Category Archives: Wacom


Intuos Art Pen and Touch Small review

Intuos Art Pen and Touch Small review

by Tablets for Artists

This Intuos Art Pen and Touch Small review takes a look at this affordable and very portable tablet. Whether you want to make art, edit photos, or just switch from a mouse or trackpad, this offering from Wacom packs in a lot of useful features.




Intuos Art Pen and Touch on Amazon


The Intuos Art Pen and Touch is a graphics tablet, or pen tablet, that you attach to your computer via USB. You draw on it and see the image on your computer screen. (Click here for more info on types of tablets).

Note that this is not the “Pro” version, which has more features (such as greater pressure sensitivity and tilt sensitivity) and a higher price. The older version of this tablet was called the Intuos Pen and Touch.

What’s included


3 extra pen nibs

black pen loop (attached) as well as extra blue pen loop

rings to personalize the pen’s look, that match the pen loops

nib replacer ring

CD with driver, documentation, online user manual

Artpack with Corel Painter Express and other freebies

USB cord

You can also download drivers from the Wacom site.

Requires Mac 10.8. or above or Windows 7 or above.


The Intuos Art Pen and Touch Small Tablet measures 8.25″ by 6.7″ with an active area of 6″ x 3.7″. Its resolution is 2,540 lines per inch (half that of the Intuos Pro tablets). It has four customizable Express Keys. You can’t see the Express Keys unless the Express Key display is toggled on; it’s a lit-up display.

A handy pen loop on top helps keep the pen from getting lost. Three replacement nibs that come hidden in a compartment in the back of the tablet on top in the center, where the pen loop attaches.
A Wi-fi kit is not included, but can be purchased separately. (See under Optional Accessories at the end of this post). This line of Wacom tablets used to be called Bamboo, so if you are looking for a Wacom Bamboo review, you will see Intuos reviews instead. Bamboo is now Intuos, and the Intuos5 is now the Intuos Pro. Wacom still uses the Bamboo name for a stylus line.


The tablet has multitouch. You can use your hands by using gestures to scroll, rotate, zoom, or flip through image files by tapping, swiping, clicking, and holding. It sports an attractive silver and black design. It attaches to your computer via USB. The USB cable is rather short, but as the USB can be detached from the tablet, you could use a longer USB cable if you choose.

The tablet surface has a rough, papery-like feel, which is nice to draw on because of the paper-like bite, but can wear down nibs. Besides its use for art, it has the ability to function as a finger-powered trackpad on any document, such as a Microsoft Word file. (The most popular tablet among artists is the Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium size.)

The small size is a bit small for drawing, and would be pretty useless if you are using multiple monitors and trying to stretch its resolution to cover all of them. You should not use too large a monitor with this tablet–up to 17″ would work well, up to 19″ is possible. The resolution on the regular Intuos line is only half that of the Pro line.

Drawing on the Intuos Art Creative Pen & Touch

The pressure sensitivity works very well. It’s not as sensitive as tablets with higher amounts of levels, but that doesn’t bother me. I like the scratchy surface. The only problem I find is the size. Because I draw fairly large then shrink down, I find I have to zoom in a lot on my drawings. So I tend to use this more as a companion to other tablets or for smaller drawings. Still, I’m very satisfied with the feel, quality, and sensitivity.

Tablet learning tips

Having a non-screen tablet forces more looseness in drawing and requires practice. When learning, it’s best to keep the tablet straight and directly in front of the computer, and to use it for everything, including word processing, instead of a mouse or trackpad.

Keeping it right in front you will considerably lessen confusion about points on the surface that correspond with your screen. Eventually, muscle memory will set in and you can move the tablet around.


At its small size, thinness and weight of 12.8 oz. it’s easy to carry around. I recommend getting a case to protect it; it can fit into any laptop case.


The black Intuos Pen matches the tablet. Its 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, while only half of the 2,048 the Pro line offers, are plenty. The battery-free pen has an eraser, which does not have pressure sensitivity. The pen is ergonomic for a comfortable hold. There are two programmable switches on the side. You have to click the buttons when the pen is within half an inch of the tablet for the buttons to work.


