Motion le1600 slate- Why I'm trying it out for art again

Pardon me while I gush....

I feel like Michael J. Fox when Doc says, "Marty, we're going to go ....back to the future!" Why?

Because I recently had the opportunity to test out (or re-test) the original 1600 that I owned a year ago and sold off. It was actually the first tablet pc I ever owned, and I sold it to a local friend when I moved on to an le1700 last December. Well, I was so impressed by the experience the other day that I picked one up on ebay. I got a pretty good deal for a View Anywhere screen, battery, stylus, charger, etc. for 200$ with free shipping. For the 1600's that's not bad. I grabbed 2gb ram for another 30$.

Now, over the last year I've run through lots of art programs and computer usage evolutions- slate to convertible (to slate?), SBP to Artrage to Painter to SBP and Sai. It's been quite a whirlwhind! What I've settled on for my work flow, for now, is SBP and Paint Tool Sai for my 2d artwork. Artrage for some of my color work too. For that, the 1600 worked really, really well.

What most impressed me was that...
a) The screen is really very good. I was rather surprised by this because it's only 200 nits. I remembered it being better than the 1700's I had owned, but I'd forgotten just how much better the older Boe Hydis screens really were. Rich color, really bright enough, and rather readable outdoors. I was sort of blown away. Yes, it's a fingerprint magnet, but they don't matter once the screen is lit up.
b) It has quite a nice hard, lightly textured writing surface. I don't know what Motion did, but there's just a bit of texture to it, and I like it. The screen is also very hard. There's little to no flex- even compared to the t5010 which is rather firm (the Superbright Outdoor x200t, however, has quite a lot of flex to the screen). So I somehow feel like I'm practically writing right on the screen (not above the bezel like with most convertibles), and yet it's still as hard (or harder) then the typical harder outer plastic casing. It's quite a nice experience.
c) It ran pretty cool and quiet. The fan ran at a higher pitch that I didn't like, but I think that's because it was just old. We'll see what the one I just bought sounds like, then I'll get back to you.
d) With the right programs it was surprisingly responsive. I've been going bigger and faster all year long with my various tablet pc explorations, so I was really blown away by how well the le1600 performed. The unit I tested had only 1.5 gb ram, so we'll see if the one I bought with 2 GB ram runs better, but even so, the tester was quick enough. Artrage and SKP ran fine, and Paint Tool Sai ran like a dream. This is where I think a year's experience will help me out, because now I've got a tablet pc appropriate program like Sai under my belt- it's just so lightweight and fast that a solo processor or only 2 gb ram won't matter. I was running a 6000 x 3600 canvas with 300 pixel brushes and it was just a breeze, a walk in the park. Sai on the tablet pc really hit it out of the park. Partly because....
d) There are buttons, Buttons, BUTTONS! God damn I didn't know what I was missing last year when I had this model. Of course, last year I didn't know about Key Manager either, so the buttons really didn't matter as much. I couldn't reprogram them all in the Wacom interface, but with Key Manager I got the 4-way directional keys plus the inner button. Each gets a press, plus a press-hold command, so that's.... math...10 keys, and I haven't even gotten to using the Fn Function. So I could easily get up to 20 keys right there. For digital art done portably, this was just.... awesome. It reminded me a bit of when, earlier this year, I bought the Lenovo and remembered how useful a keyboard could be. In the same way, I'd forgotten how d*mn useful hardware buttons can be. During the testing, I was able to work... I dunno... 80% or more in Full Screen mode, which was wonderful.
e) Hot swappable batteries that get reasonable battery life- I was often dissapointed by the le1700, which got terrible battery life, ran hot, and had bad viewing angles. The 1600 is comparatively underpowered, but it always ran better- the internal hardware just seemed a better fit for the tech at the time. As such, the battery life was always much better. Of course, even 3 hours isn't great, but one learns from things like the ep121 (which also only gets about 3 hours or so of battery life) that battery life often suffers in slates, even in new tech (although the Samsung 7 is sort of popping that bubble). As such, I'm willing to forgive the 1600 in this. Plus, they're swappable, which is awesome.
f) It's erognomics are very good- It's light (3.25 lbs- a little lighter than the x200t, about .75 lbs heavier than the ep121), and very thin (.75-.9"- just about the same as the ep121). This makes a difference when in the hand. The Lenovos are still very carriable, no doubt, but the 1600 was .... well, much easier to hold because you can better grip it. Also, putting (when in portrait orientation) the weight of the batter actually in the hand makes the computer feel even lighter.
g) 4:3 ratio still kicks *ss. It's a wonderful thing to really be able to use the slate in portrait mode- particularly when drawing figures. It's wide enough now to really work this way. Even 16:10 has issues in portrait.

Anyways, who knows when the honeymoon period will be over, but right now I'm eagerly anticipating getting my 6 year old, used, 200$ art tablet, that I may now be stealing from my daughter. LOL. We'll see.

I'm sure better things are going to come along (that 12.1" Wacom slate with detachable keyboard in the sky), but in some ways this older tech still has the new stuff beat- when used for the right function (hardware keys=art), with the right programs (Sai and SBP), and with the right mods (like Key Manager).