don’t expect these to become your main computers, unless your demands are not that high.
Lenovo Miix 320
Lenovo is aiming this at “millennials” who have “side hustles”–well, they’ve gotta have an angle. The Miix 320 is for anyone who wants a low-priced Windows tablet with active pen support, via the optional Lenovo Active Pen. The PC is a 2-in-1 detachable with a full keyboard,
While it’s not ideal for professional or resource-intensive use, since it’s not that powerful, you can still do a lot on it.
The Miix 320 has an Atom x5 Cherry Trail processor, Intel HD graphics, up to 128 GB storage, and full FHD touchscreen.
It’s nice and light–the tablet sans keyboard weighs just 1.2 lbs (550g), and 2.25 lbs (1.02 kg) with the keyboard attached.
The Miix 320’s battery life is up to 10 hours, only 17.5 mm thick. Dolby speakers pump up the volume.
This package is petite at 9.8 x 7″ (249 X 178 mm) and only .68″ (17.5 mm) thick. So you can easily put this in a backpack or small travel bag.
It’s got Windows Hello login capabilities and comes in Platinum Silver and Snow White.
See the Miix on Amazon (U.S.)
Acer Spin 1 (new version)
The Acer Spin 1 has been updated and is coming out July 2017. It’s still a really affordable convertible notebook that takes the Acer Active pen, which has a Synaptics digitizer. This new and improved Spin 1 has an all-metal chassis unusual in this budget category, and has a full HD display.
Its processor is Intel Pentium or Intel Celeron. Weight is 2.76 lbs or 1.25 kg, not that extremely light, but tablet PCs do tend to be heavier because of the digitizer layer. It’s thin at .55 in. (14mm) and has 4G DDR3 memory. RAM options are 32, 64, or 128 3MMC storage. IT has antimicrobial Gorilla Glass 5, with embedded ionic silver to slay germs forever.
It’s full size at 11.6″, not a mini computer. Its battery life is not bad, up to 10 hours. It can be posed in laptop, tent, display, or tablet modes, with the wide-view IPS screen offering 178-degree viewing angles.
Notably, its precision touchpad supports Windows 10 gestures. This kind of touchpad is usually found on much pricier devices, such as the Surface Pro.
You can turn on a Bluelight shield, which will make the screen look pinkish, but save your eyes and melatonin.
It’s also got fast Intel Wireless-AC. Its ports are Bluetooth 4.0, a USB 3.1, a USB 2.0, and HDMI, and a microSD card slot.
OK, it’s a cheap tablet PC, so it’s not the fastest, nor does it have the best keyboard. But it has its good qualities for art. Best for students and sketchers.
See it on Amazon (U.S.)
Because these are not that powerful, I don’t suggest running full Photoshop on them. Though you can put it on, chances are it will lag if you try to do much. So use smaller apps such as ArtRage, Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop Elements, or Windows mobile apps like Fresh Paint or Sketchable.
See also See also Mytrix/Cube i7 review, a cheap tablet PC for artists
See our post on the best tablet PCs for digital artists
Learn how to pick the best drawing tablet.