Confused Artist??? Wacom Cintiq 12wx or Tablet PC?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by ronvdm777, Mar 9, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ronvdm777

    ronvdm777 Pen Pal - Newbie

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Hello all. As you can see, I am a newbie to this forum. I am also a newbie when it comes to computer art. I am an artist by lifestyle but not employment. I love to paint, draw, carve, etc. Unfortunatley, my current living space doesn't allow for the painting or carving, and I would rather draw right onto my computer than onto a piece of paper which I then have to scan.

    So, after having said all of that, I can't decide between the Wacom Cintiq 12wx or a Tablet PC. I am concerned about the Wacom because my current laptop is not that powerful and I don't know if it would run the programs I have read about in these forums.

    Hopefully my responses to the questions set out below will assist you in providing me with the guidance I so desperately need.

    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget? $500 - $1000 (but prefer to keep it low if possible)

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished? Not used, but refurbished by the manufacturer is OK.

    3. Do you prefer a Slate, Convertible or Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC)?I don't know. I don't intend on typing with it so a slate would be fine, however, if a convertible or Ultra Mobile PC would produce a better quality image and allow for greater flexibility using brushes etc, I would go for one of those even if it costs a little more.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?

    * Small and light ~ 5" to 8.9"
    * Compact ~ 10"
    * Mainstream ~ 12.1"
    * Large ~ 13.3"

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from? Canada or the USA

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes? Not yet :p

    7. How many hours battery life do you require? My primary use will be in doors. I intend to use it while reclining on the couch (lol).

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc) Painting and drawing

    9. Do you have an OS preference?Not yet :p

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc) Sketchbook, Photoshop, Corel Painter, etc.

    10. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list. No games

    Screen Specifics

    1. What resolution do you prefer? Honestly don't know. Whatever is best for creating artwork.

    * XGA - 1024x768 ~ large and easy to read text and graphic icons but you fit less on the screen.
    * SXGA - 1400x1050 ~ Small text and graphic icons which require good vision but the gain is a much larger screen. (no longer available new, must look for used or refurbished machines)
    * WXGA - 1280x768 ~ has a wider usable area than XGA, ideal for viewing Spreadsheets and other programs that require desktop space. The mainly used resolution for new tablet PCs since 2008.

    2. Do you require the screen to be readable in sunlight? Probably not but I do get a lot of sunlight in my living room where I intend on lying on the couch while I create great pieces of art :p

    3. Do you prefer your display to be glossy or matte?Probably matte unless the experienced computer artists out there think otherwise.

    4. Do you require Touch? (without pressure sensitivity) (Which one: resistive or capacitive) My understanding, albeit limited, is that capacitive is better for artwork. However, you guys know better than I do, so I will leave it for you to tell me.

    5. Do you require a Pen? (with pressure sensitivity) (Which one: Wacom or N-Trig)Again, my understanding, albeit limited, is that Wacom is better for artwork. However, I read that there is a next generation of N-Trig, so I would be interested in hearing from anyone that has used it (although I expect that any Tablets that come with it are out of my price range).

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? I can always buy an external hardrive to sit on my coffee table, so I would say that the more RAM the better.

    2. Do you require an Optical (CD/DVD) Drive to be built in? I don't know. Do I??? Not even sure what that is (lol).:eek:

    3. Do you require ability to add a second Battery or Hard Drive (Modular Bay technology)?If the internal hard drive is small, I will want to add an external hard drive. I don't think that I will require a second battery since there is a plug-in next to my couch:p

    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above? If you have a suggestion, which is based on the PC/Wacom tablet that you currently own, I would be interested in checking out the artwork you are able to produce on your PC/Wacom. A link would be great.

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?Just popped into my head :eek:, I will be using it while lying/resting on the couch :p so I might need one that doesn't overheat and burn my man jewels (LOL):D

    I am looking forward to hearing what any of you have to say. I am gnawing at the bit and hope that with all of your help, I can purchase something within the next week or so. Thanks in advance for any advice that you may provide.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  2. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Only real answer to that question is by asking another question:

    Do you need mobility or not? A 12WX will forever be tether to a power outlet. If that doesn't bother you, get a 12WX. If you ever want or need to do your work AWAY from a power outlet, then you need a Tablet PC.

    In all likelihood, you current laptop is powerful enough to run all the 2D apps. So 12WX with that is still a fine option. Obviously, you get much faster laptop by getting a new Tablet PC. But you can also opt for a used/refurbished unit, such as a HP 2730p for around $550, which is still very very fast.
  3. PhotoMuis

    PhotoMuis Scribbler - Standard Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Hi Ron, welcome.

