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Note 8 after a minute hands on review, Android from an Apple Fanboy’s perspective….

images from internet

 

It’s an exciting time for many of us… well I know it’s for me.
Finally after years of delivering great phones but sticking to a “standard” design, Apple is releasing the iPhone 8 and just a few days ago Samsung released the Note8. Now a few years ago I couldn’t really care less about what Samsung, LG, Google or whatever was doing… well let me say it differently, I loved seeing it but I was just curious, but things change.

If you have been following my social media stream you know that I switched from YEARS on MacOs to Windows in December last year for our studio PC, replacing a MacPro for a killer desktop PC (well it doesn’t really fit my desk but you know what I mean), after the “normal” problems when you switch OS-es it’s been a very smooth sail to be honest, the PC is blazzingly fast and cuts through 4K multicam video like it’s nothing, and rendering times….. well Adobe listen FIX this… FCPx is much faster with rendering, but luckily we also have Resolve which is also very fast, but for now I still edit on premiere…. well ok it’s not about this, but it’s important to know a little bit of background.

The reason I switched my desktop was due to the release of the new MBP, bare with me.
My laptop is what I use daily, most of my videos are edited and recorded on the laptop, it’s with me when I travel, one could say my laptop does 90% of the work, where the desktop does 10, so switching my desktop was a no risk endeaver. So I decided to try it with that. I liked it so much I actually a few months later switched from my MBP (the good “old” 15″ with cardreader, large battery and HDMI) to the Dell XPS15 and I all honesty I never looked back, I LOVE that laptop, it rocks.

Next up was the Apple Watch.
LOVED it, LOVED it, but I’m someone that does love to track my workouts and steps, sleep, food etc. and the Apple watch, in all honesty… well it just lacked A LOT, it did promise a lot, but we ended up with in my personal opinion a great watch for casual use, fun to track your steps (fill the circles) and very very good for social media and notifications. What Apple promised (loads of health options) didn’t come, so I didn’t even upgrade to the series 2, I didn’t even feel the urge (which as a gadget lover is really weird). Enter the Garmin Vivoactive HR, which I fell in love with within a few days…. yeah the display SUCKS compared to the Apple Watch, the notifactions are….”ok” but the dashboard for workouts, sleep and food are stunning, this is what a watch should do (if you use it like me), it even counts my strokes while rowing, it syncs up with my heartbelt, it syncs with my cadance meter, and it even is able to beam the heartrate to my bike computer (Garmin Edge 820). Awesome combination.

Next up…….
Well I never expected that I would switch phones.
Let me make one thing 100% clear, I’m not against Apple, heck I love the company, I think it’s one of the most innovative companies on tech out there (or was), I love the brand, I love the build quality, but most of all the intergration and ease of use and stability. Of course it changed a bit over time, I do have an iPhone that SOMETIMES crashes, my Apple watch sometimes stopped counting steps, my Apple TV’s remote control via the iPhone is less accurate than a few years ago, but overall I must say that I maybe have 1% problems and 99% smooth sailing. And with smooth I mean… everything is smooth (and this is important to remember for later).

Friends often showed me their androids and claimed that their CPUs were SO MUCH faster than my overpriced piece of junk iPhone… well when I scrolled through images, showed them 4K video and zoomed in images it always was smoother than their so much faster phones and tablets. So I’m more than happy with my iPhone, which indeed is a bit higher priced. But I’m more than willing to pay that premium. I also owned almost every iPad including the Pro, but maybe that’s actually where the dissapointment started, the iPad pro is awesome don’t get me wrong, the Apple pencil is pure magic. When you draw I can’t think of a better mobile device. But the promise of a professional photography and video editing solution on the go…. well as with much with Apple the last few years…. it just didn’t happen… is this Adobe’s fault? is it Apple’s fault? I don’t know and I don’t care. I bough a very expensive iPad PRO and I hoped and expected to be able to do more with it than consume media on a big tablet. In fact the iPad pro is so big that when I fly I sometimes regretted buying it because it simple was uncomfortable to use and I was afraid it would break in the bags in the chairs. No I’m not saying it’s a bad device, I was too fast with buying it, knowing what I know now… I would have stayed with the iPad air.

Ok so now to the case at hand.
Android…..
When the iPhone 8 rumours started I was very enthiousiastic. I work hours on my phone every single day, I take photos and video with it, do social media, even type blogposts on it (not these kinds but the shorter ones), I use it…… well for almost everything, my phone and I are BFF (just kidding but not really). So when a new one is released I love to upgrade, I just love trying new things and there is always something that triggers me (mostly the cameras). Over the years the road upwards with the iPhones has been a steady one, the prices have gone up considerably, but well…. I use it constantly so I’m willing to pay it.

When the price speculation of the iPhone 8 started with 1100.00 for the stepin and probably 1500.00 for the 128GB version (I try to get the 128) I had to swallow a big lump, remember dollar prices are often multiplied with 25% over here with iPhones. (taxes and some other things), that’s A LOT of money, but the alternative……. leaving the Apple Eco system….. no… and than it actually hit me (pretty hard), over the last 6 months the only things left were my airports (Apple stopped making them… WHY) and my AppleTV…. so what Eco system?

So I slowly started looking at alternatives for (dare I say it) my iPhone.
Now I actually did the same “trick” as with my PC’s.
I ordered a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet, a 9.7″ android tablet (I have to say that it’s very light and nicely build, love the less smooth back), not the newest but because every manufactorer uses a different “look” for Android and my main attention was aimed at Samsung (at that time the 8+, the only thing I didn’t like was the single camera, I use the second one A LOT). When the Note 8 rumors started with dual cameras I knew it for sure…. this would be the battle… the Note 8 vs the iPhone 8, also seeing the Note 8 is released in shops just a few days after the announcement of the iPhone 8 makes this almost too much of a coincendence. Wait what Apple announces and than switch (or not).

So let’s take a look at my opinion at the moment on Android.
A few years ago I got an Android phone for a few weeks and absolutely hated it, I loved the idea of new tech but Android crashed on me, there were weird behaviours of the phone, cutting and pasting was a dissaster and…, well overall it just wasn’t nowhere near iOS. But things have changed.

The Samsung tablet runs Android 7 and my opinion is based on this vs the current iOS10.

Look and feel
In all honestly there is not much difference.
iOS over the years have become relatively cluttered with settings that aren’t that easy to find anymore than in the time of iPhone 3/4 but it’s more than doable. At first the Android was a bit overwhelming but after a few hours I have to be honest I found everything relatively fast. The look…. well let me put it this way, they looked VERY closely to iOS.

 

Handling
As an Apple user you get used to certain things. Things that “we” take for granted which you find out later are not that normal on other systems. Take for example the touchpad. According to most the Dell and Surface pro touchpads are the best PC touchpads… well that might be the case but compared to the MacBooks they are pretty standard. I still love it when I’m behind a mac and use the touchpad, on the other hand I’m now 100% used to the mouse again and with the new Logitec mouse I’m more than happy and very accurate.

