Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Compare the Wacom Cintiq Companion Tablets with Other Tablets


The Wacom Cintiq Companion
The Wacom Cintiq Companion

Wacom just announced three new products, two of which being Cintiqs that feature tablet functionality (the other being a Wacom stylus pen designed for finer stylus use on iPad tablets).  I was very happy to see the first two products, as while their tablet functionalities are not terribly essential to me, I have been looking into getting a Cintiq 13HD, and I'm glad I waited.  While many Wacom users are happy about this news, I've been noticing many people complaining about these products, namely about their prices.

The price of the full-featured Windows 8-powered Cintiq Companion is $1,999 (256 GB) and $2,499.00 (512 GB), while the hybrid version Cintiq Companion hybrid, which acts as a normal Cintiq 13HD for your desktop and a lightweight Android tablet on-the-go, is priced at $1,499.00 (16 GB) and $1,599.00 (32 GB).

The Cintiq Companion has 8 GB of RAM and an Intel CORE i7 processor, while the Cintiq Companion Hybrid has 2 GB of RAM and NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor.  The former is designed with fuller features to allow for fuller computer-independent work while on-the-go, and the latter is designed more as a Cintiq 13 HD that gives you some portability for light work while on-the-go.

The Surface Pro (from Microsoft)
The Surface Pro (from Microsoft)
One may ask (as some have), "Why would I buy a Wacom Cintiq Companion when the Surface Pro starts at $799 to $899?"  My answer to that would be in the form of another question, "Why are you comparing a professional-level Cintiq product with a normal consumer-level product?"

The big difference is that a Surface Pro (like most other tablets) simply isn't a Cintiq.  I mean that both in its design and aim.  Its touchscreen (for digital art's sake) is nowhere near that of Cintiq quality. Its picture quality (for digital art's sake) simply isn't Cintiq-quality.  And its compatibility with art software simply isn't that enjoyed by Wacom tablets, which many software like Photoshop and Mudbox seek to design their user schemes around.

The Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid
The Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid
Also, with the lighter Cintiq Companion Hybrid, it doesn't seek to be your normal choice of tablet for casual use--it's aiming more for artists and working professionals looking to carry their some of their work with them.  The Cintiq Companion Hybrid uses Android not so much to compete as an Android tablet, but to provide this hybrid version with a bit of tablet functionality to allow lighter usage while on-the-go, while sticking to its main purpose as a Cintiq 13HD.

If you need heavier, fuller usage of the Cintiq on-the-go, that's why they have the Cintiq Companion available, which does feature Windows 8, a third-generation Intel CORE i7 processor and 8 GB for more power.  More power is simply going to cost more.

More power.
More power.

The Cintiq Companion's screen is bigger than the Surface Pro (13.3" vs. 10.6") which offers 2048 levels of pressure (twice more than Surface Pro's mere 1024 levels) and 75% Adobe RGB (compared to Surface Pro's 55% AdobeRGB).  The Companion has 8 GB RAM (while Surface Pro has only 4 GB), it uses an i7 processor (Surface Pro uses an i5), and it has much bigger SSD sizes of 256 GB and 512 GB (Surface Pro only has up to 128 GB).

The Cintiq Companion also has available an optional compact wireless keyboard, which, when coupled with the Companion's four levels of adjustable height, offers a wider range of comfortable positions than the Surface Pro does.  (See the first picture at the top.)

The Cintiq Companion is technically offering more than the Surface Pro, even as a tablet.  But again, it's not trying to be the first name in tablets to the average consumer--just artists and professionals looking for extra functionality with their Cintiqs.  The Cintiq Companions are just different beasts entirely from consumer-level tablets.

I think when folks compare these Cintiq products to normal tablets, they're kinda missing the point.  The point of these products is that they are first and foremost Cintiq graphics tablet--the other tablet features are just those highly-requested by artists seeking a little portability.

I would think that the expectation is that most serious artists and working professionals are either going to make the money to buy these or do what they can to buy these, knowing that these products will easily pay for themselves after a while.


Ahh...professionalism.
Ahh...professionalism.
To me, the most unprofessional thing you can do is complain about the price of professional tools (in most cases, anyways).  These are premium graphics tablet products.  You get what you pay for here.  It may take some saving pennies, but quality always pays for itself in the end.

