TL;DR: need a writing tablet for school (engineering). Torn between 3 choices (a Dell XPS 15, Surface Pro, or iPad Pro + desktop). Looking for alternatives or suggestions.
I've been rewarded 1500 CAD towards a machine to use for my disabilities. I have OCD that involves a lot of contamination fears, so I take my notes digitally. If I have an "OCD flare-up", instead of throwing out my paper notes that were effected in the incident, I can just wipe down my laptop/tablet with a disinfectant wipe. Right now, I'm using an Asus Flipbook 14 and a Logitech Mouse Pad when I'm in class. However, this isn't ideal so I was offered 1500 CAD to a new device.
I'm studying Mechanical Engineering, so a device that works with AutoCAD, Inventor, Solidworks, Ansys, and so forth is essential. However, since all my notes are digital, pen input is essential. I've used Surface Pros in the past (SP2, SP4) but had some software issues with them. OneNote had a big problem with syncing towards my devices, losing notes, and high DPI displays weren't scaling properly at the time. I no longer have these devices, but the form factor was perfect.
A Surface Book would be ideal, but that's anywhere between 2800-3500 CAD. Unless I get more funding, I don't think that would be an option for me. I'd also like to state clear of 2-in-1 flipbooks. If the table is somewhat oily/dirty it sets off my OCD, so I used a mouse pad as a mat right now. However, if that is my only option, I'll use it. The Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1 is great. With the Rx Vega M GL, it'll be good for all my software and it uses the Microsoft Pen protocol. They have refurbished / open-box units that are within my budget. I'd say my budget would be a maximum of 2000 CAD.
The Surface Pro is the ideal form factor, but the hardware and my issues in the past with display scaling issues isn't. I'd like to stay clear of that one too. The lack of a dedicated GPU is also a problem. I currently use a Asus K551 UX with a 950m and i7-6500U and rendering simple heat sink designs can take hours. Off-loading fluid calculations to the GPU / long interation sessions is going to be problematic on those cooling solutions. I'd prefer just having one device.
Also, I was thinking of getting an iPad Pro. No, I can't use the software, but the pen and form factor would be great in class. I was then thinking of building a budget rig for around 500-1000 to fit the engineering requirements. The iPad Pro has much better pen support. I'm also going to be helping with a small business to do vector drawings to help pay for school. The iPad Pro in this case would be ideal.
I can't share the funding over 2 devices. It' 1500 towards a single device. I was also thinking of maybe a cheaper iPad and using the 1500 towards a gaming laptop as it would have the resources to deal with my engineering applications. I don't think they'll accept that notion so I'll double check.
I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions or alternatives. I'm leaning more towards the 3rd option as it could also help pay for a desktop over time.