Wacom Cintiq alternatives - A closer look

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

  1. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I haven't had a chance to think about it much let alone dig out old gear and set it up. I just returned from a fairly extensive tour of Nova Scotia, giving cartooning workshops at a dozen libraries all over the map. I think I must have driven 1500 Km over the last few weeks! I've done the bulk of my cartooning in snatches between travel dates. Next, I head off to Ontario in a couple of days, and I wearily gather my wits together for that. Never a dull moment this Summer.

    There's a song about it...

    "These so-called vacations
    Will soon be my death
    I'm so sick from the drink
    I need home for a rest."

    Except I've been living clean. Just too much driving and one-man showmanship!
     
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  2. wytn

    wytn Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I remembered i didn't reply to a thing...
    "No mark" you mean it did never click, right?

    Not sure i mentioned it, i wondered if any other Wacom drivers for my two graphic tablets (two different Wacom drivers) that may be installed on the TPY could have any part in this mess.
    I'm not sure of anything anymore tho as i didn't do any further test / no proper one at all.

    I thought about testing the device on Linux at the time. Checking which events registered shouldn't have been a problem but when i knew i wouldn't keep it, sending it back ASAP was more important.

    I noticed the pen of the latest XP-Pen graphic tablet looked exactly the same as the 15.6 Artist Pro's one but i don't know if it's supposed do be the same pen or if they only reused the same plastic outer shell. Probably the latter?

    Which pen's device/model from XP-Pen did you test on a Wacom EMR?
     
  3. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    This sound pretty disappointing. I’m interested in the XP-Pen laminated display mostly for more accuracy drawing zoomed out -> more paper-like experience. With it not as accurate as a 12 inch Wacom older panel, that doesn’t seem worth upgrading (though your Thinkpad seem to be one of the better tablet PC with Wacom, as my 12” HP tablet with Wacom is quite wavy).

    I guess Wacom have streamlined their panel to give the best pressure curve and cursor accuracy over decades, but alternative companies is only working on it in just 1-2 year so there would be some hiccups here and there that might not show up in comparison test but affect overall drawing experience. (Brad also mentioned that drawing with the Cintiq 16 Pen just feel better but he just can’t point out the reason)

    I’m feeling like falling into the dark side and buy a Cintiq 16 after reading your review :(. I wish I could try out Cintiq 16 to get a feel of it. While I love laminated display, a consistent moving cursor under air gap is better that an inconsistent moving cursor without air gap.

    Other than Pen performance, the Cintiq 16 have all minus point to me though: no express key mean buying an expensive accessory that cost 1/6 the tablet price (and can slide down during usage) or use keyboard that take up space and might cause uncomfortable posture; the cable is bulky, expensive to replace and require a power brick to the wall( no power from usb so you can say goodbye to portability);the monitor seem to have double the thickness of the XP-pen and most importantly it cost double the price of the XP-pen in my country.

    On second thought, I will just resist buying stuff and work with what I have :p

    About the pen on Wacom, yes it doesn’t seem to register a click, though I don’t care about it much. It’s quite obvious that different tech won’t work well together and I’m also not that interested in making it work.My model is the cheaper XP-pen 15.6 non-pro (Chinese rebranded version)

    @Marty it’s nice that Yiynova is making touch panel but it’s a shame they are not adopting battery free EMR.

    Though their AIO solution is worth noting, as it not only work with low power Atom, but also Celeron or Core i7 mini Pc ( the later require an Y cable that connect to DC brick since the USB port can’t provide enough power). It make way for single power cord AIO that can be powerful enough and user-upgrade able which is great.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  4. wytn

    wytn Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Sorry i'm slow/late to reply. busy busy :\

    About the TPY: I'd love to have to possibility to replace both my TP Yoga and 2015 13" MBP by a newer more powerful TP Yoga with good battery life (Mine only ever reached 5 hours), not bigger/heavier than this model, Wacom EMR or nothing, around 13" in 3:2, but i think the potential future replacement will just be a plain laptop and not a TabletPC. I'd rather have a dedicated/seperate device in the end. Plus i don't think there's any recent TP Yoga with Wacom EMR and decent battery life.

    > "While I love laminated display, a consistent moving cursor under air gap is better that an inconsistent moving cursor without air gap."

    That was my 'conclusion' after a couple of very quick tests with the Wacom 16... A big gap yep... But everything seemed fine, Wacom-fine.

