Category Archives: Windows

galaxytabprosces2016

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S review: OLED hits Windows tablet

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S review: OLED screen, included keyboard

samsungtabprosblack

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S in black with keyboard cover attached

See it on Amazon

Type of Tablet

Windows 2-in-1, detachable tablet
Runs Windows 10 (Home and Pro)
Pen: Not yet released. Bluetooth, pressure-sensitive.

tabprosces

Samsung TabPro S release at CES 2016, Las Vegas

Features

Display: 12″ diagonal
Materials: Magnesium frame, rubberized plastic back
resolution FHD+ (2160 x 1440)
touch Super AMOLED display
216ppi
Memory: 4GB RAM (not upgradeable)
Storage: 128 or 256GB SSD

Ports: single USB-C, headphone jack, no micro SD
Processor: Intel Skylake Core M3, dual core, 2.3 GHz
Fanless
Graphics: Intel HD 515
Battery: 5200 mAh
LTE (Cat. 6) version available
Front and rear cameras both 5 MP
Comes in black or white
Dimensions: 11.43 x 0.25 x 7.83 inches (290.3×198.8×6.3mm_
1.53lbs (639g)
Wireless 802.11 abg

Why a 2-in-1?

The TabPro S is joining a growing population of Windows 2-in-1s. This type of tablet is all the rage, because it turns out lots of people want a portable device that works well for both entertainment and productivity. Active pens have really hit the mainstream.

Non-Pro iPads and other mobile tablets are most useful for entertainment, full, 64-bit Windows and a pen gives a lot more options. It can replace a laptop and tablet and fit neatly into your bag or briefcase.

You can use desktop programs as well as Windows apps (formerly known as Metro apps). The very high-res screen is the first OLED for a Windows tablet. So this is a milestone. Previously, they have been in smartphones, Android tablets (mostly Samsung’s), monitors, and just recently came to laptops.

galaxytabprosces2016

Pen

The Samsung people at CES told me there was not going to be a pen, though one of them said maybe. So either the pen was a weakly-kept secret, an agonizing decision, or an afterthought for them. I didn’t expect to be writing this review.

It’s the big MacGuffin here. Not much is known about it except it is pressure-sensitive, it probably won’t be a digitizer we’re familiar with, and that it uses Bluetooth.

Update: The pen has come out.

 

What’s in the Box

Tablet, charger with cable, keyboard dock/cover, documentation

 

Ports

There’s just a USB-C port and a headphone jack. No micro SD, nothin’. The 2015 MacBook also has this single-port feature and also faced criticism about it, but maybe it’s the future. Samsung says they’re going to release an adapter. Meantime, there are other adapters, but not that many peripherals for the USB-C.

The tablet may be ready for the future, but for now, users are the ones who need to be ready.

Fast-charging

On the plus side, the USB-C offers FAST charging, just 2 1/2 hours from zero to full and the battery optimally lasts up to 10.5 hours on this charge.

 

Display

The display is bright with excellent viewing angles. The colors are more saturated than we generally see.

The colors are rich, and the blacks very deep (because there is no light where there’s black with the OLED),  with great contrast. But this is is made with something called PenTile subpixels, which makes it so the resolution is effectively not quite as high as it says, and there’s a little too much green. Lots of people have been oohing and aah-ing over the display. I just prefer a regular LCD.

The screen is smooth and somewhat glossy, but not high-sheen. It doesn’t reflect so much light that you can’t see the display. Its 400 nits is very bright.

The bezel is relatively narrow, but provides enough of a visual “frame” that makes your artwork pop from the background.

Good proportions

The 3:2 aspect ratio is less oblong than the usual 16:9 or 16:10, and preferable for drawing. Portrait mode is more in proportion to a regular sheet of paper.

 

tabprosreviewwhite

TabPro S in white. Note the closeness of the keys.

 

Using the TabPro S

The machine is snappy and responsive, with apps opening quicky. Scrolling is peppy even in memory-intensive Chrome.

A 128 GB hard drive is not that big, so if you get that one, big files are best kept elsewhere. The 256 GB SSD is not huge.

