Steve-C

Feedback on touch screen laptops

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There were only a couple of threads about this topic and most comments were many weeks or months old (which is an eternity in the tech world). I would love to hear more feedback on touch screen laptops. There is a thread on the Surface Pro which was promising but there seems to be very few established users. I saw one mention of the Sony Duo 13 which leads my wish list right now, mainly because of the way it integrates the keyboard. The keyboard just seems less intrusive and I can't imagine using CA without one (hotkeys and such), plus I like the larger screen and the fact that it can be upgraded to 8Gb of RAM and a 256GB or 512GB SSD drive.

Some questions I have:
1) When you pinch to zoom, do the tool bars stay locked and only your work environment zoom, like scrolling in and out with the mouse on a desktop? It's concerned me that CA would not be able to differentiate since zoom is a platform wide feature.
2) I absolutely love the trackpad on the Macbook Pro, is the screen as responsive on the touch screens? I've also noticed that not all trackpads behave the same with CA. Some scroll in and out with 2 fingers but the Macbook tracks side to side and up and down with 2 fingers (which I love). Also, not all trackpads are as customizable as they should be.
3) Is the stylus a big pain in the rear? I borrowed a friends Wacom Intuous Pro and thought it was pretty lame. I had trouble pointing to a pad and not to a screen. I've used a stylus on my iPad for writing and thought it was pretty easy. The Wacom was just weird and it wasn't very touch responsive.
4) Is the interface too small to use a finger to select and place items, draw walls and CAD lines, etc?

Any other input would be appreciated. I plan on using this machine as a secondary unit for meetings and site work (meetings are frequent - site work, not so much). I've often thought that a touch screen would be a great environment for CAD design, especially after I bought and iPad last year (and as many of us know, tablet apps don't quite cut it).

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1) Pinch to zoom works on Mac an Windows to zoom the content area as you would want.

 

2) We implemented 2 finger pan for the touch screen and it works well.

 

3) I hate using my fingers on my phone. That is why I switched to a Samsung Note 3 which has a stylus. But that is Android. As near as I can tell the stylus on the Windows Surface works very well but I have not used it much. As compared to the fat stylus that is required for an iPad the ones that come with the Windows Surface are nice and pointy so they don't get in the way.

 

4) There are smallness issues with the interface. Some are getting corrected with the next update, but in general having the ability to set the size of icons to anything you would like would be best. Hopefully, that is something we step up to for X7.

 

That said, drawing with Chief on a Surface is still easier using a mouse, at least to me. Others may have a different experience. I suspect that if you use the surface all the time it may become a lot more natural.

 

Our long term goal is to push the use of gestures forward for more things. But for now we have some of the basics are there. I still would not want to draw a plan using my fingers, but in theory it can be done.

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Thanks Doug. I wish there was a way to test CA on a touch screen to see if it's worth the investment. The more I think about it, the more inclined I am to go with a Macbook Pro. I know I can work with their touch pad pretty well, and I fear getting something that I would hate using.

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Steve,

 

Microsoft have a very generous return policy on the Surface Pro, one month no questions asked. I decided to try one out about a month ago and although I really didn't expect it to work out, I've been converted. Since I have a relatively hefty workstation I wasn't looking for a power laptop as a desktop replacement but more an iPad alternative that would be extremely mobile and let me truly use it as a tablet as well, i.e. reading, movies, web and some apps.

 

The surface pro does the above decently and within the margin of irritation compared to the iPad reference. It does weigh more and is thicker but not so that it is a deal breaker. Startup response is slower but again not painfully slow. It has a slightly different screen aspect ratio, a perfect 1920x1080, making it a joy for movies but a little to letter box for web browsing although size wise it is more to be considered as wider than the ipad as the screen size is about an inch bigger.

