As I continue to struggle to find time to complete my review, here are some interesting findings from Tablet Pro's Justice Frangipane.

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AuthorRick Rodriguez
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Having too much fun to crank out a proper write-up.

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AuthorRick Rodriguez
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N-Trig, the Israeli company behind the digitizer tech in the Surface Pro 3 and many other top Windows tablets and convertibles, has updated its website and now offers a link to a line of replacement pens available via Amazon.

Currently discounted to $40 from their $50 list price, the DuoSensePen2 models are not compatible with all N-Trig digitizers. The new pens can only be used with the following devices: Microsoft® Surface Pro 3, Sony VAIO® Duo 11/13, VAIO Tap 11, VAIO® FIT Family, Acer® Aspire ® R7 572, ASUS Taichi 21/31 and Fujitsu Stylistic Q702.

The pens come in an assortment of five colors.

pens.jpg

I recently had a chance to compare the DuoSensePen2 (above, green) with other N-Trig pens from (top to bottom) Sony, Microsoft and Acer. The new model is a full inch shorter than the Surface Pro 3 pen, although it surprisingly doesn't feel much lighter.

A clip cap would be a welcomed addition and help to better balance the pen in the hand.  

The DuoSensePen2's nib is about the same consistency as the SP3 pen, slightly softer than the Sony's. Unfortunately, the pen does not ship with any spares.

Of the four N-Trig pens I've tried, I most like the feedback from the Acer Active Pen from my Aspire R7-572 convertible. Be aware that Acer's latest models use Synaptics digitizers and are not compatible. 

With the Surface Pro 3 pen selling for $50, these new N-Trig pens are a nice option if you'd like to save a few bucks on a replacement or spare. Hopefully for the next generation, N-Trig will lengthen the pen to a standard size and perhaps design a flared barrel that's closer to a traditional paintbrush.


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Some eye candy to start your week: our friend and ArtDock collaborator Alex Cheparev has just posted a video demonstrating the performance of the 3d applications Autodesk Maya 2015, Autodesk Mudbox 2015 and Pixologic Zbrush 4r6 on a top of the line Surface Pro 3 with i7 processor, 8GB ram, 256gb ssd, and Intel HD 5000 video card.

Enjoy!

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AuthorRick Rodriguez
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Big changes on the horizon for Microsoft's Surface line, as both a new Surface Mini and larger Surface Pro are expected to be announced Tuesday, May 20.

Because I love rumor-mongering as much as the next guy, here's some tantalizing new info from Windows Phone Central:

For the Surface Pro 3, which is now confirmed as being a real device, there will be five versions offered with varying pricing and configurations:

  • i3-4GB RAM-64GB - $799
  • i5-4GB RAM-128GB - $999
  • i5-8GB RAM-256GB - $1299
  • i7-8GB RAM-256GB - $1549
  • i7-8GB RAM-512GB - $1949

If this pricing is correct, there is a lot to mull over. First off, we should see prices on existing Surface Pro 2 models should drop by $100 or more.

The $799 i3 model sounds really appealing for sketching and comics reading; but I've never run graphics apps with an i3 so it remains to be seen how well they perform on this processor. This model seems to compete directly with the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.

It will be really interesting to see what Microsoft's plans are for its existing Core i5 Surface Pro 2 models. Will anyone want a 10.6 inch version if the price difference is only $100?

The i7 is obviously the model that I want but once again I don't understand the $400 premium for 256GB of additional storage.

Therefore, the "sweet spot" in the high end model is the 8GB/256GB model for $1549, this pricing and configuration is on par with the often discounted Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga.

Think it's finally time for that SurfaceProArtist Spring cleaning sale...

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AuthorRick Rodriguez
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Despite its rumored pen, I haven't been paying much attention to the impending launch of the Surface Mini since it will reportedly be ARM-based and therefore limited to running Windows RT.

I've long lamented the lack of decent touch versions of mainstay Windows tools and unless Microsoft has cajoled Adobe and others to develop something big for the Mini, I don't think the situation will change anytime soon.

But in this morning's WinInfo Daily newsletter, Paul Thurrott floored me with this tidbit:

I can now confirm those reports: Microsoft will indeed launch a bigger, Intel-based Surface Pro device at the event. I'm not 100 percent sure what form it will take—I'd like to see an Ultrabook-like model, but given the makeup of current Surface devices it will almost certainly be a tablet—but it will indeed use a high-end Haswell chip and not a low-end Atom-based chip. 

Thurrott has further speculation on what he calls the "Surface Pro Maxi" in his WinSuperSite column here.

While I'm surprised by the timing (mostly for my bank account), I think this is an excellent move by Microsoft that will undercut the impact of a rumored Apple iPad Pro.

So what specs would I love to see? Simple: 13+ inch screen, 16:10 aspect ratio, thinner, lighter, faster, more RAM, bigger HD, lower price. A man can dream, right?

I'll unfortunately be traveling during the launch event, but I'll do my best to post the official specs as soon as I can. Look forward to reading your reactions!

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AuthorRick Rodriguez
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Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik, aka Gabe or @CWGabriel, was among the first widely-read Internet artists to sing the praises of the Surface Pro.

To show its gratitude, Microsoft hosted Krahulik and other artists in New York for Monday's Surface 2 event and presented the creatives to the tech media for interviews.

Krahulik has just posted another great read with his impressions of the event and many enhancements found in the Surface Pro 2. It contains lots of juicy nuggets like this one:

The big question seemed to be why I don’t just use an IPad. I had to explain the concept of pressure sensitivity, my need to run programs like Photoshop, Manga Studio and also the power of a real Stylus...It has literally changed how and where I work. I’m an honest to God fanboy when it comes to the Surface and I was happy to share that passion.

Check out the full post here

Beautiful image from Gabe's web comic The Tithe, which the artist writes was mostly produced on the Surface Pro.

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AuthorRick Rodriguez
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