Corel Painter Essentials comes bundled with the tablet. Here are some other free or inexpensive suggestions:

Autodesk Sketchbook Express is a free art program for Mac or Windows (not an app) that is a bit limited. It is adapted for tablets and makes use of gestures in its menus. Pressing the space bar opens up a “puck” that lets you navigate around the canvas. There are preset tools, but you can’t customize them a whole lot as you can the full version. It lets you draw perfect shapes such as squares and circles. There are 6 layers, which, depending how you work, may be fine or not enough. The full program, which costs under $100, has unlimited layers.

ArtRage has interesting brushes that resemble real oil paint, glitter, palette knife marks, and such.

I like to use the above programs in conjunction with Photoshop or the much less expensive Photoshop Elements. Though you can do a lot with ArtRage, you might still want features such as Save to Web (which shrinks file size) and to not create artwork as a specific ArtRage file which must then be exported as another file type.


The tablet is reversible, so it’s fine whether you are right-handed or left-handed.


With gestures, the tablet can act like a trackpad, or perhaps a mousepad with your hand becoming a mouse. Though the same tablet without touch is a bit cheaper, it’s worth it to get the touch capability.

However, the touch does have some drawbacks. If your hand accidentally brushes against the tablet, the tablet may interpret it as a gesture. Be a bit careful to not put your fingers too close together–if the gesture calls for three fingers, having all your fingers touching each other be interpreted as one finger.

It’s kind of like learning to drive a stick shift–well, easier than that. If the pen is touching or hovering over the tablet, touch will be disabled. Touch can also be shut off via an Express Key.


If you don’t want multitouch at all, the only Intuos option is the Intuos Draw Creative Pen Tablet Small, the simplest of the Intuos line. It has the same 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity) and all else about the tablet is the same, but there’s no multitouch.

The pen has no eraser, but you can easily use the eraser tool in your art program instead. You don’t need multitouch to use this tablet as a mouse replacement; you can select text with the stylus just as with a mouse, through a series of clicks or by clicking and dragging.



This photo actually shows the older Intuos Small, which is about the same size.


This pen tablet is popular among users, who praise its response time and say they get much more work done than with just a mouse or trackpad.

Many report switching from mouse to pen helped their repetitive strain injuries, though if someone is suffering from RSI from drawing already, it can exacerbate it. In general, wrist injuries are common, so a stylus is much less likely to cause or aggravate injuries to the wrist than clicking a mouse would.

You may have trouble finding the replacement nibs. Wacom should try to do a better job of showing them.


USB cable is detachable from the tablet, so you can use one that has a longer cord if you want Great response time.

Accurate pen.


The tablet and pen may be a bit cramped for large hands. Some complain about the Wacom Web site registration process. Others find the tablet difficult to use. You do not have to use the Express Keys or gestures, they are there for your convenience.

Once you’ve tried an Intuos Pro tablet with 2,048 levels of pressure, you do feel the difference.

Nibs can wear down quickly due to the textured surface of the tablet.


Try using a screen protector (see link below, under Optional Accessories) or even just a sheet of regular paper over the tablet.



The tablet is quite small and would be better to use with a monitor of no larger than 17″, 19″ at the most. Because of its size, moving the pen, mouse, or hand on the monitor even a little can move the cursor quite a lot.

I find small tablets best for basic photo editing or coloring small drawings that I’ve scanned in or created on a larger tablet. It’s not that easy to draw a larger picture on such a small tablet; you have to keep zooming and panning.

I end up zooming and panning even on my Cintiq, but most of my drawings are not much larger than the Cintiq 13HD screen, so some of the zooming is just because I like to do that with detailed areas.

The Intuos Art Pen & Touch small tablet is fine for doing small drawings that don’t require a lot of hand movement, as you can feel cramped on a small tablet both mentally and physically. It’s more ergonomic to use a larger tablet. This one is OK for drawing, and excellent for crafts, basic photo editing, and scrapbooking.

In my opinion, the best size for art is the Medium, which is also the most popular of the Wacom pen tablets among creative professionals. This size tablet is also find if you want to use it and the pen as a mousepad replacement. Multitouch gestures let you select text.

The Small it’s a good tablet for beginners who aren’t sure they’re going to commit to digital art. It’s fine for lots of other uses, too, but I wouldn’t recommend it for professional artists because it’s too small; it can be a good, portable backup tablet.

