Carla Note- This is a multi-part series for anyone interested in purchasing a tablet for creative use. The series starts with Part 1, please click here to read first.
Buying a new tablet can be very overwhelming due to all the technical decisions you must make. Quilters (and other creative people) don’t want to think about technical specs and details, they just want to buy the right product for them and create.
In this second post of the Tablet Buying Info for Quilters Series, let’s discuss some of the other considerations you must think about in order to narrow down your tablet choice. In Part 1, you have a general idea as to what Operating System (OS) will fit your needs, so let’s move on to other decisions:
What is Your Budget?
Your budget will be one of the most important factors when buying a new tablet. You can spend anywhere from a entry level Wacom Bamboo (plug-in) tablet for $49 US to a $4000 US Panasonic Toughbook H2 Pro. Defining your budget will help you to narrow down your tablet purchase choices.
Note for tablet buyers who are on a tight budget, I will be writing a future post just for you. 🙂
How Do You Plan to Use the Tablet?
How you intend to use the tablet will also factor into the mix. If all you need is a tablet to read books, play games, videos, answer emails, and do simple drawings, then you should look at either iPad or Android Tablets. If you are draw and design everyday, then you would begin your search at Tablet PCs- either Convertibles, Hybrids or Slate models. How often you plan to use the tablet will also influence your decision, no matter if you are a professional artist or a hobbyist.
What Size Tablet Do I Need?
There are a wide variety of tablet sizes being sold. Too small a screen makes drawing uncomfortable or challenging, as you have to lift your pen and readjust. A small screen may not be compatible with over age 40 eyes, too. The opposite is true, too. If you draw sitting down with a tablet on your lap, as I do, then a XL Wacom Cintiq 24HD, which is actually sized at 30.3″ x 18.2″ x 2.5″ and weighs 63.8 pounds, would not be the tablet for you! For metric blog readers, that translates
Example of Google Logo art created on Wacom Cintiq Tablet
into 769 x 463 x 64 mm and weighing in at 28.6 kg! The size and weight of this XL Cintiq makes it a wonderful desk tablet and it comes with an adjustable tilt stand.
Before you fall too in love with this high end Wacom, I must mention the pricey $2599 US price tag. I once saw a television interview with several Google Artists, and noticed they were using this largest Cintiq combined with a Mac. I am a bit off point, but the key message is to determine what size tablet you want and could live with to further define the right tablet for you.
What Software Will You Be Using With Your Tablet?
Example of Digital Quilt drawn in Photoshop Elements
I touched lightly on this in Part 1, but if your desire is to design and create using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (PSE), Adobe Illustrator, Art & Stitch (which is a digitizing program for machine quilters and embroidery artists), or any other large design program, then you would want a compatible tablet OS.
Some design programs (like Art & Stitch, for example) will only work with Windows OS (specifically Vista, 7 and 8, 8.1), while Photoshop, PSE, and Illustrator are available for both the Mac and Windows OS. If you plan to buy and work with Art & Stitch, then that would obviously rule out a MacBook with a Wacom tablet plug-in option. You would need to go for a Tablet PC option. Consider carefully the programs you plan to design with and then choose your OS accordingly.
What Tablet Options Are Available in Your Country?
I happen to live in the US, where it is rather easy to buy every brand of tablet online. This may not be the case in other countries around the world, so become familiar with reputable online retailers and their tablet offerings in your own locale. This may limit your selection of tablets available to you.
If you happen to live near a big box electronic store, be careful! Retail stores which carry a wide variety of tablet options are rare, and will certainly sell you whatever they have on hand. It is important to do your homework, know what YOUR needs are, and don’t be pressured by sales people.
Still More Tablet Considerations…
For fear of overwhelming you, I have decided to continue this list of things you must consider when buying a tablet into Post 3. It is a lot to think about, and I want to encourage any quilter interested in purchasing a tablet to grab a piece of paper and write down both the question or topic and your answers. This will help you to narrow down what tablets you research. It is very easy to start surfing the net, then become confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information available.
Click here for Part 3 of the Series.
Please let me know if I have confused you on any post so I may clarify the topic for you. As always, I love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Regards, Carla