Two weeks ago I bought myself a tablet pc (eee Slate epe121), mainly because of the built-in wacom tablet en pen, for reading and taking notes, Photoshop and other ‘on the road’ activities.
Because I think some of you might be interested in knowing more about how Blender behaves on a tablet pc, here are some of my conclusions based on the last couple of days of using Blender on this Windows tablet: First off, this is NOT supposed to be used for heavy duty 3d work.
The specs are pretty good overall: i5, 4gb, great ips screen (12" @ 1280*800, 64gb ssd. Except for the video hardware, which is Intel (unfortunately one gen before hd3000). Weight is about 1kg, and battery life about 3.5 - 4 hours (depending on what you do). For 2d work it’s brilliant: pretty much like a portable Cintiq - I had to install the newest wacom driver from Asus to get pressure sensitivity in all apps, and it works like a charm. Photoshop is extremely responsive, and works in hardware acceleration mode (up till the point you rotate the screen, and it loses the hardware acc, so I have to be careful about that one).
Mypaint works great too. One niggle is the fact that I have to display the onscreen keyboard to control the view in many applications. It is obvious many Windows apps are not especially suited for tablet use without certain modifications.
The pen works great, except for one thing: no buttons! On my desktop I have two extra buttons on my wacom tablet pen, which solves a lot of usability issues (example: orbiting the view in Blender). No such luck here - though I have read there is an alternative pen for sale that does offer buttons. I may have to purchase that one.
For Blender the tablet works reasonably well - as long as the poly count does not exceed about 150.000 polygons. In my opinion it does work well for low poly (game) work, or quick prototype sessions.
Sculptris was just too slow for comfort. Sketchup was okay for relatively simple stuff.
Check the image above - to work with Blender, I must activate the onscreen keyboard, otherwise orbiting, panning, etc. is just plain impossible. It would be nice if someone would make Blender a bit more tablet-friendly in the future. However, none of the 3d apps I know of offers a tablet-oriented interface at all (except zBrush?). A keyboard is required.
That said, the onscreen keyboard works very well (up to a point, of course): to activate orbiting, I turned on 3button mouse emulation in the preferences, and the alt, shift and ctrl keys, when pressed, remain activated, so it works about three times as slow compared to a traditional keyboard. The Slate does come with a very good mobile keyboard, though it is a pain to bring that with me on every trip I make.
Sculpting IS very impressive, though - very tactile, and I prefer this over my regular Wacom tablet. If only the 3d hardware would be stronger, this machine truly would shine. A standard cube can be sculpted up to level 7 (but starts to lag). But as it stands now, it shines for 2d creative uses (drawing, 2d animating, Photoshop, etc.), and works reasonably well for 3d low poly work.
Perhaps the second generation?
ps written on my tablet