What strikes me however is how confusing android can be.
For example swiping in a browser, how easy is that…. well not on chrome… you have to go to the top and use the backbutton… WHY… well because if you swipe from the side you actually open settings… well …. change that?

Also going back from an app brings you back out of the folder…
Ok let me explain
I love to have my apps in folders, but I have a folder Social media that contains all the social media apps which I open one by one to check and reply. On iOs hitting the home button brings me back to the active folder, pretty cool so I can go to the next app, home repeat. With Android I’m brough back to the complete page, so I have to open the folder again and click the next app. You can of course use the back button but that will go through all the steps I did…. a minor thing but pretty annoying.

The other thing is that VERY often I’m in an app and literaly stuck on a page, there is no way back or forward. Well not in the screen, use that backbutton again. Now this is actually something I’m now used to but on iOs you’re always swipe away from rescue.

What I do like A LOT is the close all option.
We often have many apps open and this can slow down a device (although some claim it can’t) and with iOS you have to swipe them all away one by one (or three by three if you get your fingers right), on Android there is a cool “close all” option.

What I also like A LOT are the small widgets you can place and resize on pages, I never thought I would them that much to be honest but now when I look at my iPhone I go like “mmmm it would be nice”. Which by the way also brings me to another point. The interface itself and the pages look a bit “cluttered” although that’s not the correct term probably, let me put it this way, iOS looks much cleaner and organized with the bottom meny much more clearer away from the screen than on Android, the bottom part is too much a part of the page for my taste…. but without a doubt also my personal thing 😀

What I do have to get used to are in fact the three buttons, home, open apps and return, often by accident I hit one of those buttons when I want to do something else. But in all fairness it’s getting better.

 

Apps
This is of course where it all boils down to.
I can say that for everything that I need I found an App.
Of course the app store from Apple is better filled and the quality is better (I already installed some real junk on my tablet which would have never cleared the Apple app store I’m afraid) but when you keep to the big names and 4-5 stars rated apps it’s pretty much the same.
The only app I’m missing is capture pilot but we can also use that via the webbrowser so no big deal.

 

Stability
This is a difference in all fairness.
My tablets Chrome browser was at one point absolutely unusable, it wouldn’t even open 90% of the time and when it did it crashed within seconds. I booted the tablet in safe mode and purged the cash and ever since it’s been rock solid, but it shouldn’t happen, on the other hand I also had some problems with apps on my iPad in the past and also had to reboot that with a hard boot, the hardboot in iOS is however less intimidating, you just reboot, with Android it feels like you’re rebooting a PC in safe mode… not a thing when you’re not afraid of tech but I can imagine some people would be totally put off by this, but again it only happened once (in all fairness I’ve owned the tablet for a week and it happened on day 1).

Also the Samsung seems to lag sometimes, play a game like candy crush (yeah sorry I like it) and you can see that some animations are smooth but not smooth… I know it sounds weird, it’s like they have to ramp up, it’s not that the tablet doesn’t have the CPU power because it handles more complicated animations easy but it’s always at the start of an animation that it just “stutters” a bit. Not something I every experienced on iOS.

Overall Android feels more fragile to me.
I know this is a very vague term, I have the same with Windows by the way. It’s absolutely not grounded in experience of crashes but somehow MacOs and iOS feel Rock Solid, like whatever happens it will recover, don’t worry where with Android and Windows I’m always afraid of “oh no… here we go” only that last part actually never happens. So take it for what it is… maybe I grow over it, I have with Windows, which I now trust almost as much as MacOs with what I do (no games, just Creative cloud, Resolve and some other programs).

 

Apps part II
And this is a biggy.
As a vlogger and content creator I’m always working on ideas and things I want to do and share.
I shoot with Sony cameras and if I want to “beam” a picture from my camera to my phone or iPad that’s easy, but not as easy as it could be. Make connection to the wifi of the camera, start the software, copy files… sounds easy (and it is), in reality however since iOS10 I have to input a new password EVERY single time, trust me this becomes very frustrating at one point. On Android the story is different. Just click the two together and voila there is a connection… it’s beyond believe for me that Apple doesn’t allow this over their NFC system, it makes my life so much easier.

Another thing that struck me was our dreambox (sat receiver).
On iOS I have tried several apps and all could mimic a remote control but finally I ended up with one where I could select the bouquet, zap and see the EPG, pretty cool stuff. On Android I want something similar, the first few I tried were terrible but than I found one that blew me away, not only does the remote work, not only can I see the bouquets, but… I can also stream in full HD to my tablet and watch television. On iOS I had a similar solution but it never really worked flawlessly unless I used VLC player or a seperate app.

 

Access
I’m not an iTunes hater.
I’m not an iTunes lover.
I like the fact that we have one allround solution for music, podcasts etc. but I never liked the way that MacOs handles my filmroll for example, I always used preview to empty my filmroll or Lightroom. With Windows it already surprised me that I could just connect my iOS device and it would show up like a DCIM folder and I can copy all my images and video like from an external drive.

I also love to read digital comics and watch series when travelling.
On iOS you can very easily use iTunes to drag and drop files into the apps that you want to use… but it’s a bit of a work arround, an easy one but… well you know what I mean. On Adroid you can just drop it in a folder and let the app look for it. In fact VLC and my comic reader actually didn’t even need instructions they both found all my files spread over internal and external memory and showed it in the library…. pretty cool stuff.

 

Connectivity and memory
With Apple you pay through your nose for extra memory, this is really ridiculous, but you don’t have a choice.
I did use a USB stick with lighting on one side and USB on the other when travelling with movies, but you needed to play the movies with the accompanied app… to make a long story short I never used it a lot because the app sucked and crashed a lot on me, plus I needed to take my case off because the stick was too wide (aargh).

On my tablet (and most Android devices I believe) you can just add a micro secure digital card and extend the internal memory that way, I use a 64GB card and that’s plenty of room for what I do on the tablet (tablet also has 32). On my phone I would probably just add 128. The cool thing however is also that without the need for apps or drivers you can just use STANDARD USB sticks on a short mirco USB to USB cable (or USB-C of course with the newer tablets/phones) and the software will just see it as…. well external storage. Meaning there is no more limit to what you can bring with you, just buy some 64GB sticks and switch.

 

Image quality
As mentioned before I bought the Tab S2, the newer one is the S3 but because for me this was a test I didn’t want to fork out the money for the S3 which is on part with an iPad. What strikes me however is the screen quality. It’s incredibly bright and it shows a really nice almost 3D image quality with high contrast, deep blacks and incredibly sharp images withouth ringing (making it artificial sharp), color is not accurate, but so isn’t the iPad pro (let alone the new screen technology apple is using), but for consuming media it’s ok to have more “favorable” colors, as long as I don’t have to edit on it and it’s just my tablet…. why not.

Note 8
This afternoon we visited a Media Market and to my surprise they had a sales version of the Note 8 on demo, no stock but a demo unit. this was my first experience with the Note 8, and what follows now is my HONEST opinion, don’t flame me, read it as MY opinion.

