I purchased the Wacom Cintiq 24HD three months ago for $2600 from Wacom.com, and I am absolutely thrilled with it. Keep in mind though, that anyone who spends $2600 on ANYTHING will say just about anything to defend their purchase! But I truly believe it’s already paid for itself. Here is my detailed review:
WHAT IS IT:
The Wacom Cintiq 24HD is the latest in Wacom’s line of Cintiqs, which are essentially monitors that you can draw on using Wacom’s Intuous technology.
WHAT IT IS NOT:
This is not a tablet – meaning, you must have a computer hooked up to it for it to work. Also, it’s not portable in any way (it doesn’t claim to be).
The product comes in an enormous box weighing close to 80 lbs! Make sure to tip the UPS guy. Nearly 30lbs of that weight is in the extensive wrapping, padding, and fasteners that Wacom bundles this thing up in, which should make you feel very comfortable in ordering one. It seems like they could have dropped it from an airplane into my front yard and it would have been fine once I dug it out of the crater.
- Intuous 4 technology, which means it has the 2000+ levels of sensitivity. (The Wacom 12WX, only has half that, and I can personally tell the difference when drawing)
- A ton of programmable buttons and scroll wheels
- It’s attached to a cleverly designed weighted apparatus that allows you to easily shift it from a 90 angle, to almost flat. It can even hang over the edge of your desk!
WHY IT’S BETTER THAN THE CINTIQ 12WX:
- Much, much, much bigger viewing area. It’s 24 inches measured diagonally, and it has a nice widescreen format.
- Twice the pressure sensitivity.
- More programmable buttons – which are also placed in more intuitive positions.
- Much better screen – The resolution is crisper, and it’s not as dark as the Cintiq 12WX. It claims to be 90% of Adobe RGB accurate, and so far I believe it.
- There are no “dead areas” around the edges. For those who have the Wacom 12WX, you’ll know what I’m referring to. When you bring the pen to the edges of the screen (about half an inch), the cursor starts to spasm and wiggle. The Wacom 24WX does no such thing – it allows you to use every last pixel of the screen without an issue.
- The most obvious advantage is being able to draw directly on screen. It feels almost like drawing on paper, with the advantages of a digital workflow.
- Adjustable arm makes this less like a tablet and more like a drafting table. You can literally lean your weight on it when it’s hanging over the edge of your desk and it won’t tip over! (Results may vary, I’m not a big dude). This makes drawing for long hours so much more relaxing and ergonomic. With the Cintiq 12WX I was always hunched over my desk like a … well like a hunch back. But with the 24HD – it is my desk! I constantly switch back and forth between tablet position (30 degrees) when I’m drawing/painting, and monitor position (90 degrees) when doing things like web design where having a tablet is less important.
- Excellent sensitivity and response from the pen.
- The new Intuous Pen is the best yet: It’s slimmer, easier to hold, and comes with about a dozen cool pen tips to try.
- Excellent resolution and color representation. Even out of the box, it looked almost identical to my iMac screen. Once you calibrate it, there are very few difference. So far no surprises when I go to print.
- The buttons and scroll wheels are also the best design yet. They are intuitively placed and they feel very substantial (in my opinion, some of the buttons on the Cintiq 12WX felt a little flimsy). The scroll wheels are so much better than the scroll strips, which I was always hitting by accident. You can program them to do just about anything, and you can have different sets of configurations for different programs (ie. a button can do something different in Photoshop than in Illustrator). By default, the scroll wheels control the brush size, zoom, rotating the page. I programmed one of my wheels to Step Backward and Step Forward, so I can wheel back and forth between my previous steps (basically Undo/Redo). Very helpful to quickly jump back 20 steps, or slowly go back one at a time.
- Every bit of the screen is useable. The cursor doesn’t shake when you get to the edges.
- HUGE screen. It’s large enough to fit all of my Photoshop panels (brushes, layers), the document I’m working on, and even another document or window to use as reference. And the amazing thing is that I’m drawing at actual size – no need to zoom in and out constantly. When I draw a T-Shirt or comic book page, I’m essentially drawing at the exact size that it will be, which is a HUGE improvement.
- Price. It’s hard not to classify this as a con, because, damn that’s a lot of money. I personally think that the time it save in efficiency improvements, and the improvements in quality will pay for itself very quickly. But let’s not dance around this fact: Wacom has a monopoly on this technology and they sure are having a good time with it while they can. But there’s really no question that they are the best.
- Not portable. This might not be fair, because it doesn’t claim to be portable. But at 60lbs, it’s difficult just to move it around your house! You’re not taking this out in the field. So forget about it, and move on.
- Takes up a lot of desk space. Again, this may not be a legitimate Con, because the fact that it’s so big is a good thing. But you’ll want a pretty big desk.
- No pull out keyboard: This may be my mistake, but from watching the promotional videos, it appears that a keyboard pulls out of the bottom of the tablet, which I was excited about. But there isn’t a keyboard – it’s possible that they were just showing that you could put a keyboard “under” the tablet, and lift it up revealing your own keyboard underneath. Not very functional, though. I use my keyboard off to the side. However, there is an onscreen keyboard that pops up with a push of a button, but I don’t find that very useful. It should be noted that with so many programmable buttons, you will use your keyboard much less.
- Can’t be rotated like the Wacom Cintiq 21.” However, in programs such as Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro, you can easily program one of the Wheels to rotate the document. In my opinion, that’s actually easier than rotating the whole screen, and it keeps the information (windows, pallettes, menus) in place right side up, and only rotates the document itself.
If you are a professional illustrator, you should but this immediately, especially if you don’t have any of the Cintiq models. I’ve never used the Wacom Cintiq 21, but I’ve heard it’s very good as well, much better than the Wacom Cintiq 12WX (which is quite a bit older now). I almost considered getting this one instead. However, the 21″ is $2000, which really isn’t that far from $2600 once you are shelling out that kind of cash. And to me, the most important improvement was how it’s designed to be like a drafting table.
If you’ve had any contradicting experiences, or anything else to add, please post them here.
About Flyland Designs:
Flyland Designs is a freelance illustration studio founded in 2006 by illustrator and graphic designer, Brian Allen. With over 10 years of industry experience, Allen has designed mascots, apparel, retail packaging and book and album covers for clients including Hard Rock Café, Jostens, Hasbro, American Greetings and Half Time. Allen’s creative aesthetic attracts children and adults alike. For more information, visit www.flylanddesigns.com.