Looking for the Pro version? Here’s the Amazon page for the Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Small.

And here’s our review of the Intuos Medium Pro–similar to the small but a bit larger.

See our review of the Wacom Intuos Draw.

If you find the USB cord to be too short, we recommend this USB extension as a simple solution.

Read our introductory article about tablets.


You’ll have less cord clutter with the wireless kit.


end of Intuos Art Pen and Touch Small Review


Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Review (Medium size): gesture and more

Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Review (Medium): powerful graphics tablet



Note: this product has been updated for 2017.

New Intuos Pro Medium (2017) vs. old Intuos Pro Medium

New Intuos Pro: It’s thinner, it’s under 1/2″ thick and has a smaller footprint. It’s easy to carry in a bag or backpack. The backing is anodized aluminum. The pen stand is smaller and pucklike; the pen case has been redesigned. It only comes in Medium and Large; both have eight ExpressKeys. The Pro Pen 2 has 8, 192 levels of pressure sensitivity.


Intuos Pro Paper Edition. Image courtesy Wacom

There’s also the Intuos Pro Paper Edition that comes with the Pro Pen 2 and a gel ink pen. Optionally, there’s also a ballpoint pen, and Wacom plans to add a pencil. The Paper Edition lets you utilize real paper and digitize via an app.

See Intuos Pro 2017 on Amazon

See Intuos Pro Paper Edition on Amazon

Type of Tablet

The Wacom Intuos Pro is a graphics tablet that you draw on while you look at your computer monitor. Comes with pen. Also called the Intuos Pro. All Intuos Pros have touch (and pens). The regular Intuos tablets have touch and non-touch models, and fewer high-end features than the Pro line.


The Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet is a professional-grade tablet that lets you draw, design, or edit photos or use in place of (or alongside) a mouse in any program. It features 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The medium size is Wacom’s most popular tablet among creative professionals. It combines pen and touch and is wireless and customizable.  It comes with 10 nibs of varying sizes, and the pen has tilt recognition. The tablet is 14.9 by 9.9″ with a usable area of  9 x 5 1/2 inches. It weighs in at 10.9 oz.
Compatible with Windows Vista and up, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later (with Intel processor).


Intuos5  Touch vs. Intuos Pro Medium

The Intuos Pro Medium is pretty much the same as the older Intuos 5 Touch with some differences to the form factor. (To make things even more confusing, what used to be called the Bamboo line is now called Intuos, without the “Pro”). Its express buttons, rocker ring, and gesture controls all give you easy shortcuts for common operations.Also, the Pro comes with the wifi kit, and you had to buy it separately with the Intuos5 Touch.

The look and feel of the tablet is more Cintiq-like now with Express Keys that are designed to be easier to press than in the Intuos5 Touch. The buttons are actual buttons rather than buttons that look like indentations. The inner surface and buttons are all beaded. The plastic is harder than in the Intuos5 Touch, but it still gives. The pen is a little thinner and lighter.

intuos pro pen and touch review

What’s Included

Tablet, Intuos Grip Pen

Color identification rings

Assorted replacement pen tips (total of 10 nibs of varying shapes and sizes)

Pen stand

Wireless kit

mini USB cable

Quick-start guide Installation CD with driver Online user manual Product information documentation

Bundled with Software:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (sells for $79.99) Autodesk Sketchbook Express (tablet version based on complete version, features gesture-based menu)

Anime Studio Debut 8 (sells for $49.99)

Corel Painter 13 (30-day trial)

Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Select Edition (tablet version based on complete version)

The bundled software adds about $180 of value. (Ballpark estimate–not counting the free trial as anything.)

The Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. We’re reviewing the medium, since it’s Wacom’s most popular and also the most practical. The small tablet is not much cheaper and is less comfortable to use. It’s best if you have a small desk space. The large can be a bit too large–so the medium is rather like what Goldilocks might choose.

Unlike a mouse and mousepad, you can map Intuos tablets to your screen. So to move from one part of your screen to another, you need to move your hand around a bit, rather than making several swipes with a mouse. The large size may be a bit awkward to use spacewise. The Medium is good for monitors of up to 30″.


For Lefties

Good for righties and lefties. For left-handed use, the manual tells you how to make a small loop in the cable so it will go in the correct direction.



