Wacom MobileStudio Pro: My Review & Thoughts

This past fall, with a lot of excitement, the new Wacom MobileStudio Pro was released. I was in the market for a new laptop, and I wasn’t really excited with what Apple did (and didn’t do) with their new Macbook Pro. So, for the first time in about 14 years, I bought a Windows machine. And truth be told, I actually quite like it. It does have some good and bad features, and in this video I talk a little bit about them and how this new product stacks up.

If you like this video, I’d really appreciate a ‘thumbs-up’ over on the YouTube channel, and consider subscribing as well!

Here are the products I mentioned:

Wacom MobileStudio Pro:
http://amzn.to/2kcquR2

Anker Bluetooth Keyboard:
http://amzn.to/2kcv4yR

Artisul Freestyle Stand (I didn’t mention it, but it’s the stand I purchased for the Wacom MobileStudio Pro, and it’s great!):
http://amzn.to/2kCKWLo

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Transcript:
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Hey my name is Eric, and I thought I would share my experiences with the Wacom Mobilestudio Pro. Here it is right here. This is the 16 inch model. This just came out last fall and I’m super-impressed with it.

To give you some background on myself, I’m a commercial photographer based in Austin, Texas, but I also dabble in some fine artwork – paintings, drawings, things like that. So I’m looking for something that would help me with retouching work I want to do as well as kind of working in that fine art space for drawing. I’m a Mac user traditionally. I’ve been for years. And I’ve got to say that I wasn’t really impressed with that MacBook Pro that was announced last year. I mean, they added some things. They made it a little faster and added some features like – what’s that called – the emoji bar? I call it the emoji bar. They added that but then they took away some other stuff. So I was in the market for a new laptop and I was just not really that impressed with it, but then Wacom announced this and I had to take a look at it because it looks really appealing. I absolutely love it. I’m going to share with you some of my thoughts on what’s good and what’s bad/needs improvement.

Let’s talk about some good stuff. First off, this the display is gorgeous! On the 16 inch version I think it’s a 4k display, so it’s a really nice display. It’s also got a matte finish, so it’s not like an iPad Pro where you’re drawing on glass and it’s slippery. This has the same texture as their other tablet products that you have used before. You got that familiar set of buttons in a row over on the side. It’s also got this thumbprint scanner right there in the middle so when you sign in you just put your thumb there. This is cool – I hope other apps use it, especially something like 1Password.

It’s got an SD card slot right here, which is kind of cool. What I’ve been hearing people do is, instead of getting the model with 512 GB of storage, they get the next tier down and then just put an SD card in there and leave it in, so it’s like an extra drive which is a cool option. The SD card slot was something on the MacBook Pro they took away, which I just didn’t quite understand. Being a photographer, I need to get pictures off SD cards so it just made it harder to do that. So, the Wacom has that SD card slot there.

There’s also this little button right here which turns on the display rotation, so as I move around the screen rotates around, no matter which way I’m I’m working. I’ll leave it like this since I’m left-handed and like all the buttons on the right. But it’s cool if you want to read something a certain way and want to be able to have that option to turn it on. I’m going to turn it back before I do anything else.

This model has a 3D camera right there which I have no idea what to do with. It looks kind of cool – maybe something fun to play around with at some point, but I don’t see anything yet that would make me want to use it in particular.

It also comes with their new line of pro pens, which is this one right here. Look at that. You also get the nibs too. It has this weird container that’s like a cigar holder, basically. You pull it out, and the pen sits inside. All the nibs are stored up here in the top. They claim this new pen offers a thousand levels of pressure sensitivity. I couldn’t tell, to be honest. To me it’s both really cool to hear that stat and completely useless because, to me, it just works. Like all their pens that just work in the past, I haven’t had a problem with it. I always felt like I was getting a full range of pressure sensitivity. I’m glad they upgraded it, but it’s also cool that my old pens work too. So, no problem at all with their pen technology.

The coolest thing I like about the Wacom MobileStudio Pro is that I have the full versions of all my apps. So, Photoshop, Premiere Pro which I use on occasion, Dropbox for syncing files. Everything I like is on here, which is amazing because it let’s me be as productive as I want out in the field or on a trip or something like that. And I’m also going to try putting Capture One Pro on it to see how it works for tethered shooting. I’ve heard, for example, Frank Doorhof and others who have been experimenting with that to see if it’s a good tethering solution. Obviously it’s not as big a display as you get with a separate monitor on a shoot, but a portable option that doesn’t take much space and gives you the power to retouch. That’s kind of cool and I’m going to give that a shot.

Let’s talk about some of the things I don’t like about it. There’s a couple, and it’s going to be the common things you’ve heard about it if you’ve watched any videos related to this product. The first thing is – it’s big. The 16 inch model is quite big. It’s a little bit wider, maybe 2 inches wider, than my laptop when it’s closed. So it’s not truly portable in that you’re going to sit on an airplane seat and feel comfortable pulling this thing out easily. You’ll have to make some room for it. Trying to find a bag for it might be a little bit difficult. You have to look at 17 inch laptop bags. So, it is big.