What strikes me is the sheer bloody brightness of the screen, this is one bright screen. I cannot imagine using that one on full power unless flying the drone in bright sunlight, and this was actually one of the things I had on my list of plusses for the Note 8 (very bright screen).

What also strikes me is the curved screen… I still don’t know if I’m a fan of the total lack of bezzles, where do you grab the phone without loosing some of the material that’s on the screen, how about protectors, how about….. well time will tell, but it does look gorgous.

Double camera.
I could play with it a little and I still think the interface from Apple is slightly better. I couldn’t find my way back for example to use the Tele or Wide setting after changing exposure, and as mentioned before I have this on several occasions with Android, it just isn’t logical, in the end I find my way back… but it could be easier. That said the preview focus effect is fricking awesome, also knowing you can do this later on really excites me, I love this effect and use it pretty much all the time (except when shooting RAW of course). Also the fact that you have the option to shoot the same scene on BOTH the tele and wide lens has great appeal to me, add to this that both cameras have image stabilisation and from what I could tell in the short time I had with the Note 8, the image stabilisation is INSANE…. and I mean INSANELY good.

 

Handling and the stylus
Unless you have been living under a rock you probably already read about the stylus, insane specs for just a pointing device, very nice specs for a drawing device. Will you draw on the screen? well I don’t know, maybe some doodles, but what I do like is the fact that you can use the stylus to write notes on the screen while the phone is OFF… yeah that is very handy. Taking the stylus out is pretty easy, but it’s an extra thing you have to do so unless you really want that stylus I think most of the time I’ll be just using my fingers. If you always find the need to doodle this will be one AWESOME device for you.

 

App connect
With the note 8 it’s now also possible to connect apps. Meaning you can for example run YouTube on top and surf the web underneath, a pretty cool trick but in all honesty I would rather use the floating youtube window for that, however mail and browser open can be pretty handy when you are making an quote for a client and you have to look stuff up and copy paste, this could be a tremendous time save.

 

Handling
The biggest screen on the market on a phone…. you would expect something HUGE.
But in all honestly it felt ok in my hands and I don’t have huge hands, it’s certainly not a phone you can operate with one hand but it’s MORE than doable and it doesn’t feel like much bigger than my iPhone 7 Plus. I do feel the Galaxy 8+ feels a bit more ergonomical due to the more rounded areas. Also the fingerprint scanner is a joke…. I’ve read about it but in real life it makes you wonder why the person who designed it on the Galaxy 8+ wasn’t fired before the Note 8 would be released… but it’s in the same ridiclous position. It’s something that you can get used to without a doubt… but was that really the only spot?

 

Quick conclusion
With a price point of just under 1000.00 the Note 8 is a VERY expensive phone.
You REALLY have to ask yourself do you NEED that second camera, do you NEED that stylus. Otherwise you can MUCH better get a Galaxy 8 plus, the screen is similar in size, it has a slightly larger battery and the ergonomics are slightly better. For me the deal breaker is actually that double camera so I would opt for the Note 8…. or the iPhone 8……

Of course some of you will say “why switch, what’s wrong with the 7Plus”
Well nothing really, except it frustates the heck out of me that I can’t get an external microphone to work anymore, which worked just fine on previous iPhones with headphone jacks and I really want that option back. And as mentioned before… I just love a new phone because I work on it so much.

At the moment the changes are 90% that I will go for the Note 8. Especially now that I’ve seen the phone and played with the camera a bit. Can Apple win me over… well yeah. Improve the camera over the Note 8 and I’m with Apple unless there is a price difference of 300.00 or more. And this is probably gonna be the thing. With the Note 8 I can keep adding memory if I need it for almost free. With iPhones I’m stuck. Also I love the look of the Note8 and Galaxy phones. Plus…… and maybe that’s also a big factor at the moment I feel like I’m losing my love for Apple. They keep raising prices and calling things pro that in my honest opinion are NOT pro. They introduced a touch bar that’s a joke, some people will love it but most people I talk to never use it anymore, but they changed FinalCutPro to be optimized for the touchbar, an option which at that time was only on ONE mbp and not on seperate keyboards. I more and more feel Apple is losing it’s way, and maybe the love is over…… or maybe the other side just makes devices that are a bit more thought out for functionality than design (although, again the note 8 and galaxy’s are gorgous).

We will have to wait till September 12th (I believe) but this will be keynote where I actually can’t be dissapointed anymore… my choice will probably be the Note 8, unless Apple blows me away…… and silently I hope they do……

 

iPad pro, Surface Pro4, Wacom Cintiq… which one…..

A while ago I posted a video online where I showed an app called Astropad.
This app is pretty awesome, it makes it possible to do some retouching in Photoshop/Lightroom etc. on your iPad pro with the Apple Pencil, and it works pretty well, although it has limitations (later more). This video got an amazing amount of views, actually it’s nearing the 180.000 views on YouTube. It also got some remarks which literally puzzled me but also motivated me to write this very short (well ok I’ll try) review on 3 amazing devices, but all in their own right. So…. ladies and gentleman hold your horses, buckle in and if you want to comment please read the article very well and read your reply before pressing post.

 

The weird, dumb, crazy remarks 
Now as you know me I’m a pretty laid back kind of guy, you can’t get me angry very quickly and I’ll always try to answer any question you guys have, but sometimes……

On the video on Astropad I clearly demonstrated an APP on the iPad pro that MIMICS what you can normally do on a Wacom Cintiq. I loved (and still love) this app, but it has limitations. First of all it has to be run on an iPad that is connected to your Mac, this means you ALWAYS need a mac close by, but as long as you are in the same network this means it can be anywhere in your home, this makes it possible to retouch in Photoshop while sitting on the coach.. pretty cool. Now that’s the app, and I think I was pretty clear in that video what it did….. Still MANY people asked me if it ran Photoshop and NO it doesn’t (clearly).

The thing that did get me a frustrated a lot were the many many people starting “wars” on that the iPad pro sucked, I was a fool and I needed to get a surface pro 4. Yeah well…. that wasn’t the idea of the video right? you don’t tell someone that owns a Volvo that he has to get a tractor or plane. But…. it did motived me to call up our friends at Microsoft and arrange an Surface pro 4.

And this…. is where I start this review/opinion on 3 great devices.

 

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iPad pro
Let me start with this one.
It retails for app 1200 euros and you have the familiar cool stuff that you are used to from Apple (or if you’re not an Apple fanboy, the bad stuff), it’s a great device to surf the web, you can watch a LOT of movies while traveling, you can use Lightroom mobile and now with the Apple pencil you can get incredibly creative with software like Pro-create and the Adobe suite or MediaBang etc. etc. there is a lot.

I got the iPad pro for one very simple reason, I LOVE to draw. I haven’t drawn in a long time because I never felt the digital way was my way and to draw on paper… well I don’t know why I didn’t do it but I just didn’t (end of story), with the iPad pro and the Apple Pencil I loved the way it felt and I was immediately sold, plus I like the larger display to watch movies on in the RV or while traveling, although in the plane it can sometimes be a bit too big, but then when you read a comic….. ahhhhh heaven, it’s amazing.

