Sketching with the S-Pen – Part One.

So now I’ve had a few months to play with the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, I guess I should tell you what I really think of it as a drawing tool.


To be fair, I expect I’d love it a lot less if I only had the S-Note app to use, as it’s not the best application that I’ve ever come across. The S-Pen is wonderful, but trying to use it in S-Note is somewhat painful. I find it’s over sensitive, draws before I get my pen to the screen, and the marks it makes are less than stellar. However, marry the pen to Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and it truly sings. I’ve used the iPad 2, the retina iPad (4th gen) with both a Pogo and a Wacom Bamboo stylus and none of them come close to matching the ease of use or natural feel of the S-Pen coupled with Sketchbook Pro. Rather handily, SBP now has a “Pen Mode” which will only accept brush input from the stylus, leaving me to rest my greasy palm on the screen and use it like a ‘proper’ pen, and not a vertical crayola.

Did I say greasy? Well, not strictly true, as I never draw without my security blanket. A Smudgeguard glove, or.. if my hand is hurting (which it frequently does) my IMAK arthritis glove.

The Phantom Bantam
Phantom Bantam sketching on the Galaxy Note 10.1

If there’s one area where the device is lacking, it’s probably the screen resolution. The GN 10.1 has a screen res of 1280×800 which, while not as low as a first gen iPad is certainly not up to the quality of current iPads. Hell it’s not even as good as the Galaxy Note 2 phone, which packs the same amount of pixels on to a five inch handset. I should know, I have that as well! 😉 I must admit to being somewhat confuzzled as to why they did this, I guess it could have been to keep battery life at a reasonable level. Sketchbook Pro comes to the rescue here though, as it allows you to choose a larger canvas than the screen size (1920×1200 up to 2560xsomething-or-other).

Galaxy Note 10.1
Mmmmm gadget porn… wait, I posted this before!

It’a a beautifully put together tablet. It’s light, can take an SD card for expandable memory, looks great, performs just as well as our iPads and as I’ve banged on about above… is a great drawing tool. I’m going to dare to say that I believe that right now, it’s the closest you can get to portable Wacom. After all, the pen is Wacom-engineered anyway.

Of course, the pen is only going to be as good as the software it’s working with, which is why I’m so glad that Autodesk have kept developing SBP for Android. Unlike Adobe, who seem content to cut their Android users off at the knees by withdrawing all but one useful app (goodbye Proto & Collage, you were wonderful while you lasted).. but that’s a whole other rant for another day….

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