Dell's Canvas is an oversized drawing tablet for creative professionals

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Dell has come to CES with a boatload of goodies including a “smart workplace” hardware device known as the Dell Canvas.

Late last year when Microsoft announced its Surface Studio PC, Dell was quick to point out that it had been working on a very similar product since 2014. That device, referred to as the smart desk, ultimately evolved into the Canvas that Dell is showing off this week in Las Vegas.

Unlike the Surface Studio, Dell’s Canvas isn’t a full-on PC but rather, a 27-inch display that can be used at an angle or flat on a desk. Think of it as an oversized drawing tablet that accepts input via touch, with a digital pen or with a totem – Dell’s name for its Surface Dial clone.

Because it’s not a standalone computer, you’ll of course need to connect it to your existing machine as a secondary display. This fact may turn some people off and send them Microsoft’s way but then again, it’ll be a lot cheaper for that exact reason. What’s more, the QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pales in comparison to the 4,500 x 3,000 resolution of the Surface Studio’s 28-inch screen.

Interestingly enough, Dell says its Canvas was developed in partnership with Microsoft and thus, is compatible with virtually any Windows 10 device. There are even custom software solutions in place from partners like Adobe, Autodesk, Dassault Systems and SolidWorks, just to name a few.

The Dell Canvas will launch on March 30 priced at $1,799, far cheaper than the $2,999 starting price of the Surface Studio.

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Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
The Dell Canvas will launch on March 30 priced at $1,799, far cheaper than the $2,999 starting price of the Surface Studio.
This comparison is a really bad one! As you said, one is a screen, the other one a computer. For the remaining $1200 I would always go with the Surface, it will be cheaper with the internals rather than getting another computer, unless I already had a computer for the purpose in which case the Canvas would be great.
 
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Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Meh, they are trying to compete with Wacom tablets but they better have very accurate touch built in in they want to attract any professionals.

Really though, this is a drawing tablet and should not be compared to the surface, which is a tablet.

Wish they would give us details about the device's accuracy.
 
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tipstir

TS Ambassador
No transparent devices yet.. Still using shells for hardware. I can't wait for new tech. At this rate looks like 2030 at best.
 

TorturedChaos

TechSpot Chancellor
This comparison is a really bad one! As you said, one is a screen, the other one a computer. For the remaining $1200 I would always go with the Surface, it will be cheaper with the internals rather than getting another computer, unless I already had a computer for the purpose in which case the Canvas would be great.
$3K gets you the bottom end Surface Studio
Code:
1TB / Intel Core i5 - 8GB RAM / 2GB GPU
8gigs of ram for graphics work? I used to get low ram warnings with 16gigs.
For their top end Surface Studio your looking at $4200 for
Code:
2TB / Intel Core i7 - 32GB RAM / 4GB GPU
With those prices and specs I would go for the Dell Canvas. I can easily put together a tower + a $1200 canvas and a decent monitor and come in under $4200.
Here is my current setup used for graphic design, and photo editing, mostly very large files for signs. Cleaning up a 36" x 48" Color 600dpi scan of a custom painted historical map takes some horse power
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/sGQ3WX
Comes in at about $2500, but I built this over several years, upgrading as I needed to. Can't really do that with the Surface Studio.
Also I know I spent much less on several parts since I waited for them to be on sale. Looking through my order history I would say about $2300.
$1800+2300=$4100. OK, so only $100 under and would be about $100 over if I ordered all those parts today.
But, it's More powerful than the top Surface Studio, and MUCH more versatile and easier to upgrade.
If I where to buy one of these products I would choose the Dell Canvas.
 
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ikesmasher

TS Evangelist
I wish they resisted the urge to throw their name in glaring white letters on the frame of the device. regardless this is a pretty well valued piece of tech if it works as accurately on a pro level as it should.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
No transparent devices yet.. Still using shells for hardware. I can't wait for new tech. At this rate looks like 2030 at best.
Yeah, because a transparent device would the best thing ever, to use as an art tablet.

After all, why do you think graffiti artists only paint on the windows of abandoned buildings, and not the brick walls?

And then there's the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo's work there would have been so much better rendered in glass, and not that crappy fresco.

And just think, when we have transparent screen built into desks, people will be able to stare through them and see their own shoes, while doing graphic design

Unless of course, you could change the screen background color to whatever you choose. But that seems like it would defeat the purpose of a clear screen, doesn't it? :D