Category Archives: Wacom EMR

Wacom EMR is traditional Wacom digitizer tech.

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

wacommobilestudioproreview

Wacom MobileStudio Pro review: Hands-on with power slate

Wacom MobileStudio Pro Review: Slate up with a twist of awesome

We got to try out this powerful drawing tablet hands-on to write this Wacom MobileStudio Pro review. We found it’s strides ahead of the Cintiq Companion 2 and other competitors.

wacom mobilestudio pro review

This pricey all-in-one comes in two sizes, the 13 and 16, with five configurations going up to i7 with 512GB storage.

The 13 model has three configurations, from i5 to i7, with 8 to 16GB RAM and 64 to 512GB storage (the lowest I would go for storage is 128). Displays range from QHD to 4K. The 16 has a NVIDIA Quadro M600M graphics card. The others have Iris 550.

Download the MobileStudioPro_FactSheet 

The MobileStudio Pro is a professional-level tablet for those who want a larger tablet that’s a portable mobile workstation. The 13, at 13.3″ diagonal is larger than its closest competitors, the Vaio Z Canvas and Surface Pro 4.

 

The included Pro Pen 2 has 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. It’s the same pen that comes with the 2017 Intuos Pro, Intuos Pro Paper Edition, and Cintiq Pro.

When not drawing, you can game on the MobileStudio Pro with the NVIDIA card. You can also edit video.

The 512GB versions in both sizes come with a fingerprint scanner to log in.

wacom-mobilestudiopro-pro pen 2, pen stand, wacom keyboard

Wacom MobileStudio Pro with Pro Pen 2, pen stand, Wacom keyboard

FEATURES

Type of tablet: all-in-one slate
Runs Windows 10
Digitizer: Wacom EMR
Pro Pen 2, batteryless, two programmable buttons, eraser tip, 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity
Tilt range 40 degrees, tilt recogniton 60 to -60
Display: QHD ((2560 x 1440) or 4K (3840 x 2160)
i5 to 17; 64 to 512 GB RAM
SSD
Intel Iris 550 to discrete NVIDIA Quardro M600M 2GB or 4GB GDDR5
Multitouch
Color: 94% of Adobe RGB
Dimensions: 16.4 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 4.8 lbs.
Both sizes have the 3D camera option (camera is on the back) in the 17/512GB configuration.
The 13 has six Express Keys; the  16 has eight.
Front and back cameras (5MP on front, 8MP on back)

Pen demo video showing the Pro Pen 2 in action in Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop.

What’s in the Box

MobileStudio Pro
Pro Pen 2 with 3 extra nibs (one felt tip, two standard)
Pen case
Pen holder (attaches)
Power cord
Documentation

Ports: 3 USB Type C
MiniDisplay Port (when used with optional Wacom Link)
SD slot
Headphone jack
Kensington lock port

What’s NOT in the Box

Stand
Keyboard
Wacom Link (to plug into Mac or PC and use the MSP as second screen or Cintiq)
Carrying case or sleeve
Standalone pen holder

The first three items all came with the Cintiq Companions, which were 2-in-1s.

Battery Life

Power users may get as little as 2 to 3 hours, with lighter use getting up to 6.

High screen resolution, large files, screen brightness, and resource-demanding programs all take a toll on battery life. Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-fi when you’re not using them can extend battery time.

Portability

At about 5 lbs., I wouldn’t want to carry it around all day, or keep it on my lap. Wacom doesn’t make a case, and there are not that many than the 16 can fit into comfortably. The power brick is big and adds to the weight. Still, it’s a lot easier than carrying a Cintiq plus a laptop.

mobilestudio pro artist

Art by Jaleh Afshar

Drawing on the Wacom MobileStudio Pro

The pen glides smoothly, with the etched glass screen acting as advertised, providing a paperlike bite. It would be even more paperlike with the included felt-tip nib. Perhaps it’s a placebo effect of just knowing there are so many pressure levels, but it feels like butter.

In reality I don’t quite sense the difference, and I’ll never use all the levels because I’ll never use a brush larger than 8,192 pixels.

Some artists may actually need to adjust their pressure curve from their accustomed settings to make it more sensitive, because there are now thousands more steps.