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Astropad I already mentioned and is a great app if you ALREADY have an iPad, you buy it for a very reasonable price and you can retouch on your iPad pro. However it’s far from perfect and for one simple reason… the hover over option. When you do street/travel photography it ROCKS and I dare to say you hardly need anything else, but if you need some serious cloning or selecting… well how much I love Astropad it…. well isn’t usable for that. With a Wacom you’re used to see where you place your pointer BEFORE you hit the surface and this makes cloning a breeze, with Astropad, it’s a matter of… well guessing it and trust me, that’s a BIG frustration. But again if you don’t clone a lot (or just need to remove some dust) it works like a charm.

Now for serious photography the iPad pro is not what you need, there is no way of working on TIFF 16bits, there is no good software for retouching although Pixelmator and Enlight come very very close the end result is still not pro quality. There is some action from Adobe expected and one of their competitors Affinity is claiming to have a great solution next year but let’s see what happens, if Affinity really delivers what they promise… wow.

Video editing on the iPad pro is awesome, you can start in iMovie or Adobe clip and finish it off when you’re home on the Mac/Pc, this workflow actually surprised me in how efficient and easy it was, I expected photography to be better.

The iPad pro and the already mentioned Pro-create and other drawing solutions make that part alone already worth the money to spend on the iPad pro, it’s really VERY VERY good, if not the best device for creatives.

Watching movies, reading comics, playing games, surfing the web, all as we are used to from the iPad/iPhone very solid and great to kill hours on a plane or evenings at campgrounds/home.

The disadvantages are many if you compare it to a laptop or surface pro 4.
No USB ports, although the USB/Lighting sticks solve this pretty well, but still also there you miss a real file system where it becomes possible to open up comics for example from a stick or copy them to a certain app, now it’s all very basic, great for movies and video/photography but that’s about it. BUT if you know this it’s a “perfect” working solution. Also no full blown photoshop or lightroom, Lightroom mobile ROCKS but only if you have a great internet connection which when traveling well let me say this… sometimes sending a letter is faster than sending an email.

The advantages are more in my opinion.
The apps are made for the screen, they are rock solid, they start very fast, they do what they have to do and the touch interface is better on Apple than on any other device I every tried add to this the Apple pencil and you will know why I (and so many) love our Apple iPad.

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Surface pro 4
Microsoft was so kind to send me their Surface pro 4
The version I got retailed for app 2400 euros, twice the price of the iPad pro, and I loved it.
Running full versions of Photoshop and Lightroom and Capture One is great of course.
But that’s on paper…..
And I know I can’t run them on the iPad pro but somehow I know that, on the Surface pro 4 I can so I expect to be able to use them, right?
Well that’s where it goes wrong.

Let me first tell you that I’m NOT an Apple Fanboy, I own a lot of Apple gear, but if something better show up I’m switching without any problem, they are just tools, but somehow when Apple makes something it always seems to work. That being said I also know the limitations and that also means I would LOVE a macbook with a touch screen or an iPad Pro that runs MacOsX (APPLE!!!!) but that’s not here (yet). The Surface pro 4 promises to be just that… so I expect that, this is very important to say before I continue because although I love the product I also find some problems with it.

First off all let’s look at the software.
I love to shoot tethered in Capture One, and that works like a charm, awesome freedom, just walk around with the tablet on a stand and shoot.
Now the retouching part, the display is too small to use Capture One comfortably, and this trend continues with Photoshop, you can scale Photoshop but when you scale it up the work area is WAY too small, when you scale it down it’s more than enough but for the best of me I can’t control the settings or click the right buttons, it’s just too small (Adobe make a zoom function thats flexible or just in between, that would solve this).
Lightroom works ok, although also here zoomable interface…. thank you very much that would be handy.

The touch in Photoshop is awesome, you can easily zoom, rotate and drag around while retouching with the stylus, now this is what I want, this rocks, this is awesome this is…….. hmmmmm battery empty…. yep that’s the main thing I have against the Surface Pro 4, I could retouch 4 images and my battery was dead, now I retouch FAST, but I use 3 plugins that are pretty CPU hungry on my shots and this meant that after app 1 hour my battery was dead as a rock, totally empty.

By the way one quick side step.
The thing I did miss in Photoshop were the keystrokes, and attaching a keyboard… well that didn’t work for me, I choose a tablet to draw on for a reason and than attaching a keyboard doesn’t make sense, I was about to give up when I found a cool little app called tablet pro, this gives you an extra floating or locked keypad where you can program your keystrokes, like the Wacom has it’s expresskeys, this REALLY made the difference for me between sending it back and using it with loads of fun.

Now when an iPad/iPhone is nearing it’s empty state there is not really a problem, you just connect it to a 12V outlet, or a spare battery like the HyperJuice, Mophie etc. there are plenty of them out there, for the Surface Pro 4….. NONE, meaning if you take this baby with you on a 10 hour flight the fun stops at app 9 hours to go, probably already before take off if you are so lucky they have to de-ice the plane and the rest of the time you… well just sit.

Of course it’s not that bad… watching movies the battery actually copes pretty well, it’s not as good as the iPad pro (which I never emptied not even on the longest flights (10+ hours)) but it manages pretty well and if you also take something else with you for entertainment you will probably love the Surface Pro 4, but don’t start retouching because you will run into problems with the battery and there are no external solutions (unless I miss something).

The other thing I experienced as negative was the ONE USB port.
Yes I know the iPad has none but that’s not a laptop….. (see why I told you to think about it before replying), and from the Surface pro 4 I actually expect to leave my laptop at home. Now why is one USB port bad… well you can’t make any backups. The unit I got had a 128GB internal memory and when I travel that’s not enough so we have to use an external drive for storage which…. is connected to USB, so if I want to make a backup of that drive……. yep no luck, unless you also bring your dock which gives you a minidisplay port, USB and some other goodies, so in all honesty it’s something that you CAN solve. But…. when I don’t bring a laptop I also expect my device to run all day during a photoshoot in the field, my MacBook Pro with Capture One running and tethering with full screen brightness can stay “alive” for app 4-4.5 hours, after which we connect it to the hyper juice (actually when it’s half empty), the surface pro 4 ran empty after app 2 hours, which means I can NEVER do a full workshop or even photoshoot with it in the field, unless….. we have power and in most cases we will have power but in some cases we don’t and certainly not close to the laptop.

Now it seems like I’m negative about the Surface Pro 4, but I’m actually FAR from negative. I absolutely loved working on it, Windows 10 is nice although I prefer the MacOs but it’s good enough. The stylus is pretty good and when used in Photoshop or Manga Studio (thanks to Smith Micro for supplying me with a test version for PC and Mac so I could compare) it’s a dream to work on. For drawing itself I still VERY MUCH prefer the iPad pro, the apps are designed for the iPad pro and this means you have the maximum space to draw and no clutter around the edges with menus like on Windows, let’s be realistic this is a full version you’re running and they are not designed to be ran on a small screen.

