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Thread: Surface Pro + Pen + Drawboard

  1.    #1
    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    Cool Surface Pro + Pen + Drawboard

    I have longed for a good tablet and pen that can truly replace paper and I have finally found something that works well. I recently bought a Surface Pro 7 and bought Drawboard PDF. I am so impressed with how responsive the Pen works and how natural it all works. Now my markups, highlighting and general scribble needs can happen on a screen rather than printing to 11x17.

    I met in the middle with the Surface Pro 7 specs, which is the 10th Gen i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB drive. Bought the keyboard, the Pen and the fancy folding mouse (which is a totally legit wireless mouse BTW).

    The Drawboard PDF program is the Cat's Meow. It had to have been developed by an architectural or engineering team. The tools, the ease of use, the responsiveness to heavy PDF's that buckle Bluebeam... Drawboard can handle it all for a reviewing and markup tool. I wouldn't suggest it as a desktop app, but then again I haven't put that much effort into it. I think it's meant for a Tablet environment.

    Tried to go Bluebeam on it originally and that was a disaster. Literal disaster. The tablet environment is horrible, couldn't get the pen settings right, it cannot pan/zoom without redraw and flickering issues, and cannot draw a markup line that's worth anything. Bluebeam is so bad right now I'm seriously going to just do away with it and find something else.

    I have tried iPad apps and pens, other cheaper Windows 10 2-in-1's with a stylus, Android tablets, etc. Nothing so far compares to the Surface Pro + Pen. What I like is how it has options and is intelligent enough to know not to do anything when your palm is resting on the screen. The pressure sensitivity on the Pen is impressive. It's very accurate, and very responsive.

    I would rate the Surface Pro 7 + Pen + Drawboard PDF combo as an 8/10 score. Things could be better but overall it's a great and useful combo of tools and can really be used as a normal computer for those more in the PM role and not the BIM designer role.

    Just thought I'd share is all. -TZ

  2.    #2
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tzframpton View Post
    I have longed for a good tablet and pen that can truly replace paper and I have finally found something that works well. I recently bought a Surface Pro 7 and bought Drawboard PDF. I am so impressed with how responsive the Pen works and how natural it all works. Now my markups, highlighting and general scribble needs can happen on a screen rather than printing to 11x17.

    I met in the middle with the Surface Pro 7 specs, which is the 10th Gen i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB drive. Bought the keyboard, the Pen and the fancy folding mouse (which is a totally legit wireless mouse BTW).

    The Drawboard PDF program is the Cat's Meow. It had to have been developed by an architectural or engineering team. The tools, the ease of use, the responsiveness to heavy PDF's that buckle Bluebeam... Drawboard can handle it all for a reviewing and markup tool. I wouldn't suggest it as a desktop app, but then again I haven't put that much effort into it. I think it's meant for a Tablet environment.

    Tried to go Bluebeam on it originally and that was a disaster. Literal disaster. The tablet environment is horrible, couldn't get the pen settings right, it cannot pan/zoom without redraw and flickering issues, and cannot draw a markup line that's worth anything. Bluebeam is so bad right now I'm seriously going to just do away with it and find something else.

    I have tried iPad apps and pens, other cheaper Windows 10 2-in-1's with a stylus, Android tablets, etc. Nothing so far compares to the Surface Pro + Pen. What I like is how it has options and is intelligent enough to know not to do anything when your palm is resting on the screen. The pressure sensitivity on the Pen is impressive. It's very accurate, and very responsive.

    I would rate the Surface Pro 7 + Pen + Drawboard PDF combo as an 8/10 score. Things could be better but overall it's a great and useful combo of tools and can really be used as a normal computer for those more in the PM role and not the BIM designer role.

    Just thought I'd share is all. -TZ
    Interesting. Ive briefly looked at Drawboard as a potential replacement for the catastrophy that is Revu, although they finally released an update to Revu 2019 that seems to have fixed all the royally screwed up things that were going on. I dont care for tablet use, so i was solely looking for a replacement for Revu and Studio, BECAUSE of the glitches. So... them having resolved the glitches (at least for the immediately minute) solved my issues.