    So yep.... The Wacom 16 has been sitting on a corner of my desk since around the time i sent back the XP-Pen. I couldn't resist the sale.
    But i've been busy + initially without its stand, i couldn't really use it. I need perfect ergonomy to work on anything at a desk...

    Meanwhile when i drew, anyway, it was either pencils in sketchbooks or on the Mini 5.

    (Note: With the XP-Pen i could easily do with a temporary makeshift stand, not so much with the Wacom 16's integrated feets)

    Yes, adding the cost of the stand (although it's very good) AND the remote, it's expensive. I wouldn't have considered buying it without this sale.

    (I wondered if the older Wacom 13" with express keys can now be bought cheaper, used or something. I was tempted by this model a few times before, when it was on sale, although it was still too expensive. i'm sure i would have found this device to be perfect...)

    I hadn't thought about it before your post, but as i need perfect ergonomy when i spend long amounts of time working with a PC — to avoid having fingers/hands/arms (& back) pains come back almost instantly — maybe having the keyboard on a side as i would do with a graphic tablet won't work in the long run.
    But the Wacom pen still has its express radial menu, and it could be coupled with another shortcut sidebar if needed i suppose.

    -- i don't think i will spend much time with the Wacom 16 soon tho. More chances that i'll be sketching outside etc. Perhaps taking drawing classes...

    About the other downsides, i'm not sure the bulky cable is a big problem. It is bulky but... — but if the main cable is thicker, overall it's the same apparatus 1 to 3 cables. (Proprietary cable i'm sure and i haven't checked the cost of a replacement one — it's thicker, hopefully more durable).
    The Wacom's cable has the benefit of having a longer cable for the HDMI side. (A particular use case with laptops...)
    i haven't used the XP-Pen without the power adapter personally, i didn't try powering it from my USB Hub as i usually don't have any available port.

    Whereas i've seen ppl mentioning the USB-C plug/port of the XP-Pen too easily unplugged by mistake (could prob be fixed by putting a little tape over the plastic part of the USB-C's male plug so there's more friction), Wacom really did go the other way, it can be particularly cumbersome/bulky in this way yes, the whole thing has been engineered the other way around, to not be easily detached/damaged: The proprietary plug strongly clips, the cable goes around a thing to secure it a bit more and all that is hidden behind a little trap door. (Although this trap door is easily removed by mistake.)

    The cable not being easily removable was a disappointment at first, i planed to often plug/unplug it to free my desk but with its stand it offsets this downside for me. The stand folds very practicaly. Once folded the Wacom has the equivalent of a handle, and between the folded stand and the bottom pads (1) i can easily move it at the back of my desk, it rests vertically against the wall on its own.

    1/ One poorly 'designed' thing: The rubber pads that come with the stand for the bottom front angles of the Cintiq. They are totally loose. When lifting the device, they fall.

    Another thing: In my case, i didn't think of a 15/16" device in terms of portability. Neither the XP-Pen nor the Wacom. (I would more likely picture the 12/13" Huions as portable devices...)

    And for another, hopefuly last, unrelated/aside... The more i draw on my iPad Mini 5, the more getting a previous gen & used iPad Pro (at 400$/€ ebay prices) seems like a really good deal overall for digital drawing/sketching/painting. (No i'm not looking for yet another device)
     
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  5. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hey, it looks like manufacturers are starting to look at mini compute devices again⁠.

    Except with a twist⁠—it's now inside the stand!



    Combine that into a easel style stand (or monitor arm) and you've basically got a super sleek and modular AIO Cintiq design.

    That mobo seems like it could house a well-cooled Core Y system at least; with more space on a longer arm, maybe we could even have a secondary MX250 GPU module too! :D
     
  6. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    @wytn is the Cintiq 16 that much better than XP-Pen? Could you try drawing zoomed out and compare how easy it's compared to you Thinkpad? I'm really curious about this part
    About the portability of the XP -Pen 15.6, It's the fact that you can easily carry it from bedroom to the couch and sit away from a power source :p.
    I have the iPad 2018 (penabled non-pro version), and I admit that I'm reaching for it more and more even though the pen implement on it is a bit buggy.

    @Marty That miniPC looks pretty awesome. If we DIY putting it into the back of a drawing monitor, you only need to have 2 power cable for the PC and monitor, that's already better than messy cord of a tower PC.