At just 10.9 oz., this is fine for on the go, and fits into most laptop cases.



The 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity offer a great deal of control over your digital art. The tablet is very responsive and you can adjust pressure sensitivity. It has a single USB cord and  a dongle for wireless access. You can map how much of the tablet you want to use as a live workspace.

OLED lights surround the active area, so you stay within your bounds. The medium’s size is good for working with multiple monitors.The medium is an excellent size to use with multiple monitors as well as for general work. It’s large enough to not feel cramped, but not so large as to be overwhelming.


The eight Express Keys and 4-function Touch Ring let you program custom shortcuts in your favorite programs or browser functions. If you happen to touch while using the pen, palm rejection will kick in and give preference to the pen.

A nice feature is the Express View Display, where you can rest a finger on theExpressKeys and a reminder of its function will light up on the screen. You can toggle between pen and touch. You can use hand gestures to pinch, pan, and zoom, such as pinching to zoom and swiping to navigate.

You can use the built-in gestures or program your own under the on-screen “My Gestures” menu, which lets you choose 3, 4, or 5 fingers. There’s also a handy radial menu you can bring up to give you 8 more customized commands.



Windows Vista SP3, 8, and 7 (32- or 64-bit), or 10; Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later (needs Intel processor).



The included Intuos Grip Pen comes with 10 extra nibs that will give you lots of control over drawing. It’s a little bit of a hassle to change the nibs, but I love that there are so many nibs, and it’s fun to try them out. On the other hand, I tend to stick with one, instead, I change the brushes in the art program.

The nibs come hidden in a  handy holder, the base that holds the pen (you have to open up this holder to find them). You can change brush size by using the ring.

The replacement nibs offer a fun array of tips with 5 regular, 1 flex, 1 stroke, 3 hard felt for a total of 10. The stroke nib is spring-loaded to give you more tactile feedback.

I really enjoy having my choice of nibs for different effects. Using a stylus or pen instead of a mouse really seems to ease wrist strain and carpal tunnel caused by the mouse.

The Grip Pen offers tilt recognition from -60 to +60 degrees, as well as rotation sensitivity which greatly expand your drawing and painting options in not only the lines, but also the textures and patterns you can make. You can also use the tilt sensitivity when drawing industrial designs that must be exact and follow angles and curves.




Bundled software:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Autodesk Sketchbook Express (a tablet-optimized “mini” version of Sketchbook Pro that’s free anyway)

Anime Studio® Debut 8

Corel Painter™ 13- 30 day trial

Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Select Edition (tablet version based on complete version)

You can use this with any software on your computer. The driver will automatically install for Windows, but with OSX (Mac), you have to install it from the disk or download it off Wacom site ( Remember to deactivate any antivirus programs before installing, then reactivate them when finished. You can use this tablet with any programs on your computer (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, or as a mouse replacement in Word).

Remember that not all art programs support pressure sensitivity, and you may have to adjust tablet settings within programs, for instance, Photoshop allows you to choose which tools and functions (such as opacity) you want to respond to pressure.

For Linux Wacom drivers, please visit this Sourceforge page.

The Intuos Pro Medium detects the software you’re using and offers optimal short cuts and selections.

The tablet is useful for handwriting, with its Windows capabilities-you can take notes in Windows Journal and use the search function to search your handwritten content. You can also convert handwriting to typed characters.

There are digital ink tools that mark up documents in Office 2007 and later, if you’re not only using this for digital art. There is a standard mode and a recognition mode for handwriting recognition that is only necessary if the recognition software you are using isn’t working well because it is using a lot of memory. Recognition mode will maximize the data rate.


Good customer service

Ring lets you change brush size

Lightweight (10.9 oz.) and fits in most laptop cases

Comes bundled with 5 art programs including Photoshop Elements 11 and Autodesk Sketchbook Express

Intuos pens also compatible with Cintiqs


Some complain of loose USB port. You only need to use the USB while charging. Some say the included mini USB is too large and needs to be jammed into the port, and had better luck with a replacement mini USB.

Some people compained in their Intuos Pro Pen and Touch review about problems with wireless and touch connectivity

Battery doesn’t last long

Nibs wear down quickly and can leave pits in the tablet

TIPS: Decrease pressure sensitivity in the settings, and you will not need to press very hard. Also, laying a sheet of paper over the tablet while drawing can protect the tablet and pen nib. Or try the Posrus cover, link below, under Accessories.


