Surface Pro 3 and Sketchbook Pro

Cartoon Brew today takes a look at the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, from the point of view of artists…

“if you’re looking for a Cintiq-like device that is portable, affordable, and user-friendly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better device than the Surface. The Surface Pro 3 will begin shipping next month.”

The most affordable i3 version will weigh in at $799, including a pen. Surface 3 is apparently available to order now in the USA, with the $799 version set for delivery in early September. Though you can apparently get it earlier if you go for one of the more expensive versions.

The 12-inch touchscreen is in 3:2 aspect ratio, 2160 x 1440px. The N-Trig non-Wacom surface reportedly only has 256 pressure levels (Cintiq has 2048), and tilt.

Surface-Pro-3-with-Pen

Sadly it runs the OS nightmare that is Windows 8.

Microsoft officially say that Sketchbook will run…

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has a powerful 4th gen Intel Core processor, capable of running your creative tools of choice, including Autodesk Sketchbook Pro…”

Adobe apparently has a Surface 3 Photoshop version coming along, that will obviate the need for installing a Wintab driver on the Surface 3. Presumably ZBrush will follow suit eventually. How nippy they might be on the i3 $799 version of the Surface 3 remains to be seen.

How much the pen and pressure action will appeal to real artists, I’ve yet to read. Pre-release reviews gush over the sleek design values and much else, and a whole lot of engineering effort has certainly gone into getting the pen and surface right. But I’ve yet to read the results of them letting a few picky old real-life Wacom-trained artists loose on the tablet, pressing their pens down firmly on the $799 i3-powered model’s surface and scrutinizing the lag.

For those who can’t bear to be parted from their Wacom surface, look out for large price cuts on the Surface Pro 2 when the budget Microsoft Surface Pro 3 model ships in the early Autumn / Fall, probably timed to co-incide with that vital two-week window in which new university students have not yet boozed away their grant/loan payments.

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