Decision Time, the New 13inch HD Cintiq or the Mysterious Wacom Tablet Computer?

I don’t do as much straight up digital work as I used to. My process now usually involves pencil, ink, ink wash, and paper with a few digital touch ups here and there. Even when I do full color work, most of the time I’m working on line art that I’ve done on some form of dead tree. However, there are times when it’s just faster to do everything on the computer and for that, I turn to my trusty baby Cintiq, the 12WX.

My upgrade cycle is weird.  For years, I tooled around with an Intuos 2, long after they discontinued the model, long after they abandoned the drivers.  So when I upgraded my tablet situation, I went for the most Cintiq I could afford at the time.  After years of practice, working with a regular tablet is no longer an issue.  But drawing directly on the screen is a much more intuitive experience.  And with all the function buttons on the tablet side panels, I almost never have to have my non-drawing hand on the keyboard.

When Wacom announced the Cintiq 24HD Touch, my art boner nearly ripped my pants.  The screen now has touch capability meaning you can use your grubby hands to move, zoom in, or turn your page.  That functionality is built in to some of the Intuos and Bamboo tablets, but being able to do that on the actual screen is totally drool worthy.  Fuck. Yes.

So now we get to the Cintiq 13HD.  Certainly, it’s a gorgeous piece of kit.  The slim design, the larger drawing area, the sleek pen case, the three-in-one cable, it’s all beautiful.  But there are a few things missing.  Gone are the touch strips on either side of the tablet.  There are also fewer buttons than on my 12WX.  This means you get fewer tools accessed directly from the tablet which means at some point, you’re going to have to have one hand on that damn keyboard.  There’s also no touch.

If you don’t already own a Cintiq, even with some of those missing bits, this is certainly the best value for your money.  And if you want the added features of the 12WX, I’m sure they’re going to be on sale now.  But, there may be a reason for you to wait.  Over on their facebook page, Wacom hints at a new tablet device they are working on that will have actual pressure sensitivity.  They’re going to announce something this summer.

Could this be the device of legend that I’ve been feening for ever since Microsoft’s original tablet PC line?!  For years, I’ve wanted a tablet device that was as responsive as a Cintiq and small enough to take with me on the go.  And I always imagined such a thing was a pipe dream and that my wallet was safe.  Depending on what Wacom announces in the summer, there may be a giant hole in my wallet yet to come.  Keeping my fingers crossed.