As for me, I'll certainly be looking into acquiring the Wacom Companion Hybrid with 16 GB, as for most of my work would be on my notebook computer, I won't need as much SSD space for my use.  I'll consider its multi-touch features to be an equivalent of a Cintiq 13HD Touch, which, for only $500 more, isn't a bad deal to me.

Though, I personally think once you reach the $2K price mark, I'd personally rather have a Cintiq 22HD, as I don't rely on work on-the-go that much.  I can't think of many scenarios with myself where I'd need a Cintiq so much while on-the-go that I'd pass on getting a much better at-home Cintiq.

- MMJ

30 comments:

  1. Awesome article. I share the same sentiments. It's sorta sucks because I would love to be as cost effective as possible and go with an alternate, but from a professional standpoint, there is nothing comparable out there. Please let me know if there is.

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    1. Hi, Clarence! I apologize for the late reply here (over three months later!).

      Anyways, I have just written something that may be of interest of you--that is, if you're still interested in looking at a decent alternative.

      http://macromanjr.blogspot.com/2013/12/look-out-wacom-monoprices-coming-at-you.html

      Delete
  2. This is exactly what I've been thinking. People can't compare something that is MADE for professionals to a normal, everyday consumer product. I have been doing tons of research on different tablets to see if there were some cheaper alternative for me. But seriously after reading this I've decided not to simply settle on something that can't even compare to the Cintiq Companion. I'm very "on the go" so I'm going to purchase the Cintiq Companion with Windows 8 (256GB).

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    1. I'm definitely in the same boat as you. Trying to decide if the Wacom is right for me at the price. I would recommend waiting till they are available to try out before ordering one though. The few demo videos I have been able to find all show lag between input and lines appearing. Wacom went a generation back with their processors so the battery life won't be that great, especially if you are doing a lot of work with filters. Think around 5-6 hours.

      Really wish Wacom was more forthcoming with demo units so we could get some reviews. As of now its pretty risky to preorder.

      Delete
  3. Man, is Wacom paying for blog articles, now? Reads like a straight up ad.

    "The big difference is that a Surface Pro (like most other tablets) simply isn't a Cintiq."

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    1. This comes several months late (I had NO idea so many folks chimed in on this article on this blog that I only occasionally post), but did you even read the rest?

      Not that you actually refuted or contributed to anything I've said, but if you read on, you HAD to have seen just why the statement you've highlight was justified and no mere hyperbole:

      "...I mean that both in its design and aim. Its touchscreen (for digital art's sake) is nowhere near that of Cintiq quality. Its picture quality (for digital art's sake) simply isn't Cintiq-quality. And its compatibility with art software simply isn't that enjoyed by Wacom tablets, which many software like Photoshop and Mudbox seek to design their user schemes around."

      Trust me--I am by no means a spokesperson for Wacom, neither officially nor unofficially.

      Delete
  4. Technically now that Microsoft has released the Surface Pro 2 the Cintiq Companion is a less powerful machine. It uses 4th generation Processors which will greatly reduce the battery life as well as cause issues when using extremely large canvas or brushes (something professionals do a lot of). While the Surface Pro is not meant to be an art tablet it can be used for one (Penny Arcade and Batman '66 are both being drawn on one).

    The Wacom is definitely nice, but the complaints about the price are based on the outdated hardware inside the machine. When it is released the processor will already be a full generation behind and it seems somewhat unlikely that Wacom will release a 2k+ tablet every year considering their design time seems to be pretty long (understandably since they are a small company when compared to Microsoft or any Android tablet maker).

    Also to say the Wacom will do more than a Surface as a tablet is a little silly considering they run the exact same OS. Which if the Surface can't decently run Photoshop or zBrush, the Wacom won't fair much better.

    My only real complaint with Wacom is they have sent out test units to artist, but they seemed to pick them at random and given them only a few days. This is not a great choice as there are basically no reviews that are any good and that can only keep people from preordering it. Combine that with the price and the availability of passable alternatives will only end up hurting the Companions sales.

    They need to get these in the hands of digital artist for a few weeks and have them blog about their experience. When Gabe at Penny Arcade talked up the Surface it definitely helped and is what made me interested in the first place. I'd love to buy a Wacom but with no real user info out there it is a scary prospect considering the dated hardware (which causes issues in the original Surface when running art programs). Just wish there was more real info and demos out there, as it is I will have to wait till probably next year to purchase a new art tablet after I hear real reviews from artist.