In essence I loved the surface pro 4 but the problem I have with it is the working space in Photoshop, the very limited battery life and the one USB port on the device. If they would add an option to charge via USB that would make the Surface Pro a MUCH better device for guys like me who really use the device in the field.

 

dth2700-02-g

The Wacom
Now this is a weird one in this list I think, but bare with me.
Due to the drawing experience on the iPad pro I wanted to do the same thing on the Mac, but in all honestly eye hand coordination with the normal tablet didn’t work out for me, for normal retouching I couldn’t life without my Wacom but for drawing it just doesn’t work, now there were two options for me.

  1. The Wacom Companion
  2. The Wacom Cintiq 13HD

In all honestly the Companion as it is now is pretty awesome but a bit too large for me to travel with and too limited because I also bring my laptop, so I can much better just bring a travel tablet and draw on the iPad pro which I also carry with me. The Companion idea is great and very similar in my opinion to the Surface pro 4 except it has all the express keys and when you connect it to your mac or PC you have a full blown cintiq, but it’s bigger than the surface pro 4, so for traveling…. well I’ll let you decide.

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When you get used to drawing on the screen with both retouching and drawing it’s very hard to leave that experience and go back to the normal tablet, so I knew I wanted a cintiq. My first choice was the 13HD but when I tested that one out at CameraNu.nl I had to be realistic with myself…. it’s just a bit too small, so in the end we decided to go for the 22HD touch. As you probably know we really ended up with a 27″HD demo model from Wacom which I can try out and show so I’m very happy.

Now when I look at my retouching at home I absolutely love the Wacom Cintiq, compared to Astropad it’s not limited by the hover function, it’s much bigger and it shows my selections crystal clear (Astropad does show some flickering with the marching ants), Thanks to Smith Micro I can also use Manga Studio on my Mac and has become my favorite drawing program for sketching and line work, after which I finish everything in Photoshop. The experience on the Cintiq is absolutely breathtaking, on the iPad pro the lag is VERY low and the overal experience is great, but… the surface can be a little slippery where the Cintiq really feels like a more tactile surface which I actually prefer, I do feel that shading with a pencil is MUCH cooler on the iPad, everyone I show this is just stunned, but…… psssst I never shade like that…….so I don’t miss it.

Traveling with the 27″ cintiq is out of the question, Annewiek told me so herself, so you better believe it.

 

so…… why all these devices in one post.
As mentioned before it started with a review of Astropad (a cintiq like app) on the iPad pro, which I bought to replace my iPad and to draw. Due to all the remarks about the Surface pro 4 I got one from Microsoft to compare and I think that there will be a Surface Pro in my future if they make it slightly bigger and add an option to use external batteries. Because I got so used to retouching on the image itself and drawing is something I’m more and more in love with plus I want to do some new stuff with my photography I actually ended up with a Cintiq, so I think this is the only place where you will find a review with these 3 together but I hope my insights gave you some ideas and maybe tips if you’re also looking for a solution.

 

Conclusion
There is no spoon….
Oops wrong blog….
There is no perfect solution.
I hope for the day we have macbook pro keyboard with an iPad pro screen, take the screen off and the iPad pro becomes an iOS device with all the apps etc. put it back into place and it’s a dumb screen for a laptop, this should be no problem at all for Apple so I wonder what they are waiting for…..If they would also make it possible to RETOUCH on the screen while connected it would mean I would have one device with me during travels.

For now I’m using the following.
iPad pro for media consumption, drawing, reading comics, surfing the web, the perfect traveling companion.
MacBookPro for shooting in the field, in all honesty a tethertools table on a stand is not that much more work to carry around than a tablet on a stand.
Wacom Cintiq for studio use.

That last one I don’t see me replacing by ANY device, working on the 27″ cintiq is VERY addictive and going back to a smaller one…. well no way (well maybe but than it has to be a lot better), the iPad pro and MacBook Pro I’m afraid that for the coming time that will stay my combination up until ONE device can REALLY replace them both, let’s hope on the Microsoft Surface Pro 5/6/7 or if Apple wakes up and does something amazing 😀

Feel free to leave comments but keep it respectful please, this is MY opinion and only MY opinion.

 

Z30 SP xDrive for the traveling photographer

Some things look great on paper but are terrible in real life.
Some things can be solved.

According to some the iPad/iPhone etc. are closed of systems where you always need iTunes to sync or put stuff on your device, and although indeed this was always true in the past there are many solutions now a days that work like a charm, for example I use mostly “preview” to get images and videos off my iOS device, or (if there aren’t many) I use airdrop, and when I need them in the catalogue of Lightroom I will just connect my phone to Lightroom.

In fact I only use iTunes to get video material on my iPad before traveling and music on my iPhone. And even then I don’t convert the video via iTunes, I just drag and drop the files into the folder for my CBR reader or video for VLC. The times where you had to convert everything is long gone.

But still there sometimes is the need for more, especially when traveling.
We love to edit video on the big screen of the iPad pro, but I also love to watch some episodes of my favorite show while flying and preferably I want to carry everything with me so I have a lot to choose from, and although you can fit a lot of shows on the 128GB iPad pro…. well I still want more sometimes, and when you combine it with video editing even the 128GB can be filled up rather quickly.

But don’t worry… there are solutions for that too.
Enter the Z30 drive.

SP128GBLU3Z30V1W

I’ve tested the iShowfast a while ago and although I liked the idea of the drive, and in all honesty it did do its work almost flawless, the connection was very weak and within a few weeks of normal use I already wasn’t able to lock both the lighting and USB part of the stick, in the end they exchanged the stick but I’m now so used to the Z30 that I’ll keep it in it’s box and probably sell it. The main thing I like about the Z30 is that there is a 100% hidden position as you can see in the middle of the image above. With the iShowfast there wasn’t, so you always had the USB or lighting part exposed, and that means…. well change of damage or dirt getting in the contacts.

Now writing a review on a device like this is pretty… well let’s put it this way, it’s like writing a review on a USB stick, it works or it doesn’t  😀

Safari

In essence the Z30 drive makes it possible to very quickly sync files like photos, videos and documents between your mac/pc and iOS device. To make it work the only thing you need is the free iOS app that you can download from the app store. Via this app you can do some pretty cool stuff like creating a backup from your camera roll, backing up your contacts (and restoring them), synchronize between devices, work with dropbox (upload and download) and of course it also supports encryption so your files are safe.

I’ve been working the Z30 for some time now and I must say that I’m really happy with it, it copies pretty snappy from my MacBook Pro and the “feeling” of always being able to copy material from my MBP to my iPad pro on the road is pretty handy, we film a lot of material on the road and it saves us a lot of time to being able to already do some editing on the plane and the iPad pro simply shines on video editing capabilities.

If you’re traveling a lot, OR if you just need some extra memory on your iOS device and you don’t want to always connect to a MBP/Pc or whatever the Z30 is something I HIGHLY recommend. Check them out on their site. it’s available in 32/64/128GB versions (I tested the 64GB version)

 

 

First few days with the iPad Pro

Seeing the amount of responses we get on our iPad pro overviews I thought it would be nice to dedicate todays blogpost to the iPad pro in my way. So don’t expect to see a list of accessories, specs etc. you can find in many locations online (calling it reviews) but expect a real honest, in the field way of review where I tell you what I PERSONALLY think about the iPad pro, it’s bad and good things.

