I’d love to say I’m doing a review of this new Wacom Cintiq 13HD “portable” unit because I was sent one by Wacom to test drive, but they don’t return my phone calls. sooooo…. I only know what I’ve read like most of the rest of the world. However, I am a veteran of using 4 different models of the Cintiq (five if you include borrowing a pal’s original Cintiq 15sx to do a job when I was on vacation), including the 12wx which I did review hands on, so after seeing the specs of this new model I can safely make some recommendations for my fellow digital artist gadget junkies.
Save your money for the real thing.
Don’t get me wrong, they fixed a lot of the stuff that was bad about the 12wx. For starters, they have a removable stand that will lock into several different angles for whatever works for you, rather than the horrible recessed stand on the 12wx that didn’t allow you to adjust at all. They of course boosted the specs, so you now have a larger screen but in a smaller and lighter unit, higher resolution, 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, greater brightness and larger viewing angle.
All that is great. The biggest improvement, however, is the elimination of the video control “brick”, which used a proprietary single cable that went to the Cintiq and then had three cables going to your computer’s USB port, DVI video port and AC power. The 13HD has what they call the “3 in 1″ cable that looks like it comes directly out of the cintiq, and then splits into three for USB, video via HDMI, and power. I really hated all those cables and the giant brick needed to wrangle them, so that part is attractive. There seems to be no indication anywhere on the Wacom website or in any reviews whether or not the power cable still needs a brick aka transformer, however. The need for an adapter between the HDMI output and a DVI or Mini Port input matters little, since I always needed one for my Mac since the advent of their Mini Port anyway, and they are not expensive.
All sounds good, right? It does if you need a Cintiq RIGHT NOW with some degree of portability. If you already have the 12wx, are not in any hurry for a portable option, or are looking for a non-portable studio solution (just get a real one for an extra grand), take a pass. Cintiq is still not delivering the truly portable solution that everybody is waiting for. That would be:
- All the specs listed above
- On a screen of a full portable computer
- That runs on battery power
In this day of fast evolving tablet computing, it is ridiculous that Wacom still has not partnered up with a computer manufacturer and made a truly portable graphics computer. The 13HD is not it. You still need a separate computer, you still need AC power, you still have cables all over the place. For some reason Wacom is only allowing reduced versions of their technology into other devices like the Modbook Pro and Surface (less pressure sensitivity, no tilt sensitivity, fewer features). It isn’t like they don’t have the technology. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??
Supposedly Wacom is working on a “dream device” that will be a multi touch, full pressure sensitive pen, HD, etc. If it doesn’t run full versions of PhotoShop or Painter, then it’s nothing but an expensive sketchpad, but it would be ALMOST there. I’ll be watching for it, and maybe it will surprise me. This 13HD only makes me wish I could magically transform my 12wx into it for zero money, because while it’s better in many ways than the 12wx they had it is still far short of a real portable solution.