It’s also heavy. I think this comes in somewhere around 5 lbs. The last time I used something in that weight range probably was the original titanium MacBook Pro back around 2001. So it’s a heavy device. It’s thick too. Look at how thick it is. There’s a whole computer inside here. We’ve been kind of spoiled with tablet technology thinking that everything should be an iPad or something of that thickness. This is not going to be that because there’s a lot more going on in here with processors and 3d cameras and things like that. So you just need to be ready to handle the fact that it’s big, it’s heavy, it’s thick, it’s slightly cumbersome. The smaller model, I’ve read, is a lot lighter and thinner. But I just wanted this screen real estate so I went for the 16 inch model.

Something else that’s not exciting is the battery life. It’s kind of abysmal. I want to say they quote maybe 4-6 hours of usage – something like that – on their website. I don’t know for sure. But I’m getting in the neighborhood of 2-3 hours, which is not great. Hopefully that’s something they can address in a future software update. Some sort of patch perhaps.

Here’s the power brick that comes with this. It’s huge – carrying this thing around takes you right back to 2000/late 90’s technology for those. Not fun to carry that around everywhere, especially when you know it’s going to run low on batteries in a couple of hours. As it is right now. There you go.

Something else that’s not exciting about the Wacom MobileStudio Pro is that it only has USB-C ports on the side. Three of those. This is an issue with the new MacBook Pro too, in that you only have USB-C. I’m sure this will get better over the next year as those devices become more prevalent but for right now you’re kind of stuck using adapters or looking for USB-C-particular devices to plug in.

I’ve also noticed sometimes the touch isn’t very responsive, so I might be in Photoshop doing something like, say, pinching in to zoom and all of a sudden it stops registering, and I have to repeat that three or four times, five times maybe before it registers again and says “Ok you’re trying to zoom in – I’ll let you do that now.”

I also had a problem with the Wacom MobileStudio Pro crashing. I’ve had it for 2 weeks. In the first week I want to say it had a hard crash 8 or 9 times. It would just completely shut down and restart with no indication of what the problem was. This reminds me of my earlier days with Windows years ago, where that would happen. You get no indication what’s going on and you’re left to figure it out. I never did figure it out. I think it might have been overheating. Maybe I was covering up the vent with my hand. Perhaps something was going on with Google Chrome. That was the app that I thought might be causing some problems. But it hasn’t happened in the last week or two, so I’m going to chalk that up to a fluke that hopefully has resolved itself somehow.

I’ve also noticed sometimes, regarding the touch sensitivity, that the handprint rejection technology doesn’t seem to be working right, where I’ll have my pen in my left hand, and when I go to place my hand on it, it registers my palm and selects the window that’s underneath my palm, even though the pen is not touching the display. I go down, my palm hits first, and it says “Oh you want to do something with that window down there.” And I’m thinking “No, I want to do this other thing.” So I ended up having to put the pen down first, touch the screen, and then rest my palm down. It’s kind of annoying and I’m not sure what’s up with it.

The Wacom MobileStudio Pro has a Windows 10 virtual keyboard that pops up. It’s cool if you don’t have a separate keyboard. I have this bluetooth one I got for around $30 on Amazon, made by Anker. It’s a great keyboard and I love it. But Windows 10 seems to be a little bit finicky about when it thinks that keyboard is connected and when it’s not. For example, I can be in a web browser, click in the address bar, and Windows 10 says “You need to type something? Here’s your virtual keyboard.” And I’m thinking “No – I have my physical keyboard – I don’t need the virtual one.” I’ve gone in and looked it settings to see if there’s an option to control that, and I haven’t found one yet other than the one option to ‘always show the virtual keyboard’ or something like that which I turned off. That’s one little bug I can’t figure out with the Wacom MobileStudio Pro.

Overall I’m super excited with this device. I love it. Ok the battery’s low. But I love this device. It’s a ton of fun and everything I wanted to to have in terms of a portable workstation/drawing tablet. I can run all my apps with the ability to do drawing and retouching. I have everything with me. It’s a little big, like I mentioned earlier, but I love having all that with me. To be honest, it’s what I wanted the Mac to be. I wanted Apple to come out and say “Hey we got this new MacBook Pro model whatever that’s a tablet running the full version of Mac OS, that let’s you use the keyboard or mouse or pen or an Apple Pencil” and they didn’t do it. They just came out with a laptop with a couple of changes, but they didn’t innovate like Wacom did with this. So, I went with this and I love it so far. There’s a bit of a learning curve with Windows 10 if you haven’t used it before. But overall I think the Wacom MobileStudio Pro is a great device and much better than their Cintiq companion with the touch technology as far as registering touches in general. It’s also much better than their 27QHD. You can just turn touch off on that one as it’s so bad. This one seems to be much improved and I’m looking forward to using it. So that’s it. I will leave some links in the description below as far as where I got the keyboard and other stuff. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know below and I’ll be happy to answer them. Thanks for watching this video about the Wacom MobileStudio Pro!

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