Surface Pro VS iPad pro

chasis comparison

The iPad Pro and the Surface Pro are very different devices with one major thing in common: they each have a pressure-sensitive stylus, meaning these are more than just tablets… they are digital canvases with all of the advantages of the “copy, paste, transform, rotate, undo, save” digital medium, while maintaining the natural feel of a pen/pencil/brush on paper.

Digital art requires a big investment up-front, and so it’s important to know your needs and weigh the pros and cons of the Surface and the iPad pro against each other.  COST is a big one, so let’s get that out of the way first.

With $1175, if you go the surface route, you can get:

Surface pro 3 (12 inch, 3:2 ratio, i5, 128 gigs… middle-of-the-line) running Windows 10
Surface Pen
Type Cover (keyboard, trackpad, screen cover, all in one!)
Microsoft Office (included in my costco bundle)
Manga Studio (GREAT drawing application)
Anime Studio (GREAT animating application)

With $1125, if you go the apple route, you can get:

iPad Pro (9.7 inch, 4:3 ratio, 32 gigs) running iOS
Apple Pencil
Smart Cover
Autodesk Sketchbook (most full-featured drawing app)
Procreate
Adobe Ideas (long abandoned, but still my favourite)
Adobe Sketch
iMovie
Animation HD

The first thing you’ll notice is, going the iPad route, you don’t get the Smart Keyboard, or the larger size screen, if you want to keep it cheap.  The larger screen and the keyboard are cheaper if you go the Surface route.

Stylus Comparison

The styluses each have their pros:
The Apple Pencil charges very quickly, lasts for a long time, feels like a pencil and is simple and well built.  It works well with the iPad to cancel out your palm when its resting on the screen, and it has a pretty manageable pressure curve.
The Surface Pen is powered by one AAAA battery, which I’ve never had to replace in the couple years (ish) that I’ve had it.  The Pen really does feel like an expensive pen, very sturdy.  The Pen also has function buttons right on the pen, which saves a LOT of time.  The pressure curve is also manageable.

Each also has its cons:
The Apple Pencil isn’t fully compatible (pressure and tilt) with a lot of great iOS drawing apps (yet, anyways).  It is quite large compared to the Pen, and the weight is balanced sort of funny, so I end up holding it unlike any writing utensil I’ve ever used (choked up about half way).  The Pencil also tends to “cut out” during long lines, or quick lines, which breaks lines mid-way.  This can be pretty annoying at times.
The Surface Pen, on the other hand, has pretty inadequate palm detection.  My low-tech work around is to wear a stretchy glove with the fingers cut off.

Styluses:

Art Comparison

Both work pretty well.  The surface Pen is set to give me more consistant line width, and the Apple Pencil is set to give me more variety in width.  Both work great.

One thing the Pen does better than the Pencil is dots.  Dots!  of all things.  The pencil can’t really do dots, especially dots of varying pressure.  The Surface Pen has no problem with this… SO if pointillism is your thing, that decides it right there.

Operating System

The iPad has iOS, with it’s app ecosystem, iCloud integration, and it’s amazingly intuitive touch and gesture based tablet experience.  Surface has a full desktop version of windows 10, meaning you can run ACTUAL software.  Photoshop, indesign, all the full versions, all run without any problems (i just so happen to prefer manga studio).

Each has its downside, of course.  With the iPad, you aren’t going to find one app that does it all.  functionality will always be split across apps, and sometimes, they don’t play nice with eachother.  Thankfully, iCloud seems to solve many of these file-sharing problems.  Windows 10 on the surface runs great with a keyboard and mouse, but the “tablet mode” interface leaves MUCH to be desired and is slow and awkward and clunky.

Other things to note about hardware:

The iPad charger is tiny (usb to lightning), the iPad itself is very light and thin.  It’s got a great camera, great battery life, and feels very solid.  With the smart cover, it lays back at a good drawing angle.  The surface pro screen is a great size for drawing, it has a USB 3 port, expandable storage, built-in adjustable stand, as well as a video output for dual-monitor set ups.

The downside to the iPad pro (or at least this model) really is that the screen feels a bit too small, but intuitive pinch-zooming makes the smaller screen manageable.  The surface’s charger is really big and gets really hot, and is a huge pain to roll up and put away.  The surface’s battery doesn’t seem as adequate as the iPad’s.

I’ll sum it up like this:  When it comes to the general feel of the devices, I use the surface at a desk or on the table. The surface just doesn’t feel comfortable to use anyhwere else, but I use the iPad on the couch, lying on the bed, as I walk around my church/office and only occasionally at the table.

Bonus Round: The Camera

I bought my surface pro 3 about a year and a half ago, maybe even longer… before the iPad pro was announced, for sure.  I bought it personally.  I bought it for drawing.
The iPad pro that i get to play with, was purchased for it’s 4k camera and on-board INCREDIBLY SIMPLE video editing capabilities.  It wasn’t purchased so that i can draw on it, that’s just a happy extra.  Just for fun, here’s a comparison of the Surface pro 3 and the iPad pro Cameras:

Camera Comparison

The iPad pro’s camera is superior in EVERY single way.

CONCLUSION

The surface pro gives you more bang for your buck if you’re on a budget…  But the iPad pro is a better tablet, and fun to draw on.

I have a lot of fun drawing on the iPad, it feels intuitive.  In its simplicity, it gets out of the way and just lets you enjoy creating… but i’m glad i didn’t buy it for drawing.  But I am WAY MORE productive on the Surface pro.  It’s very powerful.  In its functionality, it makes sure I have the tools to produce anything I can imagine.

The iPad inspires imagination, but lacks the practicality to help you follow through that vision to completion (unless your version of completion is “post it on my tumblr”, which is fine, but not what I need).  The Surface really lacks imagination, but it is so powerful that if you bring imagination to it, it’s the only device you’ll ever need.

