In my previous blogpost I talked about my first impressions from using a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as a mobile graphic tablet. I little over a week later and I brought the device back to the store. It’s an incredible machine, it’s almost perfect except that the device just doesn’t lend itself for the purpose I intended to use it. The pen with it’s sensitivity and lack of tilt doesn’t compare to what I’m used to in Wacom Intuos tablets that I’ve been working with for over a decade. Feather light touches on the surface hardly or don’t register at all. This becomes particularly frustrating when sketching or trying to color pick when painting as well as trying to get your colors to blend nicely and realistically on the canvas. An accurate sensitivity of which the ability to hardly press down is crucial. This is not the device to get if you’re a professional digital artist looking for a mobile substitute for your desktop.
Despite the SP4 being frustrating to draw and paint on, it did show me the potential for mobile graphic tablets and since I had a taste I needed more. I’m not a tech guy and I don’t really keep that up to date with new tech releases, so it’s been only recently since I learned that Wacom brought an already second gen mobile graphics tablet under their Cintiq line on the market. A full Windows 8 (up-gradable to 10) computer to boot; the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.
I was already hooked in and began chasing the dragon of mobile graphic tablets, so I spend a little extra and ordered the Cintiq Companion 2. After unboxing, upgrading to Windows 10 and installing Photoshop and Clip Studio, which took up pretty much all afternoon, I finally could take it for a test drive that evening and wow! what a dream to work on! The device is large and clunky, it makes noice and gets kind of hot and it’s not as pretty as the SP4, but it does the most crucial part exactly right as you would expect from a Wacom tablet.
The customizable physical Expresskeys and Rocker Ring on the side of the tablet come in incredibly handy and are pretty much crucial for a great drawing/painting experience. I hardly ever use those keys on my Intuos Pro, but on this mobile device they totally rock! It’s great to be able to physically feel your most used keys instead of almost blindly aiming your finger on the screen. Apart from that there are fully customizable on-screen controls and a radial ring which allows the use of essentially all shortcuts you use on your desktop. These are great for merging layers, transform, copy/paste, safe etc. I press them with my pen.
The pen is exactly what you’re used to from Wacom and comes with a set of extra nibs.
The only major downside is battery life. After two hours working in Photoshop my Companion was screaming for extra juice.