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    1. I apologize about my months-long delay in response--I had no awareness my little blog here (which I post only occasionally) had attracted so much attention. I also apologize for this reply's length, but after reading this, there should be no dispute left about my point.

      I'm aware that the Surface Pro 2 has a better processor than the Surface Pro. I focused only on the Surface Pro then because the Surface Pro 2 wasn't yet released, there were no official Surface Pro 2 tech specs to compare at the time, and my point was about people comparing the specialized likes of the Cintiq with general-use likes of the Surface Pro.

      However, in terms of the Surface Pro 2 having a "better" CPU in comparison to the Cintiq Companion, that would depend on what you value more: a noticeable boost in horsepower and or noticeable boost in energy efficiency.

      >> The Surface Pro 2 uses a 4th-generation Intel Core i5-4200 “Haswell” CPU running at 1.7GHz, with 3MB cache, and Intel HD Graphics 4400 with a base frequency of 200 MHz and a max dynamic frequency of 1 GHz.

      >> The Cintiq Companion uses a 3rd-generation Intel Core i-7-3517U CPU running at 1.9 GHz, with 4MB with Smart Cache (compared to Surface Pro 2's standard means of caching), with Intel HD Graphics 4000 with a base frequency of 350 MHz and a max dynamic frequency of 1.15 GHz.

      The battery life of the Surface Pro 2 has been tested by several reviews to reach a life of about 8 hours with moderately-high settings. The battery life of the Cintiq Companion's battery life is stated at about 5 hours. The greater horsepower, however, is still in the Cintiq Companion's favor.

      (Part 1 of 3)

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    2. (Part 2 of 3)

      Realistically, even if I bought a Surface Pro 2 instead, I'd still be plugged up to an open socket while sitting at a coffee shop most days, and I can't think of too many scenarios where I'm working away from a nearby socket for 8 hours. I think for many other Cintiq users, while better battery life would be nice, the 5 hours is enough.

      Just speaking for myself here, it's not improved battery that would be my biggest selling point in choosing between the Surface Pro 2 or the Cintiq Companion for a professional tool--it's the actual graphic tablet functionalities.

      The Cintiq Companion features 2048 levels of pressure--and after using 2048 levels of pressure, I simply can't go back to the likes of 1024 levels of pressure, which is what the Surface Pro 2 uses--which is sufficient for its purpose as a general-use tablet.

      I forgot to mention in the blog post that the Companion also features pen tilt recognition with the stylus--something the Surface Pro 2 as well as all other general-use tablets lack completely. You lose half your potential with Photoshop and ZBrush right there.

      And finally, the Companion features a 13.3-inch display with 75% Adobe RGB color gamut, which significantly outshines the Surface Pro 2's 10.6 inch display with 54% Adobe RGB gamut. The picture color accuracy's no contest.

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    3. (Part 3 of 3)

      My ONLY point here was that the Companion's primary purpose is as a Cintiq first, which offers some added tablet functionality to make the full Cintiq experience more readily useful when on-the-go. It's not offering to compete with general-use tablets--it's only offering added tablet functionality to Cintiqs.

      And while some artists certainly can and do find their Surface Pro 2 tablets as good enough for their own needs, you simply won't find a Cintiq-level graphics tablet experience on a Surface Pro 2--and anyone who's tried them both immediately knows.

      They're pricey, since nobody else offers the 2048 levels of pressure with pen tilt recognition, all with multitouch gestures, a richer color gamut, and a patented dual-tipped battery/wire-free pen stylus, I'll pay what they want to have as much.

      When it comes to general tablet functionality, the Surface Pro 2 is the way to go. But when it come to graphics tablet functionality, however, regardless of its shortcomings with general-use tablet functionality, the Cintiq is still in a league of its own.

      Thanks for reading, and if you have a reply, I'll just let you have the last word.

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    4. There is simply no way to compare these 2, only if you are an ignorant idiot.

      Cintiq stands for highest quality graphic tablets, and here in ADDITION, you have a windows 8 system, and awesome hardware, and the ADDITION itself is better than the surface they're ranting over uncontrolabbly.

      It's like comparing apples, and aCintiq with a nonstop apple income. Doesn't make sense like that sentence.

      Delete
  5. Wow. That was a ridiculous read. Both of the new Cintiqs have OLD, last generation Ivy Bridge processors. Wacom could have used newer Haswell processors for way better battery life, yet they choose to put in something outdated and charge more than what I'd consider to be competing prodcuts (which you all seem to dismiss - let's not forget other Wacom Penabled tablets like the T902 though).

