Let me be short and frank in an effort to save us all some time. The Cintiq 13HD’s screen was gorgeous, but mark making sucked balls no matter how much I tweaked the pressure curve. I sent it back inside of three weeks of ownership.
I’m not without practice in that regard, either. I spent several years working on an Intuos 3 9x12 and, later, a Cintiq 20WSX. My hobby? Making art tools. I spent almost a decade obsessively massaging the best possible pressure settings for a fella attempting to ink on Wacom devices. On those previous tablets, light pressure marks were rendered with little fidelity. Wacom tech has a tendency to go from no pressure to full pressure with very little effort and with little regard to the number of pressure levels reportedly in use by the hardware. Their 1024 level hardware felt nearly the same in hand as their 2048.
I was hoping this latest iteration of Wacom hardware had made strides against the lack of light pressure fidelity present in their hardware. Alas, a sub-$50 option from a second-tier OEM still feels better than their overpriced offerings.
The stand felt flimsy and the 13HD regularly popped out of it. Once, as I started to make a stroke, it slid off my desk and crashed to floor because the tiny plastic lip that held the base in place wasn’t perfectly aligned to its corresponding slot. For the money, I expect a more robust solution capable of a little more punishment.
The only thing keeping the 13HD in place is this tiny lip of plastic.
Despite being offered as a portable solution, there’s still an external power brick and a tangle of cables required to get the unit up and running. I couldn’t see myself taking it along in my laptop bag. It’s not so much portable as it is merely the budget Cintiq option for those without the dough to spend on a larger unit. Either option will lilely be remaining stationary at a desk unless carrying around a rat’s nest of cables sounds like a fun past time.
The most positive thing? The stylus case had a magnetic lid and closed like a luxury car door. Snap-thunk. If Wacom invested the R&D they poured into the case into making light pressure marks register with more fidelity in their styli and digitizers, maybe I wouldn’t have sent it back.
Wacom is a lifestyle brand. It works for them. Are you a serious designer? You better be using Wacom! Their marketing and industrial design are polished enough that most artists are skeptical of dropping coin on other digitizer hardware makers like UC-Logic, Waltop, and N-Trig.
After using UC-Logic hardware in my studio for more than a year, I don’t see myself going back. As I stated in my Monoprice tablet review, the hardware “…tracks subtle pressure variances and small movements with less lag and more crisp fidelity than [Wacom]. It is, put crudely, fucking awesome…”
I’ll keep my Yiynova and they can keep my 18% restocking fee. The monetary hit is a good reminder of the negative value proposition of Wacom hardware. I will continue on drawing with my purportedly inferior, punk-rock menagerie of off-branded tablets making lines the likes of which Wacom hardware is incapable of.