You can run full Photoshop CC with the TabPro S, but you may experience some lag when running heavy graphics, such as filters with high-res files. With 4 GB and a Core M3, it’s not powerful enough for heavy use of Adobe Suite, you would need at least an i5 and 8 GB.

I have no complaints about the RAM and storage, since this is a portable tablet of a certain class and fulfills its duties well. A close cousin is the entry-level Surface Pro 4, which also has a Core M processor but has a lot more ports and a better keyboard. 

It would be nice if the battery were replaceable.

The machine is suitable for light gaming.

Build

The build is solid and feels and looks premium, with a metal frame. The TabPro S is almost as sleek as the luxe Galaxy S7 phone. The tablet’s back is a not-unpleasant black, rubbery, matte plasticky material that is very grippable and lowers the chance of dropping it. And the rubberized texture is not a dirt/fingerprint magnet.

I don’t know how much the rubbery surface protects the device in drops onto its back, but it probably provides a bit of cushioning, along with the cover.

Keyboard dock/cover

tabproscoverhigh

Upright position shows off the thinness of the tablet. Keyboard is not backlit.

Unlike with the Surface Pro line, here, a keyboard dock is included. It’s held on by a Pogo connector in the bottom center edge of the tablet. Once connected, it’s pretty stable, and doesn’t seem to cause lags or skips when typing.

The cover only takes two positions. It’s a trifold, similar to the Apple Smart Cover. It’s thin, but seems durable, and the design is clever: the cover wraps all the way around the tablet, protecting it from light mishaps.

The angles of  two positions are decent, but, they only work in Landscape mode. If they really had an art tablet in mind, maybe they would have designed the cover for Portrait position, too.

The cover’s square camera port lines up well with the camera. The whole tablet has straight lines, except for the rounded edges.

Typing on the keyboard

The keyboard wasn’t really to my liking for typing, I prefer island-style keys. There’s almost no space between the keys, they don’t have great travel at 1.4 mm, which is a bit low.  I also don’t love the look. It was challenging to type accurately. There’s no requirement to use the keyboard; a separate keyboard would work too.

tabproscovertyping

TabPro S cover in typing position

The keys are larger than most, but to me that doesn’t really help with accuracy. It might be a good for thick-fingered folks. The whole thing feels a bit floppy. It’s similar to the old Surface Pro Type Cover, except that one sat at an angle and this one is flat on the table, and the stand had more positions.

The trackpad works fine and works with Windows touch gestures.

You can use the TabPro S with  the keyboard on your lap, but being so light, it’s not super stable, and may cause worries about it falling. If you get really into painting and move like a digital Jackson Pollack, sitting on a wide, soft surface may calm those anxieties.

Color

The color gamut is standout. It covers 95% of Adobe RGB and  full (or more than full) sRGB, similar to the Vaio Z Canvas  (an N-trig tablet PC with an IPS screen) That makes it suitable for artists and photographers to use it to make their own prints for professional print work, provided they have a strong understanding of color correction.

Without that understanding,  the color gamut can be a source of confusion. According to DisplayMate, a trade organization, “OLEDs currently have the opposite problem of traditional LCDs, too large a native color gamut, which requires color management in order to deliver accurate sRGB/Rec.709 colors.”

If you’re a professional artist, you probably use a printer that uses Adobe RGB or, for photographers, ProPhoto RGB. Consumer printing is mostly done in sRGB. sRGB is also the standard for Web colors.

The high gamut can really make your work pop, and you can adjust settings to avoid the high saturation that can occur. There’s also an sRGB setting. The settings panel also gives you choices of how long the screen will remain bright before it auto-dims to prevent screen burn-in, which can be a problem with AMOLED screens.

Many love the saturated colors of AMOLED, but they are a bit hyper-real.

Samsung Flow

No, it’s not a psychological state, it’s a feature. If you’ve got an unlocked Galaxy phone, you can unlock the tablet by scanning your fingerprint, as well as easily turn on the phone’s hot spot and sync notifications.

