Upon the announcement of the iPad Pro and its stylus companion, the Apple Pencil, observers and pundits could not help but make early comparisons with the Wacom Cintiq.
Judging from the keynote event, Wacom found its most threatening competitor in the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Its pen tablets are mainstays in the art and graphics industry, but with the impending release – and added functionality – of its adversaries, will it hold its ground?
Let’s compare both devices and check which pair of devices you’re better off with.
Pen Size and Dimensions
Though we can’t produce official numbers, we’ll talk about how the Pencil and Cintiq feels on the hands.
If you look at both devices, the Cintiq is rather large and bulky. No, we’re not fat shaming: in terms of functionality, a wider pen means having certain parts of your sketches and drawings obscured while working on them. It feels more like a marker than a pen. Meanwhile, the Pencil is thinner, sleeker, and lighter.
Here’s where the Cintiq wins – it has buttons wherein you can assign shortcuts to help you work smoother, faster, and more efficiently. Meanwhile, Apple Pencil has no buttons, which is probably why it’s thin in the first place. This means it won’t have any shortcuts and you will have to use your iPad Pro to undo a mistake.
The Wacom Cintiq tablets are barely portable: larger models are quite heavy and the smallest type, Cintiq 13 HD, is heavier (2.65 pounds) and bulkier compared to the iPad Pro. There are also larger versions which are definitely out of the question if you’re planning to bring them around. Meanwhile, Apple’s new tablet weighs in at one pound and a half.
Drawing and Sketching
We have hands on experience with the Pencil and we can safely say that there are zero latency issues. It felt like ink was actually flowing out of it. I’ve used Wacom before and the latency seems to be a non-issue, but apparently, Linda Dong, a well-respected designer in the blogging space, wrote in a post that latency in Wacom is a huge issue and it “sucked”.
By the way, both the Apple Pencil and Cintiq are pressure sensitive and know if you tilted them like you would in a pencil if you’re shading something.
Software and Apps
The Wacom Cintiq runs on the full-fledged Windows 8. Though it’s unknown if you can upgrade it to Windows 10, it already gives a good desktop experience, especially if paired with a keyboard. That being said, you can use Adobe creative programs and Fresh Paint to create pieces of art or work-related sketches and drawings.
Meanwhile the iPad Pro still runs on a mobile operating system, the iOS 9. It could be a laptop replacement, but it won’t likely give a desktop experience even if it has a keyboard due to it running on the same platform as the iPhone. However, Apple is urging developers to create applications which support the Apple Pencil, which is why we may a number of drawing apps on the iPad Pro soon.
Verdict: Both devices are pretty evenly matched, although if you are planning on getting a new iPad anyway, it’s best to wait for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil instead of getting a Cintiq.