 

Where it shines though is in versatility. With the type cover that works as a screen protector, you have a very impressive little laptop that handles Chief extremely well. The screen has a high resolution making everything crisp but not tiny. I was worried everything would be miniature but icons and text is scaled up somehow whereas drawings stay sharp. I think what makes it work for me compared to my previous laptop is the high resolution of the screen, and although I zoom in and out a lot, in reality I do that on my 30" screen as well.

 

Another difference compared to my old laptop I stopped using a year or so ago is that this is a 64-bit 8GB of RAM system with a really fast processor. PDFs are blazing fast compared to my iPad. The touchscreen is handy and the pen very convenient for notes and sketches. If you're familiar with Onenote this is a very strong combination. Add to that Word, Excel and other tools and the added weight and thickness compared to the iPad becomes an acceptable compromise. It becomes really cool when I connect to my workstation with Remote Desktop and suddenly have access to all files. I can even execute programs on my main computer if I need to. I have a small bluetooth mouse that works on almost all surfaces.

 

Admittedly, the last couple of arguments apply to a regular laptop as well, but then I suddenly just flip off the cover keyboard and enjoy a movie lying in the sofa.

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 I have a small bluetooth mouse that works on almost all surfaces.

 

Did you ever resolve your issues with the Surface and the Bluetooth mouse? 

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Did you ever resolve your issues with the Surface and the Bluetooth mouse? 

 

No, there seems to be a bottle neck, apparently the same chip handles both wifi and bluetooth. It is not noticeable during regular use, like web browsing and smaller downloads. However, during large downloads that last more than 30 seconds or so I notice a jerkiness in the cursor. Pen and finger pad is unaffected.

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I just pulled the trigger on this machine a couple of days ago. It's supposed to be here today or Monday. I'll post an update after I've worked with it for a while.

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I hope that Intel graphics card works for you, I've heard of many that don't

good luck

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My wife's Macbook Pro has Intel grahics and it runs surprisingly well on her machine, I mean really well. Comparable to my iMac. That was one of the factors that set me at ease about the touch screen.

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I've been using my Sony Vaio Duo 13 for about a week now so I thought I should give an update. While the system does not run quite as fast as my iMac (mainly due to differences in hardware I'm sure), I absolutely LOVE using the touch screen interface! I really thought it would be somewhat of a novelty but in the week that I've had it, my iMac has been little more than a storage hub. I really expected the newness to sort of wear off by now but it seems the more I use this thing the more I like it. It took a little getting used to but once the learning curve is over I actually think I move faster on the Duo. Copy and paste are extremely fast with the touch screen, particularly in conjunction with hot keys. On that topic, hot keys are a critical part of using this system, that's what makes the Duo a much better option than other systems because of how it integrates the keyboard. Plus the "kick-stand" design makes it very stable to work on. I can set it on my lap or on a desk and I don't have to hold the screen still to use touch functions, which is one thing that concerned me about other models. So far I've had no issues running X6 on the 8.1 platform, something I could not boast about on my iMac. I have not had any trouble opening files between the two systems either. I fully expect to be back and forth between machines a little more than I have been this week, but I've just enjoyed having a new work environment to "play" in.

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Hi Steve,

Thanks for sharing about the duo. I wasn't looking at these because I didn't like the kickstand but after reading your feedback it makes sense that it actually is a benefit. I wonder about the duos power brick. Is it average or is it cumbersome and what kind of battery life are you getting out of it?

Thanks

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Victor, I have nothing but good things to say about the Duo. The battery life while working with CA is probably around 6 to 7 hours (continual usage), which is incredible. Having that keyboard in close proximity is crucial for hotkey usage. I've had no problem with the graphics, but I rarely do more than a final view with shadows for client previews. I don't get to use it as much now, I recently bought a 23" touch screen for my old Puget System and loaded Windows 8.1 (better touch screen interface than 7) and it runs like a top. Hope this helps.

 

By they way, shop around, I bought the Duo for $1499. It's since gone up on the link I provided

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