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Which Graphics Tablet or Digital Graphics Pen Display Should Graphic Designers Buy

Cintiq 21wx digital tablet monitor

The Best of New Digital Graphics Tablets Out There - Which Graphics Tablet or Digital Graphics Pen Display Should Graphic Designers Buy

As a graphic designer, you probably have tried digital graphic tablets before. Heck, you might even own one or two already. But do you realize how far digital graphics tablets have come in the last few years? You might be surprised. I was blown away a few days ago when I got my first glance of the Wacom Cintiq. I probably shouldn’t have, but I got my credit card out and bought one of those bad boys up. I had to. I always hated digital graphics tablets because I am really good at drawing and painting on paper, but I always really stunk at drawing on digital graphics tablets? Why? Because I can’t see what I am drawing directly on the graphics tablet, instead I have to draw on the graphics tablet and look up at the screen to see how it is turning out. To me this is as hard as trying to draw upside down. My brain doesn’t connect the two together, so when I saw that Wacom had finally come out with a digital graphics tablet that was basically a monitor that you can draw directly on, I was blown away and knew that this was for me. Unfortunately, the price range is from the $990 to $2000 range so if you feel as if this is something that will push you forward professionally (and you can afford it), then this is the right purchase for you. Otherwise, there are other options for you as well. So read on.

(1) The Wacom Cintiq

wacom cintiq 12wx 12 inch pen display tablet

Wacom Cintiq 12WX 12-Inch Pen Display (Price is $948.55)

Cintiq 21wx digital tablet monitor

Wacom Techno Cintiq 21UX 21-Inch Interactive Pen Display PC Tablet With Pen and Software (Price is $1,999)

The Wacom Cintiq is the digital graphics table that I spoke about above. It s the coolest thing around…you can draw directly on the monitor display, making it just like a piece of paper (but obviously much better). Currently, Wacom offers two different Cintiq options, the Cintiq 12WX and the Cintiq 21UX. Both of these have the same technology but one of them is huge and the other one is a normal sized tablet. You will be blown away with the pixel-level pen accuracy that it provides you with…so you have full control over the cursor. The Cintiq Grip Pen also offers 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity so you can use the exact stroke that you would use on a piece of paper or canvas…the result is an amazingly smooth, responsive on-screen experience that mirrors a traditional pen-on-paper feel. Also, Wacom was sure to create a durable, scratch-resistant surface for the screen so that it is hard to damage it (good thing since it is so expensive). If you are more comfortable holding the table in your lap, you are able to do this, however, they also provided a pivoting stand with the graphics tablet display. I also like that there are programmable shortcuts with this graphics tablet, just like some of Wacom’s other tablets. The Display Toggle offers increased flexibility in multiple-monitor environments allowing you to easily switch between screens or maximize pen control on different displays.

POSITIVES:

- The biggest positive is that you can use natural eye / hand coordination to draw naturally, unlike other digital graphics tablets.

- You can connect it with your additional graphic driver and can use it as a secondary monitor with its tablet functions.

- It is very light, so it is easy to use to design or draw directly on your lap like a laptop.

- One reviewer suggested that this Wacom makes every other Wacom look like a mouse, a good hitech mouse but a mouse.

- The single button to toggle between Cintiq screen and your regular monitor. You can put all of your main graphics software windows in your monitor’s screen and just put the ‘canvas’ on the Cintiq screen with the drawing tools and it will gives your more room to draw or design. Being able to use the pen on the Cintiq and then toggle to control the regular monitor is a huge time saver and allows for a great dual-monitor set-up. You can have your work on the Cintiq and most of your paletes open on the main monitor.

- You won’t need your light table, drawing table, or scanner anymore.

- Includes Adobe Photoshop Elements and Painter Essentials by Corel.

NEGATIVES:

- Not only does it require an AC plug-in that is quite big, but there is also an additional brick about the size of a thick paperback book for the video card.

- 12WX’s view angle is pretty poor and resolutions are pretty poor.. and you can’t read small characters well if your face is not orthogonal to the tablet. This is not a substitute for a usual display.

- Some people mentioned that the cursor shakes a bit - but other people said that this didn’t happen to them. I would suggest calling Wacom for a replacement if this happens to you. From what I hear online, Wacom has excellent customer service and will exchange yours quite easily if there are any problems.

- After hours of use, it gets pretty hot right where the wrist lies.

- Bottom ~8 pixels of screen is unusable.