    The difference between 1024 and 2048 levels of pressure isn't exactly something noticeable either. The Cintiq, while bearing a 13.3" screen, has the footprint of a 15" machine due to the humongous bezels Wacom needs to provide an oversized digitizer to get rid of the jitter near the edges.

    Now that the Surface Pro 2 is out, the Cintiq Companion is even more ridiculous. The SP2 configured with the 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM is priced at $1299. There's even an option to go for 512GB/8GB. Color accuracy's also improved on the SP2.

    I'm not saying the Cintiq Companion is a bad product. It's just overpriced - much like the rest of Wacom's lineup. It's due to their monopoly of being the only recognized "professional" solution for artists. They even gimped the Windows version by not including the ability to use it as only a display like a traditional Cintiq (despite bearing the Cintiq name). Ridiculous, really.

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    1. (I apologize for the lengthy delay in reply--I had no idea my tiny corner of the digital world had merited so much notice.)

      Well, there's nothing I can do if you felt the post was "ridiculous." That's your own opinion, and it's neither my goal nor care to try to change it here. But some of your counterargument was painfully-flawed.

      I won't argue the point of Cintiq Companion's choice of processors. Frankly, yes, they could've chosen a better processor. However, the point that you missed completely was that the Companion's primary functionality is as a CINTIQ FIRST, with only tablet functionality added to provide CINTIQ USERS (a highly-specific demographic) with some extended options of portability.

      What someone buys a Cintiq Companion for is primarily its functionality as a Cintiq. Many artists buying a Cintiq Companion already have a general-use tablet.

      Yes, for its added tablet functionality, a newer processor would've been a better choice, but again, for the purpose of the primary reason for buying a Cintiq Companion is for its Cintiq functionality, the processor is sufficient.

      The tablet functionalities are just added incentive to people wanting a Cintiq, to make the Cintiq itself more attractive to artists who might want to take their Cintiq experience with them on the road.

      (Part 1 of 3)

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    2. (Part 2 of 3)

      Though, why did you compare the Cintiq Companion with the likes of the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T902? It only has 256 levels of pressure, no tilt recognition, and has no shortcut conveniences like ExpressKeys or the Touch Ring,

      The Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T902, like most general-use tablets, offers functionality as a graphics tablet is several times inferior to even Wacom's lowest-end model, the Intuos Pen (formerly the Bamboo), which has four times more the levels of pressure. ALL general-use tablets feature inferior displays compared to a Cintiq--there's not a single model available that compares to the full functionality of a Cintiq.

      Now, I cannot speak for you concerning the difference between 1024 and 2048 levels of pressure--that depend on how exactly you use your tablet. However, I think just about anyone who's gone from a Bamboo to an Intuos4 or Intuos5 has IMMEDIATELY noticed the difference in sensitivity. When using a Wacom in sculpting such as in ZBrush or sketching in Sketchbook Pro, the difference in sensitivity is significantly noticeable.

      You may personally think the Cintiq Companion is an "oversized digitizer," and fine--to you, it's an oversized digitizer. Though, again, a Cintiq's first home is on a desk at home. The Companion just makes the Cintiq a more portable experience. You STILL want your precious screen as a Cintiq, so naturally, the size of the tablet is bigger than most other general-use tablets. But still, it's not so big that you can't put it in a briefcase or backpack.

      You were just nitpicking here.

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    3. (Part 3 of 3)

      As for comparing the Cintiq Companion with the Surface Pro 2, did you actually read anything at all that I said about the differences between a Companion and a Surface Pro (which most of its actual hardware design went unchanged for Surface Pro 2)?

      From what I could scarcely find, the color gamut on a Surface Pro 2 is apparently still just a 54% Adobe RGB color gamut--compared to the Companion's 75% Adobe RGB color gamut. I think the display is brighter in the Surface Pro 2, but it's color gamut still isn't ideal for color-accurate graphic work.

      Though, the Cintiq Companion, while using a last-gen processor, isn't costing too much more than if you bought a Cintiq 13HD and a 8 GB RAM/512 GB SSD Surface Pro 2. It'd cost about $2800 doing it that way.

      Buying a Cintiq 13HD and a cheaper tablet than the high-end Surface Pro 2 will set you with a combined tech spec configuration lesser than what specs the Companion's features. So if you're looking to buy a Cintiq anyways, and would like some tablet functionality with it, you might as well stick with getting the Companion.