User Reviews

Customers overall were very satisfied with this tablet. They remarked that the many small improvements made it more pleasant to use than both the Intuos5 Touch and the Intuos4, which did not have touch.

Some got buggy drivers in the Pro, leading to loss of pressure sensitivity and other issues. Drivers have to be downloaded from Wacom’s site.

Old Wacom drivers should be deleted before adding the new ones, and there can be other software conflicts as well when it comes to drivers.


Customer Service

I have always had good experiences when calling Wacom, even if the product is past warranty. They have been patient and helpful. Their online forums often provide answers for issues. It does seem that they stonewall a bit when it comes to drivers not working right with software.

Drivers relate to software made by other companies, for instance, Adobe, so if there are issues it may not be solely Wacom’s fault. Things sometimes seem a bit awry between the two companies.


The Verdict

The Pro Pen and Touch Medium is a professional artist tool that provides excellent results. It’s designed to be a cousin to the Cintiq. Nonetheless, some users have had issues with the USB and connectivity. We hope Wacom will iron out any connectivity and USB problems soon.

Our Intuos Pro Pen and Touch review concludes that this is a high-quality and solidly built tablet that could easily become an artist’s primary tool.

Video: Mapping the Display

This video from Wacom shows you how to map the tablet to your screen. It shows the Intuos 5, since Wacom doesn’t have a video for the Pro, but as I mentioned earlier, they are the almost same tablet, with some differences in the form factor.

See the Intuos Pro Medium 2017 on Amazon

See Intuos Pro Paper Edition on Amazon

Need help choosing which one suits you best? Read our article: How to Pick the Best Wacom Tablet: Intuos graphics tablets

Read more about choosing the best graphics tablet for what you need,

 end of Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Review (Medium)



Wacom Cintiq 13HD review, now with Cintiq 13HD Pen and Touch

Cintiq 13HD Review: quality tablet gives you choice of pen or multitouch too


Wacom 13HD review. Image courtesy Wacom

Wacom Cintiq 13HD

This Cintiq 13HD review has been updated to include the Cintiq HD Touch.

The Cintiq has long been considered the top-of-the-line tablet for artists, including illustrators, graphic designers, fine artists, video artists, and photographers. Its high-resolution 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 display can render 16.7 million colors and offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The Cintiq 13HD is the successor to the 12UX. Weighing 2.6 pounds, it is considerably lighter than the 12ux. The peripherals (cables, converter box, power supply) add about another 6 pounds. This is about 2 pounds less in total than the 12ux. The dimensions are 14.75 x 9.75 x 0.5”.  The expansive 178-degree viewing angle lets you see the image on the screen if you’re not directly in front of it.


The Cintiq is a  tablet monitor, pen display tablet, or hybrid (those are all terms that apply to it), meaning it’s a monitor that combines a digitizer and screen so you can draw directly on the screen. It If you have never used a drawing tablet with screen, the experience is hugely different, even life-changing.

You can choose to see the same thing you see in your computer screen or an extended view (this is set up in the computer’s Control Panel) and you can add more monitors as well.

The Cintiq is pretty easy to set up and comes with everything you need. On a Mac, you will need an HDMI input, an adapter costing about $15 that you have to buy separately. Wacom claims 85% of the art tablet market and is the most well known and trusted name in art tablets. than its competition, such as the Yiynova. Read our Yiynova review here.


Included are a detachable, adjustable kickstand with 3 viewing angles (all landscape mode, not portrait), Pro Pen, a collection of 10 nibs (including the one that comes in the stylus) with a variety of tips, pen case, nib remover, 3 colored pen rings )so if you have more than one pen you can tell them apart) converter box, 3-in-1 cord, installation and driver CDs, and manual, and a download key for bundled software. (You now get a plastic case for the pen).




I’m updating this post to include information about the Cintiq 13HD Pen and Touch (see it on Amazon), more formally known as the Cintiq 13HD Creative Pen & Touch Display. Wacom added multitouch to this tablet monitor in 2015. For two years, it did not have touch. Now you can use gestures to navigate, pan, zoom, and rotate.

