By Jeremy Kahn
Owning a Cintiq can be a nightmare for the artist on the go. It’s large, bulky and comes with so many wires that you might as well just carry a desk around with you. It’s not going to win any awards for portability any time soon. What would you say if I told you there was an alternative device that solves these issues and doesn’t dig into your wallet as much?
I’m crazy, right? How about if I say you could have this alternative for below $300? Nuts, right? Well, I can assure you I’m neither.
Many companies offer tablets that have the same function as a regular Cintiq. Fujitsu, Lenovo and Acer are just a few examples. Of these, Fujitsu’s Lifebook is arguably the best deal. In fact, I got mine for $175 off lease. The Lifebook doubles as a regular notebook as well as a drawing tablet. An attached stylus pen lets you draw right on the flip down monitor.
Still craving that Cintiq experience? Another neat feature is the monitor rotates 180 degrees so that you can lay it down on top of the keyboard and use the device just like a tablet. No need to deal with the keyboard if you don’t want to.
Making use of Wacom’s Penabled technology and Intel’s Core 2 Duo, this notebook is no slouch in the art department. Buttons on the side of the monitor allow you to map commands making working with Adobe Photoshop that much easier. The ability to change the screen orientation allows one to work from any angle. A SD and Pro memory card slot opens up the ability to manipulate photographs straight from your camera’s memory card.
You heard right, this little machine is able to run Photoshop. Granted, you might be better off using a regular laptop or desktop for intensive projects (everything has its limits) but for projects on the go, it works very well. There’s barely any lag, and the sensitivity of the touch screen is good enough to handle detail work without feeling like any small move will somehow close your work.
A vent on the side does let off some heat, but the underside stays at a good temperature. A weird design forces you to chose between an optical drive or an extra battery. If you’re planning a long trip, I’d stick with the extra battery. An LCD below the monitor shows the computer’s current status, from the battery levels to the status of the CPU. Some features aren’t exactly useful though.
Despite how cool it sounds, you’d be hard-pressed to really find a need for the finger print security scanner. Unless you have top secret government papers stored somewhere. But at that point, you’d have to be more worried about being a bad secret agent.
With the power to run Windows and the ability of a drawing tablet, this laptop is perfect for the artist on the go. And, at a price that no college student could argue with, why not look into getting one yourself.