(2) Wacom Intuos 3

Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet--Metallic Gray

Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet–Metallic Gray (Price is $404.10)

Wacom Intuos3 6 x 8-Inch Pen Tablet

Wacom Intuos3 6 x 8-Inch Pen Tablet (Price is $298.55)

Wacom Intuos3 4 x 6-Inch Wide Format Pen Tablet

Wacom Intuos3 4 x 6-Inch Wide Format Pen Tablet (PTZ431W) (Price is $199)

Although, nothing can beat the Wacom Cintiq version, the Wacom Intuos 3, comes in 2nd place. The Intuos3 professional pen tablet makes it easy to quickly and professionally edit photos and create digital artwork by turning on the full power of Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, and other leading design software applications. Create universal settings for your pen and tablet or alter your settings by application for maximum productivity. The Cintiq Grip Pen also offers 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity so you can use the exact stroke that you would use on a piece of paper or canvas…the result is an amazingly smooth, responsive on-screen experience that mirrors a traditional pen-on-paper feel. The sloping, contoured palm rest provides comfort while you work. Adjust your cord position vertically or horizontally for greater workspace flexibility. The eight-foot cable allows you to kick back while you work. The sloping, contoured palm rest provides comfort while you work. Adjust your cord position vertically or horizontally for greater workspace flexibility. The eight-foot cable allows you to kick back while you work. The Intuos3 five-button mouse is ball-free and optics-free for smooth, accurate tracking. It’s ambidextrous low-profile design gives you just the right feel. Five programmable buttons and a fingerwheel give you added flexibility and control. Patented cordless, battery-free technology for a natural feel and superior performance.

POSITIVES:

- Pressure-sensitive, tilt-sensing, pointer control, assignable function pads.

- The pen is ergonomic and extremely comfortable to hold.

- Strategically placed programmable ExpressKeys and Touch Strip.

- A cordless , battery-free tablet.

- Five programmable buttons with fingerwheel for flexibility and control.

- Enhanced electronics for twice the resolution (5,080 lpi).

- Supreme control of strokes.

- Includes Adobe Photoshop Elements and Painter Essentials by Corel.

NEGATIVES:

- It isn’t a Cintiq, so you can’t draw directly on a screen, so you therefor can’t use natural eye / hand coordination to draw naturally.

- I couldn’t find any practical complaints about this product. Everyone seems to love it.

(3) Wacom Graphire

Wacom Graphire Bluetooth 6 x 8-Inch Tablet

Wacom Graphire Bluetooth 6 x 8-Inch Tablet (Price $202)

The Wacom Graphire is the wireless graphics tablet from Wacom. The Graphire pen tablet gives you the control you need to quickly and easily edit your digital photos. Get the control of the Graphire and join million of satisfied Wacom tablet users. With your purchase of any Graphire tablet, you’ll get valuable art and photo editing software, including Adobe© Photoshop© Elements 3 to help you edit photos, Nik© Color Efex Pro™ 2 GE to help you selectively add creative color effects and filters to any photo, and Corel© Painter™ Essentials 2 to help you create unique artwork from your digital photos. If you’re a designer or artist who demands greater control over your digital work than is possible with a mouse, or a computer user who suffers from repetitive strain injuries, the Wacom Graphire Bluetooth 6×8 Tablet is here to save the day. With the alternate use of the extraordinarily accurate pen — about the same size as an average ballpoint pen — and mouse with three programmable buttons, you’ll never be forced to rely solely on your mouse again. You’ll greatly enhance your accuracy and significantly reduce the strain on your wrists. The Wacom Graphire Tablet will also allow you to expand your creativity in leaps and bounds. Whether you’re a professional designer or an aspiring artist, you’ll be able to exact incredible control over your manipulation and editing of digital photos. Compatible with any software that your mouse works with, and both PC and Macintosh compatible, the Wacom Graphire Tablet works up to 30 feet away — wirelessly from your computer. Whatever you can do with your standard mouse, you can do with far greater accuracy and creativity on the tablet. With both the Wacom pen and mouse, you’ll have the right tool for any task. The Graphire Cordless Mouse features cordless, battery-free technology, which means it’s 100 percent hassle-free. The scrolling finger wheel allows for easy navigation and also functions as a third programmable button. With no ball to gum up, you’ll always be ensured of smooth, accurate tracking.

POSITIVES:

- Works wirelessly up to 30 feet away

- Graphire pen with 512 levels of pressure-sensitivity for outstanding control of your applications

- Mouse features cordless, battery-free technology

- The resolution accuracy is excellent.

- The pen’s battery life is great.

- This model is just the right size if you want good precision control in Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements 3.0, included) and Premiere, and is about the size of most laptops, so it’s easy to take along.

- Includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, Painter Essentials 2 by Corel, and Color Efex Pro 2GE from nik multimedia.

NEGATIVES:

(Overall everyone is happy with it but there are a few minor complaints about this tablet)

- It isn’t a Cintiq, so you can’t draw directly on a screen, so you therefor can’t use natural eye / hand coordination to draw naturally.

- the Graphire series is cheaper than the Intuos, and there’s a good reason why: the Graphire pen is thinner, lighter, and has no grip.