Larger versions are now also outfitted with touch, including the 22HD Cintiq Touch Interactive Pen Display (note: though for some reason it is not called “pen and touch,” it is), and the mother (in terms of size) of all Cintiqs, the 27″ one. So now you can happily finger paint on the Cintiq and play with vector lines with your finger. Palm rejection works well. You won’t get pressure sensitivity when drawing with your fingers.

Art-software companies including Adobe, Corel, and Autodesk, maker of Sketchbook,  are increasingly integrating touch into the interface, giving your more capabilities.

If the topic interests you, here is a YouTube video that shows the Touch and also shows the artist using a plugin to draw with Adobe Illustrator with your fingers and actually get some variable line width based on speed. You can start at about 9:35 to see that demoed.

To do what he’s doing with Illustrator–getting a varied line width, you need to use the plugin he’s using. Without the plugin you would still be able to use your fingers to manipulate vector lines and shapes, sort of like on the iPad.

So now the iPad has a full-featured stylus version in the iPad Pro (see our review), and the Cintiq has incorporated touch. Nice that we can all get along.


13HD vs. CINTIQ 12UX

There are now fewer cords than the 12ux had; the whole thing is more manageable. The 12WX had a large, heavy converter box with cables sticking out of it, creating cord spaghetti, plus a hefty power brick. The 13HD has simplified the peripherals considerably. In the 12WX version you had to connect the AVI cable and a USB from the computer to the converter box and power brick. Now, a single 3-in-1 cord goes from your computer and branches out to the box that holds the power supply, HDMI port, and USB.  The colors in the 13HD are brighter than in the 12WX. The screen on the 12HD is 13.3″ diagonal and on the 12WX it’s 12.1.” There is less plastic surrounding the screen on the 13HD. The 13HD weighs 2.6 lbs. and the 12WX 4.4 lbs.



The Cintiq is reversible and thus fine for both right- and left-handers.



The beautiful HD display with a 16:9 aspect ration will show off your artwork. The display is ultra sharp. It’s not searingly bright, less bright than it probably is on your other monitor. The screen’s matte finish gives it a pleasing, paperlike bite. The matte finish cuts glare. More space is taken up by the display as compared to the 12UX display, which has quite a bit of plastic around it.

You can calibrate colors using your preferred color-calibration software. Only the Cintiq 24HD Touch comes with Wacom’s own color-calibration software, which can be used on the 13HD as well. The detachable stand has 3 positions, the one probably the most comfortable for drawing for most people being the 20 degree one.

If you already have a 12UX, the 13HD isn’t a must-have, but it’s more pleasant to use because of fewer weighty cables and boxes and the great HD display. The Cintiq 13HD is no multitouch, only pen input. You can’t use your fingers or hand gestures.

The only Cintiqs with multitouch are the larger, pricier 22HD Touch and 24 HD touch.

Because of the HD screen resolution of 165 pixels, icons in Photoshop will show up small. This is an issue with all high-res tablets. So it can be a little fussy to use, and better to look at Photoshop icons on your main monitor rather than on the Cintiq. (This could just as well be in an Adobe review as a Cintiq 13HD review, since the issue is the software not keeping up, and this should change someday, Adobe willing.)  The 178-degree viewing angle makes it so you can see what’s on the screen from many vantage points.



The battery-free Pro Pen feels substantial, and the silicon grip makes it comfortable to hold for long periods.  It’s solid but doesn’t feel too heavy. The tip and the eraser each have 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Pen accuracy is great, with very little parallax effect, meaning the line you see on the screen appears to be directly where the pen tip is touching it (in reality you are seeing the line under the glass). You can recalibrate the pen easily whenever you want by opening up the calibration screen and tapping on a series of points. The pen has a tip switch and two side switches for shortcuts and modifiers (these are optionally used).

The grip has no latex, so you don’t need to worry about latex allergies. The pen does not need to be charged. It’s nice to not have to worry about batteries or recharging the pen.  The Pro Pen has plus or minus 60 levels of tilt recognition, so just like in the real world, the line will change according to the angle at which you hold the pen. This tilt can be very handy both in drawing lines and in creating patterns.

