Cintiq 16 in use with an iMac 5K
Editor's Note: Author and Artist Brian Patterson currently producing webcomic D20monkey.com, worked on AppleInsider on this review.
Speaking as someone who has worked exclusively digitally since 201
The price tag for many baseline Wacom Cintiq tablets such as Cintiq 13HD and 22HD can easily exceed $ 1000, making access to new professionals and hobbyists harder.
Fortunately, Wacom has released a new tablet that transfers the cost to the need share with Cintiq 16, and offers a solution that doesn't come with the weight and stress of thousands of dollars up front before getting started.
The Wacom hardware
has always had some slenderness and simplicity in their appearance and function and Cintiq 16 is no different. Standard dark hardware is present and everything is clearly labeled.
The box contains the tablet, the Pro Pen 2 pen, a setup guide, and a 3-to-1 connection cable that splits into USB, HDMI, and an AC adapter for the tablet for smaller top-desk desks. As someone who moves the blackboard and keyboard around often while I work, this is important and appreciated. It is effective.
Cintiq 16 offers 15.6 inch screen space at 1920 x 1800 resolution and a fine color group for professional work.
The tablet is light but solid. It does not feel cheap, and while testing these limits with drops from the top of a desk, it is unwise, it feels like it will stand neatly against wear for everyday use. We'll probably tell you about this in a few months, though.
Cintiq 16 Folded Legs
Flip-down legs give the tablet a little height and angle, with rubber pads adhered keeping it more securely attached to the desk. Optional mounting holes for swing arms and other rack options can also be attached.
The simple instructions provide information on where to download the drivers and how to install them. The pamphlet that comes with the box provides illustrated steps on how and where to connect everything and connect the tablet to the workstation, but it is quite obvious to begin with.
Using the Wacom Desktop Center app, I went in and put in the Pro Pen 2 settings to what I personally like to use, calibrated the screen about the instructions, and I was ready to work. The setup process took minutes.
Given, I know the calibration process and the pen settings, but in a new installation for the first time user, the prompt and app interface is clear and useful.
I work with Mac exclusively, but just to be thorough I created Cintiq 16 in the same way on a friend's standard PC, just to see what would happen, and the process was just as smooth.
Yes, Cintiq 16 also works on Windows
Really, Cintiq 16 is plug-and-play. That is, provided you have a USB-A port. This is not a problem with the iMac or Mac mini, but you need a pair of adapters or a Thunderbolt 3 dock to use it with a 2016 and later MacBook Pro.
Pro Pen 2 is great. Pressure sensitivity is on point and there is little to no delay in response. I was able to draw with confidence as the pen behaved just as I hoped it would with pressure, weight and range of motion.
Cintiq 16 Pro Pen 2
Pro Pen 2 feels slightly lighter than the pen you get with a Cintiq 22HD which is my primary tablet, but it doesn't feel cheap. This is probably because there is no battery – Wacom's continued electromagnetic resonance hedges with this stylus mean it doesn't need an internal power supply, which is a great touch.
After setting up the board, I opened a new Photoshop document and started sketching. When my settings were adjusted I used Cintiq 16 to draw a sketch of one of my characters.
Immediately I noticed that I did not feel restrained or cramped on the work area that I have with other tablets. I had a full range of motion and the slightly elevated angle with the built-in legs meant I didn't have back pain from being completely crushed while working.
The pen was responsive and comfortable and the screen material on Cintiq 16 has a satisfactory amount of resistance. It does not feel quite smooth when the pen goes over it, this is not a bad thing. If you've ever run a big pencil or pen over a fine piece of paper, it has the satisfactory level.
This is one reason I point artists to Cintiq products. Non-screen tablets are very affordable and loved by artists, but I am one of those people who cannot see their hand drawing while they work. Cintiq tablets provide a traditional drawing experience in a digital medium, and for me it is worth a higher investment cost.
My original 21UX changed my life and the way I make it. It was a big investment, but I never regretted it, not even once. If Cintiq 16 had been an option for me, then I would have jumped on it right away.
Wacom obviously tries to bring the whole Cintiq experience to more people with Cintiq 16. While perhaps losing some watches and whistles of the larger tablets, this product succeeds in the goal.
The price and value
Cintiq 16 sells for $ 649 through the Wacom store and Amazon. Cintiq Pro 16 sells for $ 1,499. At less than half the price, Cintiq 16 is a great step in the right direction.
Almost $ 700 for a tablet is not cheap, but it is an investment in the right tool for the job. If you are someone ready to enter the world of digital art, this is totally worth it. With it, you ensure a generous workspace and canvas area using Wacom's intuitive hardware, along with options like a solid second screen and travel work solution.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Cintiq 16 to professionals and hobbyists who want to jump to digital workflow. I am not exaggerating when I say that it can cause a new generation of digital artists to take their first steps into the world that might otherwise have to wait much longer to do so, and I can't wait to see what they are doing with Cintiq 16
. We'll talk more about using the tablet, and long-term impressions, in a few months.
Where to buy
Wacom's Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet is currently in stock in both B & H Photo and Amazon.com for $ 649.95 with free shipping.
Cintiq Pro 16, also available at B & H Photo and Amazon.com sells for $ 1,499.95.