Battery Life

Excellent, up to 10.5 hours, or 8-9 with a lot of video or gaming

Portability

Very portable, thin about 1.53 lbs.

User reactions

Most users who have penned a Samsung TabPro S review so far seem to be enamored with the lightweight 2-in-1, calling it speedy and able to handle a lot, and they like the sound quality and the rich display.

One pointed out its use as an e-reader for, ahem, ageing eyes because of its deep contrast. (I still prefer e-ink for reading, because it has less contrast and less glare than a computer).

The biggest complaint about the tablet is about the keyboard. The second biggest is the lack of ports. Wouldn’t it be nice if they included an adapter?

 

Pros

Exceptionally thin and light
Attractive, premium-looking
Choice of black or white
AMOLED screen, wide color gamut
Fast
3:2 aspect ratio good for drawing
Fast-charging,
Long battery life
Keyboard cover included
Keyboard cover wraps entire tablet, providing protection
Multitouch trackpad
Samsung Flow offers syncing options with Galaxy Phone
Good “lapability”
Good speaker sound

 

Cons

Just one port, USB-C
Keyboard cover sits in only two positions
Keys a bit clunky to type on
Keyboard not backlit
Stand only adjusts in landscape position (as with most keyboard covers)
Limited to 4GB
Not everyone likes AMOLED display color
Can’t replace battery (typical in tablets)

 

The Verdict

If you like the screen, then this is the only Windows tablet that’s got it. If you don’t mind the single port, or find the simplicity is appealing, this may be for you. There really are a lot of pros, and the cons are not so bad.

Update: TabPro S Pen is now available on Amazon.

The tablet is pretty peppy and the wide color gamut is appealing. Is the TabPro S overall better than its main rivals, the entry-level Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro? I don’t really think so, but the pen will be a a major factor.

But it has got its own unique character, and the field is getting wide enough that there’s something for everyone.

 

https://youtu.be/mz6AfYjXE28

Here’s a video of a Samsung spokesman showing the tablet in action. You can get a full look at the keyboard cover.

See more info, reviews, and price for the Galaxy TabPro S on Amazon

 

 End of Samsung Galaxy TabPro S review

hpspectre15review

HP Spectre x360 15 Review: sleek ultrabook deserves a better pen

HP Spectre x360 15 review: sleek ultrabook, but HP pen falls short

The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 with 15.6″ touchscreen was released in Feb., 2016, following 2015’s successful HP Spectre x360 13″. This larger version has some more-powerful options, such as an extremely high-resolution 4K display.

Type of tablet

2-in-1 ultrabook (tablet PC laptop, nondetachable keyboard)
Digitizer: Synaptics (256 levels of pressure sensitivity)
Pen: HP Active Pen (not included), or (see on Amazon)

 

Update: Dell Active Stylus 750-AAGN used to work on both models (13.3 and 15″) but updates have caused it to stop working.

hp spectre x360 15 review

HP x360 Spectre 15.6″. See it at Best Buy

Notice that the screen is squarer than most laptops. The touchpad is about 6″ wide. My phone fit neatly on to of it. Notice the shiny hinges.

hpspectre360-15 4kscreen

 

 

hp-active-stylus

See the HP Active pen at Best Buy

The pen is flat on one side lengthwise, and snaps onto the computer via a magnet that’s across from the button.

Features

Operating system: Windows 10, has Home and Pro options
15.6″ screen (diagonal) UHD
Dimensions” 14.8 x 9.75 x 0.63″ (15.9 mm thin)
Weight: 4.02 lb
backlit keyboard
brushed aluminum unibody
geared hinge
large touchpad with multi-gesture and customizable settings
Display: 15.6″ Multitouch, backlit. IPS panel with viewing angles to 180 degrees
LPDDR3 RAM

Display options

1920×1080 px full HD 2 million pixels (px)

Ultra HD 4K, 3840×2160 (8.3 million px)

Storage: 128, 256, or 512GB SSD

Miracast, which lets project wirelessly to a TV or other display

Note: This is not the OLED display you may have heard about. That one is scheduled for the 13.3″ HP Spectre x360, and the OLED screen for that has not yet been released as of this writing.