I am still not crazy about a 16:9 aspect ratio. It would be even better if if they made it 4:3.

Using the Pro Pen 2

The grip and the way the pen balances makes it feel more like a paintbrush or ink pen. The pen has tilt from the tip.

While Wacom states there’s no lag, I experienced some in I believe it was Clip Studio Paint–I’d put the pen down, then see the mark. Wacom said that can happen to any computer, and that’s true. It was a big file.

Subsequent drawing did not have any lag. So I think Wacom can say they’ve eliminated most lag, but it’s not infallible. A little lag now and then isn’t a dealbreaker, but the rarer the better.

I’m not sure what more they can do now, except perhaps make nibs that allow side shading like the Apple Pencil. Adding a multiple of more pressure levels would be excessive.

Pen compatibility

Wacom’s site states that these previous generation Cintiq pens are compatible: the Airbrush, Art Pen, Classic Pen, Grip Pen, and Pro Pen.

MobileStudio Pro vs. Cintiq Companion 2

Times have changed. While the Cintiq Companion 2 felt great to draw on, it was plagued by loud fan noise and it wasn’t all that powerful. The pen still had a bit of parallax. The old Pro Pen supported 2,048 pressure levels.

The MobileStudio Pro’s included Pro Pen 2, which can be used on the Cintiq Pro as well, gets 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. There’s zero parallax, bringing it up to par with the Surface Pen in the parallax department. That’s because Wacom, like Microsoft, is now using optical bonding, bringing the surface of the glass closer to the digitizer layer, thus eliminating parallax.

The MSP’s back has convenient grips to keep us butterfingers from disaster. The Companion 2 was QHD, like some models of the MSP. The Cintiq 13HD is HD.

The fans are, sensibly, now on the side instead of the bottom, so the air blows out instead of getting trapped onto your desk or lap. Now they are quiet. The unit can get warm, but I haven’t heard complaints about excessive heat.

The build materials are premium; it’s metal, not plastic. MobileStudio Pro’s bezel is smaller than the Cintiq Companions’. It doesn’t have the inner bezel the Companions do.

Screen

The Companions’ screen protector, like on other Cintiqs, provided Wacom’s signature matte finish. The MobileStudio Pro has an etched glass surface that gives the slight resistance that emulates a pen and paperlike feel.

The glass also allows light to shine through. It’s not oversaturated like Cintiq displays. It’s also not slippery, since the etched glass gives a similar paperlike texture to the Cintiqs, without the filmy coating. The color gamut covers 94% of the Adobe RGB spectrum.

This screen does give some brownie points in this MobileStudio Pro review, for having clearer colors than Cintiqs.

Controls

The MSP sports chrome-trimmed Express Keys rather than the the utilitarian rounded rectangles of the Companions and Intuos Pros. I’m not a big fan of  the chrome trim, but it does make it easier to see the buttons. The tablet has a luxury look and feel. The color is close to black.

The functions are similar; there are six keys on the 13 and eight on the 16, and the Rocker Ring with Touch Ring. The batteryless, Wacom EMR pen still has two programmable buttons and an eraser tip with the same 8,192 levels of pressure as the pen tip.

The included pen case is cylindrical and resembles a cigar case. The pen holder clips onto the lock port. You can slide the pen in, or stand it up. It doesn’t come with a, standalone pen holder.

Wacom MobileStudio Pro Review

Back with grips, rear camera, 3D camera (note: this stand in this photo is not the official Wacom Stand)

Software

In all the models you can use a variety of 2D and 3D programs, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, zBrush, and Corel Painter, Paintshop Pro X9, and Mosketch, a program for 3D character animation.

The processors can run an array of 2D and 3D programs. The discrete NVIDIA M600M graphics is the same as in the Lenovo P70 mobile workstation, which has the 2GB card. The models with Intel Iris 550 are also powerful enough for 3D.

The highest model of MobileStudio Pro, available only in the 16, possesses 3D Intel Real Sense. That’s a 3D camera, aimed at industrial designers or engineers who use CAD and 3D sculptors who start with real objects. It comes with with a year’s license for Artec Studio 11 Ultimate scanning software.

