Price When Reviewed: £2,080 plus VAT
Pros: It's the best thing in the world for digital drawing.
Cons: It costs more than a good secondhand car and seems to weigh almost as much.
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If you're like me, and you're a young illustrator three years into your career and are a complete skinflint – then you wouldn't ever consider buying one of these. However sitting down with this wet dream of a Cintiq has made me consider professional whoring, or participating in medical science experiments so that I can afford one. It's the latest version of Wacom's screens that double as a graphics tablet, allowing you to draw directly onto your work with none of the eye-arm disconnect we've all taken so long to learn to get out of.
The Cintiq 24HD Touch doesn't come cheap. At five monkeys you're looking at more than a fumble down the old shipping yard, however the naturalness of the pen and lovely expanse of the drawing space is well worth the price tag. The Intuos 24HF Touch has a brighter, higher-contrast screen than last year's Intuos 24HD that's better at showing subtle colour shades (offering 97% of the Adobe RGB colour space vs the 24HD's 92%, colour nerds). Of course the big difference from the Cintiq 24HD is the touchscreen function.
The new Wacom Cintiq is a beautiful piece of equipment. As mentioned, the big stand out feature that sets it apart from its predecessors is the spanking new touchscreen, which I don't think I can ever get used to, but I can appreciate how cool it is. Tapping a button on the top of the screen will bring up an on-screen keyboard, and using the touchscreen you can pretty much throw your mouse away and you can eat your keyboard. I wouldn't recommend this – I'm just saying you could if you wanted to.
Like I said, I'm not a big fan of touchscreen. I don't even have an iPhone as touchscreens drive me nuts. However, it's a cool feature when you get used to it. Using the touchscreen, you could also use it as a finger-painting tool, if future version of Photoshop or Corel Painter supported it. In theory, this is completely and utterly awesome. However, if I'm brutally honest, I probably wouldn't pay the extra £1,000 for this new Cintiq, just to get the touchscreen and a slightly better screen. I mean, it's cool and everything, but not as cool as £1,000 in my bank account.
The pen though...oh, the pen – it was a real joy to draw with, and the level of detail you get is fantastic. Despite the fact I had to reconfigure quite a bit, and the screen-size took a bit of getting used to, within the hour I had gotten to grips with the basics, and was having a whale of a time.
There are a few little niggles though. I found myself constantly disabling the touch screen, as my claw of a hand kept brushing against it and accidentally ruining my drawing. Plus, it's fucking heavy. It took three of us all together to lug it across the Digital Arts office. Also there's a super-dooper secret ON button that we couldn't find for about 10 minutes. But that probably reflects more on us than on the manufacturer.
Plus, I don't know about you, but I like to listen to the radio when I work. Sometimes this is for entertainment purposes, but mostly just to block out the painful drudgery of my own inane thoughts. I quickly found myself wishing that the Wacom Cintiq had a headphone port – as when using the Cintiq, I'd either have to inflict whatever crap I'm listening to on my fellow studio workers, or just listen to the stuff my brain comes up with.
But despite all these petty little gripes, I loved it so much, I considered staging an elaborate diversion and stealing it. However, my upper body strength is that of a small rabbit, so that didn't happen.
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