Wacom Cintiq alternatives - A closer look

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by whazzup, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hey guys, I just found something interesting. I really liked the idea of buying Penabled tablet PC parts online and make a DIY cintiq but have no skill. Apparently someone already did all that hassle works and sold a working product for cheap. :p

    159$ -11.6 inch portable monitor with touch and older N-trig (1048 level pressure). It's also thin with smaller bezel than most Cintiq alt of same size.

    Even in 2019, most Chinese manufacturers is still not adding touch to their devices, 159$ is quite a bargain if you don't mind the older N-trig. An Amazon review mentioned that this is highly possible to be leftovers parts of the Sony Vaio Duo 11.

    You wouldn't find this monitor on the graphic tablet section. It is in the ultraportable monitor, and the company mainly sell small monitor and parts for Raspberry Pi. I was just looking for a monitor that work with phone via a single USB-C and saw it.

    Hopefully more companies do this and make an EMR version, though this might be hard because EMR board is separated from touch panel unlike N-trig.

    Edit: I just noticed that pen is not included, if adding pen cost price would go up to around 199$ that is same as the XP-Pen Artist 12. Considering the XP-pen art quality being much better than older N-trig, battery-free and designed for art, I guess XP-Pen is still a better bargain if we don't need touch.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  2. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Be careful what you wish for. Lenovo put out one such monitor....the L1423p....older gen Wacom EMR, touch screen, USB powered at 13 inches. And to be honest....its mostly garbage. The screen quality is poor....lowish res by today's standards....but the color gamut is so poor you can forget any kind of color work on it. (low brightness doesn't help either) And it had one of the worst uses of EMR I've ever seen. The backend eraser on other EMR pens wouldn't work, and it was never fully accurate...the cursor/pen tip.....even when it looked aligned....it always felt off. And the EMR drift you'd encounter was extremely bad. Even using it tethered to my at the time Surface Pro 3, or Galaxy Book 10.6.....the drawing experience was so crummy....I'd find myself instead going back to drawing on the other devices...even the Pro 3. So this device....which I'd concur is indeed probably gutted old 11-inch viao's devices rebuilt into monitors.....might be better off using N-trig. Especially if this is an "Unoffical" product without proper engineering/testing/support.
     
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  3. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Wow, I haven't heard of that Lenovo, it was that bad? It's true that EMR is a lot more difficult to get right than AES, which need proper shielding and edge configuration to be accurate. But some device already have really good EMR design, like the Tecra M4 that Thatcomicguy used to make a good DIY Cintiq, or the Surface pro 1, 2 EMR display parts that later is used on some 10" Chineses tablet like Cube Mix Plus or Jumper EZpad 5SE, which is actually the most accurate EMR device I owned. I'm pretty sure monitor gutted out from those device would work good.

    You are right though that from an "unofficial" maker, I wouldn't buy a monitor of questionable EMR quality and N-trig is a much better choice for this kind of device :p.

    Should I hope for a super slim Surface Pro 4 gutted out monitor with newer N-trig ? :D There is like no 3:4 portable monitor out there
     
  4. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    It is definitely a VAIO salvage as some units have a bad coverup job:

    [​IMG]

    I'm guessing it might be actually from the VAIO Tap 11:

    [​IMG]

    as that's more recent part from late 2013/early 2014 (that itself was probably salvaged from the Duo 11). :p

    Still a cool product though!
     
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  5. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    We're in an age where "off the shelf" includes screens which have active stylus tech built into the touch feature and only needs to be activated.

    I think if I were starting from scratch again, and needed a "broke artist" screen, I'd go for one of those XP Pen or Huion tablets rather than try to cobble something together. Though, $153 for a factory fresh 11" screen is impressive.

    I haven't been paying close attention, but is there anything in the portable market which is worth the trouble these days? Something big enough and capable enough? (Other than my current N9P, that is?)

    It'd be nice to see some new, high quality options open up. It's funny; with so much screen pen tech available, it still seems kind of desolate out there!
     
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  6. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    @Marty The logo is not poorly covered, but impossible to be covered because it's printed on the bezel under glass. Removing the glass or bezel would probably break the touch layer and defeat the purpose of saving cost by salvaging parts. They used the full bezel chassis of the Vaio and it doesn't seem to have the grooved button on the Tap 11
    photo.

    @thatcomicsguy Even if it's not practical in 2019, your Tecra build is still brilliant, and it would surely feel good to get a successful DIY project :D. Especially the use of Waxbee project could have saved a lot of digitizer LCD from going into e-waste. What did you do with the it after moving to a modern system?

    I must admit XP-Pen is getting really really good. Their EMR calibration is spot on, almost as good as Samsung, and while at 0 stabilizer diagonal line can wavy a tiny bit, it's as good as Wacom older digitizer and way better than Apple Pencil or Yiynova active system. Now that they released a high gamut bonded display that eliminate parallax, button and scroll ring for a very affordable price, and low power consumption that can be powered by battery pack or laptop, it's certainly the best bang for the buck in the alternate market right now (Huion make a similar device but they used touch bar that I prefered XP-Pen scroll ring over).