Being a slate, it doesn’t have a dedicated keyboard that can be attached. You can use the Wacom Mobile Keyboard (optional purchase) or any Bluetooth or USB keyboard. There is a fingerprint sensor to log in.

Icons will look small due to the high-res display. Not every art program will get all the possible levels of pressure.

One Wacom MobileStudio Pro review remarked upon lag and other problems in Illustrator. Perhaps this is related to the Clip Studio Paint issue I experienced. Hopefully this will get ironed out as much as it can be.

chrome express keys

The Express Keys have some bling.

User reactions

Most Wacom MobileStudio Pro reviews from artists so far are very positive, with many on Cloud 9, and some detractors. Since the tablet only just came out, users are now bringing attention to bugs for the company to look at. Lots of artists, including me, are craving one! But it’s a luxury unless you really need some of the features, or can drop the dough with no problem.

When you buy something right after release, you become sort of a de facto beta tester, even if you don’t want to be. Unfortunately, Wacom isn’t the easiest place to deal with in getting repairs or doing returns.

Wacom MobileStudio Pro review Pros & Cons

Pros

Sensitive, responsive pen
Portable
Powerful
When used with Wacom Link, can attach to Mac or Windows and use as Cintiq
NVIDIA graphics
3D camera option
two sizes
Can use pen on some other Wacom devices

Cons

Expensiiiive
Battery life not great
Some bugs and glitches such as lag or bootup issues
Type C ports means you will need dongles for peripherals, for now
Does not come with accessories

The Verdict

This is a pricey proposition. It would nice if Wacom included the accessories that came with the Companions, such as a keyboard and the Wacom Link, considering the price tag.

There are other options with the same amount of power. The MSP is not the most lappable, because 5 lbs. on your lap can add up. However, I prefer the all-in-one form to using an attached tablet monitor, since an all-in0one takes up so much less space.

The MSP 13 is a good sequel to the Cintiq 13HD if you don’t like having to attach a computer. If you want the latest Cintiq, consider the Cintiq Pro.

The MobileStudio Pro 16 is more of a commitment in price but expands your capabilities in multimedia and rendering. The 3D camera would be utterly useless for many artists, but for some it’s a great feature.

A tablet that’s a computer makes you stuck with the OS unless you’re using the Link to use it as a Cintiq past the OS’s expiration date. Having it be an all-in-one also limits its resale time and value a bit, but it should last for years with proper updates.

Having a large screen, portability, and all the Wacom art controls makes this a joy to work on; you may have to live with a few bugs and imperfections for now.

This MobileStudio Pro review  is a thumb’s up for the specs and fun of using it. In designing this sleek slate, Wacom has listened to consumers and is, so far, still winner of the art tablet game. This would be a great high-end portable art studio to have if budget allows.

end of Wacom MobileStudio Pro review

See it on Amazon
(link takes you to the store in country you’re in)

Optional Accessories

Artisul Freestyle Stand fits both sizes (if you don’t want to get the Wacom Stand)

USB C-to USB-3.0 adapter

Wacom Link and Stand

end of Wacom MobileStudio Pro review

Wacom+Intuos+Pro+Paper+Edition-2

Intuos Pro Paper Edition hits the stands: Hands on

Intuos Pro Paper Edition: Take note

The Intuos Pro Paper Edition is here, joining the ranks of tablets that add real paper and pen to the mix. It comes in only Medium and large, and is a regular Intuos Pro except for the addition of a paper pad and fine-tipped pen.

Like the paperless model, it comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2, which gets an eye-popping 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The regular Intuos Pro has also been updated.

Intuos Pro Paper Edition

Intuos Pro Paper and pens. Image courtesy Wacom

New Intuos Pro and Paper Edition features

Click to check price (international and U.S. users).

The new Intuos Pro, including the Intuos Pro Paper Edition (as they’re the same tablet)  is thinner than the old version and has a smaller footprint. The pen stand is now smaller, the pen case is updated. Then nibs sit in the pen holder, which is now flatter and cookie-like.

You also get three Texture Sheets that you can use to get the look of three drawing textures.

