A while ago I asked for feedback on various notebooks or tablets for mobile art makin'. I wanted to follow up on that because about a month ago I made up my mind and picked up a Samsung Series 7 Slate. After using it for a while, I thought I would share with you some feedback on it.
The Series 7 tablet runs a full version of Windows (currently 7, upgradable to 8), which means it also runs whatever else you like: Photoshop, Illustrator, ArtRage... whatever floats your boat. People have complained about tablets running Windows, but I haven't had many issues with it. It seems like Samsung has tweaked the interface a bit because it mostly gets whatever I'm trying to select, even with smaller folders or menu options. I understand Windows 8 will be more geared to tablets, so I will probably upgrade, though I'm happy with it how it is.
It comes with a Wacom stylus that's more than sensitive enough for digital art. It also seems to have enough power to work with beefy illustrations. Just as an experiment I loaded up a 500mb beast of an illo and worked away with little slow down. It has 4 gigs of RAM, which seems adequate for everything I've given it. The screen can also be pumped up to some serious brightness levels, and while it's not quite as rich as a nice desktop monitor in terms of contrast or color (I tend to bring my images onto the desktop for any final touchups or color tweaks), it's still very solid for a tablet.
In addition people have made custom programs to help make Photoshop tablet/Series 7 friendly. I run this little gem when using PS. It puts a series of commonly used shortcut buttons on the left of the screen for you to use with your thumb (this menu disappears when you put your stylus over it -- a nice touch). The rest of the screen is turned into a stylus-only zone, so you can rest your hand on the screen while drawing and not have it affect your work. Without this little add-on I think PS would be pretty tough to work with. With it, completely smooth and awesome.
There were some shortcomings, mainly with the out-of-the-box experience. There's a light sensor that's supposed to adjust the brightness of the screen to your environment. Unfortunately two different programs fight for control of this, causing the screen to dim and go bright for seemingly no reason. I just turned off that "feature". There's also a little plastic cap that covers the USB port. It's basically impossible to remove without a credit card or something (I broke a fingernail trying to pop it out the first time). It's also not attached to the case in any way, so I quickly lost mine. Again, not missed at all. The battery life is also limited, but this isn't surprising given the amount of power it's using. I find it's good for about 5-6 hours of use, which is perfect for me as I can unplug it in the morning, use it for about 3 or 4 hours out of my day, then plug it back in at night.
The widescreen ratio has been complained about by some as non-ideal for the artist, but after using it I found it actually works well when you factor in the various tool and layer windows you'll have open while working. I assumed I'd be rotating the screen to a vertical alignment while I was working, but quickly found the landscape format worked really well.
All in all I'd heartily recommend this device for anyone looking for an on-the-go option to their digital art. It's been great for me, as I commute with the bus and now have tons more free time for doodling and digital painting. I can also work on the sofa without feeling like I'm totally neglecting my family.