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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.
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on 11 February 2013
I'm a traditional artist that moved to digital a year ago. I had never used any form of tablet before so I jumped straight in and bought this Cintiq. I was impressed immediately but thought I would wait a while before posting a review because my inexperience in such things may have skewed my perception. I've used it for a year now and can confidently say it's excellent, I would be heart broken to let it go. There was no transition for me in terms of drawing (i.e. I could sketch on it as effectively as paper immediately) - initially, I thought "I'll still put line work down on paper and then scan the drawing, etc" but I've since completely abandoned that approach (and gone farther - see below) in favour of doing everything on the Cintiq - sketching, painting, etc. To be able to tweak/rework your sketch/linework without restarting/making a mess is invaluable, to be able to really easily block in some values on said sketch is great, the list goes on. So much so that I've now started doing all the preliminary drawing for my traditional work on the Cintiq!!

I'm puzzled by some of the negative reviews here because most of the issues mentioned are almost certainly down to the tablet/software not being set up as well as it could be - this is a very complex tool which interacts with even more complex software which results in an endless number of possible set up nuances and connotations - it needs to be calibrated properly both in the tablet preferences and in the software being used, this takes time and experimentation to get right (it took me months to get right). When I read comments about not being happy with the pressure sensitivity I can't help but think "how can you not be happy with over a thousand levels of pressure?" Probably because your Cintiq prefs aren't set correctly for you and/or your brush tracking isn't set properly in your software. I can achieve very accurate, consistent line weight/transitions with the Cintiq which are as good if not better than any traditional medium I've used. Creating a satisfying tapered stroke for instance is very consistent, predictable and feels very satisfying and clean. Also, people have commented about not being able to swivel the tablet but this is completely unnecessary because today's software allows the user to rotate your "digital canvas" as easily as turning a sheet of paper on your drawing board - assign one of the short cut keys on the Cintiq to the rotate canvas option and you're in business (physically swivelling the tablet is like stirring your tea with a fork - you can do it but why would you?). Again, I'm brand new to this game but I've discovered all these things in the past 12 months use. Also, comments about the edge of the screen not being accurate have been made and they are dead right, I'd say the lower 2cm of the screen is a bit iffy but again, this is a total non-issue because when you are drawing on a piece of paper, how often do you actually draw right up to the edge of the paper? Drawing right up to the edges of your Cintiq is the equivalent to drawing right up to the edge of a piece of paper which is on the edge of a table. If you need to do that on your Cintiq, MOVE the canvas up on your screen - takes literally a split second if you've assigned a Cintiq hot key as "grabber" in your software - simple.

If anyone out there is considering buying the Cintiq and is concerned about some of the negative comments, please don't be because 90% of the issues being raised here are a result of user error. If I could sort them out being brand new to this medium, anyone with any application to the subject could. Be prepared to put the work in to get the set up right, this involves A LOT of searching on the internet and trying different things (just like traditional art) before you find your place with it, when you do it's an amazing, invaluable piece of equipment. Like anything in the world of artistic endeavour, it is what you make of it.
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on 25 October 2010
I bought this tablet a couple of days ago after spotting it when browsing tablets on the internet. I have to say that after an initial worry of should i spend that much money, then the excitement when i received it and then the slight disappointment after my first use, it turns out the Wacom Cintiq 12wx is a fantastic product and im very glad i bought it.

Firstly lets get the slightly un-true facts out of the way - Wacom claims the Cintiq will work straight out of the box, but this is not true if you have an imac and mac book pros or any other machine that doesnt have a video port (VGA or DVI), or a graphics card with 2 ports. If using an imac etc you will have to buy the apple mini display adapter or a USB to DVI adapter to enable you to connect via the DVI cable, luckily i had already found this out and purchased at the same time, but i think most places don't mention this.

Once out of the box, you'll be quite surprised (well i was) at how many cables there are, you have a very chunky 6ft cable running from the tablet to the converter unit, then from the converter unit you have your dvi to dvi / dvi to vga cable (which is pretty thick), thats connected to the newly purchased DVI to USB adapter lead, you have a usb cable and the power lead which has another connection to the actual plug, so all in all its not quite as portable as they make out.

