Wacom releases its entry level Cintiq

The Cintiq is Wacom's effort to get creative artists into the Cintiq family at a much lower price-point.

Wacom releases its entry level Cintiq tablet The Cintiq is Wacom's effort to get creative artists into the Cintiq family at a much lower price-point.

Have I shared the passion I have for Wacom tablets in my photo editing workflow? Rhetorical question. I've shared my experience and endearment for the Intuos as a peripheral used in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

For my type of editing, the stylus provided with Wacom tablets are a heavenly, creative match. Wacom previously shared devices with me. One I really enjoyed, the other I didn't think worked best for me (at the time). I was recently shipped its new Cintiq pen display for review. Allow me to share my thoughts on this device.

SEE: Getting started with drone photography (free TechRepublic PDF)

What is the Cintiq?

The Cintiq pen display is Wacom's latest iteration of tablets designed for the creative artist. This device features a large 15.6-inch screen, which utilizes a stylus so photo editors and illustrators can manipulate their creative works on a larger, more immersive workspace beyond a typical computer screen. The Cintiq line is not a tablet in the sense of an iPad competitor. It's not a multimedia device like consumer tablets. Think of the Cintiq as an additional monitor for your editing station.

Tech specs

For the tech spec nerds out there, the new Cintiq offers a 15.6-inch 1080p display covering a 72% NTSC color gamut specification, a 16-inch form factor weighing almost 2kg. The stylus is Wacom's proprietary Pro Pen 2, which offers more than 8,100 points of pressure, tilt recognition and virtually no parallax when touching the screen of the Cintiq.

Who is the Cintiq for?

I need to be very clear about this. The Cintiq is not the Cintiq Pro. This is Wacom's effort to get creative artists into the Cintiq family at a much lower price-point. By doing so, you will not have all of the same capabilities of the Cintiq Pro I previously reviewed. With that said, this is still a highly capable device for creative artists.

In comparison, the Cintiq Pro has a 15.6-inch UHD screen. The Cintiq has an HD screen. The Cintiq Pro is touch enabled. The Cintiq is not. The Cintiq Pro has additional express keys for app shortcuts. The Cintiq does not. The lack of those features withheld from the Cintiq may be a deal breaker for some, but probably not for a beginner looking to get comfortable with the Cintiq line. Plus, you don't pay the Cintiq Pro price of $1,499. For the Cintiq, you're only paying $649.

SEE: How to get started using Adobe Lightroom for your photo editing (TechRepublic)

What I enjoyed

Setting up the Cintiq was much easier as Wacom created a single port connection onto the back of the device, which handles power as well as the image display. Conversely, the Cintiq Pro uses multiple cables for power and display output. The 3-in-1 cable for the new Cintiq branches off for an A/C power connection and also an applicable USB or HDMI connector. Having this type of connection makes your desktop or workspace a little tidier.

I also noticed much better performance with the Cintiq while using Photoshop and Lightroom. Then again, this may be due to a GPU upgrade on my editing rig. Even at HD resolution, the Cintiq offered an immersive editing experience in Photoshop. As I sat at my desk working on this image edit, I felt like I experienced some much-needed mental therapy as I painted the subject to my liking. The Pro Pen 2 felt great in my hands and even better on the screen. Of course, this was after I adjusted the Pro Pen 2's buttons to be shortcuts more suitable for my workflow. The responsiveness and pressure sensitivity is an amazing feature when it comes to painting on the screen or brushing away a few pixels ever so lightly.

This device may cost half of what the "premium" Cintiq Pro does, but it doesn't feel like a cheaper version of the Pro when it comes to performance. When I used the Cintiq Pro, I felt like I needed to "handle it with care." The design aesthetic seemed a little too "fancy" for my taste. On the other hand, the Cintiq industrial design is a more "minimalist meets gray collar." I felt more comfortable holding this in my unboxing, and more comfortable firing it up and putting pen to screen.

What I didn't like

Well, not much. My experience over the last few weeks has been that of a photographer, not an illustrator. Therefore, I can't intelligently speak of it as an illustrator. I do know that the few times I tried sketching on the Cintiq, it felt great with the pressure sensitivity and its overall performance.

I do think the Cintiq display is a little dim, and I can't recommend using it with a bright light source nearby. I also wish that a stand was included in the pricing. The Cintiq has two foldable feet on the bottom allowing you to place the device at 19-degrees of tilt. That's a comfortable angle, but what if the creative artist wanted a sharper angle to manipulate the screen?

Final thoughts

If you needed purchasing advice regarding a Wacom device, ultimately, I'd suggest trying out an Intuos. The Intuos is a tablet device that doesn't have a screen on it as the pen displays do. It is a lot less expensive and allows you to get used to a stylus as part of your workflow. If I'm asked the same question from someone already using a Wacom tablet, I would highly recommend graduating into this Cintiq 16. The monetary investment isn't as large with its $649 price tag, and you're definitely getting a great bang for your buck.

Have you thought about using a Wacom device in your photography workflow? Tag me in your images over on Instagram so I can see your awesome creations.

Also see

wacom-with-me.jpg
Image: Ant Pruitt

By Ant Pruitt

Ant Pruitt is an IT Support Professional with a passion for showing the non-geek how great technology can be. He writes for a variety of tech publications and hosts his own podcast. Ant is also an avid photographer and weight lifter.