      As I mentioned above tonight to itsPogues, the Companion's processor is technically still more powerful than the Surface Pro 2's processor--though, out-powering the Surface Pro is NOT the Companion's aim. Again, for someone interested in buying a Cintiq anyways, this offering of the Companion is just there to whom among Cintiq customers it may concern.

      You also seem to have a chip on your shoulders about Wacom. There's not much reasoning I can offer that will matter to anyone with their mind already well set. The point as to why I provided reasons was that a Cintiq tablet just shouldn't be compared as if it's competing for the same market as a general-use tablet.

      You didn't refuted my point.

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  6. This seems to show that wacom processor is slightly better than the surface pro 2...though the battery may not benefit as much in the wacom....

    http://www.game-debate.com/cpu/index.php?pid=1882&pid2=1019&compare=core-i5-4200u-1-6ghz-vs-core-i7-3517u-2-core-1-9ghz

    http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/857/Intel_Core_i5_Mobile_i5-4200U_vs_Intel_Core_i7_Mobile_i7-3517U.html

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    1. You are exactly correct. The biggest benefit of the 4th Gen Processor isn't speed, it's power consumption. (And portability lives and dies by the battery life.)

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  7. The hybrid is pointless unless you see portability as just a toy.
    Laggy brushes and no decent OS. Kills workflow. Save $500 on a 13HD or spend more. I thought you said you were making some money off these professional tools.

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    1. (This is late, but hey, I had no idea my humble blog site caught so many eyes until now.)

      1) For my own needs, I personally don't need very much tablet functionality, though, it'd be nice to be able to do some light sketches whenever the thought may strike me and to save those sketches.

      For this purpose, I wouldn't rely on the heavier likes of Photoshop or Painter to achieve this--I would instead use two free lightweight programs that's native to Linux to begin with: Krita and MyPaint.

      Likewise, I can open the files saved on a Cintiq Hybrid on my Windows notebook, since I have their Windows counterparts installed.

      I said it was "only $500 more" because since I'd just save up for it in parts (I haven't yet bought a Hybrid, but it's still a consideration), stretching for $500 more wouldn't be too much more to save towards.

      Though, again, as I clearly stated in my blog post, the MAIN reason why I find interest in the Hybrid over the normal 13HD is to gain the benefit of its multi-touch functionality, and if I were going to spend $2,000+ on a tablet at all, I'd just get a 22HD.

      If I could cut out the most pain-in-the-neck aspect of using programs like Mudbox out of the way (I HATE using the keyboard for basic 3D navigation) by gaining multi-touch gestures, then I'd consider that more than a bargain for my case.

      2) Nowhere in my entire article did I claim I was making some money off these professional tools. I only spoke of professionalism generally and objectively. I do own a Wacom Intuos4 and I do graphic work (mostly 3D sculpting) for my own independent projects and selling 3D game assets, but I'm actually a programmer.

      3) If I should buy a Hybrid, it's my personal choice. I didn't even recommend it here--I merely pointed out which Cintiq model personally interested me.

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  8. Thanks for writing. I was playing with the idea of trying out the surface - and I'm a cintiq guy - and then snapped back to reality. The ROI on my Cintiq is makes it a no-brainer. I look forward to loading Adobe CC on this SOB and get to work!

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  9. "Why are you comparing a professional-level Cintiq product with a normal consumer-level product?"
    Because this 'consumer-level' product is capable of meeting the needs of professionals, as the likes of Mike Krahulik and Christy Karacas will attest.

    "The most unprofessional thing you can do is complain about the price of professional tools"
    There are those who can exercise a bit of critical thinking, and see that the best tool for the job isn't always the one with the highest price tag.

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    1. Capable? Yeah, sure. Depending who you are and what your needs are. Of course, just by looking at Mike Krahulik and Christy Karacas' work, it doesn't seem like their needs require much more than what a Surface Pro/Surface Pro 2 might offer.

      But go talk to a concept artist who works for a next-gen game studio, or a 3D sculptor working on a sci-fi movie, or perhaps a book illustrator who does a painterly illustration style requiring a little more finesse than Krahulik and Karacas' looser gag cartoon/web-comic style, and you'll probably get a different story.

      The tool that works for you will naturally depend on the kind of work you do. For some people, 1024 levels of pressure and no pen tilt recognition isn't holding them back for what they need to do. For others, that 2048 levels of pressure and pen tilt sensitivity makes a world of difference.