    It's not like this Vaio monitor have no advantage though. It have less bezel than the alternative so should be easier to lug around, and it will pair well with any Surface device because no extra driver need to be installed, one pen can work on both monitor (so no need to pay more for a pen) and has touch which is a rare feature.

    I'm also not follow much but it seem most of the new device over 14" with good processor are shipping with N-trig or AES. Even the 2019 Samsung Notebook 9 Pen EMR is shrink down to 13". The only Unicorn is the 5000$ ACER Concept D with workstation processor and 17" EMR display. Looks like EMR is becoming a luxury feature on device created specially for RICH creative instead of a default pen system for business device like in the last decade.

    I'm thinking if manufacturer make battery powered NUC (with core M5 or whatever laptop low power processor with enough power) I would be happy to pair it with an XP-Pen Artist Monitor (which can be powered directly from the NUC's USB) and work on the go with all the shortcut button on it. Unfortunately no one is interested in putting battery inside a NUC.
     
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  7. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Duo 11 also has the button groove (and an additional rim):

    [​IMG]

    So my guess is they definitely did mod the chassis. It's probably a mostly manual job, which is why on some units, they forgot to black out the logo. :p

    @thatcomicsguy, man I loved your "Tecra-tiq" X2!

    How's she doin'? Still going strong?


    ADDENDUM:
    You know, your post really got me thinking...the Artist 15.6 Pro / EXRAI pro 16 have been using the same basic chassis for a couple generations now:
    [​IMG]
    That suggests that they are simply swapping out the screen section (i.e. modular mounting) now with that sweet bonded glass display:

    [​IMG]

    I think it might be possible to simply take that screen out and 3D print your own compact chassis without the bezels. Not really a complex mod, but could potentially turn any old tablet/phone into a nice portable drawing station.

    Now if only they came out with a touch version...haha, though I'm still tempted to "experiment" on my own UM16 in preparation. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  8. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    You are right about the Vaio, now that I see it closely, the cover-up was under the glass, not above it. It got really good review on Amazon though, great way to repurpose if you ask me :D

    About the XP-Pen, I feel that the double Bezel is most likely due to EMR. Remember those old TabletPC with deadzone around the edge? It's because EMR digitizer only cover up to the edge of the display area. The fast way to fix it is to expand the digitizer area larger than the display itself, hence the large bezel to contain those extra digitizer area underneath . Even the new Cintiq have double bezel because of that.

    Just compare to the battery powered pen version XP-Pen Artist 16, bezel looks quite thinner.

    Another way to get accuracy edge is carefully tuning the Samsung way, which is probably much harder. For this kind of device where bezel is needed for palm rest, trying to get a thin bezel is not a priority, and the chance of duds with dead zone edge is too much of a risk to take just to get a smaller bezel.

    So chance are, there is still electronic underneath the bezel chasis so it's not really possible to mod the bezel. Also I really like the shortcut buttons (it helps a lot without touch) which doesn't help reduce the bezel either ;)

    In theory, usb-c to usb-c display should works if the PC port have support HDMI alternative mode. I'm soo curious if pen pressure also can be detected from single cable, but no modern enough PC for testing. I have a phone with C connection but don't know if it have video support. I might try buying a 3.1 cable to test it out.

    I'm still looking but seem there is no market for a battery powered mini PC. Even core M can be put in a pc stick these days, why is it so hard to pair a laptop processor with a battery :(
     
  9. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think if you wanted to make a portable today, it's getting a lot easier...

    These PCs on sticks are getting pretty good. -I mean, this one has twice the RAM my old Tecra did! You could totally do a bunch of high quality art on that thing if you just wanted to draw and ink stuff and do basic coloring.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, the "PC on a Stick" is hardly a power house solution, and they run eMMC SSDs, but this is obviously just a bus stop along the journey; if they keep developing along these lines, it won't be long at all before a great deal more power will fit into a package this size or smaller. This thing runs full Windows 10, for crying out loud!

    I mean.., I just picked up a Kingston micro SD card the other day; It has 128 Gb on it and it cost me $35. -Canadian! I mean.., what the hell? 128 GIGABYTES. The shocking thing is that doesn't even shock me. It seems normal. IT'S NOT NORMAL. -I can carry around on a chip smaller than my fingernail every book I've ever made, every drawing and painting I've ever poured energy into, my life's work, and still have room left over.

    That's humbling.

    So anyway... the portable drawing unit beta test rig would basically be duct tape and two cables, (HDMI and USB) on the back of one of those 16" drawing tablets. And a battery pack. All component parts. No soldering required! You could 3D print a clip or something to attach this to the back if you wanted to make it solid. It's like freakin' Lego! The super geek DIYer is being retired, (and I already felt like I was kind of cheating before)!

    If you wanted to get really fancy, it wouldn't be tough to crack open one of the XP Pen units and re-organize its innards in your own 3D printed package. And you still wouldn't have to solder anything if you didn't want to!

    We're not in Kansas anymore, folks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  10. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Don't forget about the HP ZBook X2, Wacom EMR and 14.5"! Also the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro.
    Still slim pickings for large machines with EMR, but then again more unicorn options than I ever had when I was looking 5 years ago! If the AES trend hadn't picked u it would be a very very sweet world indeed... too many amazing convertibles and tablets held back by the pen tech.
     
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