    The Cintiq is great for people who want to e.g. be able to use the power of their desktop computer and still be able to draw directly on the screen. Considering that you said your current laptop is not powerful, you probably would be better off with buying a tablet, as otherwise you in essence need a new computer/laptop and a Cintiq. But before you jump to conclusions, perhaps reveal the specs of your old laptop, then it would be easier to judge if it is indeed not powerful enough.

    Of course the advantage of the Cintiq is that you can plug it into any computer that you might own in the future, whereas the tablet's screen becomes obsolete together with the tablet itself when you move on to something else later. Although most tablet owners just buy a newer tablet later on, it is rather addictive!

    When it comes to the art itself, the main difference between the tablet and Cintiq would be that you cannot use the "tilt" function in Photoshop on a tablet. On a Cintiq, you can assign some property of the brush to respond to the way you hold the pen. On a tablet, you can only do this with the pressure sensitivity. However, many artists don't use the tilt function anyway, and if you have no experience with digital drawing yet you will probably not miss it, it is more a concern to Cintiq-experienced artists who want to work on a tablet. Depending on your drawing style it might or might not make a difference to your end results. But that is a question no one could answer for you, if you are concerned about it it would be best if you pop down to some store that sells Cintiqs and play around on one for a bit to get a feeling of what it is like and if you think you will miss having tilt.

    The two current "main" contenders (among the new releases) with the slate form factor that are able to run Photoshop are the HP Slate 500 and Asus EP121. The HP is Ntrig, the EP121 is Wacom. Where the Ntrig vs. Wacom debate is concerned: Pop over to the HP Slate part of this forum, there are many discussions and images etc. there, (for instance: But to summarize what I have read there (I don't have an HP Slate): Ntrig is not quite the pain in the ass that it used to be, it is now quite decent for handwriting etc., but for artwork Wacom still rules. Some artists that have a different computer+tablet (Cintiq or Intuous) or another Wacom tablet at their disposal do find it useful as a drawing pad to jot down ideas or make rough sketches on-the-go, as the HP Slate is also very light and small to carry with you.

    When it comes to the Asus EP121 vs. the Cintiq, check this out:

    YouTube - Asus EP121 vs Cintiq21UX

    YouTube - ASUS EP121 vs Cintiq 21UX Part 2

    It shows the Cintiq21UX , not the Cintiq 12wx, but apart from the size the rest of the aspects he looks at will probably be similar between the two Cintiqs.

    For some impressions of what other forum members are doing on their tablets, check out this thread:

    The EP121 is currently pretty hard to get, as few have shipped, which pushes its price e.g. on Ebay, and it is so new that there won't be many refurbished bargains out there yet. Where the art aspect is concerned, a convertible will not give you more options where the brushes etc. etc. is concerned, but if you include convertibles in your search, it widens your range of choices within your budget.
  4. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    As Shogmaster says, the main difference boils down to portability. Aside from that, there's pen tilt sensitivity, which I have yet to see any Tablet PC offer, whereas the Cintiq 12WX does.

    There's also the issue of performance. When you buy a Tablet PC, you're buying a whole computer, and you can't use its display/digitizer as a Cintiq for another system. (Nobody's coded software to carry over the pen pressure sensitivity to my knowledge.) If you want to upgrade, chances are you'll have to buy a whole new Tablet PC out of what's on the market.

    With a Cintiq, you can use as powerful a laptop or desktop as you have access to, so long as there's a spare AC outlet nearby. If you need to upgrade the computer, you don't have to replace the Cintiq.

    I don't know about refurbished options, but if you're buying new, your options are limited with that budget, and this is assuming that you'll go all the way to US$1,000. And since you're not buying used, that means I can't offer you my Gateway E-295C after I transition over to the HP 2730p that's slated to arrive in two days. (It's powerful enough for Photoshop and has a Wacom digitizer, but the LCD itself is nothing spectacular-a cheap TN panel with a CCFL backlight and 1280x768 resolution. You have better options if anything you do is particularly color-critical.)
  5. ronvdm777

    ronvdm777 Pen Pal - Newbie

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Thank you all for the quick replies. I'm not sure, PhotoMuis, if the following is what you need to determine if my computer is powerful enough, but hopefully it helps. I just don't want to spend $1,000 on the Cintiq and have my computer crap out trying to run the necessary software. Just typing this has caused my computer to lag. I look forward to any further suggestions all of you or others may have.

