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I am looking to purchase a new laptop, I have been looking for a bit and noticed that a lot of the new ones come with pens to write on the screen, I am wondering if this is a good feature that gets used or not.
What would you recommend or what are you using and the pros and cons?

3/7/19       #2: Laptop ...

I personally think that it is a waste of money. If you are buying a laptop for any design work buy a gaming laptop with a solid state hard drive and the best graphics card you can afford. You won't find many or any gaming computer that have a pen.

3/7/19       #3: Laptop ...
Alan F. Member

Pens/ Stylus are useful in field if you annotate a PDF with field dimensions and pictures, also for notes, other use in the field its easier than using keyboard mouse in that enviroment.

3/7/19       #4: Laptop ...
Alan F. Member

Here is a sample of sylus / pen, would let me upload the actual pdf (size) so I took a screen shot

Click the link below to download the file included with this post.


3/8/19       #5: Laptop ...
Leo G Member

Don't buy a gaming computer. They are for gaming. Buy a workstation. That is designed for CAD and 3D operations. If you need 3D power the video card is very important. I have a Dell 7710 Precision Workstation. I put a NVidia M3000M video card in it so I can operate my eCabinet program smoothly. So far it's worked out very well.

I don't have any experience with a pen to write on the screen so I won't comment on it. But I suppose if you wanted to do some artist style drawings for the client in a digital format instead of pencil and paper, this might be one way to go. They have software that would work with the stylus in an artist fashion.

They have programs that you can put notes onto a PDF file, so a pen isn't necessary for that.

3/8/19       #6: Laptop ...
MarkB Member

I have three stylus devices. Galaxy Note8 phone, a Galaxy Note tablet, and my main laptop is an older Acer Aspire R572 convertible that runs a stylus if needed.

I use the stylus all the time on the phone and the tablet and less so on the laptop for day to day work but do use it occasionally. Many laptops now come about default with touch on the screen but that doesnt necessarily mean the stylus will do everything someone would want it to depending on what they are looking for. I very rarely use the touch screen (fingers)

I do a good bit of digital drawing and sketching on occasion so having a laptop that allows for many levels of pressure sensitivity is important for that but less so if your just wanting to be able to markup/annotate drawings or have customer be able to sign contracts/invoices digitally which is nice for paperless.

For using the laptop in the field with the stylus it would seem essential to me for the laptop to be a convertible model where the screen can fold over flat and you can use it like a tablet or have a detachable screen. Using the stylus on a laptop in its typical configuration wouldnt be effective for me and I'd be opting for a Wacom type tablet if I needed it but thats not too portable.

If your just thinking about marking up drawings any touch/pen enabled screen would be fine.

I tend to take my phone and laptop everywhere and take the tablet when needed. I use the phone and the stylus for most small field notes, lists, and so on (multiple times daily). For measured takeoffs I tend to use the laptop in the field in conventional or stylus mode. And for small jobs I may take the tablet, snap a photo, and annotate notes and dimensions with the stylus right on the photo. They all save/sync to cloud storage so this keeps me pretty much 100% paperless and I have all my documents on every device no matter where I am.

I would agree with the advice with regards to a CAD program that is resource heavy on the video card side that would trump the stylus for me. I have never had a problem running any of our software, doing 3D photorealistic rendering with tons of high quality textures, and so on, but Im also not typically working with massive models (an entire home or floor of a commercial building may be it).

3/9/19       #7: Laptop ...

I bought top of line touch screen HP with solid state drive about a year back. I specifically bought it for the pencil feature to sign contracts in the home. I have used the pencil exactly 3 times. For that it has just been easier to have people use the finger.
I previously had a Samsung note 4 and used the notes app with the stylus constantly. Unfortunately it took a nose dive out of my pocket and died. Tried replacing with note 9. Loved the stylus but hated phone. Now Iím an apple guy.
If your doing lots of sketches and layouts the stylus ona laptop could be a bonus. Definitely want a solid state drive, as much ram as you can get and a good video card

3/10/19       #8: Laptop ...
Kevin Dunphy

Stick withe the gamers [there parts are designed to run 24/7 ]
I bought the parts from gamers still running 4 years later
How does 16 megs ram .solid state drive .etc I have 3 computers that I built each one ready to replace

Highend workstation video cards are more expensive
Tablets or a Note pad will not load Aspire or Artcam and most cad programs
Stay away from touch screen just get a https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/electronics/wacom-intuos-creative-pen-tablet/
This can be velcored to the laptop