- There is a half-second delay whenever using the pen to click in any finder-related options.

- Poor Pen Hovering Distance.

- Cheap plastic feeling.

- Cursor movement even when pen is idle.

I hope that this article / comparison has helped you decide which graphics tablet is right for you and for your design work. Let us know what graphics tablet works best for you in the comments section below.

[tags]graphics tablets, digital graphics tablets, graphics tablet pen, cintiq, wacom cintiq, wacom tablets, graphics tablets for designers, lcd graphics tablet, graphics display, graphics tablet monitor, graphics tablet display, graphic design, illustration, drawing, web design[/tags]

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17 Comments

  1. mediter
    Posted December 23, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Hey, all the images in this post are missing?

  2. admin
    Posted December 23, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Hey, thanks for letting me know. I think it is fixed now.

    Rachel

  3. Posted December 24, 2008 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Typos needs cleaning:

    5th positive for Crintiq, in the last two lines: “a huge tiem saver” should be “a huge time saver”; “Crintique” should be “Crintiq”; “palletes should be “paletes”

    In additions to the typos above, there is one small problem in the introduction of Wacom Intuos3, “The sloping, contoured palm rest provides comfort while you work. Adjust your cord position vertically or horizontally for greater workspace flexibility. The eight-foot cable allows you to kick back while you work.” got repeated once.

    Not to be a critic here, but simply someone appreciated all the work you put into this article, who wants to make it perfect.

    Thank you, Rachel!

  4. admin
    Posted December 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi there…thanks for letting me know about the typos. My baby has kept me up every night for the last 2 weeks and I guess it shows. I’m exhausted. Everyone have a happy holiday.

    Rachel

  5. Posted December 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I have the Intuos3 9×12 here at work, which is amazing. And I have a small Graphire2 at home - which does a decent job. I love Wacom. I hope to get a Cintiq.

    What about alternative tablet companies?

  6. Posted December 31, 2008 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    This is a great article, I myself have a Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12 I think it is fantastic but I do sometimes find it very very hard to get nice completed circles first time, or even straight lines for that fact. Its great for re-touching, colour etc. But the whole not looking at the image and hand together takes alot of time to get used to for me at least, one day I’ll try the cintiq I think they indeed look fantastic and will hopefully help out with the short comings of the Intuos range.

  7. Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I have a 9×12 at my office and a 6×11 intous3 at home. Both are amazing tablets and couldn’t ask for more. This article doesn’t lie. I would recommend these products to anyone that is looking for a new tablet!!

  8. JOHN
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi guys,
    do you have a video tutorial or demo clip that I can watch how the second tablet works? please let me know.

    Thanks

    John Rohas

  9. Wayen Hancock
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    So, are there any alternatives to Wacom??? Looking for something with LCD display to draw upon.

  10. Posted February 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Congratulation on this nice overview and very smooth reading article. It is very useful for me as well I have plans to buy some new machine to em and my choice will be Wacom Cintiq 12WX. A little problem is that prices in Serbia [where i am living] is a little more overrated but hope that this investion will fast pay back for it self.

    Best regards

  11. Tim M.
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    no mention of Vistablet,i was hoping for..i can get it bundled with Corel painter 11 but unsure.i have small Wacom, but need some input on the others…

  12. Posted June 27, 2009 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I’m thinking of getting a new Pen tablet,I’m graphic jewellery designer …I had no idea, but I found that what you posted here, is so instructive, thank you for sharing.

  13. Posted July 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I know what i ‘m going to buy now. Thank you.

  14. Posted August 1, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Other than the WACOM range is there any other manufacturers you could recommend!?

  15. anoop
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    I already have a WACOM Bamboo, but as the post says I dont want to switch between the screen and the tablet. I wanted to buy a one with display. Is there any other company which manufactures the tablet with display.
    Please mail me @ anoopm6@gmail.com

  16. Posted October 27, 2010 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Hanvon graphic tablets are also very good, which are the only alternative for wacom’s high end tablets. details please kindly check:http://www.hanvon.com/en/products/tablets/index.html

  17. Posted February 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Well, my economy does not allow me to buy a Cintiq. And I quite much sucks at drawing on computers.

    Right now I’m looking into this: http://www.bongofish.co.uk/wacom/wacom_pt1.html =) *Hehe*

    @David/Hanvon: Your tablets actually seems to be more expenive, you could cut some slack by not bundling software that is for no use to me. Also, you should support Linux, Wacom does that (Maybe unofficially, But anyway they do). I does not use windows since it is no good.. I wish I stared to use Linux like ten years earlier than I did (Ie. on my 8yrs birthday when I first got a PC) =)

    Ever so happy Linux user here for a few years - and no more nervous breakdowns nor any crashed windows (Pun intended).

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