Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cintiq 27 QHD Touch review

I bought one of these a month ago, so now that I've put in some hours on it, I thought some of you might find it useful to hear my thoughts.
My usual evening workstation, at the couch in front of a movie or TV show. Note the baby blanket in the background, giving the place a much-needed boost in professionalism.
I've been wanting to get a Cintiq for my home office for a long time, but I wanted something I could easily move from room to room, because I tend to work in every room of the house and not just in my office. The companion is really cool but just way too small---better for quick sketches and drawings than heavy duty professional use. And the others are just big and clunky.

So what sold me is that you could get a no-stand version of the new Cintiq QHD. Instead of a stand, I got this desk, which I could also move around the house and pull up to any couch or chair. I didn't bother to install the wheels on it and I can still slide it around fine.
The Cintiq hangs off the edges on the left and right by about 3-4 inches on each side.
So what you probably want to know is, should you get it? The answer is maybe. Sorry. I do like a lot of things about it, but first, the things I think that could be deal-breakers for some people:

-It's big. This isn't specifically a problem, in fact I wanted something bigger, but the problem with its size comes because of the distance between the glass and the screen, and the color shifts at acute viewing angles. If you work very close at all, the edges of the screen get a little funny and difficult to use.

-It's heavy. Don't expect to rest it on your lap, even though it's nearly the perfect size for it. Although there have been times when I'll lean the back end against the edge of my desk and the forward edge will sit on my lap. This gets uncomfortable after a while, but isn't too bad for short stretches.

-Touch is terrible. Most of the time it just doesn't work, and the palm rejection is iffy when it does. Seriously, unless it's a driver thing that they are going to fix in a couple weeks (always possible with Wacom), do not waste extra money on the touch.

-Speaking of wasting money, don't pay for fast shipping on Wacom's site. If the site says ___ days shipping, you need to add 4-5 days to whatever that number is, because Wacom takes so long to process your order before shipping. And that money is non-refundable.

-The cables are really long. This is something you'd think would be nice if you're using it multiple places, but the only cable that needs any extra length is the power cable. I don't like having to wrap the super long cables up every time I want to move it.

-The usual Wacom customer service and driver garbage: if you want any new Wacom hardware to work like it's supposed to, you'll be spending time clearing off every trace of old driver files, and probably some time on the line with Wacom customer support. And like any company that has a near-stranglehold on their market, Wacom as a group have limited patience for their customers.

So do I like anything about it? A few things I love:

-It looks nice with the solid surface.
-The screen color accuracy is better than I've seen on a Cintiq so far.
-The magnetic remote for the on-Cintiq buttons is a stroke of genius. This is probably my favorite thing about it. I'm moving it all the time depending on what angle I'm working at, and it's great.
-Being able to lie it nearly flat on a surface is really nice.
-It's a Cintiq and has the pressure, tilt, and rotation sensitivity that have become indispensable to me.

Some day, if Wacom comes up with something that is lighter and a little smaller so I can use it on my lap, then I'll put this up for sale immediately. That said, the fact that it's a Cintiq has saved me many hours already, especially in the drawing stage of projects. But you might be able to find a Cintiq that fits your needs just as well without the extra size and cost. If you, like me, favor semi-portability on something that is more of a serious pro tool than the companion, then you might not have any other option.

19 comments:

  1. Great review. I am also waiting for a model not so small or big. Something like 17" or max 22" and portable. For the moment my small intous 4 will do :D

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    1. I think you're right to wait if that's what you're looking for. Here's hoping that Wacom recognize that there are people who want a larger companion-like device.

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    2. Absolutely agree, this concept seems so obvious for artists but for the manufacturers and tech journos, there seems to be a massive blind spot. When will they wake up? 17 inch but thin, light and with a cpu would be excellent, like a extra large surface pro or something....I made a little couch table for my cintiq 22 which is pretty cool , that's when the long cables come in handy, I can just take the cintiq off the desk from its stand and walk around the corner and sit on the couch , without unplaugging it from the computer. I recommend using a multitouch smartphone/tablet/ipad instead of that stupid wacom remote and make an editable shortcut touch screen using dirtyhand for android or air keyboard for ios , try it out, eh?

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  2. Hey Sam, did you do a review of the companion? Im in the market and I thought this review was great and would appreciate to know your thoughts on it. Thanks dude, hope all is well!

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    1. Dan, I've only used one for about 30 minutes, but here's my review: the buttons are in a stupid spot for the size of the screen, and the screen is too small, which limits it for professional stuff (bad for extended use, from-the-shoulder drawing, comfortable painting, etc.).

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  3. Just grab a couple of these for me as an alternative.
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/modbook/modbook-pro-x-154-retina-quad-core-mac-os-x-tablet

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    1. Hmmm. Cool, but still too small. I'm thinking 18-25 inches is the screen sweet sport for professional screen-tablet work.

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  4. Anonymous10:52 AM

    Thanks for the review - I've been waiting forever for these to become available for purchase... Can't wait. My only concern is "the distance between the glass and the screen" that you mentioned in your article. How does the actual pen tip in the app track the cintiq's pen tip?

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    1. You can calibrate how the pen's tip relates to the cursor as you move it, to a pretty specific degree of accuracy. However, the draw distance will still be an issue if you're working close to the screen, since there is still a disconnect between the cursor location when hovering vs. when touching the screen. The glass/screen distance is a little more than on the 22hd but about the same as the 24hd, if that helps.

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  5. great review
    but why didn't you get the 22hd or the 24hd?
    since you said you are looking for something in between the big ones and the small ones?

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    1. I wanted something that could be easily moved from one room to another since I'm changing where I work in the house a couple times a day. The 22hd and 24hd stands are big, heavy, and awkward, while the 27 has legs that can be easily folded out.

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    2. The 22" doesn't come with the bulky stand.

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  6. +1 to Yuri's question. Wacom's now selling the 22HD for 1800, and the 27QHD for 2300. Given your mention of the "sweet spot", is the 27 worth the $500 more?

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    1. Probably depends on your taste for portability and size. Even though the 22hd is smaller, you'll probably want to keep it in one spot. The 27hd has a huge screen though, so if you prefer to keep your arm movements smaller then the 22hd will be just fine.

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    2. Anonymous5:23 PM

      Hi Sam, Taking your 1st lighting class on Schoolism which is great. Seems like you've had a lot of experience with different models of Cintiqs, (which not many people have). From a purely drawing/painting/feel aspect (not the size and other factors you've noted) do you like this better than the 22HD? Specifically I'm wondering about the texture of the glass (which I understand is smoother than the 22/24HD) the dot pitch (which is now tighter given the higher resolution to size ratio), responsiveness/lag, etc... Anything that you miss or are having a tough time getting used to in this regard?

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  7. It's hard to understand Wacom's choices. They make a 27 inches cintiq, but all the inches are in the same direction. Their cintiqs keep getting longer and longer but they are never taller. Bring back the 4:3 aspect ratio which is EFFECTIVE screen space and make a portable 17 inches one in 4:3. It will blow out every other model.

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  8. Hey so... how do you keep your tablet anchored to the table? I'm afraid of mine sliding off, but the table sounds like such an elegant solution!

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  9. Hey so... how do you keep your tablet anchored to the table? I'm afraid of mine sliding off, but the table sounds like such an elegant solution!

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