Processor/graphics

Intel Skylake 6th-Gen. Dual-Core, Intel integrated graphics with these options:

i5-6200U with HD Graphics 520 and 8GB RAM

i7-6500U with HD Graphics 520 and 8GB or 16GB RAM

i7-6560U with Iris Graphics and 16GB RAM

 

Ports

Three USB 3.0 Type A (you can still us 2.0 devices and get 2.0 speed)
USB-C port, no Thunderbolt support
Full HDMI
mini DisplayPort
SD card reader
headphone jack

No Ethernet port or CD/DVD drive.

Battery life

HP states up to 13 hours for the full HD version and up to 9.5 hours of mixed use for the highest configuration. The 3-cell lithium-ion polymer battery gives this exceptional battery life.
Portability

4.02 pounds is very light for a 15.6″ screen. While it may be difficult to carry it around all day, it’s quite portable. Its slim .63″ profile and compact power brick makes it more portable.
Screen

4K is very high-definition, over four times as many pixels as full HD. It doesn’t look pixelated even from up close. Your content has to be as high-res as the screen to get the effect. It’s not yet common to have this high a resolution on laptops, but it’s getting more so. The colors are good with 72% of the Adobe color gamut sRGB. The display is very sharp, but doesn’t seem super bright. The screen is smooth, but not super glossy.

The Spectre 15’s  screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which some may find better for drawing than the video-centric 16:9 that’s on most laptops. 3:2 is a bit squarer. Surface Pros and the Surface Book are also 3:2, as is the Chromebook Pixel, which is not an art tablet. The iPad and iPad Pro are  4:3, more like a sheet of paper, and perhaps more natural-feeling to hold and draw on. (The Spectre x360 13.3″ model has 16:9)

hp spectre x360 review

The HP Spectre x360 15 has a 3:2 aspect ratio. Most laptops have 16:9. The iPad has 4.3.

 

Design

The Spectre x360 is sleek and comfortable to hold in two hands. Its unibody aluminum chassis gives it durability and dissipates heat. There are generous-sized, aesthetically pleasing vents on the side.

The aluminum chassis was carved with CNC (computer numerical control–see on Wikipedia) machines. Used by the aerospace industry, these machines cut with great precision. These cutting tools give the Spectre an elegant look. The shape tapers, getting thinner as it goes toward the user. At its thickest, the bottom part is thick as a pencil and considerably thinner as it gets toward the trackpad. The thin profile is remarkable for the large screen size. It’s a thin as the 13″ version. The most noticeable thing about the x360 is the thinness.

The 360-degree “flip and fold” design is a LOT like a Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga. Like the Yoga, it’s even poseable into four positions of stand, tent, tablet, and notebook. The keys do not retract the way they do in the Yoga 14 (do they still work)?? You can open the HP to any angle, including flat.

Tablet mode

When you fold it to Tablet mode with the keys facing away from the tablet, the keys do not lock in place, but they disable themselves. The keyboard backlight goes off and the keys no longer function. So if you’re drawing in that mode, you’d need an external keyboard  to use shortcuts (anyway, it’s inconvenient to use the keyboard even if they still worked in that position, but easier).

HP has put a lot of engineering muscle into the geared hinge. It makes the tablet stays in its positions. The hinge is encased in stainless steel to keep it clean and functional. It can be a little bit stiff as you push the lid upward.

Usage

There are no discrete graphics, but the 4K model has Intel Iris graphics which are powerful enough to do video editing. Photoshop will work fine in any of the models. If you’ve got high-res video, it will display in all its glory on the 4K. But for intensive or professional video editing, a computer with discrete graphics would be better. Similarly his computer is best suited for light gaming. The thinness leaves no room for the cooler that discrete graphics requires. If you want to do a lot of video editing, this probably isn’t the right computer. Photoshop will work fine.

Keyboard

The backlit keyboard is island-style with chiclet (separated) keys. It has no numerical pad, though it could have had one with all the space.