    Windows: Windows 7 Home Premium Edition (64-bit) (Build 7600)
    Internet Explorer: 8.0.7600.16385
    Memory (RAM): 2813 MB
    CPU Info: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor TK-42
    CPU Speed: 855.0 MHz
    Sound Card: Speakers (Realtek High Definiti
    Display Adapters: ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics | ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics | RDPDD Chained DD | RDP Encoder Mirror Driver | RDP Reflector Display Driver
    Monitors: 1x; Generic PnP Monitor |
    Screen Resolution: 1366 X 768 - 32 bit
    Network: Network Present
    Network Adapters: Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter | Broadcom 802.11g Network Adapter | Atheros AR8132 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.20)
    CD / DVD Drives: D: SlimtypeDVD A DS8A4SH
    Ports: NOT Present NOT Present
    Mouse: 5 Button Wheel Mouse Present
    Hard Disks: C: 286.0GB
    Hard Disks - Free: C: 56.1GB
    USB Controllers: 3 host controllers.
    Firewire (1394): Not Detected
    Manufacturer: Acer
    Product Make: Aspire 5517
    AC Power Status: OnLine
    BIOS Info: AT/AT COMPATIBLE | 11/30/09 | ACRSYS - 3
    Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time
    Battery: High
    Motherboard: Acer Aspire 5517
  6. ronvdm777

    ronvdm777 Pen Pal - Newbie

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    By the way, these are the tablets that I have been looking at on eBay:

    HP EliteBook 2730p TABLET 1.86GHz 120GB HDD 12.1"

    HP Touchsmart TM2 2151NR Notebook

    HP Touchsmart TM2T Laptop 1.33GHz Core i5-470UM 4GB

    HP TM2t i5 512MB HD5450 HDMI Bluetooth Tablet PC



    HP 2740P I5-540M/2.53G/4GB/250GB/NON MULTITOUCH - 995

    Fujitsu Lifebook T4220 Tablet PC C2D T7500 2.2GHz DVDRW
    160Gb HDD,WiFi,BlueTooth Coming with Docking Station

    Motion Computing LE1600 Tablet PC 1.5GH/1.5GB/60GB/WiFi

    ASUS Eee PC T101MT Netbook 10.1" 160GB Tablet PC NEW

    Dell Latitude XT 12" Touchscreen Tablet PC @ ndc 12713
    GRADE B U7700,2GB,120GB 4200RPM,ATi X1250 128MB,Bio,12.
  7. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    People repeatedly recommend Fujitsus (t5010, t780, t900, etc), HPs (2740/2730), and Lenovo Thinkpads (x201t/x200t) for artists. Plus the Asus ep121. Concensus seems to imply that current as well as models that are one generation old are both perfectly adequate for digital art.

    If you scroll through the next 2-3 pages of the recommendations thread, you'll find some really helpful threads on just this subject. That was where I educated myself.

    HP's and Lenovo's seem pretty similar, besides aesthetics, although HP's carry more powerful processors. Fujitsus are a little thicker (1/4") and heavier (.5 lbs) but carry 2-button pens that fit in the silo, and seem to have onscreen buttons in the right place (for the left hand to use while drawing with the right). They also carry the more powerful processors. Still, concensus seems to be that the Core 2 Duo processors work just about as well as the newer iCore processors, so there you go.

    They're all convertibles, so more flexible, and they all come with the option of using an additional battery to give you 4-6 hours functional battery life. For 500-1000$ you should be able to get just about any of them on ebay.

    The other real stand out is the Asus ep121. It's a slate, and is supposed to have a beautiful screen. Runs Windows 7. But has pretty poor battery life compared to the others- about 3 hours.

    I agree with the other statements about portability. If you want to draw on the couch (or anywhere) you need a tablet. If others think your laptop is powerful enough, then you can use the Cintiq, but you'll need to draw at the desk.

    I use a tablet and think it's wonderful. That's just my two cents.

    Re: the Motion le1600. They're wonderful sketchbooks, but not very powerful, since they're a single core cpu. People seem to use them for quick, simple sketches, etc. on the go. If this is going to be sort of your main computer, than I'd choose something else. Still, for 200-300$ they're a great intro to digital art. A 1600 was the first pressure sensitive computer I got! Fun!
  8. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Sorry for the wall of text this turned into...
    Never never never never buy a Tm2... ever, they are just crap all around, and that is putting it nicely (especially as a machine that will be used for art). No Dells (all Dells are pretty much as bad as the Tm2). The Motion is kinda "blah" in terms of performance. So is any ASUS -besides the EP121- and the ACER's as well.