 

Let me start off by telling you I’m not an Apple fanboy, somehow I always feel the need to post this because (and I don’t know why) there is a certain group of people that will always try to bash Apple products on price or limitations they feel are important, so let’s start with those points.

 

Price
As far as I know most photographers and videographers are not sponsored by Apple, meaning we all pay full price for the products (if not please let me know, I would love to save money). So let’s look at pricing. Yes Apple is not cheap, but in all honesty in most cases I always get great resale value and the speed in which I sell my old gear is always impressive, although I have to say that selling my iPhone 6 plus took almost a week (compared to the 2 days of my other iPhones was a shock and almost had me worried). On the other hand what you get is pretty impressive, the products are beautifully designed and let’s be honest the OS is just very good, iOS is 100% touch and works like a charm and OSx is stable and also works pretty well (although the last few years first releases can be buggy in some departments).

 

The iPad pro is expensive without a doubt, but not that much more than a fully spec’d iPad Air2 with WiFi/LTD and 128GB and do remember it’s not just a bigger iPad…..

 

It’s just a bigger iPad
Well if you see it like this, than the iPad pro is without a doubt not for you, actually you should stay clear from it. The iPad air for surfing, mail, games, entertainment etc. has the perfect size, both Annewiek and me have travelled with iPads for years and they literally changed long flights from boring as hell to manageable and entertaining.

 

A lot of reviews state the obvious, “Candycrush will look great”, “Email is even better” yeah sure…. why do you need a bigger tablet if you only do that? I don’t see the profit in that, the iPad pro is bigger to carry around, it doesn’t fit most bags where the iPads fit in nice and snuggly, it will fit in the airplane seat nets, but not as easy as the Air, let’s be clear… the iPad air is the perfect travel companion and nobody would ever NEED anything more.

 

So we have the consumers that want to shine and show off with Candy crush and bigger E-mail and sacrifice in portability for this, and we have that other group, and that’s the group I belong to.

 

It’s an iPad pro
As a photographer and instructor I’m always busy, heck I’m happy if I have a day off to be honest, most people know me to be online a lot (answering your questions, posting updates etc) and most of this I do with my iPhone 6s Plus, love the bigger screen and better camera and I always use the iPhone actually instead of my iPad Air2 because it’s just easier, faster and smaller and it fits my pocket. Plus a lot of social media apps run on my iPhone and not on my iPad plus when I shoot an image and edit it in Snapseed or Lr mobile etc. it’s easier to upload and edit is straight from my phone than first “beam” it to my iPad to edit, “beam” back to send, it just doesn’t make any sense. In fact one could say that I use my iPad air2 for remote controlling our Home Theater with iRule, watching movies while traveling, watching TV via a dream box in the RV and do some other stuff when I don’t want to drag my laptop with me but will be surfing for a longer time. In fact I never ever typed a document on it. So when the iPad pro was released I was not willing to spend money on it, but things change.

 

When we shoot in the studio or on location with models I have a certain workflow that is almost routine, RAW developing in Capture One, open in Photoshop do the skin and tinting, save, sync into Lightroom (where my images life). But on the road my workflow is dramatically different. We shoot during the day and at night I download everything into Lightroom, do the edits in Lightroom or DxO optics and do my tinting in Lr or DxO and… well done.

 

So I’ve been experimenting a lot with Lr mobile and was very happy with the workflow because it saves me a lot of work when I arrive back home, now all my images are done, but most of all I like the fact I could now do it in bed (hotel desks are often not really comfy) or on the plane or while Annewiek is driving the RV, but on the iPad air2 Lr mobile already works pretty well, so no real reason to switch to the iPad pro.

 

We also film a lot during travels, Annewiek shoots 4K material and that is edited in FCPx on her laptop and I shoot some material on my iPhone which…. well is never edited, although the material is sometimes rather interesting, funny or just cool but when we arrive home I just don’t have the energy or need to go through this material and editing on the iPhone is ok but not a pleasant experience, on the iPad air2 it works a lot better but somehow I never really took the effort to do it. So where am I going with this….because as it looks now I never really used my iPad for serious work.

 

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The Apple pencil
When I saw the iPad pro my first response was (as many of you) a bigger iPad but without MacOsX, that’s a shame….
BUT when I saw the Apple pencil my mind went into overdrive… this is it.
But it took some time before I was convinced, actually to be honest it took me till a few days ago before I knew 100% sure I was going to buy the iPad pro, so what changed my opinion.

 

Why don’t I use video editing on my iPad air?
Well it works fine, but the screen is a bit small and crowded, plus the whole finger thing to change clips… well it’s not very pleasant and fast, so enter the Apple pencil with 1 pixel resolution… that would be a lot better. For a while I used a Microsoft Surface pro and I was very impressed at how easy a well designed stylus (sorry pencil) worked in certain software, the reason I don’t use the Surface pro anymore was purely that we experienced some serious issues with shooting tethered during trade shows, USB ports were failing on me and sometimes a reboot helped sometimes not and my MBP always worked so I sacrificed the tablet experience (which I LOVED) for my MBP again, you saw that little line…. “the tablet experience I loved” because let’s make one thing clear working with the Surface pro was AWESOME, shooting tethered on location into a tablet instead of a laptop is great, and walking up stage with just a tablet to connect… awesome… but there were just too many problems, everyone has a mac so if you had the bad luck a projector wouldn’t sync with Apple there was always someone who knew, but with the Surface… well people just said “Yeah it’s windows, a Mac works” (thank you not very much), also as an OSx user I couldn’t really get used to the way the touch but not 100% touch OS worked, because although it’s a touch tablet the experience is not 100% touch, I know it sounds weird but in many instances I really wanted a keyboard or mouse under windows 8. But anyway I’m rambling let’s get back on track.

 

Sometimes there is this moment when everything just falls together, the moment it clicks (sorry Joe).
What if…..
I could get wireless tethered working and shoot wireless into the iPad Pro during workshops.
What if I use a lighting to HDMI convertor to connect the iPad pro to the big screen TV.
What if I use keynote on the iPad pro and control this with my iPhone.
What if I can transfer large files from iPhone to iPad or MBP to iPad without using the always flaky Airdrop (for me it never really works).
What if… and the list was pretty long and I started to work.

 

First shooting tethered, after a lot of experiments we solved this. Of course if you’re using Canon or Nikon you’re in luck with CamRanger and if you’re using ANY Sony A-E mount camera with wifi you’re in luck with Smart remote… unless you’re using their flagship the A7RII (the EVF stays black) until they fix this I solved the problem with a loop on my LCD, and to my surprise it works like a charm, although the EVF is sharper but it works. I’m using play memories and QDSLR dashboard as receiver software.