The key travel is 1.5mm, which is the same as the keys on larger, full-size notebooks, so they are very comfortable to type on–they felt a bit far apart at first but I find that my typing accuracy was better on it than with keys that are closer together and my (small) hands appreciated the big keyboard. The silvery painted characters on the white keys can be a little bit hard to see, unlike the white paint on black letters of laptops such as the ThinkPad Yogas.

Other than the contrast, this keyboard makes typing comfortable and could boost productivity.

Trackpad

The large Synaptics trackpad is about 6″ long, and you might find yourself hitting it by accident. It’s very responsive, and can even be adjusted via its own driver settings. It supports multitouch gestures, so you can use it to pan and zoom. The part you click on is only on the bottom half.

Pen

HP Active Stylus

Takes one AAAA battery, which is included. For a replacement, you may need to go to an electronics store to find these, or buy them online. The end of the pen unscrews to put the battery in. The pen is round but has a flat part that goes the length of the pen, to keep it from rolling away. It snaps magnetically to the laptop’s frame or cover.

TIP: If you have trouble getting the HP Active Pen to work,download the touchscreen firmware from Spectre x360 15 product page. (LINK)

Dell Active Stylus (750-AAGN), takes one AAAA battery. Lighter than the HP Active Pen and works better on the x360, tested on the 13.3″ version so far.

Drawing on the HP Spectre x360

The metallic pen feels solid and similar to the Surface Pen. It could feel heavy after holding for long periods. The black that bounces up and down, sinking when you draw with it, which gives it less of a “hard” feel on the screen. To get any mark on the screen, you have to press even a little harder than with N-trig (Surface Pro). As with the Surface Pros, if you very gently run the pen over the screen, you will not get a mark. Scribbling on the screen with the pen brought on an annoying, though not very loud, squeaking sound. You can get a light mark with some practice.

I found the pen to be pretty bad for drawing. You have to press down quite hard ( a high initial activation force). There are no parallax issues, but still, handwriting isn’t that accurate unless you make an effort. There’s not any more jitter than on an N-trig device.

Drawing, it felt like I was battling the pen to get the line I wanted, and got some skipped lines. he palm rejection faltered once in a while when I was bringing my hand down quickly and I got some weird lines. It’s definitely not as good as the Surface Pro 4, and a bit worse than the Surface Pro 3, which also has 256 pressure levels.

drawinghpspectre

Here’s an example of a skipped line, (top) in drawing an oval.

 

Dell Active Stylus on HP Spectre x360

UPDATE 6/16: Updates by HP have caused the Dell pen to stop working. I have tested the Dell Active Stylus (the Synaptics one, 750-AAGN, see on Amazon) on the Spectre x360 13.3″ and the Spectre x360 15.6″ and it works MUCH better than the HP Active Pen. It requires a little more force than Wacom EMR to make a mark, but much less force than the HP Active Pen, and there’s a little jitter when drawing slowly. It flows great, pressure sensitivity works well, and there’s little parallax. It flows as well as Wacom but with slightly less accuracy.

Handwriting was okay, but the letters seemed flattened down. Drawing worked better than handwriting, as differences in one’s own handwriting are more noticeable. Using the Dell on this is not the equal of Wacom EMR or ES, but I think exceeds the Surface line with N-trig pens in terms of drawing–this of course is a subjective opinion.

User Reviews

Most HP Spectre x360 15 reviews are very positive about the computer, praising its design, build quality, and value, though most don’t go into the drawing part that much. One exception was Mobile Tech Review, and I’ve included their video drawing demo below.

One criticism I’ve heard mentioned (though it was for a refurbished model) was about cracking. The computer is well-built but very thin. I don’t know what caused the cracking, but this very pretty laptop should be handled with care.