    I'm surprised no one said this yet, but here it is: the single most important part of a Tablet PC is... you guessed it, THE SCREEN!! When looking to buy a Tablet PC, the first bit of hardware you should worry about is getting the best quality screen possible (luckily there is a pretty modest abundance of good screens- only the screens made by Hydis really stand out) all the rest have bad viewing angles, terrible color, color inversion (the colors change as you tilt the screen at angles); all of which make Tablet PC's that have crap screens unsuitable for even entertainment purposes; and it is out of the question to use them for art of any kind (well, it is possible, but every second of it sucks big time)

    The ones that would work really well for you (in terms of performance and great screen quality) are these: HP 2730p, Lenovo X200t, Fujitsu T4410 and T5010 (T5010 is a 13.3" 1280x800 resolution screen which is always a Hydis screen; the rest are 12.1" 1280x800 resolution screens that can sometimes be a Hydis screen). The models I listed are the previous generation computers (they can be gotten on ebay for $400-700 depending on configuration), but they are still [usually] more than powerful enough for heavy duty use (they all will use very similar Intel Core 2 Duo processors that are quite powerful, but have amazing efficiency). In all reality these computers will perform almost exactly like each other, so you are really buying for the "shell" of the computer; for example:
    • HP 2730p/ 2740p have Slice Batteries (doubles battery life, bringing it to 10hrs easily -at least on my 2730p; but adds ~1.5lbs and .25"), and a Slim Dock (Adds a bunch of USB ports, extra audio ports, a full CD/DVD drive, and a very smooth/ durable bottom; the 2740p dock also has a Display Port port, and a e-sata port; adds ~1.5lbs and .25"), has a pointing stick, has a LED keyboard light (on the top of the screen; and it really does make the difference between being able to type or not). a 1.8" hdd (it will be a pretty slow drive -not unbearably slow, but it is quite a bit slower than the others; that is why I would recommend a SSD, and the SSD will perform almost as fast as a SSD in any of the other computers); and its 1" thck; standard battery on the 2730p will last between 3.5-5hrs
    • Lenovo x200t/ x201t have a 4 or 8 cell primary battery; the 8 cell sticks out ~2 inches and is usable as a "handle" of sorts when in slate mode (I hear ~5-6 hrs on the 8cell), also has a pointing stick; there is a dock option got the x200t/ x201t, but it is thick and heavy so it is more of a "at desk" dock, not meant for on the go, or portability (it has Display port, a battery charger, a CD/DVD drive, microphone+ headset port, memory card reader, and something else). a 2.5" hdd; and its 1" thick; 8 cell battery -which is the largest available- will last between 5-7hrs on the x200t
    • Fujutsu T4410/T730 and T5010/T900 have a Modular Bay that can house a second battery (not sure about battery life on theses guys... maybe look over the Fujitsu sub-forum?), a CD/DVD drive, a secondary 2.5" HDD/SSD, or it can be empty to save weight; no pointing stick. a 2.5" hdd; and they are 1.5" thick; not sure about battery life on these

    Beyond those 4 (8 if you count the current generation ones that are still really expensive), I would find it hard to recommend a different computer (well, maybe a ASUS EP121, but it has its drawbacks being a Slate form factor). there are a few accessories that all of these can benefit from, such as the Axiotron Studio pen, a screen protector, a thickly padded neoprene sleeve

    I got my 2730p simply for its extra features (Hydis screen, excellent keyboard -best I have ever used-, the keyboard light, Slice Battery and Slim Dock accessories, light weight, and pretty cool running -the keyboard never gets warm at all, though the bottom can at times warm up a bit-, and that it did basically everything right where the Tm2 went wrong); but that was what I needed, your needs are probably different

    -- Enjoy sifting through the info on the inter-webz (I highly recommend reading every professional review you can on those 4 computers; if you want I can scrounge up all the ones I've used, and post the links here -makes for good weekend reading)

    Just be aware that no matter what you get (Cintiq or Tablet PC) it will never be the same as writing/ drawing on paper; you can tweak things to get it close, but it will still be quite a bit different (it is hard to put a finger on what it is exactly, probably mostly the fact it is digital)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  9. purplepeopledesign

    purplepeopledesign Scribbler - Standard Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    There is something else wrong with your system if it lags from typing in a forum response, especially with that much RAM and any dual-core processor. Maybe you have a virus or other malware. Or you have some kind of bloatware running, like Norton. Or maybe the 64-bit Windows is not playing well with some of the hardware.

  10. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    I doubt it, my bet is that it is because of the AMD
    I love AMD to death for their great desktop processors, but they have a LOOOONG way to go in the mobile department (and don't even get me started on how much I hate ATI -mobile or desktop- crappy product, terrible driver support, ect...ect...)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page