The only other thing is to make sure you download the proper manual, i thought i had calibrated the tablet as instructed by the enclosed manual but just couldn't get the results i wanted, turns out things have to be much more finely tuned - which is very easy and only took a second.

So whats good - well everything else really, i personally love the fact you can see what your drawing, it makes such a difference. There is no pen lag at all and the pressure / tilt sensitivity are very good (once set up correctly!). You can have the same image open in photoshop on both screens and work on one or both at the same time. If you edit your picture on the Cintiq it will automatically update the picture on the mac or pc or you can switch between monitors or mirror your monitor to the Cintiq, but resolution does get reduced.

If you have the tablet lying flat then you can rotate it as it has a little nob on the back, but again, only if you have space and the cables to kind of restrict it a bit. It also has a stand and you can have it pretty much at any angle.

The pen is pretty cool, not too heavy and has an eraser feature on the other end, also pressure sensitive. It comes with 4 normal nibs, 1 felt and 1 stroke. I like the felt one the best and have purchased some more nibs from wacom direct. You also get a pen stand which is good, saves losing the pen!

All in all its an excellent product and i would definitely recommend buying if you want one, but i do advise looking around for prices as i paid £799 for mine and the adapter cost £39.99 - (not an apple version as i heard there can be problems with those).

I hope this review helps anyone thinking of buying, check out some videos on you tube as well. Thanks
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on 25 February 2009
The Cintiq 12WX is certainly a wonderful little piece of kit, just like drawing straight onto your screen, as, well, effectively, thats what you're doing as it insists on mirroring your main monitor.
The customizeable buttons on either side of the working space are very handy for speed (and just plain laziness/convenience). The design including the fold away stand/bar at the back means its good for working at a desk/table/worksurface and comfortably settling with it on your lap if you are so inclined.
Definately a joy to work with for digital artists. Also true for those traditional artists that are thinking of moving to digital as it removes the whole alsmost 'learning to draw again' of getting hand and eye used to monitor/tablet split, you just have to get used to the odd texture. Said texture may be the only little problem for digital and traditional method artists as you get that visual reaction you've always wanted in your digital work, but you still have that alien texture/missing textual response...just perhaps a little bugbear to overcome.
Also, it is important to not be fooled that the cintiq is just like a digital notebook, its not quite as convenient. Inspiration can come anywhere, and unlike a paper sketchbook and pen which you can take and whip out pretty much anywhere, the cintiq is stuck to the pc or laptop, and you can't walk around with that strapped to you. It's like a monitor, its ready to go when your computers booted up and programs are loaded. It's a very fancy, very lovely, easy to use, wonderful graphics tablet. But thats what it is, a graphics tablet, not a portable digital sketchbook (we're all still waiting for those).
There are some wires, but theres only one that'll be on your lap connecting the tablet to everything else so its not so bad.
It's easy to instal and calibrate, and as soon as its set up, its good to go. (small warning to widescreen laptop users, you might find the little darling will resize the working area of your screen on the actual laptop as it has a 'native' resolution, which wacom insists is in its best interest for optimal performance)
Its a curious little thing, I'm still getting used to mine and overcoming the texture issue (seemed to naturally retreat to traditional media after using it, the feeling just wasn't quite right), but once you get going with it, it is fun, accurate, and probably the closest thing you will get to digital paper, the pressure sensitivity sees to that.
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on 31 January 2014
This tool is amazing upon use for a more accurate and quicker approach over an intuos or bambo it is not restricted to drawing programs but in terms of colour resolution, unless you primarily work in black and white, you are better using it as an intuos or a bambo for adding colour to your illustrations because the colour differences are more than a distraction. You could take a longer approach of re-working the colours in photoshop. Otherwise the Cintiq 13hd is the better option considering that for some reason it is cheaper than this model on amazon.
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on 4 December 2012
....which mine didn't.