Pros


Comfortable, backlit keyboard
Choices of configurations, including 4K
Long battery life
Big screen
Slim profile
Can open it to replace battery
Not much bloatware

Cons

Trackpad big enough to get in the way of typing
HP Active Pen not that great
Synaptics less accurate than other digitizers
No discrete graphics available
Cannot upgrade memory yourself
Thin, not flimsy, but should be protected

Verdict

I can’t give this HP Spectre x360 review a negative verdict because it’s a very good computer,. You can use Photoshop and any art software, and it’s great that even the starter configuration has 8GB RAM. It’s a pleasure to type on, and a nondetachable keyboard means you won’t have any connector glitches, though it also means you can’t have a separate tablet.

But as an art tablet, the Synaptics digitizer doesn’t measure up to Wacom. It’s maybe a bit smoother than N-trig for drawing, but harder to get handwriting that really looks like your own. Synaptics is okay for note-taking, drawing, or drafting. But if you want to exact, delicate, freehand drawing, it’s not a top choice. I do think your hand would adjust and I would consider this a good contender for a drawing tablet, less so for note-taking.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PMPjxQly1s

See the HP Spectre x360 15.6″ 4k and other x360 models at Best Buy

See the x360 15.6″ at HP.com (the 4K here is referred to as UHD. You can configure your own specs on the HP site)

See the HP Spectre x360 13.3″ signature Edition at Microsoft

Comparable:

Surface Book

Surface Pro 4

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

end of HP Spectre x360 15 review

dell-active-pen-new-venue

New Dell Active Pen and Stylus: Wacom ES for New Venue 8 and 10 Pro

New Dell Active Pen and Dell Active Stylus: New Venue 8 Pro and Venue 10 Pro get Wacom ES

Dell unveiled revamped Venue 8 and 10 tablets at CES 2016 in January. They included the New Venue 8 Pro 5000, now with a Wacom ES digitizer and the New Dell Venue 10 Pro (5055) and Venue 10 (5050).

“New” is part of the name of the New Venue 10 Pro, but not part of the name of the revamped Venue 10, though they refer to it as  a ‘new’ Venue 10 with a lower-case “n” in the product info. Sigh. So, in with the New.

These new models are  currently sold only through Dell.

New Venue 8 Pro 5000 (see at Dell.com):

dell-active-pen-new-venue

Dell New Venue 8 Pro

The New Venue 8 Pro comes in 32 and 64GB storage and 2GB and 4GB RAM, runs Windows, and has an Atom processor and 8″ screen.

 

Dell Active Pen

The New Venue 8 Pro 5000 (5855) now uses  a Wacom ES pen, the Dell Active Pen. See it on Dell.com. The pen is sold separately. You cannot use the Dell Active Stylus from the old Venue Pro line on the New Venue Pro line. The old ones used Synaptics tech and Dell has now switched over to Wacom and is using the term “pen” rather than “stylus.”

dell-active-pen

Manufacturer Part# : N1DNK
Dell Part# : 750-AAMI
PN556W

The Dell Active Pen is also compatible with some other Dell 2-in-1 laptops and tablets. It uses Bluetooth and takes an AAAA battery and 319-type coin-cell batteries. It has an LED light that indicates pairing. Its tip is 3 mm, which is still pretty fine-tipped.

Here is the list of compatible Dell devices:

Inspiron 7568, Latitude 11 5715, Latitude 11 5179, Latitude 7275, Venue 10 Pro 5056, Venue 8 Pro 5855, and XPS 12 9250.

The new system is an improvement over the old Venue Pro line. The new one has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and good palm rejection.

New Dell Active Stylus for New Venue 10 Pro

There’s also a new Dell Active Stylus, the 750-AAIZ, (click to see it on Amazon) for the also-revamped Venue 10  (5050) and Venue 10 Pro (5055). “New” is not part of the name of the stylus. Same name, different stylus than the old one. Double sigh.

Wish they could at least call it “Dell Active Stylus 2” or something–they already caused heaps of confusion with the three versions of Dell Active Stylus for the old Venue Pro. Maybe “Son of Dell Active Stylus”? If you’re confused now, try finding info on their site–it’s a haystack! So I’ve compiled the relevant info in this post.

dellactivestylus

 

The new “universal” Wacom Bamboo Smart Stylus, a Wacom ES pen, will work on the Venue 10 5000 Series (5050) and the Venue 10 Pro 5000 Series (5055). That one comes with two swappable tips, one firm and one soft. Since the tablets don’t come to a pen, you could get this one instead, then you would have the two tips.