    Speak of AIO, Gaomon China make an updated version of their older AIO -GM320:
    -I7 8G RAM(16G expandable) 128GB SSD+ 1T HDD+battery pen version with on board graphic ~422$
    -I7 8G RAM(16G expandable) 128GB SSD+ 1T HDD+battery-free pen version with on board graphic ~475$

    My PC just failed on me and I'm considering buying this since building a PC with above spec(and no screen) wouldn't be much cheaper where I live :p. Adding a 1050ti GPU would add another 300$ though (expensive for such an old chip) and I wonder if it already have the socket for GPU installation.

    Also they made their 19.5 inch and 22 inch device battery-free EMR ( I used Google translate and it said "No power source pen" ) and kept the price the same o_O!

    Looks like battery free EMR is coming to bigger device :D

    On another note, XP pen came out with a 13.3 laminated display in US (said to have improved pen over the 15.6 Pro) and Ugee 11.6 laminated display in China.
     
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  7. sonichedgehog360

    sonichedgehog360 AKA Hifihedgehog Senior Member

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    Yes, I'm still alive! :) I am highly considering procuring a replacement XPS 15 9575 display unit and modifying it into a DIY 4K AES-based Cintiq. I have noticed in looking into DIY Cintiq scene that Bongofish.co.uk, the go-to site for DIY Cintiq makers, is no longer allowing registration and has had its conversation flow at a dead standstill for about six months. Does anyone have any hints or tips before I head into this uncharted territory? Thank you!
     
  8. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    @sonichedgehog360
    Welcome back! You might want to looks back a few pages to see some of the newest Cintiq alternative on this thread :D

    I'm pretty sure the DIY cintiq community have been in a standstill because alternative price is getting very competitive, you could buy a 15.6 inch EMR monitor for 299$ that is cheaper than the cost of an XL Intuos they used for DIY alone, it's just no longer cost effective.

    Make use of a penabled tabletpc is actually cost effective, but for amateurs it will only be possible for EMR devices and the model you picked is Wacom AES. The most important are two parts:
    -a compatible LCD controller board had been programed for your specific monitor to translate display signal via standard display port like HDMI. This would require lots of Ebay searching and luck.
    - An usb developer board that is programed so pen input data could be transfered via Usb. In case of EMR, Waxbee project with teensy board already did all the hard work of programming so pen signal could trick the computer that an intuos is plugged and can work with Wacom driver.

    In case of Wacom AES, I don't think anyone did the programing yet so this might be a dead end if you have no programing skill :(
     
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  9. sonichedgehog360

    sonichedgehog360 AKA Hifihedgehog Senior Member

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    Thanks for the update! The holy grail for me would be a 4K solution (essentially a Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 or 24) so it could be serve as a fixed drawing tablet, note-taking solution, a TV screen, and a gaming monitor all in one convenient appliance. I was hoping, through some coxing and prodding, a company might market take notice and sell a battery-powered, penabled portable monitor but that does not seem to be an option at this point. Fortunately, I have an electrical and computer engineering background where I have hand assembled electronics including those with surface mount and I have implemented various professional-level development kits. The only downside is I do not have any specific driver development experience and that would likely take me a year to build up the know-how to modify the current AES driver set to reliably function with a standalone monitor. The specific monitor I was eyeing was this one on eBay and at only $150 I was highly tempted to give it a go. The only thing is there is no published public documentation whatsoever on implementing the controllers so unless I can make some connections with an actual PC hardware development engineer, I would have a $150 paperweight on my hands. With 2020 rolling on closer, hopefully a third-party alternative to the Cintiq Pro pops up but we will see.
     
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  10. crazycat

    crazycat Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Since you have the skill for this, it's definitely worth it to give it a go. In fact, an amazon seller had already succeed repurpose a Vaio N-trig monitor and turn it into a portable pen and touch monitor that can power entirely from usb. The device seem to have a low voltage rating so you can power it from battery pack. In fact, many portable monitor can be powered from usb, like the XP-Pen 12"-16" series.

    If you can solve the AES problem, you might be able to make it. Similar to N-trig, the pen cotroller seem to be on the touch controller board, so there gotta be some way to recognize pen and touch signal. If this is a success, you will get a 4K pen and touch monitor for like 2~300$ :D

    Please upload a step to step if it's a success :cool:
     
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