Gaming computer would be the best choice laptop second has a descent video card to run a large monitor 4k

3/11/19       #9: Laptop ...
Matt Peterson  Member

If you are in business, you need a business computer. Yes, they are 3 times the cost of other computers of equal speed. But there is a reason for it. A gaming computer will take two to three weeks to fix at a computer repair shop. A personal computer will take 1 or 2 weeks for IBM/windows platforms and 3 to 4 weeks for an Apple/IOS platform. A business computer of any kind will usually be fixed the same day and within 3 days for sure. As soon as they read the serial number on the machine the repair shop knows the rules. And the factory that makes the part or parts needed also knows the rules. So parts get overnighted from the closest location. Plus technical service gives priority to any computer with a business computer ID#.
My better-half got me a new faster computer with all the bells and whistles available at the time. Two years into it, the solid state hard drive failed. I was shocked at how poorly I was treated from the same shop I had used previously. The owner told me that it was not his fault, He said that tech services took almost a half hour to get a rep on the phone which he needed to call a few times. Then the part took forever to arrive. (I needed data recovered. Hence the need for tech services.)
If you are in business, two weeks without one of your computers will cost substantially more then the extra dollars for the machine. Working on a different device and missing information will disrupt your life in so many ways you wonít believe it.

3/12/19       #10: Laptop ...
MarkB Member

A lot seems to be a matter of scale. If your running a massive operation with even rudimentary in-house IT then yes, business systems implementation may be wise. But in a smaller operation (no idea where in the spectrum Scott lands) its not quite that critical. All of the data in our shop is either automatically stored in multiple locations, is on the cloud, on physical back up drives, and so on. If my main machine were to go down I could walk out to the shop and pull up any data on a shop machine which is sync'd to its needed data but of course doesnt have all the office applications and data (easily remedied) or I could grab any spare laptop around, or go buy a burner for $500 bucks if I dont have the spares (we have several) and be up an running in a matter of minutes to an hour or so waiting for downloads and installs.

Wouldnt be so easy in a larger operation but even there usually you'd have some back-up machines or someone could move to another work station for a short time. Im not saying moving to business machines isnt wise Im just saying its really not cost effective across the board.

Im not a big fan or super comfortable with cloud-based everything though I can easily see the convenience. But in this day an age where a TB memory stick or external HD is a hundred bucks or less its getting tougher and tougher to be without your data.

All of it is a crap shoot.

3/12/19       #11: Laptop ...

Thanks for all the help. I have been an Apple user for the last 10 years. When I started looking for a new laptop I was shown a bunch of the products on the market like the 2 in 1ís, the ones with the pens, the Microsoft surfaces, etc. I thought maybe there was something that would be more suited for my needs so was looking for input from others. Again, thanks for that input.

I donít think I need anything amazing and I am really good at caring for my stuff.

Sorry I donít know what a business computer is, I have seen a bunch of gaming computers, The desktop gaming monitors are amazing.

I think in the end I will just get another MacBook Pro with windows on it and call it a day.

3/13/19       #12: Laptop ...

I love having a Mac book pro running windows on bootcamp. I only use windows for the stuff that I have to. Everything else is done on Mac OS.

3/21/19       #13: Laptop ...
John Bishop  Member

Never had luck with laptops for design work since the graphics cards were just not fast enough. Gaming PCs are OK but a really good PC would be better. You can buy an off the shelf job and be sure to get as much RAM as you can afford. Really good graphics card then have them put in a custom power source. The power source is very important it will allow these extra bits the power they need to run. I am not a mac guy so cannot comment on them.

Dell has nice machines but be aware they do not play nice with others. You will have to use proprietary dell replacement or add on parts. Dell does not generally accept manufacturerís bits.

Also get a double hard drive for redundancy. And still consider once and a while backing up to something you can take off site and store at your home. If you are rendering large drawings you need a power full PC. Good luck

D. John Bishop

4/9/19       #14: Laptop ...
Ethan Scott Member

I agree with some of them who have mentioned that the stylus can come in handy sometimes for some specific type of people. Like the ones who are designers or architectures or frequently feel the need of displaying something digitally, then stylus is your answer. It's handy and reliable at the same time. You can carry it everywhere with you and use it for instant representations if your job involves Designing. Also, it can help in jotting down points as some people do still rely on writing the points rather than typing. So if you don't have a notebook with you this is your option!

Although I feel normal surfing on the internet would be a bit difficult if you're accustomed to using mouse or trackpad.

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