Even though the new Dell pens are both Wacom ES, they are not interchangeable.

Here’s the Bamboo Smart Stylus on the Wacom site.

 

dell active pen 5055

New Dell Venue 10 Pro (5055)

The New Dell Venue 10 Pros also have 2GB and 4GB models with a 10.1″ screen.

These tablets, which run on Atom processors, are for sale only at Dell. See them

See our review of the old Venue 8 Pro

Comparable: Asus VivoTab Note 8
Toshiba Encore 2 Write
Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen

cubei7review

Mytrix Complex 11t / Cube i7 Stylus review: budget 2-in-1

Mytrix Complex 11t (Cube i7 Stylus) review: affordable EMR all-in-1

The Mytrix Complex 11t is a version of the Cube i7 Stylus, a Chinese tablet made by a company called 51 Cube (it was also rebranded for a while as the rhyming Cytrix Complex 11t.)

The Mytrix has been changed a bit from the original to get FCC approval, which is required for electronics in the U.S. market. If you get the Cube i7 Stylus alone, but it won’t come with the keyboard and stylus, and the whole package is economical (you can compare prices).

cubei7stylusreview

Mytrix Complex 11t, also known as the Cube i7 Stylus. See it on Amazon

If you want to see the plain Cube i7 and read Cube i7 Stylus reviews, here they are on Amazon.

To clarify a few naming things: The name i7 is confusing; this does not have an i7 processor, it has Core M. Also, this is not a review of a stylus, the name of the computer is Cube i7 Stylus in it, so it’s a Cube i7 Stylus review.

Type of tablet: WIndows tablet PC 2-in-1

Digitizer: Wacom EMR with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity

Comes with pen? Yes. Keyboard too

This 2-in-1 Windows tablet has recently come to the U.S. It has been available on Chinese sites such as Gear Best for a while, but that means waiting for shipping, and inconvenience if problems arise. Now, the computer has been rebranded as the Mytrix Complex 11t and for sale in the U.S. market, having been changed a bit to fit FCC standards, according to the seller.

It’s got 4GB RAM, which is soldered in, so not upgradable. It’s got an SD card slot for up to 32GB of extra storage. Its processor is speedy and good for light gaming. It has a Core M processor and 4GB RAM. You can run large programs on it, but it has some limitations.

Like the Surface 3, it’s best used with programs less intensive than Photoshop, such as Photoshop Elements, ArtRage, or Sketchbook Pro, Krita, and Manga 5. It has only 64GB of storage, so best to keep your files on an SD card or elsewhere. You can, with some elbow grease, add a larger SSD.

The Cube i7 has Core M, not the most powerful processor, but a big step up from Atom tablets.  It’s fanless, so it’s quiet. As far as speed, it’s competitive with an i5.  Its LPDDR RAM is fast. The HDMI connector allows you to connect it to TVs, monitors, and projectors to enjoy content on a big screen.

This is quite a good deal if you want a Wacom-penabled PC. It’s reminiscent of the Samsung Ativ line in its size, but that had Atom, so this one is more powerful. What it does do, it does well. And, you can swap the SSD to give you considerably more power.

What’s in the Box

Tablet
screen protector already installed
Wacom pen
keyboard that attaches via magnets
OTG cable (USB On-the-Go)
manual (very basic); paperwork

FEATURES

Screen size: 10.6 inch diagonal
16:9 aspect ratio (the norm for Windows), multitouch
Resolution:1920 x 1080 full HD IPS display
Windows 10
Intel Core M 5Y10 5th generation Broadwell
4GB RAM
64GB storage, SSD
802.11 b/g/n Wi-fi
Micro USB 3.0
micro SD slot for up to 32GB
12-volt DC charging port
mini HDMI connector
Weight: 1.2 K (lib/??)
Bluetooth
audio jack
metal chassis
screen protector, if you see scratches, try removing it as the scratches may be on the screen protector.
Portability
It’s a bit heavy for a tablet of its size, but it’s portable.