    But im not renewing maintenance on Revu, this year. My subscription is up, and when i emailed them to tell them i wasnt renewing because of the problems, thats when they told me the update was out. But... its been broken an entire full year. No way im paying for that.

    So i will be revisiting Drawboard, for sure. Never even got it installed, just checked out the website.

  3.    #3
    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    I went to the Microsoft Store at Northpark to test a Surface out. The staff was super helpful and didn't hover over my shoulder, they just let me tinker. You should next chance you get, and they have them all connected to the web so download Drawboard PDF and access some of your files and have a good go with it. I have no doubt you'll be impressed.

    Also, Drawboard PDF has "Bullclip" which looks to be very promising. Me and one guy in my office are going to use the 14 day trial to see how this works. It's a bit of a cross between Bluebeam Studio, Drawboard and BIMTrack. I'm putting my faith into it, and if it does what it says it does, and does it well, we will drop Bluebeam subscriptions and adopt Drawboard PDF + Bullclip, and I'll be buying a couple more Surfaces for my team.

    Bullclip looks to have integration with BIM 360, which could go both ways. By that I mean it could be totally irrelevant or it could be bought up by Autodesk and integrated in their universe.

    Back to the Surface: I'm seeing some performance limitations with my i5 8GB setup. I wish there was an i5 16GB offering, but I do need more RAM, especially when in Navis. This Surface may get passed on to one of my employees and I may get the i7 model decked out. The docking station/port replicator absolutely rocks. One tiny little cable that "snaps" via magnet and boom - dual screen, keyboard and mouse (+1 screen if you include the surface).

    The Pen is still my favorite thing. I've configured the Pen to access three different programs with the eraser button click combos. So efficient. Also, the kickstand on this surface is practically mastered. It is sturdy and it folds almost all the way back, but not all the way, so you can have about a 5 degree tilt from the desk or table you're working on, giving a very natural environment for writing.

    I'm also using the new Edge browser, where it's redesigned with the Chrome engine, and the nice part about that is the Pen movements respond very well to it. You get much more usability in a Tablet mode on this new browser because it has been designed to marry with the Pen very well. Chalk this one up to "just the small things that make a bid difference".

    I'm still so impressed, I keep eyeballing the Surface Studio 2 as a stand alone workstation in my office for my team's use. Can't justify the price just yet, but that bad boy is coming very soon.

    -TZ

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tzframpton View Post
    I went to the Microsoft Store at Northpark to test a Surface out. The staff was super helpful and didn't hover over my shoulder, they just let me tinker. You should next chance you get, and they have them all connected to the web so download Drawboard PDF and access some of your files and have a good go with it. I have no doubt you'll be impressed.

    Also, Drawboard PDF has "Bullclip" which looks to be very promising. Me and one guy in my office are going to use the 14 day trial to see how this works. It's a bit of a cross between Bluebeam Studio, Drawboard and BIMTrack. I'm putting my faith into it, and if it does what it says it does, and does it well, we will drop Bluebeam subscriptions and adopt Drawboard PDF + Bullclip, and I'll be buying a couple more Surfaces for my team.

    Bullclip looks to have integration with BIM 360, which could go both ways. By that I mean it could be totally irrelevant or it could be bought up by Autodesk and integrated in their universe.

    Back to the Surface: I'm seeing some performance limitations with my i5 8GB setup. I wish there was an i5 16GB offering, but I do need more RAM, especially when in Navis. This Surface may get passed on to one of my employees and I may get the i7 model decked out. The docking station/port replicator absolutely rocks. One tiny little cable that "snaps" via magnet and boom - dual screen, keyboard and mouse (+1 screen if you include the surface).

