Wacom Cintiq 13HD review: Great drawing experience and brilliant screen

We were excited to review the new Wacom Cintiq 13HD drawing tablet, as with previous Cintiq models, you can draw directly on its built-in LCD screen with a digitiser pen. This new model, an upgrade of the Cintiq 12WX, joins Wacom's current Cintiq 22HD, Cintiq 24HD, and Cintiq 24HD touch lineup of high-end pen displays. The Cintiq 13HD has a slim design and is compatible with both Macs and PCs.

We have previously looked at its heavier, bulkier brother, the Cintiq 24HD Touch, and that was a beast with a whopper of a price tag. Now we have a new version with a 13-inch screen – and a much more affordable cost (assuming you count £625 as affordable) – that replaces the five-years-old 12-inch Cintiq 12WX.

The Cintiq 13HD sits neatly on your lap or a desk at one of four heights using the detachable stand. You can use it flat, at 22 degrees, 35 degrees, and 50 degrees – we’d tell you which is the best position, but everyone who’s tried it here has a different opinion.

With the 24HD, you just couldn't move it. It was too heavy. The Cintiq 13HD, on the other hand, is excellent for transporting – it’s very easy to slip in a rucksack with a laptop and go about your business. To make travelling with the Cintiq 13HD as painless as possible, Wacom has shipped it with a new pocket-sized pen-and-nibs case. While there is a bit of a mess of cables – the single cable coming out of the Cintiq itself splits Hydra-like into an HDMI cable for the display, USB for the control and a power connection. The main powers adaptor’s pretty small too.

The only sticking point here is the HDMI cable. Modern Mac users will need to pick up an Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter for about £20. If you’ve got a fancy PC workstation or laptop with a DisplayPort output, you’ll need a £10 adapter. Neither’s much of an additional cost considering the price of the Cintiq 13HD – but remember to buy one otherwise you’ll find yourself very frustrated if you get the Cintiq home and have to wait a few days for an adapter to make it work.

The Cintiq 13HD has a gorgeous screen, displaying 16.7 million colours to ensure life-like colour quality. Plus, the wide-format HD LED display gives you a wide viewing angle of 178° and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels that is particularly good for handling intricate graphics and illustration.

Like always, the controls on the left of the Cintiq are very intuitive. You can set the tools to perform various shortcuts, dependant on your working methods. There is a handy tool to jump from Cintiq screen to monitor screen with a press of a button, and our drawing sped up as a result. The pro-pen is beautiful. With 2,048 levels of pressure and tilt sensitivity, it is perfect for artists, especially when creating intricate linework. It's so precise, and creates a very authentic line.

OUR VERDICT

To sum up, great piece of kit at a much better price than the 24HD and takes up way less space. If anything, the screen is just a tad too small. We found our eyes straining after an hour.

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