Screen

The IPS screen has good viewing angles and is bright with 350 nits. It’s the same screen used that was used in the higher-end Microsoft Surface Pro 2. It has good contrast and 75% of the Adobe SRBG, which is good for something in this class, though less than a higher-end computer would have. It has an accelerometer which you can lock or let go, flipping your image to portrait or keyboard mode depending on the angle of the tablet.

The screen protector can get scratched, so if you get one where the screen appears to be scratched, try peeling off the protector. You might want get a matte screen protector for some tooth while drawing.

Battery Life
6 hours mixed use, 4 hours of video

Pen
The pen has good accuracy. It’s a standard Wacom EMR pen, so if you have one already you could use that one as well.

cube i7 stylus review

User reviews and ratings

This tablet has been well-received with positive ratings from Tech Mobile review and various sites where Cube i7 reviews appear. Artists writing a Cube i7 review have praised its pen accuracy and speed. Wacom penabled tablets can actually vary in accuracy.

Pros
good for light gaming
very affordable for a Wacom penabled tablet

Cons
Trackpad can be sticky
can get hot
speaker quality tinny

The Verdict

It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, very good value for students or hobbyists or people who want to draw, do art, take notes who like the natural feel of Wacom EMR.

Here’s a drawing demo by Samson Lee:

Here’s a Photoshop CS5 demo on it. As you can see though it works, there’s some lag on this 16MP image. That’s not because anything is wrong with the tablet, but because it’s Core M. However, there are a lot of less intensive art programs you can use.

 

 

 

See the Mytrix on Amazon

If you’re searching for more info, looking up articles about and reviews of the Cube i7, or Cube i7 Stylus, might turn up more than searching for Mytrix.

end of Mytrix Complex 11/Cube i7 Stylus review

Read our reviews of these comparable models:
Microsoft Surface 3
Toshiba dynaPad
Asus Vivotab Note 8
Surface Pro 2

 

 

Wacom Bamboo Smart stylus: Universal AES

Wacom Bamboo Smart Stylus

The Wacom Bamboo Smart stylus is one of the smallest, yet biggest developments unveiled at CES 2016. It’s a universal stylus for AES devices–well, not totally universal, since Wacom is only listing 5 devices it has tested it on, but it’s a great start, as that’s a good chunk of existing AES devices. And, perhaps it will work with other AES devices as well.

AES, Active Electrostatic, has really caught on in digitizers. It’s less expensive for companies to make than traditional Wacom EMR, and it’s more sensitive than N-trig as a drawing and note-taking pen. It’s a happy medium between N-trig and traditional Wacom EMR.

The long name for the pen is “Bamboo Smart for Select Tablets and 2-in-1 Convertible Devices,” (really trips off the tongue, huh?) which should not be confused with the Bamboo Smart for Samsung Galaxy Note, though they look similar. (To avoid other potential confusion, if you’re using a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet, it will not work on that, it just uses the name Bamboo).

bamboo smart stylus

The Bamboo Smart stylus will be compatible with the Dell Venue 10 and Dell Venue 10 Pro 5000 series, the HP Elite X2 1012 G1, the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga, and the new Toshiba dynaPad N72.

It’s a bit fancier in build than a regular Wacom pen and has two programmable side buttons. The nibs are replaceable. The top has a cap that actually fits on the bottom (take that, Apple Pencil). The AAAA battery should keep you inking for a year if you use it 3 hours a day (of course, a lot of people might use it far more than that, so it’s good to have rechargeable batteries or keep spares). Note: AAAA batteries aren’t always for sale at the local drugstore–to find them, you might have to go to an electronics store or order them online.

The pen has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. It does not offer tilt sensitivity.

This is a valuable development, as is anything that makes life simpler. While people won’t necessarily need the smart stylus, it’s good to have an extra stylus other than the one that comes with a device.

You can see it Bamboo Smart Stylus in its packaging on the Wacom blog.

Learn more about top digital art tablets.