      I've made no case against how a Surface Pro isn't useful--I've merely pointed out the difference with the Companion and how the Surface Pro meets a DIFFERENT NEED, and so the two ought not to be compared as if they're both trying to meet the same market with the same needs.


      Though, I wish folks would not argue points I never made. I never indicated that the Surface Pro (now Surface Pro 2) wasn't suitable or capable for meeting the needs of some professionals' needs. I merely made the point that people should not compare a Wacom Cintiq Companion as if it's aiming for the same general purpose or general market as the Surface Pro.

      I also wish you'd not insult my critical thinking as well, esp. before examining your own. I never said the best tool for the job is always the one with the highest price tag. Oh, and thanks for conveniently choosing to leave out my added "in most cases, anyways."

      You have two routes when faced with expensive tools: You can save up for the tool you want, or you can find an alternative means to produce your desired results. But it makes little sense here in this matter with the Cintiqs to complain about their price in comparison to another product geared towards another completely-different market.

      Nearly every Cintiq owner I've seen and met has felt its worth in their career. Cintiq allows them to work faster and more naturally than anything out there. Like I said, it pays for itself. The most unprofessional thing someone can do here is complain about something that, if they're sufficient, it should prove to be a worthy investment.


      The point of my post wasn't at all that you shouldn't look into alternatives for yourself or even that the Surface Pro isn't sufficient for some people, but rather, that you should stop confusing the primary purposes of those two products. But I shouldn't any more waste time here arguing points I never made.

      Though, since you didn't notice, I ended my own blog post by saying that even I didn't have much use for the fuller Companion model, but would rather settle with lowest-end Wacom's Companion Hybrid model. I've already destroyed your second point.

      Delete
  10. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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  11. Hi, regarding...

    " I can't think of many scenarios with myself where I'd need a Cintiq so much while on-the-go that I'd pass on getting a much better at-home Cintiq."

    How exactly is the 22HD better than the companion? not counting size/portability or any other physical properties...

    I'm asking, because I was planning to pick up a 22HD touch or 13HD touch before I came across the companion.

    I'm no artist, but I enjoy being able to carry my tools with me so apart from the screen size / physical properties.. why would the 22HD be better than the companion?

    Or is this just a matter of preference in your case ?

    Thanks,

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    1. I spoke there totally as a matter of my personal preference. I'm at my desk far more than I travel, and prefer a larger size and rotating stand while working, so I prefer a 22HD Cintiq.

      There are a few areas where a 22HD Cintiq excels a bit over a Companion, performance-wise:

      • The 22HD Cintiq has a better response time (14 ms) than the Companion (23 ms), so the screen refreshes better with less ghosting and fewer image artifacts with changing images.
      • The 22HD Cintiq has a higher contrast ratio (1000:1) than the Companion (700:1), so the contrast between the dark and light colors are stronger.
      • The 22HD Cintiq is a bit brighter (230 cd/m2) than the Companion (210 cd/m2).

      I personally just like every bit of performance I can gain here, even if it's not a significant amount. The differences here are noticeable, but not significant.

      With that said, this doesn't necessarily make the 22HD better in all respects and for all cases.

      If you have a higher preference of portability, you'll find the Companion sufficient. The 22HD Cintiq is technically stronger in a few respects, but not significantly.

      Granted, I've never used a Companion, but I have seen a 22HD Cintiq firsthand, which are pretty nice.

      Though, just seeing that the Companion only trails the 22HD Cintiq slightly in a few areas, and matches the 22HD in other areas (resolution, tilt recognition, pressure sensitivity, etc.), it stacks up well.

      If you have a higher preference to travel with your work, you'll be good going with a Companion. You're not losing a whole lot in choosing it over the 22HD, performance-wise.

      Delete
  12. Awesome article.

    I'm not going to lie, I stumbled upon this article looking for cheaper alternatives to the cintiq companion. As someone who only does art as a hobby, I don't "need" something like this, but i still dream of owning any of the cintiqs and it would be awesome if I did.

