CorelDraw X8 on a Surface Pro 4 Part 4

Continued from CorelDraw X8 on a Surface Pro 4 Part 3

Footnotes on the CorelDraw Graphics Suite

Considering that the CorelDraw X8 Graphics Suite isn't available for macOS, working with the Surface Pen and CorelDraw/Corel Photo-Paint should've been a match made in heaven for Corel fans. Unfortunately, it isn't.  That isn't to say the CorelDraw X8 Graphics Suite is a bad fit for the Surface Pro 4. In fact, the Mini DisplayPort, powerful processor, and portability of the SP4 makes it perfect for creative professionals without a permanent office. Moreover, the screen size is more than enough for veteran Corel users who work with a mouse or Wacom digitizer. In addition, some digital artists are exceptionally adept at adapting to digital pens and can probably get a lot of mileage from the combination of CorelDraw and the Surface Pro 4.

For those who use Corel products at home, a PC or a 2-in-1 hybrid would be a good alternative. The larger Yoga or Inspiron 2-in-1s (13" or larger) would work well for users who don't use the keyboard often (or prefer a full-size keyboard), and rely on a mouse or Wacom when working on CorelDraw. Moreover, these machines generally have better graphics cards than the Surface Pro 4, with multiple ports for numerous displays and additional accessories.

During installation, CorelDraw will inform you if your Windows device doesn't meet minimum requirements. I attempted to install X8 on my 8" HP Stream 8 tablet running Windows 10 Home. The setup process won't prevent you from completing installation, but I don't recommend CorelDraw or Corel Photo-Paint on the HP Stream 8 due to its size, performance, and display resolution.

Although you can bypass the installation warning and install Corel X8 on a smaller Windows device, the user experience is quite poor and not recommended.

One of the reasons I've always turned to the CorelDraw Graphics Suite over the last 16 years is because of its ease of use, file format support, and flexibility for a variety of projects. However, I'm also aware that times have changed and some of the tasks that the Corel Graphics Suite can do, can be done easily and faster using today's iOS, Android, and Microsoft apps (even free ones). Even Microsoft saw the writing on the wall and started making Office available ostensibly for free on mobile devices. Corel X8 is fine for older users like myself, but I concede that it's probably less useful to today's users who are spoiled with apps and who prefer touch screens when working. On the other hand, the Home and Student version is pretty affordable, so it doesn't hurt to have such a powerful set of applications on your Surface Pro 4 or Windows laptop.

The incremental updates Corel has added to CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint seem painfully dated. Whereas Adobe has arguably moved with the times by migrating their software to the cloud and producing mobile apps, Corel isn't present at all on Google Play, Microsoft or Apple Store. Corel seems to be satisfied with the CorelDraw Graphics Suite as-is, and seems to be focusing instead on Corel Painter, arguably their most popular product at the moment thanks to the rise of geek culture, manga, and Marvel/DC. To be fair, I occasionally see technical documents and company ads that use CorelDraw, but considering how reliable and powerful Corel's applications are, the word "Corel" should be found more often in document metadata.

It would be interesting to see if Corel would take steps to improve the Corel Graphics Suite for Surface Studio - the developers should at least ensure the UI would work well with Microsoft's massive design workstation. Corel on machines like the Surface Pro 4 has a lot of potential and X8 fails to take advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately, it seems that Corel's developers have yet to acknowledge mobile devices, the new ways people work, and the different Windows machines currently available on the market.


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