Cintiq Alternative Reviewed

Illustrator Ray Frenden was disappointed with his Wacom Cintiq 20WSX and had reservations about giving the company another stack of cash for a “sluggish, incremental, trivial” new generation model:

The last generation of Cintiqs based on Intuos 3 tech had some significant issues with display quality. They used cheap TN panels. They looked muddy and washed out. An anti-glare coating on the back of the plastic screens worsened an already low contrast ratio and robbed the colors of what little vibrancy they had. The newer Cintiqs, like the 24HD, have IPS panels similar to the Apple Cinema Displays. Others have said the display quality is a vast improvement over the last-gen models. That said, the new 24HD has a lower PPI than even my older 20WSX, so I’m healthily skeptical. […]

I’d be less harsh on the Cintiqs if Wacom weren’t demanding such a hefty price for what amounts to little more than an Intuos digitizer with a cheap LCD slapped atop. […] I felt I should at least look into other options when buying a new tablet monitor for a second machine.

Not finding many reliable reviews, he took matters into his own hands. He ordered two models made by Yiynova, the $299 10.1″ DP10 and the $499 19″ MSP19, and extensively documented his experience.

From my read, the hardware was better than he expected, though he did get one dud which the distributor replaced. Both had flaky driver support, and neither worked well in Mac OS. But they worked passably in Windows, with the DP10 performing better than the MSP19.

Given the price point, less than half Wacom’s comparable models, these devices might be attractive to students or illustrators who want to try out a tablet display. Either way, it looks like Wacom has some competition and might have to up the ante.

Click through for Frenden’s full review, unboxing and demo videos

Wacom Unveils the Intuos5

Wacom Intuos5

Wacom, the undisputed champion of professional-grade input tablets, has outdone themselves with their new Intuos5 line.

They’ve simplified and refined all aspects of the Intuos4 to focus on productivity and a tidy workspace. Gone are the distracting OLED screens, the glossy finish, and all wires. Replacing them are an intuitive, customizable on-screen menu system that keeps your eyes on your work instead of your hands, a smooth, uncluttered and durable matte finish that Batman himself may have designed, and an optional wireless kit that consists of a transmitter, a USB receiver and a Li-ion battery with a 6 to 16 hour charge depending on the size of the tablet.

Intuos4 (above) vs Intuos5 (below)

They’ve also added multi-touch sensitivity and gesture recognition, so you can use the ten pens you were born (up to 16, if you’re some kind of freak) or their now-standard stylus that offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. A button toggles between pen and touch modes to avoid accidental input.

Intuos5 Multitouch Gestures

US prices range from $230 to $470 depending on size, and they should be shipping very soon.

For more info, check out Engadget’s hands on, and Wacom’s product page.

Thanks to Larry for the tip!

The Textbook, Reinvented

Yesterday, Apple announced a joint initiative with publishers to bring textbooks to the iPad. This move would make them cheaper, lighter, always up to date, and—of interest to us—more richly illustrated and interactive.

When we set out to bring textbooks to iPad, there were really three areas we focused on: we wanted to have really fast, fluid navigation, we wanted to have beautiful graphics, we wanted to create an easier way to take notes.

—Roger Rosner, VP Productivity Applications, Apple

Apple also released a free iBooks authoring suite, iBooks Author. This application enables anyone to write, design, create interactive modules, and publish a book to the iBooks store for sale.

Medical Illustration in iPad Textbook

Scientific Illustration in iPad Textbook

While I’m not sure that the iPad is a more durable medium than paper for kindergardeners through high school students (could you see yourself in your garage with a iHaynes manual?), this is certainly an encouraging development for our trade. It demonstrates that people learn best, are enthusiastic about learning, when information is presented in a highly visual, immersive way.

The choice of graphics shown might also be a signal that if you’re not dabbling in 3D, motion and interactivity yet, it might be a good time to start. Remember, every threat is also an opportunity.


So I’m still rockin this old Wacom Intuos 2 6×8 Platinum, it’s still a nice tablet but I’m considering the upgrade. The thing I don’t like is that there are no interchangable nibs which give you different feels. It’s very plasticy feeling. I like the Intuos 3 with the graphite tips. Maybe I should take sand paper to the nib or something? Do you guys mod your pens at all?


INTUOS 4 – Worth the loot?


Anyway, who’s using this shiny new Intuos 4? How do you like it? It seems like they keep getting more expensive, is it worth it? What size would you get to go with a 24″ Imac?