It has a pink tinted screen, which i've now read can be a problem with these things. ironic, considering i've also now read that they don't show up pinks and purples very well. someone should tell mine that.

At first i thought this was just a thing it did and carried on working with it in photoshop thinking nothing of it, accepting that i had to look on the computer screen for the colours rather than the cintiq after i accidentally coloured my characters face green. This didn't bother me much though.

Then I tried working with it on tvPaint and the problems started to get to the point where they annoyed me. I can't see the light box (onion skin if you're better with flash) properly. I've had to turn the brightness down to its lowest setting just to get a clear picture of the layer underneath or above the frame i'm working on, which doesn't always work if the lines are too thin because they just fade out of existence. It makes having a cintiq almost completely pointless. I'm doing animation at uni, this is not a small problem. I'll just have to work with thicker lines but it's still annoying.

bad things out of the way though. it works well. I hear a lot of people have problems getting used to the pen and the cursor on the screen being slightly off from one another. i found this more of a help rather than a hindrance because it mean't i wasn't trying to avoid my view being blocked by my hand all the time (which is what it's mean't to do i'm guessing). it's really nice to use and the pro's far outweigh the cons even on mine.

All in all, i'd say it's worth the money. Just buy it new rather than getting a secondhand one like i did then you can sort it out if it's faulty. seriously, don't do what idiot me did and get pulled in by the 300 quid knocked off it. When i say it's worth the money, i mean it.
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on 16 March 2013
I researched the Cintiq 12WX thoroughly before buying it, but I should have paid more attention to the many reviews (see amazon.com also) which commented on the poor colour, and which remarked that it was necessary to do final colour work on another display. If you are hoping for an interactive pen display with colour fidelity and image clarity even vaguely similar to a good quality contemporary display (and I'm comparing with Apple displays of various kinds), you will be bitterly disappointed. The Cintiq image is "muddy" owing to the physical nature of the screen, and the colour and brightness are hopeless. I tried two completely different calibration routes, at considerable length. The inbuilt calibration facilities are provided on the breakout box, and are clunky and archaic. Horrible button controls reminiscent of technology 20 years ago make the calibration procedure a nightmare, and even then the results are hopeless. I persevered, but just could not obtain an acceptable result. Brightness and contrast don't interact properly, giving you either a burnt-out image or a faint one with much too low contrast. And the colour adjustments are useless too. Reading through other reviews it seems that one or two people have managed to obtain acceptable colour, but perhaps it depends on what you consider acceptable. In desperation I also tried using the Mac display Advanced calibration settings. It was possible to create a new profile, but not an acceptable one.

As a result I had no choice but to reluctantly return this product. It just isn't good enough for contemporary colour illustration or design work.

Having said that, I was impressed by its other features. I had no difficulty calibrating the pen tip accuracy, and the interactivity and sensitivity is excellent. The hot keys are very useful too. I've been using indirect Wacom tablets for many years, and the transition to a direct drawing tablet is magic ... in principle. But without a good display and good colour and brightness controls, it's unfortunately useless if you care about colour or are used to working on a good high resolution display. So it's back to the old Graphire for now – you can tell how poor I thought the Cintiq by the fact that I consider my ancient little Graphire, combined with a good Apple display, to be a much better option! Let's hope that Wacom resolve these problems and create a new modestly priced pen display in which the display itself matches up to the standards of other contemporary displays.
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on 28 December 2012
I was concerned about the size of the screen as I quite fancied the 21" version but couldn't affored it.
However I find this to be perfectly fine for my workflow.
I'm quite sketchy and draw on a small-scale anyway, give me an A2 piece of paper and i'll only use a few inches to draw a figure lol.
So for me this is handy, sketch book sort of size and i'm also very lazy and could imagine getting annoyed at having to reach across a 21 inch screen to get to where i need to go.
Besides, Most people will reorient the image so that the working area is in the middle of the screen anyway.

Pressure sensitivity is 1024 which is fine for me again. I used to use a cheap little tablet that had like 256 levels of pressure (i may be making that up but it WAS old and primitive) and even ont hat i never fround myself wanting more levels of pressure.
The 12wx feels responsive and lag free.
The buttons are very useful too and make your workflow even quicker when you get used to them.