    I have been doing art digitally for some time now. I still pick up a pencil and paper from time to time but that's usually when I'm away from my home and I always find myself gravitating back to my PC. I guess you could say I'm hooked on those layers lol. Now the idea of being able to do digital art while I lounge out on a couch or while I'm out is something I’ve always wanted, but I was also hoping for some office productivity (Currently a college student). Seeing as the Companion has a windows OS, I’m assuming there is Microsoft Office and the Hybrid would have the google store for me to get a pseudo office suit app. I am also assuming they have Wi-Fi connectivity. So with these assumptions (and please do correct me if I am wrong) these would fit my needs to the T.

    However, the price is a major barrier for me. I’m not going to lie, if I had the money I would splurge on it, but that’s not going to happen lol, and I have read some people say getting a Surface Pro 2 with a Bamboo feel carbon would be a cheaper alternative.

    So my question is, as someone who is not professional artist and most likely never will, should I try and save up for a Cintiq Compaion/Hybrid or go for the cheaper set up? And if you do recommend that I go for the alternative, any recommendations on what I should get?

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    1. A Surface Pro 2 with a Bamboo feel carbon is fine. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that in your case, it's ideal.

      A Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is quite sufficient here. I know of professionals who own a large Cintiq at home who'll use a Surface Pro 2 as their mobile companion for sketches and smaller work which they'll take home to finish. I've seen a comic illustrator demonstrate their working with Surface Pro 2 as almost their primary means of working. It IS capable of such, just to be clear.

      The aim of my blog post was really just to point out the difference in terms of what professionals would be better using, in the long run. It's no discredit to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, but rather a just a clarification between products.

      Though, again, I do know of people who are professionals who do use Surface Pro 2, quite comfortably. It should be plenty sufficient for you. It is quite the capable machine, at a greater value.

      Another reason why I say it's ideal for you is because (in case you didn't know this already) as a student, you can get the Surface Pro 2 at a lower price, where you can buy one starting at about $800 rather than the MSRP starting at $899.

      http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/products/surface-for-students

      So that's another nice perk.

      The best advice I can give you, however, is just to visit an electronics store and play with a Surface Pro 2 yourself, if you can. Chances are, you'll love how it feels (they are nice and responsive to the touch), and that'll ensure your confidence in getting one. I think you'll be very pleased with this alternative.

      Also, if you want an idea of what some work other folks have done with a Surface Pro 2, just Google Image searches like "Surface Pro 2 sketches" or "Surface Pro 2 ZBrush," and you'll get a general idea.

      Good luck! And thanks for reading!

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  13. The thing is though, why pay a premium price for a sub-par product?
    It's true that the wacom brand has become synonymous with quality graphics tablets. They've dominated the market for so long that they can get away with charging absurdly high prices. Many people work hard to earn their money. Obviously, price and budgeting is going to be a big part of the decision making process when purchasing such a product. That and quality. Not everyone is made of money... even the "professionals".

    Wacom products like bamboo, intuos, and certain cintiq models have received favorable feedback because they were of high quality. Unfortunately, the cintiq companions fall short of perfection. I've already seen several reviews and user experiences expressing their discontent at having wasted not only valuable time but precious money on a tablet that does not live up to its predecessors in terms of quality, performance, and bang for buck. It's a shame because they're a good company with amazing quality products. But some customers feel that this tablet was a rushed project, with some software-related glitches and kinks that the company should've worked out prior to releasing them.

    Can a surface compare to a cintiq companion? No, not exactly. Is it a better option if you want decent bang for your buck and similar performance? Heck yes. And there's several other tablets with comparable hardware specs and pressure sensitivity that make honorable contenders at MUCH lower prices.

    Hopefully with this knowledge getting out to consumers, and with competitors like Yiynova, Huion, Hanvon, P-Active, Monoprice, and Bosto (okay, those last 2 aren't exactly the best in quality, but still...), wacom will wise up and offer more reasonable prices! And better customer support.

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  14. So considering that this was written 2 years ago, how about an update comparing the new Surface Pro 4 with the Cintique Companion 2. I'm try to decide which for my son (he's 19...freshman in college going for a graphic design degree). Both are about $1300. The Cintique Companion 2 is 13" while the Surface Pro 4 is 12". Battery life on the Pro 4 is supposed to be better and I can get an i5 with 128g vs the Cintique Companion 2 which is an i3 with 64g. The Surface is lighter too but the Cintique has the dedicated buttons. So which would run the graphics software he needs better and which will allow him to create more professional artwork?

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  15. The closest competitor to the cheaper Cintiq models is the Artisul D13. I'm sure you've heard of it. It is just superb. If you get a chance to try one out, take it!

    DigiZap

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