Concept Design Equipment Shoot-out: Part 3

Portability

In this rendition of the Concept Design Equipment Shoot-out focuses on the Portability aspect of these 3 tools.
If you missed the first two episodes, here they are Part 1, and Part 2.
Sketchbook + Drawing Pen: 9/10
In terms of portability nothing beats a sketchbook. I would say in this category this wins hands down. Nothing is quicker than chucking a sketch book into your bag, whipping it out and banging out some sketches. Even late night brain waves can find a home in a sketchbook.
This tool would have got a perfect 10 if not for the use of the pens. Or lack of it, that is. If you are the type, like me, that likes to sketch in color, different line weights, and a little shading, the sketchbook + pen combo is not the best as you have to lug around a wad of color pencils or markers. Not a major issue, but if you can forgo your colors, like most designers out there, you still get a decent drawing and idea capture tool.
Wacom Intuos 3 Drawing Tablet: 0/10
Can it get any lower in terms of portability? Especially that my tablet is an huge A4 42CM x 32CM. Now that is bigger than a 17″ PowerBook!
The portability aspect also relies on having a computer at your destination of use. No computer, no function, no idea storage.
Even shuttling back and forth from home to office with this tool is no laughing matter. Especially if you take the bus to work.
Toshiba Portege M200 Tablet PC: 5/10
I would say this is a fairly portable unit, and a pc to boot. In this lies the main issue. As a pc as well, you have to carry around with you alot of access bulk. Coming in at about approx 3KG this tablet is not the most portable device in terms of weight.
I took it out with me on a day trip with my wife and son. Needless to say even though I had the ideas in my head, getting it out and setting it up for use just took too long. Its just not as instant as the sketch book and pen. PC loading up times is an issue. If only it was instant “on” like a PDA. Late at night when I have a brain wave, and if this and the sketchbook is place side by side, I find myself reaching for the sketchbook all the time.
And when I did get it out, battery power becomes an issue. Clocking in about 3.5 hours, this device gives you enough juice for a tea time sketch session, but ultimately I got a little paranoid. You know getting it dirty and stuff with muffin crumbs.
However the tablet PC does allow you to draw with many different choice of media, and I can see this tool perfect for a digital artist as he does not need to drag oil paints or a huge easel around town.
In the end it resided in my car’s boot most of the time as I was actually afraid of dropping it! That in it lies a problem of portability, can you afford to drop it? I was too chicken to try it out.
Ok lets move on to Part 4.

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