However there are some shortcomings.

Sadly there seems to be a lot of issues with Win7 64 bit/photoshop cs5 and 6 64 bit.
For seemingly no reason one day my pressure sensitvity started randomly setting itself to 100% for one brushstroke in about 20. When sketching i'd randomly splurge out a massive thick black line that i'd have to undo.
It seems to be a compatibility issue with PS and the cintiq. It doesn't just happen on this model either, it's all cintiq's and i think the intuos 4 tablets too (i thinkt hey all use the same tech).
Wacom keep saying they'll fix it in patches, then a patch came and it never fixed anything.

My unit also randomly kept switching between button preference profiles at random. No idea why.

But THEN i turned it on a few days later and the pressure problem had resolved itself, but it may come back again in the future! boooo.

Anyway, i rated this so highly despite the problems because, as a piece of hardware it suits me down to the ground, everything from the size to the programmable buttons is excellent. If they bring out a patch so it gets rid of the aforementioned problems then it's perfect.
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on 10 October 2010
Having used both the 12WX and the 21UX I was surprised to find that this was the one I preferred. I find it much easier to draw on a smaller screen and I am able to hold it on my lap which is more convenient for drawing (mostly because of how my computer desk is). I can also use it with my laptop.
The most obvious advantage of the Cintiq is that you can draw directly onto the screen. There is no delay between the pen and the display and the touch sensitivity is perfect. The most common complaint regarding this is that you can't see the part of the screen where your hand is. So pretty much like drawing traditionally then... Idiots.

I've found no problem with the friction between the pen and the screen and the screen is a good size. The express keys are very useful for CTRL and SHIFT commands and they can be set to do pretty much whatever you want.
The very edge of the screen on the left (about the last 5cm) is hard to draw on and often produces a jerky line. However this is a very minor issue and honestly hasn't ever been a problem for me.

I think the price is perfectly reasonable considering the product. It is meant to be used as a professional product. Camera dollies and cranes are usually over £2000 because they aren't meant for armatures. I would say the product defiantly lives up to the price and is easily the best graphics tablet on the market.
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on 25 May 2011
I purchased this second hand from Amazon, in good condition and still boxed.

Being nearly £300 cheaper than some suppliers, I would say the money spent was worth it.

If your paying anything over £800.00 however, and you believe your more curious, than a serious professional user then there may be other devices worth considering such as the iPad2 with Wacom enabled pen, the HP TMT2, or the latest Acer Iconia win 7.

I say this because this really is'nt portable and for professional digital artists who are looking to fit this device into their existing work flow. Like other professionals I like using two monitors, the bigger the better. On my dual monitor setup, the Cintiq replaces the smaller of the two monitors, the 24" Dual link DVI Samsung becoming my main.

You have to have a mind to the device being permanently set up in this way. It requires it's own mains lead, USB cable, naturaly, a converter box, and a pretty hefty cable connecting everything from the tablet to the converter.

Once you get the 10 short cut keys on the device setup with either Photoshop, Painter Max, etc; it really starts to work well for you.

Drawing directly feels very natural. I've always found that sketching on paper, and then using a regular Wacom feels slightly weird. In fact I think it's fair to say that I tend to use my regular Wacom more like a mouse, I tend to direct with it rather than draw.

Now imagine drawing and painting on paper or canvas using endless digital paint and being able to instantly erase, without any feeling of disconnect. It really is that good.

Downsides. Aside from what has already been said, it's a pain to set up, my 17" notebook hated it, and kept blue screening with the latest ATI drivers. The screen is just, and I mean just big enough. I haven't encountered any issue at the edge, but it takes a while to get used to the short keys and switching to a keyboard at arms length and switching between monitors.

Generally I'll paint in portrait mode with no menus, giving me as much space as possible.

Ultimately I can continue to draw while painting, making for much more rapid and effective digital art. In the long term I'm sure it will pay for itself, and I look forward to using it often.
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