The Kindle Fire or the Nook Color, what's the better tablet for cartoonists??
April 21, 2012 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Kindle Fire vs. Nook Tablet. What's better for a cartoonist?


I am a young cartoonist and illustrator who is looking to buy a tablet. I have been told repeatedly and by several of my teachers that this is becoming a very, very important tool for someone like myself to have. Mostly because it allows an artist like myself to carry and exhibit work quickly, cleanly and professionally without needing to print copies of my work. Currently, my work is becoming more and more digitally based, and even my traditional pieces tend to get some digital enhancement.

Until very recently I had not been able to afford a tablet on my budget, but since the Nook color and Kindle fire have hit the market, I am now in a position to buy one.

This is something I would be using primarily for only a few basic things. 1.) Storing and exhibiting digital copies of my professional work. 2.) Writing and reviewing word documents (I also work on scripts a lot.) 3.) Reading ebooks and e-publications, especially pdf documents, which I often have to read for school. 4.) Light internet usage.

One thing I am also considering in this decision is the fact that this summer I will be traveling to Hong Kong for about a month and will not be able to bring my computer (or possibly even my phone) along with me. This is a school trip where I will need to be able to access emails and do light internet work. Does anyone know how well the Kindle, or the Nook work in China? Do they work their at all?

I'm quite torn between the Nook and the Kindle Fire. The Nook is cheaper, and I actually like it's general appearance and the way it feels in my hands more, but the Kindle is not so different that it bothers me. I know that the Kindle can handle Sketchbook Pro, but I'm not certain if the Nook can. That's a program I'd genuinely like to be able to use since I am doing more and more digital work. I know the Kindle can handle the materials from itunes, amazon and other major app and digital media retailers. The Nook, I'm not as certain about, it seems like it's more of a Barnes and Noble only sort of deal. If that's the case, I believe that Amazon is the stronger company which will have longer staying power, and is probably easier to access outside of the United states.

I've also considered buying a certified used 1st Gen Ipad...but I feel like it has more flashiness than I need, and that if I buy an ipad, it makes more sense to buy a newer model (Even if that's outside my budget). I could afford a used 1st gen, but not a newer model, even used.

I would also like to know how the Kindle and Nook handle stylus pens. I like sketchbook pro, but using my finger is a pain in the but for that.

Any thoughts guys? I need to purchase this tablet in the next few days because I will be attending an editor review day in the next few weeks and need to start cleaning up and fixing my portfolio for that. If anyone who reads this uses a tablet for art, or for the purposes that I'm in need of I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks so much!
posted by Rosengeist to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
HTC Flyer. Hands down. It was recently discontinued, so you can pick one up on eBay for $200-300 with the pen.
Why? The stylus/screen are pressure sensitive, a must for drawing. (and supported by sketchbook pro)...while you can use a capacitive stylus on just about any tablet, it's really not much better than having a finger on a stick, and in my experience, tends to be a bit stuttery. The Scribe stylus on the flyer is pressure sensitive, pointy, and much more precise. You will love it. It's like drawing on paper.
(the 360 case they make for it ($17 on amazon) is an awesome accessory)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:24 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

(as for your other has wifi, a memory card slot (the nook and fire don't, and are both severly limited in how much non-amazon/b&n data you can load on it...they are storefronts, not real tablets) and can do all the other things you want easily and has the same general size/shape. battery life is also can use it all day without recharging. umm...full access to the google store, email, you can load the amazon store on it...1.5ghz processor, 1Gig ram etc. etc...i cant recommend it enough...)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:33 PM on April 21, 2012

Yeah, you really need to steer CLEAR of the Nook and the Kindle Fire.
I can't speak for the Nook, but I can speak for the Fire and it's basically just an advanced system for purchasing stuff from amazon.
Neither of these readers (and that's really what they are) are that expandable and won't really grow with you, as you mature as an artist and need more and varied software.
The big drawback with the Kindle Fire as well is the lack of bluetooth - that means you can't use an external keyboard - so working on your scripts is going to become tedious quickly.
I would definitely revisit and think about an iPad. That's a high quality machine that can grow with you, run pretty much anything you can think of - and perhaps things you haven't thought of yet.
If an iPad is out of the question, look into a nice 7" Android pad.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:49 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just to be clear, when your instructors are talking about how a tablet will be vital to you, are you sure they're referring to something like an iPad or its competitors, or do they mean something like a Wacom graphics tablet?

If they do mean a computing tablet (vs graphics tablet), then I would recommend not getting a Nook or a Kindle Fire. I'd look more at something like an iPad 2 (should be slightly cheaper than the newest one), ASUS tablet, or one of the Android tablets.
posted by asciident at 12:57 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

There is nothing wrong with getting an iPad 1. Your usage does not require an iPad 2, and there as and will continue to be many many apps for iPad 1.

What you're worried about here is expandability (apps) and the ability to show your own content without jumping through hoops. That is iPad 1. Kindle and Nook aren't designed for you to have your own content on them - it would be a battle to maintain a portfolio on them.
posted by airways at 1:10 PM on April 21, 2012

It is trivial to root the Fire and install another rom on it, like Cyanogenmod. At which point it becomes a plain 7" Android tablet, which you can do anything you want with. (But still has the hardware limits, re: no expandable memory and no bluetooth). I believe you can also root the Nook, but I don't have experience with that.