 

Connecting to a big screen is no problem at all, Apple sells these convertors, and you can even charge at the same time because it has a lighting adaptor inside the convertor.

 

Keynote can indeed be running on the iPad pro and controlled by my iPhone (love this), so now I can draw on the screen, see what I’m doing, using a laser pointer and walk around on stage and see the next slide and notes (which I never use but hey that’s me :D).

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Transferring large files was possible with some sticks on the market with both USB and Lighting but these were very slow, so that was out. Until I found a new product online that promises to give MUCH more speed and works flawless with both iPhones and iPads (pros) and MBP, USB3 speed and lighting adaptor inside. See https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ishowfast-world-s-fastest-iphone-ipad-flash-drive#/ I’m waiting for delivery so I can’t tell you anything about it, but according to some “pre-release” reviews it’s indeed very fast.

 

So most of the problems and wishes I had were solved, and I was more and more looking towards buying the iPad pro and I was lucky to able to just walk into a store on the day of the release and get the 128GB space gray LTD version, so how do I like it?

 

create

Is it a notebook?
This is the first thing my parents asked when I showed them my brand new iPad in it’s Logitech create cover with keyboard.
“No… well a little bit” was my answer (obviously in Dutch).

 

If you don’t know about the logitech Create cover make sure to check it out, it really is one marvelous piece of kit. In essence it’s a backlit keyboard stand that also has some cool features like controlling the sound, light on the iPad pro and keyboard itself, audio, short cuts, home, some double tap things and more, it does however makes the beautiful iPad Pro into a bulky almost MBP look a like. But to get some serious work done where you need to type it’s great.

 

With Pages, numbers and keynote you really have the idea you’re working on a notebook, although you have to switch a lot between the keyboard and the screen, this sounds like a “no deal” but bare with me… I was working this way for an hour and Annewiek asked me something and it struck me as surprising I was trying to use her screen as a touch display……. yeah weird right. So I think that a lot of people who are screaming their lungs out that it will NEVER be a laptop replacement are dead wrong…. but not yet.

 

At the moment the experience is weird, not because it’s not working as advertised, but maybe because it’s working as advertised. Let’s take for example mail. When you are in Mail you can of course type, copy/paste with shortcuts, you can even delete mails by pressing delete on the keyboard…. but…. you can move up and down with the cursor keys, you need your finger for this. Now this could be my age of course or my long time use of mouse/trackpad and keyboard but it just doesn’t feel right, IF they would have added the cursor use I think I would have said that for mail this is a FULL laptop replacement.

 

I also hear some people about why Apple didn’t include a trackpad in the keyboards, and I’m glad they didn’t.
I love my MBP but on the plane I can’t use it because… well it’s too tight and we fly Economy or Economy comfort, however the iPad pro with the much less deep keyboard will be no problem at all, and I would have rather have the space than some form of “ok trackpad”.

 

In all honesty I think it’s a matter of getting used to the interface, we are now used to doing 100% on a keyboard and trackpad/mouse and nothing on the screen of our desktops and when we look back it was also very weird to start using a mouse and a lot of people were actually still using the cursor keys in a lot of early “windows like” software and sometimes grabbed the mouse, I think we are at the start of another revolution in which we have to get used to doing 90% on the screen with gestures and touch and only grab the keyboard when we need to type something, talking about this by the way… the new software keyboard of the iPad Pro is awesome and saves a lot of time switching between modes so for smaller things like emails this will do just fine.

 

If you take this into account I think that for 99% of the people the iPad pro indeed can be a full laptop replacement, because let’s be honest what do you really do on your laptop? You work with Excell, word, powerpoint, mail, surf and watch a movie right? I don’t see a lot of people running autocad or full blown photoshop with a wacom tablet on airports or in busses, most work is the more “basic” stuff. This week we switched from using Office to iWorks in our studio and I must say that’s its a delight, the interfaces are less cluttered, having all the documents in iCloud is handy and keynote just works better than Powerpoint for me, and being able to control it with your iPhone is a big added bonus for me.

 

Get to the point Frank
Yes I’m getting there, and exactly to the point actually.
The Apple Pencil.
I tried some styluses on the iPad Air and never really liked them, of course I didn’t try them all but it just didn’t feel right. The Surface pro actually changed this for me, I loved the way the Wacom pen reacted but as mentioned before I didn’t like the OS and felt it was too much of a mix to be comfortable for me personally.

 

Adding the Apple pencil in the mix made me wanting to run out and get the iPad pro.
I always loved to draw but haven’t done it anymore since childhood, I hope the iPad pro can trigger this again in me because when I played with the Apple pencil it really felt so much better than anything I tried before (including the Wacom series), but that’s not all. In the app store you can find an app called Astropad which in essence promises to replace the wacom you use now for a much better experience, now I’ve looked at the Wacom cintiq but never bought one, same with the companion. It all looked awesome but…. it didn’t fit my workflow or the battery time was too limited, seeing the iPad pro with the Apple pencil being used as an alternative Wacom really was the drop I needed.

 

For me the iPad pro buy decision was made based solely on the Apple pencil, IF they would have not sold this I would have NEVER switched from my Air2 to the Pro for the simple reason…. it’s just a bigger iPad. Now that I did I’m seeing other options. So after this long introduction a very short overview of my first experiences with.

 

Working as a laptop
When traveling I’m always switching like crazy between things I like to do, my attention span on airplanes is 45 minutes max so watching a movie is not really an option, I don’t know why but I just can’t concentrate much longer than 45 minutes. So with the iPad pro I can of course watch a movie but also work on a new blogpost in Pages, fine tune my presentations in Keynote etc. etc. I’ve worked with the Create and Pages and have to say that it’s a great experience and I really see me using this over my MPB, unless I have them both with me, the MBP is just a bit easier and faster for longer texts, but… this can change when I’m used to the touch screen and maybe I will even prefer working on the iPad pro, but remember this is HIGHLY depending on the keyboard you use and the create from Logitech I can HIGHLY recommend.

 

Surfing
What can I say. It’s cool, it’s better than on my Mac at home and MPB.
In portrait mode it’s like reading a magazine, bright and RAZOR sharp with popping colors (but still pretty natural) and the touch interface in safari is refined as can be and a really good experience, again I prefer this above any other way of surfing.

 

Video editing
I still have to wait for the Apple pencil but what I’ve done so far with iMovie and Adobe clip has been delightful. Here are two of the videos I created with iMovie and Clip (about the software itself).

 

Someone commented that I must be crazy to prefer this edit method and it was nothing like real editing, well my answer was very simple. “what do you want more?” both iMovie and Clip do all the basic edits, you can create looks for your video (actually it’s faster than on my MacPro which has to render the looks and don’t ask me how the iPad pro does but it’s almost instant), you can change audio, add tracks, change clips etc. etc. and even use titles, picture in picture etc. Of course FCPx and Premiere has WAY more options, but…. both iMovie and Adobe clip have the option to transfer your work to their host programs and finish it off there…. what more DO you want?  This saves so much work, on the road you edit the clips in your spare time (heck even on the restroom, depending on time of course) and you can share straight to YouTube or Vimeo if you’re satisfied, or you can save it and finish the “ground work” at home in less time that before.

