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Thread: Wacom Cintiq 13HD vs Microsoft Surface Pro?

  1. #1

    Wacom Cintiq 13HD vs Microsoft Surface Pro?

    I have been seriously considering getting a Wacom Cintiq 13HD for a while now, but now I am seeing that the Surface Pro could be a good alternative solution.

    Has anyone got experience with one, or both of these devices that can give me some feedback?

    I already have a great laptop that I use mainly for digital painting in Artrage 4, so the Cintiq would be a great addition to that set-up and make sketching and painting a lot more natural, but now I am hearing that the Surface Pro can be used in the same way, and it is portable (though a little smaller).
    If I was to go with the Surface Pro, what kind of additional pen/stylus would I need, and what is the pressure sensitivity like? Is there significant lag from the i5 Intel graphics?

    Currently I am using a Wacom Intuos4 pen/tablet, which I have had for several years and has been pretty great besides the fact that it is considerably more difficult to do decent line art with it.

    I know Wacom make great products, but I am just weighing up my options as it is a fairly significant investment for me and I want to be sure. If I had the money I would probably go for a Wacom Cintiq Hybrid, but they are fairly extortionately priced, unfortunately.

  2. #2
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    Hi, I was in your situation and I was undecided between the two. I ordered the Surface Pro 2 but it was stolen during the shipping process so I went with the cintiq 13HD (the newest revision: the one with all black nibs and the firmer connection). At the moment I'm using an Intuos Pro M in conjunction with a 27 display and the combo works like a charm, but I wanted something smaller in order to paint on the couch too. Well... I will return the Cintiq because of two things: first of all there's back light bleeding everywhere, and when even slightly torqued you can see the bleeding that migrates from one corner to the other and the colors shifting (in my whole life I've never seen such a poorly assembled object...), it's a pity because the screen itself isn't so bad (the screen is coated with a grainy film though which diminishes the clarity of images), the second major issue is the lag, no matter what the settings, it's definitely there, and coming from a tablet that has ZERO lag for me it ruins the experience and it's unbearable. Hope I've been of some help.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    It sounds like you were unlucky and got a defective product to me. I have heard of this issue with the screen before, but it is not normal at all.

    Would it be possible for you to list the model number of your Cintiq so that I know which version has the updated connection? That is something I would really need to know before I bought one. I have seen them going quite cheap and now I am wondering if it is the older model with the dodgy connection.

    Would I also be able to ask you about the system specs you were running the Cintiq from and whether it is a Windows or Apple machine?

    When I was using my previous laptop, it was a Toshiba Core i3, 4GB, and using the i3 Intel HD graphics on Win7 64bit and I would sometimes experience lag with that machine.

    My laptop is a Lenovo core i7, 8GB DDR3 1600 and a dedicated Nvidia 650m 2GB for graphics, running on Win8.1 and I don't experience any lag at all, even when it is plugged into a TV via HDMI and duplicating the display (the way the Cintiq does).
    Though this laptop is very graphics capable due to the Nvidia card.

    If you are using the Cintiq as an 'extended desktop', that will cause addition strain on the GPU than if you are using it as a 'duplicate display'. Also, if you are running it off of an integrated graphics chip (like a Core i3/i5/i7 or AMD/ATI equivalent), this could well explain the lag you are getting.

    It's important to understand that the Cintiq 13HD is not a tablet. It is a secondary monitor that relies completely on the processing and graphics capability of your laptop/desktop PC.

    The only Cintiqs that have their own processing power are the much more expensive Cintiq Companion (which is similar to the Surface Pro and runs Win 8) and the Cintiq Companion Hybrid (which runs Android, and also doubles up as a regular Cintiq 13HD when plugged into a laptop/desktop).
    Last edited by soapmak3r; 12-08-2013 at 01:06 PM.