The Paper Edition still has touch, the ExpressKeys, and Rocker Ring as controls.

It also includes the 0.4mm Finetip gel ink pen, which is also an EMR pressure-sensitive pen.

Inkscape App

Like the Bamboo Slate and Spark, the tablet comes with the Inkscape app. (Though the app is free to download, eventually it becomes subscription-based).

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Intuos Pro Paper with Pro Pen 2 and new, thinner pen stand

Besides the gel pen, there’s an optional ballpoint pen. Wacom says that in mid-2017, there’s going to be a pencil option. Yippie! Wonder if it will have an eraser end.

With the app, which works on mobile or desktop, your drawings get digitized and you can store or share them.

intuospropaper

You can use the Paper Clip (that thing on top) to attach your favorite drawing paper to the Intuos Pro Paper Edition. Or you can use the tablet as a regular Intuos Pro.

WIth the paid app, you get 50 GB storage instead of 5; you can convert text to notes, collaborate with others, or turn raster into vector. It costs $3.56 per month as of this writing. The basic app is free and can be used on its Web platform or as an Android and iOS mobile app.

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Intuos Pro Paper Edition Bamboo gel pen

The Intuos Pro Paper now has this whole new functionality. While I like the ink pens, can’t wait for mid-2017 when the pencil comes out in time for summer sketching.

See it on Amazon (international and U.S.).

Read more about the top Wacom tablets.

Lenovo Yoga_Book_review

Lenovo Yoga Book review

Lenovo Yoga Book Review: Windows and Android

lenovoyogabookreview

A while back, I wrote a fairly detailed Lenovo Yoga Book article when the product was announced, including specs. So here I’ll focus on my experience with it.  I have to say that it was as expected, and in some ways better–it’s a cool and very portable device that delivers in the art area. It comes in both WIndows and Android versions.

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Lenovo Yoga Book and Real Pen

See the Lenovo Yoga Book on Amazon

The Windows version comes only in black, while the Android Yoga Book’s hues are black, gray, and gold. Perhaps that’s a clue that they expect to sell more of the Android.

Specs

Wacom digitizer, 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
EMR pen
100 degrees of tilt sensitivity
Screen: 10.1″ IPS LCD with Lenovo Anypen, multitouch,  HD1920×1200
OS: Android or Windows
Dimensions: 10.1″ × 6.72″ × 0.38″ (256.6 × 170.8 × 9.6 mm)
Build: Magnesium aluminum alloy
Processor: Atom X5, 2.4GHz
Weight: 1.52 lbs (.69 kg)
RAM: 4GB, 64GB storage, microSD can be added
Memory: LPDDR3
Dolby speakers

Comes with:

Yoga Book
Charger
micro USB cord
Documentation
Real Pen
3 ink-cartridge refills
Paper pad with 15 sheets of paper (refill pads have 75 sheets)
Book Pad (metal clipboard accessory)

On Feb. 8, 2017, he A12, a lower-specced, Android version of this was released but it does NOT have a digitizer.

Design

Needless to say, the Yoga Book is really cool-looking and the hinge is beautiful, with a bit of Steampunk sensibility. Lenovo is known for its utilitarian style. Here, the design has lightened and become whimsical.

As with all Yogas, the device bends into myriad poses. The smallness of it makes posing it easier and more fun than with the large ones. The large bezel lets you hold it without touching the screen, and visually sets off the display from its surroundings.

yogabookmodes

Tent pose would be great for showing your portfolio, letting an art director finger-scroll through your work. Or you could prop it on an airplane tray table and watch a movie.

yogabooksize

Ports

There’s a micro-USB and micro-HDMI, a conventional mic-headphone jack, as well as a microSD slot for a card up to 128GB. There’s no USB-C. To use USB peripherals, you will need to provide your own adapter, such as a USB to Go. You won’t be able to simultaneously charge the computer and use a peripheral unless you use a USB hub.

While some people are wishing for more ports, they wouldn’t fit into the skinny tablet body that gives the Yoga Book such great portability.

