Wacom DTU-1031 - Questions and Answers

Gear: Wacom DTU-1031, Lenovo ThinkPad X230T,

Hi Jesse, my name is Mr. Anonymous and as part of a college computer requirement I need to have a laptop that support digital inking in some form. Currently I'm deciding between either a convertible tablet PC (specifically the Lenovo X230T) or the Wacom + a traditional laptop. I'm leaning in favor of the Wacom + laptop because of the ability to pair it with a laptop of a larger screen size, but I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer that would help me decide.

  1. How much does the Wacom impact the battery life? I understand that since the 1031 is USB powered it is likely to severely shorten the life, but how significant is it? 50%-60%?
  2. Are there any issues with the Wacom display when the aspect ratios don't match? I just want to make sure I won't lose any significant amounts of screen space since the computer I'm looking at is 16:9 and I believe the Wacom is 16:10.
  3. How much does the Wacom weigh? Surprisingly I've had some trouble finding this out and I don't want to be buying a brick to accompany my laptop since I will be carrying this with me to most of my classes.

That's all, thanks in advance for taking a look at this. I'd also like to say I think your videos are excellent and really helpful. You give an immaculate level of attention to nearly all aspects of the products and present everything in what appears to be a very un-biased light.

Thanks again,
Mr. Anonymous

Hi Mr Anonymous,

You got some good questions and I'll try to answer them.

  1. Regarding power consumption.  I have not measured the exact power consumption of the DTU-1031.  However, I have data on several DisplayLink USB monitors which are similar to the DTU-1031.  It is likely that the DTU-1031 consumes more power due to the tablet interface.  But, it can be assumed that the larger USB monitors consumed more power due to the screen's size.Here's some data:
    • Lenovo ThinkVision LT421: reduction of 16 minutes (or 8.239 %)
    • Toshiba 14 Inch USB Monitor: reduction of 32 minutes (or 16.456%)
    • Running battery tests is a time consuming endeveour, therefore I try to avoid it.  However, if there is demand for this information then I may time it.  But for now I would say the DTU-1031 may consume anywhere from 8% to 20 % battery life.  I would recommend the laptop to be plugged into power when using the DTU-1031.  Additional information can be found in Wacom's PDF.
  2. Regarding aspect rations and Windows projection modes.
    • Disconnect Projector means that only the laptop's screen will be active, the DTU-1031 would not be.  No info is needed here.
    • In Duplicate mode it is likely that Windows will try to find a resolution that suits both systems.  If the DTU-1031 supports the resolution, it is likely that you may loose some screen space.  If you are trying to fit 1920 x 1200 in the DTU-1031's 10 inch screen, well that will not work (max is 1280 x 800).  With additional software you could tweak the resolution further, but this may have an effect on the interaction with the digitizer and therefore I would not recommend it.
    • In Extended mode the DTU-1031 will work very well.  The laptop will have it's own resolution and the DTU-1031 will have it's native resolution.  This is the mode that I usually use.
    • In Projector Only the laptop's screen may be off, and the only active display will be the DTU-1031.  In this case the DTU-1031 will have it's native resolution of 1280 x 800.  Depending on the software that you use this resolution may or may not be sufficient.
    • In short, Duplicate mode is the only projection mode in which you may have issues with the DTU-1031.
    • In all of these modes it is imperative that you "assign correct digitizer screen".
  3. I don't have a proper scale to weigh the Wacom DTU-1031, but I would "guestimate" that it's heavier than an iPad (1st gen), the Wacom PDF states "2.18 lbs without cable."  By itself the device is slim enough to carry around and not feel burdened.  However, if you attach a VESA stand you will add weight and volume that is cumbersome.  Since you are a student you will find that carrying the laptop + DTU-1031 + stand + power adapter + books + notebooks + other supplies is NOT convenient at all.  My initial plan for the DTU-1031 was to pair it with a 11 inch gaming laptop, and in this way I could do hardcore 3D and inking.  However, I now doubt that I will use that setup for student tasks due to my backpack barely handling the volume.  For college so far the X230T has proven to be useful for all of my inking and typing needs.  Of course, the DTU-1031 has it's uses, such as:
    • An external monitor for comparing documents, or watching videos.  The X230T's 1366x768 resolution is insufficient for document comparisons.  The DTU-1031 helps me get things done faster as I can see more things without having to switch windows and try to memorize the contents of hidden windows.
    • If I did not have a X230T, the DTU-1031 paired with a laptop would be sufficient for all inking purposes.  The line quality and digitizer precision of the DTU-1031 is superior to that of the X230T's.  For at home or for business use the DTU-1031 is a very good system, although the Cintiq 13HD and higher would better.
    • Portability is the key element of the DTU-1031.  When I combine the X230T and DTU-1031 I have a more complete mobile "workstation", which is not possible with bigger Wacom tablets.  For ultimate mobility any additional VESA stand must be removed, but you do lose the nice vertical angle.  You will have to determine which angles you need.
Thanks for the questions!  Although many of my answers are not precise I hope that they give you some ideas of what to expect.  My recommendation for a student would be to get a convertible tablet capable of dealing with inking and typing.  The X230T is now a dated system, but is still more powerful (CPU/GPU/RAM) and capable (ports,docking,etc) than most modern Win 8 tablets.  Of course, Win 8 tablets will get better and surpass the X230T:
Maybe a company gets smart and combines elements of the Helix, Razer, X230T, and DTU-1031 and other Wacom tablets.  For now you will have to determine your needs and find a system that best suit them.

"appears to be a very un-biased light" - all you have to do is to "follow the money."  ;-)


Published: Jun 24, 2013


  1. great site.

    i'm looking for a easy to use solution for patients to fill in forms while in my office so that I don't have to print them and then rescan them into my EMR. I want it to be easy to use for people who aren't tech savy so i was interested in the wacom product. i've heard of an upcoming lenovo solution but it seems to not be availalbe.

    a few questions

    how does this work with a dual monitor windows 8 setup?

    does it work well with pdf's or does it convert documents into propriety format?

    do you know of any other better solutions? or would you recommend this product?


    1. Hi Tim. I'm not sure about the Lenovo product, it seems like they just didn't go through with it. The Wacom DTU-1031 works with DisplayLink technology, which is USB based, and thus must be connected to an existing system. I presume that projection modes will work the same in Win 8 as they do in Win 7. The DTU-1031 will work with whatever software you choose. More info on DisplayLink software at http://displaylink.com/support/downloads.php


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Hi. My name is Jesse, and I'm a technology enthusiast. I play with technology and share what I find on this blog. If you have any questions then please use the contact form below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.



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