If you can only afford one, and you want to produce as well as create, get the Surface pro.  Since I got my pro 3, they’ve come out with a smaller “regular” surface (closer to the original surface pro and the pro2), as well as the Surface pro 4.  For me, the pro 3 works great, and i feel no need to upgrade.  Also, the Pro 3 runs CIRCLES around the iPad pro.  For example: this entire blog post, with all the text input/editing, photo re-sizing, writing over pictures, getting the drawings off the iPad/pictures off my phone/etc and putting them together and uploading them to wordpress… was all done on the Surface, because it’s an ACTUAL COMPUTER.  It just works better for that stuff.  The way the iPad functions, it assumes you already have a macbook pro or another computer to do the real heavy lifting… The surface aims to replace all of your computers AND tablets, and does it very well.

But if you already have a real computer and all you really want to do is draw, use the internet, and have access to an insane amount of cheap apps, OR (like me) need a powerful, portable video creating studio, the iPad pro is the way to go.

You can draw on both, though, so that’s good.

 

 

you would NOT BELIEVE how practical this is! #14 will blow your mind.

2014-9-11

My TOP 15 list of incredibly practical pro-tips that will destroy any apple-chic sensibilities!

1)  Carabiner key-chain, attached to your belt-loop
2)  A phone case that attaches to your belt loop (actually, anything to do with belts and belt-loop accessories are a good idea)
3)  ACTUALLY FILLING your cargo shorts’ pockets with cargo
4)  Wearing a hat and taking the stickers off of it
5)  Socks and sandals.  Because, comfort.
6)  IF you have a smart TV, you don’t need an apple TV
7)  iTunes isn’t the only online music obtaining option
8)  If you don’t wanna carry a wallet, put your dolla billz in your SOCK
9)   Rubber boots are TOTALLY fine to wear on a date if it’s raining (if you don’t have rubber boots, just get a bag and an elastic band, and put the bag over your shoes and elastic-band em to seal it to your ankle.)
10)  Wearing a hat and curving the brim gives better sun-protection
11)  Cardigans are dumb, wear a sweatshirt for optimum warmth
12)  Wear those sunglasses that go over your existing sunglasses that cataracts patients have to wear
13)  TOMS shoes fall apart at an ALARMING rate.  Just sayin’.
14)  Fanny packs are actually super practical, tourists have no problem with them
15)  U2 isn’t the first band to give their music away for free, you can actually find a LOT of awesome music for free (legally) with a simple google search.

Well, the iphone 6 is chocked full of new features my android phone apparently already has (although i didn’t know it).  IF there is one thing apple is good at doing, it’s taking existing ideas and making them seem earth-shattering and exclusive.

EDIT- oh, i’m still gonna get that free U2 album.  Free music!~  yay!  (although, I use ad-supported Rdio, so… more free music!)

 

SCANDAL in the iOS gaming world

2014-6-13You heard it here first!  the DRUG SCANDAL inspired by competitive iOS gaming has spilled over into the ranks of our nations youth!  From sea to shining sea, children of ALL ages are taking performance enhancing drugs, liquefied, in order to maintain their competitive edge.

“I think redbull tastes like crap, but Monster’s alright.”  Jeremy, aged 13, current “piano tiles” champion of Canada

“I can see my house from here!”  Jenny, aged 17, (the original) flappy bird record holder, high on redbull at time of comment.

On Wednesday night, a local man’s iPad was lent to a group of high-school students.  Shortly after seven thirty in the evening, the students systematically exceeded EVERY high-score, ensuring the man would waste the next three days attempting to regain his title.

“I first suspected them of caffeine doping,” recalls Shauf, “they were moving faster than is humanly possible.  Plus they kept drinking stupid amounts of energy drinks, so, that was a pretty obvious indicator.”  While most of the students declined to comment on-record, general consensus amongst the youth group was that Shauf was too old to be truly involved at a competitive level.  They also didn’t seem to think energy-drink doping is a big deal, saying that the fifteen cups-of-coffee Shauf consumes in a day is actually more damaging to one’s health in the long run.

 

 

 

Positive Peer Pressure

2014-5-5

I’m the only one out of all my friends who play FTL who hasn’t beat it, and it is consuming my life!  Is it fun?  no, it is a WAY OF LIFE.  (and it’s fun)

FTL, in case you didn’t know, is one of the greatest games ever made.  You command a starship and her crew, and you battle, and trade, and repair, and upgrade, and eventually, you either die, or you beat the boss.  It’s all randomly generated, it isn’t the same game twice.  I have never beaten the boss, and i’ve had the game for a couple years.  It also just came out on iPad, which has led to me playing it again.

IN ANY CASE, I’m the only one I know who plays it and hasn’t beaten it.  (Well, I only know one other person who plays it, but i’m still insanely jealous!)  such an accomplishment, good job Clayton!  I WILL NOT SLEEP until I can kill that boss!

…Or, at least, I will not sleep until i’m tired.  You need to be alert to win at that game, after all.

iOS7

2013-10-4SO.  I won’t comment much, i will just say iOS7 is pretty, and has made my iPhone 4 pretty much useless.  It is laggy, slow, iMessage no longer works reliably, and my home button stops working for hours at a time (and i’m pretty sure it’s not a hardware issue).  I wish I could go back to iOS6, the improvements they made (and there are some) are not enough to want me keep it on iOS7.
I am on the sunshine coast!  it is beautiful.  We are staying in a house with some friends, the house is three stories with three balconies, one of which opens onto the ocean-front beach.  Each room has its own bathroom, a couple of them have jet tubs.  The only downside:  I have to draw on my tiny bamboo tablet and laptop-sized screen.