Display

It’s a bright 400 nits. It’s just HD, but I think at a small size, that matters less than it would at a large size. It also makes the battery last longer. Lenovo reports 70% of Adobe RGB though some places are finding up to 90%. It doesn’t have professional-level color accuracy, but is fine for a digital sketchbook.

You can write or draw on the multi-touch Lenovo AnyPen touchscreen with the stylus tip of the Real Pen, or with anything conducive, from a fork to a banana, because the screen uses Lenovo AnyPen. The one thing that will not work is pure plastic. No matter what, though, you won’t get pressure sensitivity or palm rejection on the screen.

Portability

At about 1.5 lbs., it’s very light and easy to carry in a small bag. The Yoga Book feels more like carrying a paperback book or Kindle with a protective cover. To compare, a 13″ MacBook Air weighs about twice as much. I find my MacBook Air starts to feel heavy after a while so if I have to cover a lot of ground I leave it at home.

Since the Yoga Book is a clamshell, the screen is protected. This means savings, as with an open tablet like an iPad, you have to invest in serious armor or padding.

Comparatively, the large iPad Pro weighs about the same as this, and the small one less than a pound. But then you have to figure in the weight of a case, and the Apple Pencil adds about 3/4 ounce.

Light as the Yoga Book is, though, you also have the paper pad, pen, and additional nib to carry around. There’s no silo for the pen. So having a sleeve that holds everything, and closes would be a good solution.

Lenovo Real Pen

lenovo yoga book pen tips

Yoga Book Wacom EMR Real Pen with stylus tip (top) and ink pen tip

The Yoga Book Real Pen is a batterlyess, Wacom EMR pen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and 100 degrees of tilt. Lenovo tried over 200 pen designs to get one that fulfilled the Real Pen’s dual functions. While on the large side, the pen is light and comfortable to hold. There’s no eraser tip, so you’ll need to use your program’s eraser brush.

lenovo yoga book pen styluses

If you want to draw for a while on the Create Pad, then change to drawing on the screen, you switch out the nibs, from the digitizer nib to the real ink nib. To switch them out requires using a little hole in the cap to pry out one nib. It’s reminiscent of the hole in the top of the Intuos that you use to pull out nibs.

Notice the fine tip of the top pen, which is the stylus to use on the AnyPen screen. The tip is coated with conduction polyoxymethylene (POM).

yogabookrealpen

Yoga Book Real Pen interior

If you’re a frequent switcher, getting an extra pen isn’t a bad idea. If you don’t like the nib remover you can use a ring one that comes with a Wacom pen. (photo illustration by Lenovo) Or, you can use just about anything to draw on the screen.

 Drawing on the Yoga Book

Here is a super-short pen demo. You can see how the line appears with my pen strokes with no lag. This is just one layer, though. If you have a very large file, you could get some lag as the Atom processor catches up.

Yoga Book Create Pad

The Create Pad is the black drawing tablet. Pushing a button switches it to stylus mode from keyboard mode.

Drawing is where the Lenovo Yoga Book shines. The Creator Pad is very responsive, perfectly mimicking what you draw or write. The Wacom digitizer works great, offering 2,048 levels of pressure and 100 degrees of tilt. There are no hotkeys.

Create Pad with paper pad (right) and color art on the screen (left)

It would be nice if the EMR pen offered nibs other than a ballpoint, but it has to conduct electricity.

There is something nice about getting back to paper.  I found myself keeping my eyes on the paper, whereas with a graphics tablet you have to look at the screen. (Though the new Intuous Pro includes a paper option). If the paper or just the novelty of it inspires you to draw more, than that’s a good thing. You can use any normal paper. To get retro, you could use tracing paper to build up your drawing on paper.

If you didn’t bring paper, you can draw straight onto the Create Pad with no paper. TheCreate Pad is actually the surface of the drawing tablet, not the paper pad. Then you can wipe off the ink. Similarly, you could use the ink pen on the AnyPen screen then wash it off. But I don’t like washing off ink, so I stick to the paper and Real Pen tip.

