Running sketchup on a tablet with pencil

Hi all

I am new to this forum. I am currently using Sketchup Make on a Dell XPS 15. I am looking to get a tablet computer with pencil to run sketchup. My models I generally reasonably modest in size but they can involve some degree of complexity. They involve a bit more than just a few rectangles and circles but they are never enormous.
I am interested in the tablet in order to achieve portability, I would like to be able to sit on the lounge chair of an evening and work on my sketchup models.
So the question is what is the minimum configuration and type of tablet that would do an adequate job? I will get whatever is necessary but I would prefer not to overdo things and get the minimum computer, either new or second-hand that would do the job. Does anyone have experience with Microsoft surface or anything similar that might be suitable?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated


You need to be quite specific with the Surface, several version either run sketchup poorly or, in the case of the arm version, not at all. You want to look at something with a discrete graphic card, preferably an Nvidia. I believe one Surface has this but no doubt the most expensive one.
Touchscreen tablet style computers tend to be something of a compromise. You often sacrifice computing power for weigh/portability/price etc and pen options can be limiting. Don’t get me wrong, I use and love using my Stylus on my touchscreen wacom cintiq but it comes at a price, both in cost and performance. It’s a fast I7 but limited by an intel iris graphic card that I often have to wait for. Really great for some things but still I often find myself reverting to a mouse and second screen.
The other limiting factor is navigating with the ‘pen’ fortunately the wacom stylus has 3 buttons so it is possible to set one to middle mouse, allowing you to orbit easily. But some pens don’t have those options, so you have to keep changing tools when you want to orbit,pan,zoom. Spacemouse solves that but is another expense. Not to forget the lack of always available keyboard, there are ways around it but…

So really all I’m saying is really look into what you want and why and what the limitations may be. A nice cheap but powerful laptop sat on the coffee table with a combo wireless mouse and keyboard may work out better for you in the long run, working with a mouse is actually less tiring than using a stylus and working directly on a touch screen can change your seated posture in ways that may not be good for you.

Just my 2 cents. Love my tablet but also love mouse and screen and even separate graphic tablet.


I just don’t see SU’s UI lending well to a stylus. I’ve tried using the Web version on my iPad Pro and it’s just not the same as using a mouse.

You’d be surprised, there are only a few things that can be odd. mainly I find it awkward because my eyesight is old and the touchscreen is pretty small.

Well, I’ve tried it and it just not the same. I’m not sure what would surprise me about it. Granted I was on an iPad Pro with it’s “pencil” that I still think is inferior to my former S-pen on my Galaxy Note 10.1 that I used to have.

I’d welcome anyone’s knowledge of Surface computers, as I don’t know them at all. I use a Wacom tablet with my Mac, and have for decades. They have just tablets, combined tablet with built in display, and the same with full blown computer all-in-one units. It looks like the smaller 13" one has Iris graphics as @Box discribes, but the larger 16" has Nvidia. iOS on the iPad is another story. It’s in the nature of the operating system itself that there’s no constant cursor location to move around on screen, so you can’t hover over anything, a critical UI feature needed for SketchUp.

1 Like

You might be surprised by how a dedicated graphic stylus that is pressure sensitive, hovers and recognizes changing angles as you use it and has configurable buttons, not to mention a touch screen that is multi touch responsive and can tell the difference between the heel of your hand and an intended input works with the desktop version. You might not.


Oh like a Wacom graphics screen? Ok that would be worth trying :wink: