Top positive review
100 people found this helpful
I love this thing!
on 28 December 2008
I've had my Cintiq 12WX since October but have been holding back on giving a review for a couple of months, mostly so that I can get a really good feel for the thing (I didn't want to fall into the trap of giving a very expensive piece of equipment 5 stars when it was just out of the box and I was still in the "OH WOW!" phase of Cintiq 12WX ownership).
The "OH WOW!" phase? Well, yeah. Going from a traditional graphics tablet, where your eyes are not looking at what your hands are doing, to this thing, where you draw directly into the screen, has a big "wow" effect on you. It feels much more natural.
Things I like.
Drawing directly into the screen feels great! This more naturalistic drawing does seem to lead to greater productivity (at least for me) since you're not constantly trying to guess what your hand or the pen is doing in relation to the onscreen brush/pointer/cursor. I really love this.
There's no delay between what you do with the pen, and what appears on the screen. I mention this because Wacom makes a larger tablet like this which has been criticised for having bad pen-to-display lag. The Cintiq 12WX seems to avoid this problem by literally being two devices, a graphics tablet and a monitor, which your computer treats as completely separate devices. You're probably thinking that there are three or four wires that come out of the tablet now. Actually, there is only one cable and it plugs into a little black box. All the different wires, leads and cables (power cable, usb cable and monitor cable) sprout from the little black box instead. It's a nice solution to avoiding the 'wire clutter'.
I don't know if it's the drawing surface or the supplied nib, but the friction between surface and pen feels just about right (for me at least). With my previous Wacom tablet I used the high friction nibs for a less 'slippy' feel to the pen, and I've known others who tape a sheet of paper over the drawing surface to get the same result. Of course this drawing 'feel' is just my personal preference.
For a tablet with a monitor built into it, the 12WX is surprisingly light. It's much lighter than a stand-alone monitor for instance, and is only slightly heavier than my old tablet. It's also very thin (probably just over a centimetre in thickness). The combination of those two things makes the tablet very moveable on your desktop and very portable too.
The rear aluminium stand gives the tablet two drawing positions - flat on the table, or a low angle like an easel. When not in use you can save desk space by standing the tablet up at a high angle with the stand, which lets you use it like a second monitor. The stand is stiff enough that you don't have to worry about the tablet moving, though it's not stiff enough to allow you to draw on it at any angle.
When the tablet is flat on the desk it has a rotation point on the back that allows you to rotate the entire tablet like a piece of paper when you're drawing - a very useful feature which isn't possible with non-display tablets (because you can't rotate the display).
There are ten express keys (five on each side) that can be re-mapped to just about any keystroke or function that you can imagine (a great time saver). When the tablet is up on its stand they're comfortably under the thumb too. I've mapped my most used keystrokes and tools to the pen and the left-hand side express keys, meaning that I rarely have to use the keyboard when drawing.
Things I'm not so keen on.
The pen tracking on the very edges of the screen (the last 5-8mm or so) is rather bad. It's fine for dragging scroll bars and selecting tools, but not for drawing. However, this only affects a tiny percentage of the screen (the very edge) and the tracking on the rest of the screen is absolutely A+.
If you're right-handed you'll find that the lower right area of the screen (ie - the area where your hand will be most of the time) will get pretty toasty after prolonged usage. It's not painful, but I find myself working with my hand raised above the surface when it gets too toasty because of prolonged use. (The area is probably where the monitor power enters the tablet or something). It won't affect left-handers, but righties might find that they have to minimise their project and take a break occasionally to allow the tablet to cool. That 'hotspot' is probably in the worst possible place.
On balance I'd say the good things about this tablet *massively* outweigh the bad. It's one of those upgrades that you never regret, like upgrading your TV from black-and-white to colour, or your music player from a CD-player to a MP3-player. After the upgrade you wonder how you managed without it.
The worst thing about the 12WX is the price. It's probably about 2-3 times more expensive than your current non-display tablet. If you're upgrading your tablet, and if you don't mind spending a lot of money for a really good tool, then this thing is for you. However, because of the price, I would not recommend this as anyone's *first* graphics tablet.