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Spartan X

New Member
Hey all,
I'm not new to digital artwork, I've been at it as a hobby since the early 90's. My dream has always been to draw directly on the screen with a like paper experience including all of the benefits of being digital.

I've used Wacom tablets (The very small 4x6), penciled with a mouse, scan from original pencil to ink using a mouse, Windows 98 touch screen computers, drooled and fantasized about the Wacom LCD tablets, switched to MAC and then used an iPad and an iPad 2. I've had success using all of these but it never captured that lounging around with pencil and paper feel, being creative and drawing comics when I was a kid.

Last year I bought a Surface Pro 2 (i5, 8gb ram, 256gb) used off of Kijiji and fell in love. The screen is restrictive but the drawing is the best I've experienced, until that is of course I saw the 3, 4 and now the book. I've looked at the pro 3, the 3, the pro 4 and the book as possible replacements for my Surface Pro 2. I also stumbled across the iPad Pro with it's drawing tool. See below for my summary and thoughts for each:

Surface 3 - Great price point but the screen does still feel a little small when drawing. Great for light weight art but you wouldn't want to have too many layers in your drawing or too many large images open. To get decent storage you start getting toward base Pro devices... so unless you're VERY budget conscious this is not the way to go. Definitely better than a mouse or traditional tablet.

Surface Pro 3 - Hard to find new (Some still on MS Site) but great prices out there used. If you want a larger screen, have full PC power and the keyboard included all for about $800 on Kijiji for a good i5, this is a great option if budget is a concern. Remember, buying used is always a risk. Know what you're buying and try BEFORE you buy. 12 inch screen is a relief after the Pro 2.

Surface Pro 4 - 12.3 inches of awesome drawing space. This is the latest and greatest Surface Pro, you're going to have a machine that will cover all of your needs from drawing to report writing and data analysis when you go for the mid range i5, for years to come. Mid-range i5 however is $1600+ which can be prohibitive... but it's also new. With the extended warranty you're covered for most issues.

Surface Book - 13.5 inches of light weight drawing awesome-ness. If budget is of no concern. This is one spectacular drawing experience. Everything the Pro 4 offers but bigger and better. I'm not a big fan of the keyboard/clamshell thing, it can be cumbersome to disconnect/connect and position. I think I would use the tablet only when drawing and then the keyboard when I'm surfing or writing documents or analysing data in a spreadsheet.

iPad Pro - I loved the pencil to paper feel this provided. It truly felt like the results were on paper, I was even able to use the side of the pencil to shade... been so long I almost forgot I had that skill. It executed like pencil to paper. That's the good stuff, now for the not so well thought out. (Jobs is rolling in his grave I'm sure) The only way to charge the iPencil is to plug it in to the bottom of the iPad Pro; the end result is this ridiculous looking giant lollypop effect. Tell me you won't accidentally break that thing when trying to commute etc. Plus it's only iOS... you still need a computer to sync with. Plus I find Apple to be very restrictive with their products and have no respect for your files. (Anyone accidentally wipe an iPad during a normal sync? I know I have) You can get into this, with the iPencil for about $1200.

In Closing
I've decided to go with the Surface Book. The screen size, the overall experience is what I'm looking for. I was going back and forth between the Pro 4 and the Book, the super light screen and it's size won me over. See the image below (Just some rough sketches to test):
I'm not gunna lie, the iPad Pro caught me by surprise, I was in real danger of loving it until I saw how cumbersome their solution is for the over all experience. Plus it gets into the Pro 4 price range once you add the keyboard and iPencil. Why did I almost fall in love with the iPad Pro? Hands down the single best drawing experience, very intuitive controls with no jitter or hesitation. I found on the Surface, the pinch and zoom require a deliberate touch then movement where the iPad does this flawlessly. Still, at the end of the day I wanted to draw on a system that was a full computer.

Thanks for reading. My next post should be from my Surface Book.
Spartan X

Spartan X

New Member
As an update to this post... I've gone with the SP4 i5/8/256. The balance of cost to power won me over. I have full function with or without my keyboard on the SP4. Losing 3/4 of my battery power and all of my ports in tablet mode on the Book made it impractical for my entire use case.

Thank-you everyone for your time and feedback.