I got to borrow a Cintiq from talented Ien van Laanen. She’s not using it too frequently and was kind enough to lend it to me to check if I could use such a thing. First I think I list the specifications of the apparatus I got;

Cintiq specs

Screen size 21.3-inch
Screen resolution 1600 x 1200 (UXGA)
Pixel pitch 0.270 x 0.270 mm
Color depth 16.77 million colors
Color managementICC profile, 6500° K whitepoint default
Color management cntrlDDC/CI
Contrast ratio550:1
Maximum Brightn (cd/m2)220
Response Time20 ms
Viewing angle(hor/vert)170° / 170°
Backlight lifetime30,000 hours
Video interfaceDVI-I video-in
Video cablesDVI-I to VGA, DVI-I to DVI-D
The specifications of the model I used

That a lot of technical mumbo jumbo, I prefer not to explain what it all means since I really do not have a clue, except for the screen pixels you can use, that’s the only usefull stat I was interested in. 1600×1200 is the screen I got. That’s OK, I don’t like wide screens anyway.

  • The first impression

I liked the look of it a lot. Is a huge sturdy (heavy) monitor you’re getting. I always have need for more space on my desktop so the thought of having a dual monitor setup on my iMac was much anticipated. The owner already explained the advantage of splitting your Photoshop workspace in 2 separate divisions across monitors, one monitor with all your tools and history and such, and one monitor with the actual image, and not much more. Brilliant! First you have to set it up though. After connecting USB, firewire and separate power adapter its good to go. Reminder: I had a VGA/Thunderbolt connector for a Mac, I’m not sure that’s included in the ‘out of the box’ version should you buy it in a store. Connecting it isn’t much of a hassle, the only thing that took some time was clearing my desk so I had enough room for it. It’s huge.

  • Getting to work

After connecting it, you can turn on your PC, its already working. You should download drivers from Wacom, from there its a piece of cake. The first thing I did was (the buttons aren’t pre-configured for this) a ‘switch-monitor’ button. Why? The default is only the bottom monitor works with your pen, you need to be able to place your pen cursor on your upper monitor. Or else all windows and functions that are there are unreachable.

switch_mon So far I have found 2 settings for this which I use now, either switch monitors exclusively or make both monitors act as 1 very large monitor. I use the latter because I switch monitors very often, I started to get slightly irritated by having to push a button every time I wanted my mouse on either the top or the bottom so I mostly work in the mode that the mouse is free to go back and forth. The only disadvantage is that -when drawing- you have to switch that off, or else there’s a 10cm gap between where your pen is and the tool you are working with.

  • When working…

Once you get the switch monitors trick, its time to get to work. The Cintiq is very flexible in regards to angles and posture, or what I mean is the angle in which you like to work. It can move up/down and it can rotate.

wacom22hdcintiqinclination1 wacomrotation





So even when drawing in difficult angles, you can just rotate the display until your arm can be in a natural position again. This is a great feature every now and then. Then the controls on both side of the screen are very handy for quick tasks. I have switch monitors, Alt/Option, Control, resize brush, zoom in/out and a few other functions there. When your arms are on the monitor, the zoom and resize brush sliders are approximately right under your thumb. VERY handy!



What I didn’t like of this setup is the fact that when your pen is set to move around on both monitors you have to stretch your arms like really far to get to the top of the upper screen. With its 21′ your almost moving your pen half a metre from bottom to top.

  • Pros and Cons

If I could do anything to help people decide to buy it or not buy it I would, but I’m afraid it will be very different for everyone. I personally wouldn’t buy it, because it has some things I cannot get used to very well. Those keep ‘sort-of’ annoying me, and I do not think I will get used to them.


  1. Dual-monitor, always better to have more room.
  2. Easy installation and operation.
  3. Very, very handy switches on both sides of the monitor, finding your hot-keys can be done with your eyes closed if you have to
  4. The workspace you have in total, is shortly put: excellent. You can put your drawing canvas on the bottom monitor and all of your tools on the upper. You never have to dismiss tool windows ever again just put them on your top monitor and they do not bother you when editing.



  1. Its huge. You need a sturdy big desk and a lot of room on it.
  2. The switching of monitors takes a little getting used to, the reach you must have is fairly big (but maybe I haven’t discovered how to do this).
  3. The calibration between the 2 monitors I use was a little tricky, the Cintiq is fairly bright, I could not completely get it at the same level as my main monitor, it didn’t matter that much but I had to compare from time to time to make sure the images didn’t get somewhat too dark when edited on the Cintiq
  4. I am becoming short-sighted rather rapidly, I didn’t have that earlier, has something to do with ageing. The consequence with this way of working is that my desk monitor is at the right range for me to see it sharp and able to see pixels. The Cintiq which is right under my face I am not able to see sharp without my reading glasses. I admit this is not really the Cintiqs fault, but it bothered me anyway and makes working on it rather cumbersome.

SO, this is my short and non technical review of working with a Cintiq. It felt really cool to have one at my disposal, the feeling you get from editing ‘on your desk’ is a mighty feeling, it feels as if your pixels are closer and more controllable (they probably are considering the distance). I admit I am gonna miss it a little. On the other hand, I look forward to using my own little Intuos pro. I can put it in my laptop bag easy and hook it up on every computer I own right now without hassle and even wireless. So. If you like being in control on pixel level and like to work on desk level, this might be a device for you. The dual monitor thing is really awesome too, the space you gain is very luxurious. Not for anyone though, at least not really my thing after all.




Edited with the Cintiq 21UX