Youtube Facebook Twitter Deviantart My feed Feed directly to your inbox

Wacom Cintiq reviewed in deep

18 June 2008

Articles, Reviews

Wacom Cintiq reviewed in deep
Choose your language / Elige tu idioma:englishespañol

After long time of hesitation, I finally decided to buy a Wacom Cintiq!!!

For those who don’t know much about it, the Wacom Cintiq is a monitor on which you can paint directly on the screen, sensitive to 1024 pressure levels, just like Intuos tablets. It’s the dream of an illustrator, the material dreams are made of!!!

Have a look to the Wacom Cintiq in action, isn’t it wonderful?

(If you’re a beginner and you don’t really know what a pen tablet is, what it is for, or if you will find it profitable, I advise you to read the “Manual to choose your first pen tablet”)

The applicants: Wacom Cintiq 21UX and 12WX

Wacom Cintiq
The 20WSX version doesn’t seem to be available in Europe.

First, we have the Wacom Cintiq 21UX, a 21 inches monitor and 1024 pressure levels, with reclining stand and rotative axis. Its price in European shops is about 2500€ (about 4000US$) while in the shops of the United States it’s 2000US$.

The second option is the Wacom Cintiq 12wx, a pen tablet with integrated screen and 12 inches display, with 1024 pressure levels. Its price is 1153€ (about 2000US$) for Europeans, and 1000 US$ for the United States.

Now you may be wondering: Why to buy it in Europe, when you can do it at half its price in the United States? Simple: You’d lose the whole manufacturer warranty, besides of the cost of the shipping. If you’re a freelance and have an Intracomunitary NIF (a mere formalism), you can get it VAT free in Pixmania-Pro, and then you’d have it for 2068€. Moreover, you can reduce the income tax on 20%, so the total price would be around 1650€ for the 21UX and 790€ for the 12WX.

My choice: Cintiq 21UX

Wacom Cintiq 21UX
Cool picture, but forget about using it in that position, it weighs 10 kg. (22,05 pounds)

  • The Cintiq 21WX is very comfortable when it comes to draw, it’s much easier to coordinate eye and hand. Besides it’s huge, which eases the stroke.
  • The 12WX is a choice between the 21UX and traditional tablets, not very comfortable for drawing because of its small size, and quite more expensive than Intuos ones. It’s true that it’s more portable, but for that I already have my old Intuos 3, for just a bit more than 200€.


My working area. Did you expect thousands of toys and comics? I’m a businessman :P

In less than 20 minutes I already had my Cintiq assembled and ready, it’s super-easy to install. I have it connected to my old monitor, so my working space is doubled. It’s like having a double-wide Windows desktop.
It’s a really good detail that the outlets are both in European and American version. Furthermore, it has adaptors for DVI-I, DVI-D and VGA connections.


It was one of my main worries when I was going to buy it… Where will I place this doohickey? There must be a place on your desk for the mouse (in my case my Wacom Intuos 3) and the keyboard, in addition to my old monitor (a 24 inches CRT).

Wacom Cintiq at work
Up: Working position, down: Navigation position.

So I have two positions: working, with the tablet in front of me and mouse and keyboard on both sides, and navigation, with the keyboard in front of me and the mouse on one side.
Surprisingly everything matches without any problem: Thanks to the Express Keys (programmable lateral keys), the need of using the keyboard is lesser, which makes the work more comfortable.

Cintiq 21UX

The Wacom Cintiq is assembled on a reclining and rotative stand, which it’s great when it comes to draw. You can rotate the monitor, just like it was a piece of paper, and to incline it, like it was a drawing table.

The Cintiq display surface is excellent, it has a very natural touch when it comes to draw, which is something to be grateful for.


Generally, the Wacom Cintiq allows more precise works than pen tablets; the eye-hand coordination and the fact that you can rotate the screen let your hand make more natural movements. The number of times I use CTRL+Z has been decreased in 30-50%.

