We had the opportunity to check out Wacom's booth on the last day of the convention. For those who don't know, Wacom is the company who has perfected mouse replacement products for years now. Recently, their line of Bamboo products have made it easy for the amateur or beginning Photoshop and Premiere user to get step up to the plate and try out these products at a more affordable cost.
At CES, Wacom was able to show off the Bamboo line, as well as their higher levels of their products - the Intuos and Cintiq series. As we roamed around the booth writing "PLuGHiTz Live!" on every tablet or screen that we could, we ran into an expert of the products, Tech Man Joe Sliger (that's what his badge said.) Joe has been using Wacom products for a long time now and is a true hardcore user of the Adobe suite and hasn't owned a mouse in 9 years. One of the products he was most excited about was the Cintiq 21. While the Bamboo and Intuos are add-on products that use a small pad and pen to use as your mouse, the Cintiq turns your entire desktop and computer workspace into a completely immersive tablet experience. The screen attaches with one cable down to your computer's tower and with touch and pressure sensitivities along with 21 inches of space, the Cintiq was a really cool product that we had the privilege to see in action from an expert.
Want to learn more about this cool thing? Check after the break.
First, let's talk features. Of course we know the Cintiq 21 has 21 inches of workspace, but what makes this thing really cool is the array of buttons on the sides. On both the left and right of the screen are 8 buttons separated by a jog wheel. The buttons can be customized to accomplish any task, keyboard shortcut, modifier or macro you set for it and the jog wheel can act as an orientation changer or timeline shifter if you'd like. On the backside of the device, behind the buttons, is a touchpad that can be used to adjust the brush size, zooming and scrolling in several photo-editing programs.
On top of all of that, the screen has 2048 levels of pressure, that lets you truly control brushes in a way never seen before on a device, including line weight, opacity and exposure. To add to the insanity, the Cintiq can also detect the angle of the pen to the screen and will adjust the brush to imitate the angle you have the pen at.
I also want to point out that this screen has an IPS display, which allows you to not only see the screen from almost any viewing, but see it in the same sharp and vivid color that you'd see from looking at it straight-on.
It should also be mentioned that the Cintiq 21 is not made only for picture and video editing. Joe was able to show us that you can use the pen and screen for pretty much any program on the computer (aside from hardcore games) with ease. We were very impressed that this could really replace a mouse completely and you wouldn't even miss it. Also, he even talked about his five year old son using the "Drawing Game" - SketchPad Pro - and would pick a color of crayon and draw on the screen, saving Joe the trouble of needing to clean up walls or carpets from the ink and marker that would potentially be all over them.
Now that you have the breakdown, let's talk price. The Cintiq 21UX comes in at an affordable $1,999 and is already on a 3 month backorder. The price is reasonable for the professional who wants to continue using these innovative products or even for the beginner who wants to take their workspace to the next level. If the price is too much for you or the screen size not portable enough, the Cintiq 21 has a younger sister, the Cintiq 12, which has a smaller 12 inch screen, just over half the price, and can pretty much be taken where ever you want.
Whatever option you choose to go with, know that you are getting not only a cool, new product, but something that you will be able to use effortlessly for a long time to come. Maybe you'll also become one of the people who have thrown the mouse to the wayside! We also have a nice, long - albeit very insightful - interview with the Tech Man Joe Sliger available as well, and that will be coming soon onto your web browser at plughitzlive.com.