    The Pen is still my favorite thing. I've configured the Pen to access three different programs with the eraser button click combos. So efficient. Also, the kickstand on this surface is practically mastered. It is sturdy and it folds almost all the way back, but not all the way, so you can have about a 5 degree tilt from the desk or table you're working on, giving a very natural environment for writing.

    I'm also using the new Edge browser, where it's redesigned with the Chrome engine, and the nice part about that is the Pen movements respond very well to it. You get much more usability in a Tablet mode on this new browser because it has been designed to marry with the Pen very well. Chalk this one up to "just the small things that make a bid difference".

    I'm still so impressed, I keep eyeballing the Surface Studio 2 as a stand alone workstation in my office for my team's use. Can't justify the price just yet, but that bad boy is coming very soon.

    -TZ
    Yeah. Bullclip is really what i was looking at, when Studio was totally glitching out in 2019. Thankfully, 2019.0.20 seems to have fixed that.

    I didnt renew Bluebeam this year. We will stay on 2019 while we consider the options.

  5.    #5
    Moderator cellophane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tzframpton View Post
    I'm still so impressed, I keep eyeballing the Surface Studio 2 as a stand alone workstation in my office for my team's use. Can't justify the price just yet, but that bad boy is coming very soon.
    I'd be happy with a large scale monitor that supports a pen as well as the Surface does and that doesn't cost more than the Surface (I'm looking at you Wacom )

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cellophane View Post
    I'd be happy with a large scale monitor that supports a pen as well as the Surface does and that doesn't cost more than the Surface (I'm looking at you Wacom )
    I used a pair of Surface Hub's at a clients GC's office, and they were fantastic. But honestly... they are all (JMHO) still just novelties, for the cost. It really doesnt take that long- nor is it that inconvenient- for me to work without a pen. And if i need a pen- god forbid- i sketch something on a physical notepad.

    30k just to draw on a screen, is stupid.

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    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    I'll add this just for the reason of other people viewing this thread. My sudden interest in all this is because of the following reasons:

    I have been contemplating buying a large format printer for my office because paper prints for QAQC processes such as redline markups or highlighting scopes from our shop drawings comparatively to the set of contract drawings is still the best way to catch every single little thing... things that most people don't consider who aren't directly in the industry.

    I can get a leased Oce for about $10k, in which we could print to 24x18 half sized to do our final QAQC processes on. I have been banging this around for a while. Or, I can buy a Studio 2 + Drawboard for half the cost of a used plotter, not deal with paper and toner, invest in Bullclip (potentially), and we roll forward in the 21st century.

    Again, nothing beats a good 'ol fashioned QAQC redline check for our type of business, so unless a custom program that's configurable comes out that does this process for us, this is a key element to our current process.

    -TZ

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    I would really struggle with the idea of paying for a large format printer, personally. There are definitely times when i need to draw something by hand, over a print, but in those cases, an 11x17 is usually plenty good. But... i also dont really mind not using a "pen" for a lot of markups. The few times a year (literally) ive wanted plots, i just run them to a print service down the road. Way less fuss.

  9.    #9
    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    I would really struggle with the idea of paying for a large format printer, personally.
    I know the feeling, it's why I haven't pulled the trigger yet and the plotter salesman has been emailing me for almost three years now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    There are definitely times when i need to draw something by hand, over a print, but in those cases, an 11x17 is usually plenty good. But... i also dont really mind not using a "pen" for a lot of markups. The few times a year (literally) ive wanted plots, i just run them to a print service down the road. Way less fuss.
    Same. We have a really good repro shop just down the street. Family owned and operated since the '80s, and they're great.

    I can't deal with 11x17's anymore. With the amount of detail we really need on our plans, I wind up having to print 2 or 4 areas on 11x17 of the same sheet just to have enough space to see plus provide markups. Multiply that by four area sheets per floor and multiple floors and you see what I deal with sometimes.

    -TZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellophane View Post
    I'd be happy with
    I've been eyeing up getting some Dell P2418HT for a few folk here to see if it'd move them to (more) digital markup

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