Recently announced was the Cintiq Companion, which is now viewable on wacom’s website.
Basically, it is this: A cintiq 13HD (sorta) and windows 8 computer mashed together into a tablet-shaped device.
13.3 inches of high definition, 8gb of memory, 256gb Solid State drive with standard Windows 8 or 512gb with Windows 8 Pro. Pen has an eraser and has both the pressure and tilt-sensitivity of higher-end cintiq models (I’m a 12WX owner), Wireless/Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, 2 usb 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port to hook up to external monitors. Also comes with an adjustable stand, soft case, pen case and 9 spare nibs even in the cheaper model.
Bluetooth keyboard and felt nibs are not included.
In my opinion, should you get it (if you could make it financially possible)? I’ve seen mixed opinions on this.
You’ll basically NOT want this if:
1. You want a long-term investment you can upgrade with the times
2. 8gb of Ram is shit to you. and/or Solid State Drives make you rage. I’ve had problems with SSDs when they were first a thing. I hope they’re a little better now.
3. You already have an awesome computer and plan to do all your big art/comic projects at home (and/or you need a bigger screen to do said projects). In that case, you can get huge regular cintiq for that, and there are cheaper options for mobile, digital sketching.
The alternative model to this is the Cintiq Hybrid can function as typical PC-connected tablet while… connected to a PC (or mac) but will basically be an android tablet when on the go. This is a cheaper option than the Windows 8 Companion, but not by much, and I have no say on how good art programs are on android. I never used any.
4. You do well enough with a bamboo/intuos. I seriously know some people who have issues drawing on the cintiq, whether from awkwardness or lack of surface texture
5. You hate Windows 8
6. You hate Windows entirely.
So how about the pros? You’ll want the Cintiq hybrid if:
1. You almost never have time at your home workstation to work on comics and commissions because you have to be everywhere else. With this, you can work during your college downtime, lunch break at work, or being elsewhere in your own home. You can work on things with the same control/quality as if in your home workstation. This is as portable as cintiqs come thus far.
Heck, you can plop this on your desk at home, prop up the stand and MAKE it your home workstation. a USB hub might be needed if you connect a lot of stuff.
2. You don’t even HAVE a desk at home. Your typical arting session is plopping a laptop on your bed or kitchen table and a tablet on your lap. You might not even have a cintiq or large intuos tablet because they’re space hogs. Is this you? This might be for you.
3. You are a casual PC user who can make a laptop last several years without any physical modifications and still be happy with it.
4. You are NOT that kind of casual user, but you don’t mind jumping into the next soul investment when your model is too obsolete and a new one is released.
5. I hear Windows 8.1 will alleviate some of the issues with Windows 8 that gives developers and IT depression tears. I also heard it’s going to be a free update to Windows 8 users. You’re welcome to correct me on this. If you already like Windows 8, then okay! I do too!
6. You want a pen input computer and can’t get yourself to settle with anything less than a cintiq now that one exists.
6. You’ve always wanted a cintiq AND need a computer. Bam!
As for me, I thought it over for a few days, but ultimately decided I’m going to invest in the $2000 model (plus tax, shipping, and external keyboard). I’m saving as much as I can until release date but ultimately, I’ll be paying this back over the next two years. I need to upgrade my Cintiq 12WX because the display is getting too dark for color artwork and this is a computer I’ll be using at both home and work (at my office, I use a bamboo capture with a 10” netbook).
The $2500 model has Win8 Pro, and at first I thought I needed it to connect to my office’s domain network, but without an ethernet port on either companion model, I wouldn’t be able to connect to it anyway. If there’s other reasons I’d need pro for, I’m sure it’s cheaper to eventually upgrade to it later.
Should this work out well to where my Cintiq 12wx is no longer needed, I will probably sell it while my main computer will keep the bamboo and will be used for Steam/internet/scanning/printing/Linux/desktop publishing.
Two more notes to add:
1. Wacom tablets generally have options to disable human touch input. I can’t confirm the companion is able to have this, but I have a feeling touch can be disabled on the machine.
2. If you have a large HDTV with HDMI input, you can connect this device to the TV and likely use it like a regular non-screen tablet. The Display Toggle option is present on the companion, but if your display is set to “Extended Desktop”, it might be a little awkward to draw.
3. if your internet connection is wired, no Ethernet ports are present.