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Matt

The Surface Pro 3 - Yes Or No?

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Matt

So the Surface Pro 3 was just announced, and at first I was so excited I was getting an anxiety attack. Until the whole N-Trig pen thing came to light. All of a sudden my elation turned to utter disappointment. But then I started thinking about my particular situation, and my past experiences with lesser pressure sensitivity, now I'm not so clear on how I feel about it.

 

For starters, I primarily work on a Cintiq 24HD, which is amazing. It's currently paired with a MacBook Pro, but that laptop has some issues that the Surface line of products remedies very well. 

 

1. A Surface can be docked and undocked quickly and easily if you purchase the docking station. With the Macbook, it's a bit of a pain to have to unplug and re-plug half a dozen cables, every time I want to take it with me.

 

2. A Surface can act very much like a digital sketchbook. It's small, light, easy to carry, decent battery life, and of course comes with a pressure sensitive pen. With the Macbook, I need to stuff it in a bag, with a separate Wacom tablet and pen. It's heavy,cumbersome, doesn't give me the pen on screen experience, and frankly, it makes me not want to bother with it; which is what led me to purchase a Galaxy Note 3, because it's easy to carry around (though it lacks in decent art apps outside of Sketchbook Pro)

 

3. A Surface can unify some fragmentation in my digital art workflow. If I start a sketch on my Note 3, I'll then need to convert and transfer the file to my main computer for further work on it. I also have to deal with the fact that I can only work on a smaller canvas sizes with my Note 3, which usually means that I later have to scale up the sketch on my first layer before inking over it. There's also the fact that applications on each device are very different. I can't have the same features or custom brushes and settings on both.

 

4. All of these say nothing of the simple fact that it's just nice when only having to deal with one operating system, one version of your favorite applications, and one place to keep all your files organized.

 

Now, with the exception of the N-Trig decision, the Surface Pro 3 gets everything right, in my opinion. It's screen size and ratio is much better than the Pro 2, which seemed a little small in size and a lot awkward when in portrait. It's a great resolution, with (apparently) a beautiful screen. The stand is a dynamite change, particularly for artists. It's thinner, lighter, and more powerful too.

 

Only the N-Trig pen is making me hesitant. However, with that in mind, I do recall a time when I worked with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. My first graphic tablet was a Wacom Graphire 2. And just a few years ago I had a quick run with an Asus Eee Slate. Both of which I don't ever recall complaining about the levels of pressure sensitivity. It worked just fine for me.

 

When I consider that I've worked with 256 levels before with little issue, plus the fact that most of my work will be done when my Surface is docked in my office and connected to my Cintiq, I start to question if the N-Trig thing is really all that bad. For all of the Surface Pro 3's benefits, is the N-Trig Pen really a deal-breaker?

 

I'd like to ask anyone reading this what their opinion is. Have you ever used a N-Trig device before? Outside of pressure sensitivity differences, do you find it to be much of a different experience? If you were in my position, would you consider the Surface Pro 3?

 

Thanks to everyone reading!

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callihan44

Im curious how well the n-trig performs as well, I occasionally use the stylus for touching up photos

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JWA0507

I want to do a hands on , I have a surface 2 LTE  and I'm pretty happy, but this is almost as thin and light as mine with the power of the surface pro, I'm very tempted.

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Mochahead

This was the tablet I hoped Microsoft would release last fall. I have a Surface Pro, and while it is very versatile, I wanted the thinner profile that my Surface RT has. After watching the videos online from the reviewers, I think Microsoft was listening. The larger form factor is a smart move. I prefer my Lenovo Yoga for most computing chores because while the Surface screen size is fine for surfing or quick email, I miss the screen real estate for bigger computing chores. I frequently connect my Surface Pro to a 27-inch monitor, and I like using it that way. The Pro 3 is the best of the tablet and laptop worlds. I am going to try one as soon as my local Microsoft store gets them.

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anjn3515

I have always gone for Wacom. And as a whole the N-Trig has had a bad rep with artists, wonky drivers etc. I too really didn't like the move from Wacom. Things like how will photoshop run on the pro 3 vs the pro 2 come to mind (in terms if the stylus I mean). Also the fact that it has batteries and relies on Bluetooth bug me. When you have a Wacom screen you never have to worry about a bad blue tooth connection.

As for size. I am not sure. Part of me thinks that for on the go, speed painting and sketching the 3 may be to big.....maybe the 2 was to big? Lol I am just all kinds of confused.

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SurfaceProArtist

Photoshop CC 2014 runs great on the Surface Pro 3. Wintab drivers are no longer required. The pen experience is as good as on the Surface Pro 1 and 2 and more accurate. The issue now is software that requires Wintab drivers. Most of them don't recognize pen pressure with the driver N-Trig has published. I've been testing a development version that is far more compatible, but what N-Trig ends up releasing will supposedly be better. We'll soon see.

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anjn3515

Have you used Wacoms Bluetooth stylus? How does the Pro 3 compare to that? I tried the Wacom in an iPad and wasn't to impressed. It didn't feel much better then a regular stylus.

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SurfaceProArtist

Yes, I've used all the bluetooth stylii on my iPad 3. The experience is miserable compared to any N-Trig or Wacom tablet pc.

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anjn3515

Thanks

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