 

Lightroom mobile
As with the iPad air2 it works great, I just wish Adobe would make an extra option possible, transferring smart previews via USB, let’s be honest even with a fairly normal internet connection transferring files takes “forever” add to this the “great/not” speed in hotels or databundels via roaming and Adobe actually shoots itself in the foot with forcing a cloud sync, don’t get me wrong I LOVE Adobe and consider many of them as personal friends, but I never understood why with a program that is meant to be used on the road they rely so heavily on internet which in reality is almost non existent in most hotels, Email will do, facebook will do but syncing a gig of data…. yeah.
Till they solve this (if ever) I’m just leaving my MBP in the hotel and uploading the files while we are out, and hope that it’s done when we are back in and connect the iPad pro to download for offline editing during the nighttime, if I keep this up every day I’m sure I have all shots with me to select and edit while traveling back, and this would be a blessing because I wouldn’t feel the need to edit everything at night on my laptop because I know when I’m home I don’t have the time.

 

Magazines
I love magazines on the iPad but it was always a bit too small for me, reading was ok but I found myself often just zooming in a little bit, with the Pro… gorgeous and I mean WOW

 

Sound
Don’t ask me why it’s important because I don’t have a clue but the sound is LOUD and I really mean LOUD, and it’s pretty good too. For watching a movie in the hotelroom or RV this will rock but I honestly think some people give too much credit to this point, mostly I use my iPad with headphones or silent.
Speed
Good grieves this thing is blazingly fast.
Editing, rendering and even switching between apps is amazing, and candy crush… don’t even start.
Without kidding it’s indeed VERY snappy and rendering 4K video, scrubbing and zooming is smooth as can be.

 

Portfolio shows
Can I be short…. awesome.
I use the smugmug app with offline images and it’s an experience, clients love it and the responses are nothing short of “breathtaking” and I hope they also mean the shots.

 

Apple Pencil
Only played with it briefly in the store, I think it’s ridiculous they don’t have enough in stock, I have to wait 7 days and I see now they are actually pushing this forwards if you order now to almost a month, as mentioned before for me the iPad pro IS the Apple Pencil and if it would have worked on the iPad air2 there would have been even a slight chance I would have just bought the Pencil. Apple should have made sure that the supply is at least 1:1 because besides the consumer that wants a bigger candy crush experience I don’t see why you should invest in a bigger iPad without making use of the pencil.

 

Some bad things (because we have to have those too)
Design is gorgeous with Apple and I love my MacPro but…. I never am able to use an iPhone without a case for the simple reason I’m afraid it will slip out of my hands, same with the iPad pro, it’s slippery as can be, you can’t balance this nicely on your lap without it moving/sliding around. I really do get that design is important, but I feel that with devices you handheld it’s more important to have a surface that’s sticky than something that looks sleek and is ALWAYS covered with a case so you never see it anyway.

 

As mentioned before the keyboard integration is awesome BUT misses some small things like cursor keys that would be nice to be functional in for example mail.

 

Price we can argue about for ages but I think everything is worth what you use it for and how much it speeds up your workflow and gives you new creative options and I feel the iPad pro does everything I want, and yeah I know I have to finish off some projects when I’m home and I will not use it for my model photography YET, but I can live with that, in fact it will save me so much backpains and time that I’m more than willing to shelve over the dough to get it.

 

A double edged 4G sword
We opted for the 4G version and I didn’t talk about that yet because I feel it’s awesome but I also feel I’m being ripped off.
The Apple sim is an awesome idea, travel, arrive, internet. The 4G network in most countries is blazingly fast and vaporizes most hotel internet connections.

For years we have been traveling with a MiFi where we simply visit a store, get a pre-paid card, put it in the MiFi and we have fast internet wherever we go, we actually have 2 (one for the USA with Verizon and one for Europe). But… sometimes it’s easy to get a sim like in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany etc. but sometimes you also have to look REALLY hard, we found out that especially in the states it’s a disaster, we tried to activate our Verzizon device and were send away from every store, we had to find a main office store from Verizon and… well they were not close by so we ended up with just hopping hotspots that week, also the price for 1GB of internet was ridiculously expensive.

 

Enter the Apple sim, you land, you connect to a provider of your choice and no more looking for simcards or getting a card that doesn’t work or where you have the first call with your phone to activate the card (try to get a normal sim in an iPhone). Sound awesome, but it’s not all happy internet camping.

 

The pricing of the Apple sim provider GigSky is not cheap, on average you pay $50.00 for 1-3GB of data, compared to what we pay in Denmark or the UK for data this is PRETTY steep, I believe the last time we had 6GB of data for EU60.00 in the UK. Also when you check online you can use the Sim in the Netherlands (they even rate pricing) but when checking on the iPad pro it states I can’t use it in the Netherlands, but Belgium and Germany do work, maybe a bug. However we still opted for this option for the simple reason that we are loosing a lot of valuable time by looking for a simcard in some cases, so we decided to check on arrival when doing groceries and if we don’t find anything we pay the premium and just forget about it, because in all honestly loosing half a day of time is also very expensive when traveling so that 25.00 euro more you pay might actually be worth it.

 

Conclusion
If you’re still reading I must be doing something right because I think this is the longest blogpost I ever wrote.
In conclusion I love my iPad Pro for the following reasons

 

  • I do feel it’s not worth it’s money without the Apple Pencil
  • with a keyboard it’s a perfect alternative for a laptop unless you do hardcore video editing and you need full blown photoshop on the road (again who does), the interface will be something you have to get used to.
  • The iOS apps are already worthy work tools and it can only get better
  • for creatives this is a dream come true
  • Working on full blown photoshop is possible with astropad, see it as remote controlling your mac (have to test this when the pen is in)
  • screen is gorgous
  • it’s very fast
  • Shooting tethered to the iPad gives the students a bigger screen to watch and me less cables and carrying around stuff
  • it just saves a LOT of work because the groundwork can be done on the road

 

Thanks so very much for reading and one final remark.
If you’re planning on posting that the surface pro book is a better alternative because it runs full windows I have two remarks for you.

 

  1. Yes it does, but I (and most people) don’t need a full blown windows for the simple reasons what you have to do in the field can be done with the iOS apps as soon as you realize it’s ground work, and to be honest it’s about the same thing I do with my MBP most of the times I also finish my work as soon as I’m home and use my MBP to “start” the work.
  2. It’s not an Apple product… in other words I’m used to certain apps which I use and my while workflow is Apple based, when I used the surface pro I loved the product but the integration with Apple was ok but not stunning, when you use office it’s workable but with iWorks the experience is of a totally different level, plus we use a lot of notes and other small things that are inside the Apple workflow.

 

In the end there is always something better and especially something better is coming next year, for now I think working with the iPad pro is a revolution in terms of getting used to the touch screen as main device and keyboard just when you really need it, when you get over this it can be a 100% replacement of 99% of the laptops out there, and overall…. did I already tell you how amazing candy crush looks?