I would agree that doing an extended amount of typing on the Fire or Nook is not going to happen, and capacitive styluses aren't much better than fingers. On the other hand, they will both work well for document reading and internet usage (on WiFi!... no WiFi, no internet). You're also limited to Android apps, which may not be a problem.

Honestly, I don't think the iPad is that much different. Two significant improvements: the larger display and bluetooth for the keyboard. But you're still limited to the internal memory (you can get more of it from the outset, but then you're stuck), and you're still limited to capacitive styluses, which are not real useful for serious artwork, and you're limited by the Apple app store. You could get an iPad with 3G, but you probably can't afford the data plan and you'll run into problems over seas.

The HTC Flyer looks amazing, or if you're willing to go wildly out of your budget there are a few Windows 7 tablets with real styluses.
posted by anaelith at 1:19 PM on April 21, 2012

The flyer has a 'real' stylus, anaelith...pressure sensitivity and's android, btw, if i didn't mention earlier...and it has bluetooth if you want to add a keyboard later...they also make the HTC Jetstream...which is a bigger version 10.1", but its more...$400-600 on ebay.
i could never get the hang of the wacom tablets (which are like a mousepad that you draw on with a digitizer pen)...i MUCH prefer drawing directly on the screen
posted by sexyrobot at 1:34 PM on April 21, 2012

Response by poster: Just to clarify, the tablets my teachers were talking about were definitely the portable ipad-like ones. While wacom tablets are also pretty important for us to use, I already have a bamboo, and for the time being, can access wacoms at my campus.

This HTC is looking reaaallly nice though. I am definitely looking at ebay for this. It looks like what I might need. Thanks for the heads up on the kindle's and nooks being storefronts.
posted by Rosengeist at 2:41 PM on April 21, 2012

Response by poster: Just out of curiousity, how does the HTC Evo compare to the Flyer?
posted by Rosengeist at 2:48 PM on April 21, 2012

Figure out what software you want to run first, then pick a tablet that supports the software.
posted by alms at 3:01 PM on April 21, 2012

On point 2: If you're going to be editing Office documents and things on Android, KingSoft makes an excellent, free Word-compatible editor.
posted by mikurski at 4:01 PM on April 21, 2012

Nook Tablet does have a MicroSD slot, just FWIW, and it accepts memory cards up to 32 GB, and can easily be hacked to have the full Android OS.
posted by kindall at 5:32 PM on April 21, 2012

I love my nook tablet, but I think an ipad might be the way to go. The ipad so far has better drawing apps (like procreate) and the larger screen would probably be more useful for an artist.

Going Nook vs. Kindle only, (though I'm biased) I'd Nook. They're super easy to root and faster than the Kindle.
posted by drezdn at 6:35 PM on April 21, 2012

are you talking about the view?...its pretty much exactly the same as the flyer, but with 3g service through sprint (not useful overseas...probably(?))...i have seen online that you dont HAVE to activate the service, but it will nag you every time you turn the screen on until you do...annoying, but possibly liveable(?)...i think it comes with extra memory built in...
posted by sexyrobot at 6:43 PM on April 21, 2012

It appears that apps need to specifically support the stylus on the flyer, or it just ends up emulating finger input. From what I can see, there aren't many apps that support it, which isn't really a surprise, because the android tablet market is small, and fragmented.

I'd suggest a refurb iPad 2 if you can swing it. It will be more useful now, and have a longer useful life than an original iPad, and it will be way more useful than a Nook or Kindle Fire. As for other Android tablets, last I looked, they weren't really any cheaper than an iPad, and, well, they are Android tablets.

For what it is worth, there are some upcoming Bluetooth styli for iOS that will provide pressure sensitivity. Apps will need to support the feature.
posted by Good Brain at 8:39 PM on April 21, 2012

nope. with the honeycomb update, all apps support the Scribe stylus (and much more accurately than any capacitive stylus...which you can also use if you want...but why?)...however, there's only a few that support pressure sensitivity, like sketchbook pro, but even on a full-sized computer theres only a few...photoshop, artrage, etc... it's really a niche market, but for an artist it's indispensible, and the level of custimization (for pressure sensitivity) in sketchbook is stunning...line width, opacity, stamp spacing, etc.
drawsomething is tons of fun on it too...
I prefer the smaller 7" size...anything bigger requires you carry a bag (i stick mine in the back waistband of my pants and i'm good to go...def spring for the 360 case if you get it)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:17 PM on April 21, 2012

I can't speak for the Nook, but I can speak for the Fire and it's basically just an advanced system for purchasing stuff from amazon.

Maybe, but it'll do things 1, 3 and 4... As for 2.. For reading word docs it'll do fine, but I find keyboard input on it a pain.

Oh, and you have to jump a few hoops to read EPUBs, other formats it handles fine.

I'm guessing the Nook would be similar, and work well with EPUBs out of the box, though I have no idea of it's keyoboard.

Of possible interest on the writing front.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on April 22, 2012

There's actually a decent sketching app for the Nook called "Drawing Pad." (It might be available for the Kindle too). The only things, so far, that I really wished it had were layers and more ways to select line thickness (Ymmv of course). If you have a Barnes and Noble in the era, they might be able to let you try it out.
posted by drezdn at 11:54 AM on April 26, 2012

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