For jobs like painting it’s not very different from mi Wacom Intuos, though the efficiency is better. For drawing jobs, the efficiency is much higher. The more precise the job is, more different I find it from traditional pen tablets.


It doesn’t match the consistency of the old CRT monitors, but to my surprise the image quality is quite good. I calibrated it in just a few minutes, the colours are quite good and it offers a generous angle of sight. It has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels, which is more than enough.

To cut a long story short, it’s a decent TFT active matrix LCD, and remember that you can use it together with your CRT monitor, this way any colour problem is solved.


  • The screen you lean on releases heat, if you live in a warm place, you already have your sauna at home for this summer.
  • Due to the heat and the friction, sensitive hands may suffer a bit. Then you’ll have to buy a SmudgeGuard.
  • Because of its big size, you have to be athletic to reach the corners without getting tired, specially if you’re used to small tablets.
  • When you work with the stand in horizontal position, the Light from the ceiling reflects on the screen, even though the Cintiq mat surface is quite good. So, you have to choose between working in the dark or putting the lights on the floor.
  • On its horizontal position the Cintiq is about 10 cm (3,94 inches) above the desk, so you may need a higher seat.
  • While navigating through the pallets on the left in Photoshop, I usually touch the Touch Strip (zoom) by accident, which is quite bothering, although left-handed people will find it good. This problem can be solved by deactivating the Express Keys.
  • There’s a small distance between the screen and the monitor surface, at first it can be bothering but it’s not a big problem. Besides, in the software there’s an application to calibrate that difference.
  • It’s a bit heavy (10,2kg), so you can’t use it out of your desk (in opposition to 12WX model).


It’s still too soon to make a conclusion, but I have to say I’m very happy with my Cintiq. If you can afford it, the Wacom Cintiq is a wonderful device, it’s beautiful, efficient, well designed, and the most important thing: It will increase your productivity and comfort when it comes to work. You will probably need some time of accommodation, specially if you have been working with traditional tablets for a long lime, like me.

Thanks a lot to Anita for translating this article from spanish to english, please give her some love for spending some of her time with no other intention than help you :)

This post was written by:

- who has written 58 posts on SOSFactory Blog.

My name’s Sergio Ordoñez I´m illustrator, graphic and web designer. A selection of my work is included at SOSFactory. If you want to support this blog, please be an active member: tweet the posts, participate in the discussions and the exercises :)

Contact the author

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Zaens:

    1º No soy comercial de nadie, por suerte mi trabajo me da para vivir muy bien, mi opinión está basada en mi experiencia personal.
    2º Sólo censuro comentarios impropios, como el que acabas de hacer insultándome.
    3º Te equivocaste de post, tú amigo comentó en este otro post.

    Ahí­ mismo puedes leer mi opinión al respecto, aunque te la resumo: tu amigo al igual que tú deberí­a informarse antes de escribir incoherencias, a ser posible sin faltas de ortografí­a.


  • Yoshiro

    Hola Sergio, felicitaciones por la nueva imagen de tu página.
    Me da un gustazo visitar tu página cada vez, siempre encuentro cosas que me ayudan un montón, gracias de nuevo por aconsejarme con la tableta. el lunes voy por la bamboo.

    Lamento los malos comentarios que te ponen, como el del tipo de la genius y su amigo. Pero muy buenas tus respuestas.

    Saludos desde Guatemala.


    please visit my blog for my personal review on all the cintiq products and best deals.

  • Pingback: How to Choose a Graphics Tablet that Fits Your Needs

  • Pingback: How to Choose a Graphics Tablet that Fits Your Needs | MisrIT Reader (Beta)

  • radioflash24

    hoal bro… a ti te deben pagar no?

    por que si haces este tipo de publicidad eres un…

    mejor me callo por que me caes super bien =) xD

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Ni me pagan ni hago publicidad, sólo doy mi opinión sobre un producto que me parece magnífico.

  • binay

    wish i had one :D