The Pro Pen is as it sounds–professional. There’s no advantage to replacing it, unlike with some tablets. While it comes with a nice sent of nibs, if you want even more variety, you can buy additional pens with different tips, such as the Airbrush Pen, and the Art Pen, which has the feeling of a felt-tip marker and allows for painterly strokes.

The Cintiq pen won’t work on tablet PCs, since the technology is different. Some pens work on both Cintiqs and Intuos tablets.



A Cintiq isn’t the type of thing you can tuck under your arm and run from place to place, though in a car it’s fine. On top of its weight of about 8 lbs. including power stuff, you would need to also lug a computer, the Cintiq cords, power brick, and converter box. I’ve taken my laptop, Cintiq and all in my carry-on bag numerous times, leaving some clothing behind in order to make room.

Airport security, while they allow iPads through without a hassle, often doesn’t know what to make of the Cintiq and one agent dusted it for explosives! A Cintiq isn’t something people see every day, so leave a few extra minutes for possible airport hassles.

There are now a couple of more portable Cintiq options: the all-in-one Wacom Cintiq Companion, which is an artist’s dream, a portable Cintiq (the computer is part of it, it’s the ultimate art tablet PC), and the Cintiq Hybrid, an Android tablet that’s a bit cheaper than the Companion and can work either as a standalone tablet or as a regular Cintiq that attaches to a computer.



You can use whatever software is on your computer (Adobe Suite, Maya, etc.), and you can use Mac or Windows. According to forums, it can be set to work with Linux. (For more Linux and Wacom info and drivers, please visit this page at Sourceforge.) Wacom drivers are on the Wacom site and also come on an included disk.



The rocker ring and four express keys give you a convenient way to program shortcuts. The default ones are pretty good. You can use these keys to bring up an on-screen radial menu with further options. Personally I use the keyboard shortcuts since I’m used to them. Resizing a brush using the express keys requires several clicks, it can sometimes be simpler to use the commands in your art program.



At around a grand, it’s pricey, but Cintiqs’ resale value holds quite well so far, and the tablets last for years. The 13HD is comparable in price to to a tablet PC such as the Surface Pro. You get more screen real estate with the 13HD, but of course you need to attach it to a separate computer.


Many users love their Cintiqs, but there are some detractors. In reading each Cintiq 13HD review, we looked for common complaints. The biggest gripe was that the USB connector was loose. There are some workarounds, but they are annoying. Other users had no problem or didn’t think it was a big deal. The USB issue seems to be a fairly common issue with Wacom as well as some other tablet companies.

TIP: A good place to look for Wacom answers and discussions is



Terrific art experience

Size is big enough to draw comfortably, small enough to hold in your lap

Simple to set up and use

Can outlast your computer; can be used with different computers and operating systems, including netbooks

Holds resale value

Pen is battery-free and does not need to be charged



Jitter in corners, common in Wacom digitizers

Some users complain of USB port looseness

Not easily portable

Some users have issues with the drivers

High-resolution screen means some programs’ tools, such as Photoshop, will be small on the Cintiq (hopefully Adobe will catch up)

Not cheap


I couldn’t live without my Cintiq. To me, a tablet PC is useful as an add-on or something to travel with, but  it’s not a replacement. I like the line quality I get from the slight bite provided by the matte finish of the screen, it’s closer to what I would get on paper.

I also prefer having a dedicated work area, one I can hold in my lap. Sometimes I watch movies on it sometimes (got to take a break from work now and then). If portability is a priority, the Cintiq may not be for you.  If you need a lower price, there are some other feasible options, though Wacom is still top of the line.





6D Art Pen
The 6D art pen with its chisel tip is great for painting. It’s compatible with other Cintiqs and the Intuos Pro 4 and Intuos Pro 5.  You choose whether you want plastic or felt. You can rotate the barrel 360 degrees while drawing for interesting designs. It includes both hard plastic and felt nibs. I use the felt tip to mix colors and get painterly effects.

Read our review of the XP-Pen 22  tablet monitor. The newer  XP-Pen Artist 22E tablet monitor is also something you might want to check out as it has Express Keys, like a Cintiq.

Read our review of a Yiynova tablet monitor.

Looking for a powerful Wacom all-in-one? Check out our Wacom MobileStudio Pro review.

end of Cintiq 13HD Review