Welcome aboard Wacom Cintiq Companion

We told our cool friends at Wacom that we loved them. They told us, “we love you too” and sent along some Wacom Cintiq Companions to help with the making of the movie. We’ve just received them, so join us in our first hand experience with this gorgeous piece of hardware.

What is the Wacom Cintiq Companion?

Wacom Cintiq Companion Windows 8

The Wacom Cintiq Companion is a standalone Wacom input pen display. Think a 13″ Microsoft Surface Pro, merged with a Wacom tablet and you’ll get the idea.

Wacom released two standalone tablets, the Cintiq Companion, running Windows 8, and the Cintiq Companion Hybrid, running Android. When not used as a tablet, the Android version can be use as a second monitor & input device on a PC/Mac whereas the Windows version can welcome a second screen for a dual display through mini-dvi

Wacom Cintiq Companion i/o

As you can see, you can also add two USB3 drives if the 256Gb (512Gb on the higher end version) SSD is not enough for you.

Wacom Cintiq Companion Keys

The Cintiq Companion have a gorgeous full HD (1920×1080) 13″ inches display, but the global form factor is closer to the size of a 15″ inches laptop, thanks to the very useful side controls.

The first thing you notice when you get the tablet out of the box, it’s its look and refinement. The level of detail and quality of the form factor makes it feel like an Apple Product.

Wacom Cintiq Companion Close Up

One Pen to rule them all

Of course, a Wacom tablet wouldn’t a real Wacom tablet without its pen.

Wacom Cintiq Pen

As you can see it’s your standard Wacom Pen, nothing specific about it. If you already have a recent Wacom tablet, chances are that your Pen is already compatible with it. As usual, a bunch of additional leads are offered (10) and color rings to customize your pen. Handy if you have several ones. Mine is blue (default color) and I’m happy with it.

The Windows 8 Question

I had the same question: why isn’t there an option to have Windows 7 instead, Windows 8 is such a burden. Well, I’m glad to tell you that Windows 8 feels really great on a tablet. Once you know the few must known gestures you’ll feel at home, and navigate with a breeze. It comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1, which means that once you’ve gone to the desktop, it will boot on the desktop, no more annoying start screen (I confess I kinda liked it, but straight to desktop mode is so much better).

Photoshoping and After Effecting

After a two full weeks of Photoshoping and After Effecting, I can say that Photoshop support for gestures is something I’d like to see across all Adobe DVA Apps. Sketching and drawing, pinching to zoom, rotating, resetting the view and so on feels so natural that I can hardly come back to my standard desktop Photoshop.

What’s wrong?

As a first generation product, the actual Cintiq Companion version have is already a full fledged product. There’s only a couple of details that could be improved in the future versions.

The first thing is the adjustable stand. The four predefined positions are great, but I wish it was built-in in the tablet (akin to the Microsoft Surface) instead of being an external device (akin to the actual Desktop Cintiq). Sure it would thicken a bit the tablet, but it would be easier to bring along in the end (mobility is key after all) as I’m uncomfortable to slip it in the soft case along with the tablet in fear of scratches.

My last grip is the noise level. The fans goes on more often than expected (Photoshop is indeed cpu/gpu savvy) compared to the MacBook Air.

So, as you can see, the Cintiq Companion is a brilliant product, and it’s already my new best friend after a couple of weeks of use.

I’ll be traveling to the US for After Effects World and Adobe Max. Ping me on my Twitter feed if you wanna share a drink! And look for my “in transportation” review shortly after I’m back!.

Author: Yenaphe

2D animation enthusiast. South Park lover. Dark comedy lord. Slave to the bad joke gods. Writer & Director of Mythomen.

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