  4. #4
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    Hi, you're welcome. I don't think my unit was defective, it's the way these things are built that is wrong, It seems that the LCD panel lies at the bottom of the chassis, this is also proven from the fact that the perceived distance from the tip of the pen and the display itself is huge (maybe I am too well accustomed with my apple mini where the gap is minimal and the illusion of drawing on something is much better) and when you touch the rear panel or mess with it affects the LCD crystals, that's because IMHO the product is poorly engineered and the chassis is not rigid. The screen itself is not properly sealed (some people had dust or even bugs between the glass and the screen!), the backlighting bleed is unacceptable on such an expensive display. The fact that the screen is running as external monitor, just alone or extending the desktop or duplicating it, it's not the cause of the lag IMHO, When I run my two displays at once with my intuos pro I have no lag, you have to understand that the cintiq is something more than a simply secondary monitor, it's connected with a USB port for data transfer for the pen touch functionality, the lag is caused by that. I have read people with i7k, SSd, gtx680, 32g of ram experience lag, so I think it is a limit of the technology I guess. Anyway my specs: win7 i7 sandy bridge gtx460m 8g of ram. The model (new revision) is dtk1300 ko bx. As far as the companion it has outdated CPU and I doubt it will perform better than a desktop i7k ivy with a 680 card

  5. #5
    I've been using the surface pro with artrage for about a year now and have had a very positive experience. Since the surface pro is windows based I have access to windows office plus email etc. I also have photoshop elements which works very well with artrage. I print all of my artrage projects (those worth printing) from photoshop where I have greater printer control.

    The surface pro comes with a pressure sensitive stylus which I love. I have the original surface pro but I understand the newer model has been improved substantially. I use the surface pro on my lap atop a prop and go cushion. The cat sits underneath believe it or not. I think she must like the warmth of the tablet. It does produce some heat.
    Salubria

  6. #6
    AndreaMG, thanks again for the reply.

    After some research, the back light bleed is definitely a defective product and not normal. As for the lag, that is sounding a lot more like a driver issue than anything else.

    Latency is pretty normal for complex input devices. I am most familiar with ASIO and audio interfaces, where the lowest (and most CPU intensive) latency is about 4-5 milliseconds. Normal operation is between 10-15ms which can be quite noticeable when playing the guitar or singing. It's really unavoidable and just comes with the territory.

    It is a very expensive device, so if I order one and it has any faults (bar acceptable amounts of input lag) I will be returning it.
    Last edited by soapmak3r; 12-09-2013 at 06:12 AM.

  7. #7
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    You're quite welcome, hope you are luckier than me. Remember to check the bleeding in a dark environment and while doing be sure to touch the rear panel. By the way congrats for the amazing paintings in your gallery!! Come to the forum to show 'em off! Cheers

  8. #8
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    Very informative, from all of you!
    Andrea, sorry too hear about the Cintiq problems you had!
    For my simple little sketching and paintings, leaning more towards
    the Surface Pro!
    Take Care All,
    Steve

  9. #9
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    Ha ha Steve, remember that even Leonardo Da Vinci made sketches, moreover yours are paintings in every way!! Let me know about the Surface if you 'll decide to get it, now my sick mind is leaning toward a usb powered monitor to use with my present intuous while in bed

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by stevemawmv View Post
    Very informative, from all of you!
    Andrea, sorry too hear about the Cintiq problems you had!
    For my simple little sketching and paintings, leaning more towards
    the Surface Pro!
    Take Care All,
    Steve
    After some more research (I have research OCD when buying tech stuff), the Surface Pro is seeming like a more attractive option, given that the Cintiq 13HD apparently has latency and pressure sensitivity issues with quite a few people and applications...And also given that version 1 of the Surface Pro is going for around 500 vs the Cintiq 13HDs 650-700.
    I am just seeing a 128GB (used/as new) Surface Pro on Amazon for 420. If I had the cash right now I would probably have gone for it.

    I will have to look into the Surface Pro a bit more. Does anyone know if it comes with a pressure sensitive Stylus/Pen out of the box or is that an additional cost?

    The more I read and see about the Cintiq 13HD the more disheartening it is to me. It actually, finally seemed like the Cintiq model that was worth investing in and now I am not sure about it at all. There is nowhere here (N.Ireland) that I know of where I could test one before buying either.

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