Wacom Cintiq 12WX Review


Wacom Cintiq 12 WX Review

I purchased the Cintiq 12WX in July 2011, and thought I should share my review.  I beat my head against a wall for months trying to decide if the $1000 price tag was really worth it or not.  The verdict:  Oh yeah.

WHAT I USE IT FOR:  Digital painting, comic book “inking,” sketching, graphic design, photo manipulation.


  • The added accuracy of drawing directly on the screen improved my efficiency, speed, and quality overnight.  I found that I spent far less time fixing mistakes.  I don’t think I could ever go back to a standard tablet.
  • The pen itself tracks very well, and it uses the new Intuous 4 pen, which has a slimmer and more comfortable feel than the older model.
  • The shortcut buttons and touch strips on the sides are fantastic for speeding up work.  You can set them up to do any keyboard shortcut, or even a string of shortcuts, and even set up different functions for each program.  When drawing, I rarely use my keyboard anymore.  This also makes it possible to kick back in a comfy chair and have the cintiq in your lap, far away from your computer.  And that brings us to the next one:
  • The cord is VERY long.  I think it’s 6 feet, to the terminal box, which means you have quite a bit of flexibility.
  • Small and lightweight.  It’s easy to pack into a laptop bag or back pack and tack with you.  Of course, you’ll need your lap top too.


  • The cursor jiggles as the pen reaches the very edges of the screen.  This normally isn’t a problem for me, since almost all of my drawing/painting is done in the middle of the screen.  It is most noticeable when trying to drag a slider.
  • There are a lot of cords.  Not a huge deal.  I bring it back and forth from work, and it takes about a minute to unpack and set up, now that I’ve got it down to a reflex.  But don’t lose or break the adapter or VGA/DVI component – it will code you $250 to replace!  Luckily that hasn’t happened to me.
  • Half the pressure sensitivity of the larger Cintiqs.  This is noticeable mostly when digital painting, or trying to draw a very, very light line.  If comparing normal tablets, it’s probably more similar to the bamboo then the super-sensitive Intuous 4.
  • The screen is small.  It’s a little smaller than an 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  That doesn’t sound too bad, until you throw your menus and swatches on the screen.  I quickly changed the way I work, so that all the menus are collapsed, and I hit TAB a lot to hide everything.  It helps to have a second monitor, and to throw a second window of your work on the screen at  a larger size, because on the Cintiq, you will most likely have to work zoomed in a lot.
  • The stand in the back is adjustable to any angle, from flat on the desk, to nearly 90 degrees.  The problem is, once you put your weight on the screen, it tends to slowly slide down.  I found that putting a simple clamp ($1 at Lowes) on the stand where it meets the unit keeps it in place, even when leaning on it.
THE VERDICT:  This is the only Cintiq that I’ve tried, so it’s difficult to compare.  However, I love this unit so much, that I wish I had taken an extra leap and gotten the larger, more sensitive model, the Cintiq 21.  This is mostly because of the larger screen and added sensitivity.  Though if $1000 is all you can afford, it’s well worth it!  If you’re a professional illustrator, the benefits of drawing directly on screen will pay for the unit in no time.

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.

2 replies
  1. Luiz Alexandre
    Luiz Alexandre says:

    My friend,sorry my bad english, i from Brazil and i have a sister in the USA,i kept some money and i will buy a Cintiq 12WX.
    in Brasil this one cost four thousand U.S. dollars.
    your review was enlightening for me, tanks.
    I have a bamboo fun for now.
    see my blog my comics and my graphics, give me your opinion tanks.

    • Brian Allen
      Brian Allen says:

      I actually ended up selling my Cintiq 12WX to another artist, because I ended up using the Cintiq 24HD all the time, and it was a shame to have the 12WX collecting dust. Nice artwork by the way!


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