Saturday, 01 October 2011 20:07

Cintiq 24HD Review by Fred Lang

Okay, some hands-on thoughts on the new Cintiq 24HD!

First off, here's my studio set up, which might help you visualize my working conditions a bit.

The 24HD's ability to lean over the edge of my drafting table has been the most unexpected surprise in my experience with it. It's by far the most comfortable drawing experience I've ever had. It sits just where my body needs it, allowing me to really enjoy sitting and illustrating for much, much longer than I could with the Intuos or the Cintiq 21UX. You see, I'm a "leaner" when I draw. I don't sit back like they show in the Wacom publicity stills--I really get up there on the board and hover over it. This is probably due to the fact that I spent most of my youth drawing in classes where I was supposed to be doing something else, thus making the "hunch over" my natural position on the board. The 24HD really alleviates the pain of the "hunch" by providing me with a much better platform on which to draw, which allows me to feel natural while not looking like Gollum while at the board.


I love the weight of the new tablet. Feels really solid and great. Knowing that the support arms are attached to the edges and not the center of the back of the unit helps me somehow when leaning on the board (see above). It's just an altogether more stable system. Very nice.

The screen is just gorgeous. It's not the same resolution as my monitor, but it seems to have less "gleam" per pixel than the 21 did. This has a number of benefits, especially when zooming in. The combination of the screen anti-glare and the new dimensions really help to eliminate one of my peeves about the 21--the feeling that the display just wasn't high definition enough. Much better now.

I thought that I'd miss rotation a LOT, but with the new screen and a pretty good rotation tool, I'm happy with the change. I still miss the rotation, but I bet that after a while I won't think of it as often. I'm guessing that the sheer size of the 24 eliminated the rotation feature--honestly, if I flipped it around, it'd knock four things off of my desk. So I get it.

There's an on-screen keyboard native to the tablet! Very handy. I just keep it docked to the top of my Photoshop screen with the other menus in my UI, making it easy to type new layer names, etc. I'm sure I'm not yet getting 100% out of the on-screen keyboard yet, so I'm gonna hunt around and see if anyone online is doing something smarter with it. Unfortunately, since it's cursor-activated, you can't "CMD+[insert keystroke]" anything...I think. One click per key, it seems. Maybe someone else has figured this out. Regardless, nice to not have to go to the keyboard to type in new layer names. It's like having my iPhone right on the screen.

The size of the 24 has removed a lot of the side area on my drafting board that I used to angle my keyboard for easy reach. I've hidden a Mac keyboard under the 24 (there's space for it as well as two little plastic legs that snap out to keep the board hovering above they keyboard, allowing you to "reach under the hood" to type while looking at the screen), but I find myself lifting the screen to get to the keys, which can be annoying. I'll have to figure out a way to make space or create a keyboard-specific area on my board that I can get to more easily. I might cut out a keyboard landing area and attach it to my board...not sure yet. Again...the 24 is GIANT and will eat up desk space.

The counter-weighted arms for positioning are well-made and seem very sturdy. Thing is, I'm not an easel painter, so most of this functionality is lost on me. Also, there's no "lock" to keep the screen in position anywhere except in the fully "up" position (for easel painters). So when I'm lifting the screen to get to my keyboard, for instance while writing reviews of the device like I'm doing now--there's no way to lock the 24 several inches above my hands to keep it clear of the keys. Now, it does naturally lift and stay about five inches above the keyboard on its own, but a few more inches and a locking mechanism that works for any angle would have been great.

On that note, the locking tab that keeps the screen upright for easel painters seems a little cheap and not nearly as solid as everything else on the product. I find little things like this particularly odd, as it costs so much to make, design and then buy that I'd expect them to at least put a little more sturdiness into something that's supposed to lock the screen upright. Now, once it's locked, it's there to stay. No wobble, no feeling of stress or feels great upright. The locking trigger, though...weird.

The buttons are great. Glad to have everything on the top of the device instead of below--but with the new adjusters for the support arm system on the sides, you couldn't safely reach under the screen now anyhow.

I know that the new screen has the same levels of pressure as the 21, but I can't help but think (after using it every day four HOURS since it came in) that I'm getting better, more nuanced results with this than I was the 21UX. I don't think it's a trick of the mind, because I was expecting this to be exactly the same and I ended up having a better experience with the 24HD in this regard.

Overall--completely, utterly worth the upgrade. Easier features, longer drawing times (due to better ergonomics for my particular drawing posture) and a general feeling of sturdiness that surpasses the 21UX make this a perfect solution for me.

And that's my two cents...which is all I have left after purchasing the 24HD. *hahaha*


Wacom Cintiq 24HD

First sketch with the new Cintiq 24HD. Feels really, really good. Most comfortable drawing session I've had in a long time.

Wacom Cintiq 24HD

Wacom Cintiq 24HD