The ink refills are regular ink refills. You can buy them at stationery stores or from Lenovo or other places.

yogabookkeyboard

Halo keyboard

The keyboard is cool-looking, but difficult to type on, not a whole lot better than texting or typing on an on-screen keyboard. There’s a vibration when you hit the keys. It’s not good ergonomics to type on a flat keyboard. The haptic vibration may help you reflexively not strike as hard, but I’d still be careful and use this just for emails or short items. The size of the keyboard is also challenging to type.

I asked Lenovo if they considered adding more keyboards, such as those for other languages, but they said that wasn’t a possibility right now, since the keyboard is etched in.

Battery Life

Lenovo estimates 12-15 hours, which is really long; realistically, using art apps,. 9 for Windows and 11 for Android. The device doesn’t get very hot.

Art Software

Since the processor is Atom, there’s no point in trying to run heavy-duty programs such as Photoshop or Gimp. You can use them but only in the lightest way before you run into problems.

The Yoga Book comes bundled with a trial of ArtRage Lite, a versatile art program with loads of realistic brushes and effects, even glitter and impasto. It’s a very affordable program to purchase.

Lenovo Yoga Book Windows vs. Android

lenovo yoga book keyboard

Lenovo Yoga Book, Android version

The hardware for both are the same. The one difference you can see is that on the Android, you can’t see the touchpad as well because it isn’t outlined; there are just markings on the corners.

With the Android version you can use any app in the Google Play store, such as Procreate. With Windows, you could use ArtRage desktop, Photoshop Elements, Sketchbook Pro, Mischief, Krita, Sketchable, and other art programs that are not too resource-intensive.

Which is best? If you’re used to Windows, you might want to stick with the familiar. But the Android actually has more going for it. The Yoga Book is a tablet-first laptop. Its specs are low for a Windows machine, but high for an Android tablet.

The Android version lets you use anything in the Google Play store, including Procreate, Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop Express, and tons more. The Android apps are smaller, hence run faster. In the Android you can turn off the screen to save battery while you draw on the Create Pad, with the image still getting digitized.

In the Windows version, there is two-fingered scroll. You will also get Windows Ink and handwriting to text. And you can use Microsoft Office or Open Office. However, if writing is your main thing, I doubt this can replace a full-size laptop.

lenovo yoga book review

Converting handwriting to text on the Yoga Book.

All in all, the Android is  bit better, but there’s not a huge difference, so get whichever one you’re more comfortable with. Just realize that large Windows applications aren’t going to work well. There are Windows mobile apps (the apps formerly known as Metro) in the Windows Store, but nowhere near the amount for Android.

User Reactions

A lot of people are enjoying this tablet. Some Lenovo Yoga Book reviews say the Dolby speakers are louder in the Windows version. Some are also reporting problems with pressure sensitivity in full Photoshop and Corel Draw, but I think those are too large to run on this tablet anyway. The device seems to be sort of “comfort food” for some users.

The biggest sticking points are the trackpad and keyboard.

Pros

Lightness, portability
Multi-positions
Multi-functions
Display
Responsiveness of tablet
Touchscreen
Pen refills are affordable and easy to find

Cons

Typing is difficult
Processor and storage not very high
Create Pad limited to ballpoint pen

The Verdict

The design of the Lenovo Yoga Book is excellent, the hinge is beautiful, and it’s fun to tote around and show off. It’s a neat digital sketchbook, and nice to have a graphics tablet that’s already connected without dealing with cords.

You could get a Wacom Spark for less money if your main goal is to digitize your ink drawings as you draw.  If you want a very portable device to draw and do light typing on, the Book is a fun, versatile digital sketchbook. The main draws for me are the si

What the Yoga Book has done is combine a bunch of functions. Some call it gimmicky, others just enjoy it. I think there’s a bit of that old Apple charm going on here–though it may not give you a ton of power, it’s got a certain charisma and ease of use that’s getting it a lot of fans (and some detractors).

This functions somewhat better with Android, but go with your needs and preferences.

https://youtu.be/HFZJmV_4sbs

This artist, Arthur Walker, has created this great time-lapse video of drawing on the Yoga Book. He has even mastered touch typing.

See the Lenovo Yoga Book  (Android and Windows) on Amazon

 

Optional accessories include extra paper, ink refills, carrying case.

 

End of Lenovo Yoga Book review