Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid assessment: a pen show that doubles as an Android pill
After months of rumblings a few standalone slate, Wacom lastly unveiled not one, however two tablets again in September. On paper, the Cintiq Companion would be the extra compelling cellular workstation, simply because it runs Home windows, however first, we’re taking an extended, exhausting take a look at the Cintiq Companion Hybrid. Whereas the opposite runs Home windows, this one is powered by Android and packs a prime-of-the-line Tegra four chip that will help you get work carried out on the go. In fact, when tethered to a laptop computer or desktop machine again within the studio, the unit additionally serves as a standard pen show just like the Cintiq 13HD — however with multitouch gestures.
Artistic varieties are already acquainted with Wacom’s costs, however the actual query is whether or not the power to make use of it as a cellular gadget is value a fair larger premium. With a stablemate that is able to operating a full model of Photoshop, is the Hybrid well worth the added funding over the equally sized 13HD pen pill? Or are you higher off paying extra for the Cintiq Companion with Home windows as an alternative?
Cintiq Companion Hybrid
- Stellar pen show
- Strong efficiency
- Customizable interface
- Mediocre display decision
- Cannot run all of the apps artistic execs want
Wacom’s Cintiq Companion earns its maintain as a pen show and offers a strong Android slate expertise, however does not present all the software program instruments wanted to be a dependable cellular workstation.
The resemblance between the Cintiq Companion Hybrid and the Cintiq 13HD is uncanny. Until you check out the suitable aspect first and see the additional ports or the entrance-dealing with digital camera, you are positive to mistake the 2 upon first look. Actually, the gunmetal gray pill is simply a hair bigger (a few tenth of an inch in every course) than the 13HD we received cozy with a couple of months again. This system ticks the tape at 14.eight inches vast x 9.eight inches tall (375 x 248mm) and is zero.6 inch (16mm) thick and weighs in at a beefy three.6 kilos (or three.9 kilos, relying on the storage capability). Whereas that is a beast in comparison with your typical Android pill, it is essential to keep in mind that — just like the identify suggests — that is certainly a hybrid gadget and in addition serves as a pen show. The additional heft can definitely be attributed to that function set, although there is no denying it’s going to overwhelm your backpack.
Up entrance, you will discover Wacom’s trusty programmable ExpressKeys and Rocker Ring alongside the left aspect (when located for a righty, anyway). On the other aspect of the show is the two-megapixel entrance-dealing with digital camera together with a light-weight sensor. Alongside the appropriate edge are numerous ports, together with a USB socket for storage enlargement (amongst different issues), micro-HDMI, a microSD reader, a headphone/mic jack and a three-in-1 connector for charging or linking up with a pc. The Cintiq Companion Hybrid connects by way of HDMI, so until your machine wields a type of jacks, you will want an adapter just like the $35 Belkin unit we needed to make use of. There are additionally twin microphones, a battery standing LED and the facility button in the identical space. What you will not discover across the edges here’s a quantity management — that adjustment might be made on the Rocker Ring. As for wi-fi connectivity, you’ve got received your selection of Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n WiFi.
Once more, just like the 13HD, the again aspect has a big tender-contact panel on one finish and two small foot-like pads on the other finish. Because of their delicate, rubbery end, these ft stored the pill from slipping round on my desk when the stand wasn’t in play. Halfway down on the longer edges lies a pair of stand slots for securing the gadget on the included stand. That accent gives the identical 22-, 35- and 50-diploma viewing angles that we have seen earlier than and in addition permits the unit to lie utterly flat when wanted. Beside a type of slots is the eight-megapixel rear-dealing with digital camera; subsequent to the opposite one is the pill’s lone speaker, which performs admirably when referred to as upon.
It would not be a Wacom launch with out the Professional Pen and certainly, there’s one included right here. As ever, it registers 2,048 ranges of strain sensitivity, identical to the pen we examined with the Cintiq 13HD. As soon as once more, it has its personal carrying case with additional nibs, swappable ID colour rings and a nib-alternative software. This time round, although, Wacom additionally included a carrying case that matches each the penholder and the pill. The neoprene, zippered sleeve has a leather-based-like flap to cowl the closure, and a smooth, fur-like materials inside. On the other finish, a devoted pocket ensures that the stylus will not roll round your rucksack. The case is spacious sufficient to accommodate the Hybrid with the stand hooked up, permitting the complete setup to be saved in a single spot. This all makes for a reasonably welcome additional and eliminates a further accent buy, too.Show
The Cintiq Companion Hybrid’s show panel is a matte affair — very similar to on different Wacom units we have examined. Typically, we want it over a shiny display, particularly once we’re in for a marathon work session. As soon as once more, we’re taking a look at a thirteen.three-inch TFT LCD (IPS) panel with 1,920 x 1,080 decision, identical to the one on the 13HD. This, mixed with the matte exterior, offers a pleasant work floor, however it’s not one of the best for catching up on episodes of The West Wing. That IPS panel does not afford the identical sharpness as, say, Apple’s Retina show, however fewer pixels in trade for much less eyestrain finally makes for a good commerce. Do not fret, although: you possibly can anticipate the identical viewing high quality we have already seen on the 24HD contact, 22HD contact and 13HD.
What this does supply over pen-solely shows is contact gestures. For those who recall, this was considered one of our fundamental gripes with the Cintiq 13HD. The truth that gestures are enabled right here offers a welcome productiveness increase, and means we do not all the time have to make the most of the bodily buttons alongside the bezel. Right here, the lively space measures eleven.6 x 6.5 inches (294 x 165mm) and the panel itself handles seventy five % of Adobe’s RGB gamut whereas serving up a seven hundred:1 distinction ratio — typical specs for a Wacom pen show.Setup and pen show use
Getting the Cintiq Companion Hybrid up and operating follows an analogous protocol as many different Wacom units we have examined. As soon as related to a laptop computer or desktop machine, an on-display wizard guides you thru cursor calibration, cellular and desktop setup and driver set up. From there, firing up the Wacom Middle on each the pill and desktop aspect lets you configure these useful ExpressKeys, Rocker Ring and radial menus so that you’ve quick access to the instruments you employ most frequently. And you may arrange every mode independently, too. Identical to we have seen on different current Wacom peripherals, on-display reminders assist information choice in order that you do not have to depend on reminiscence to navigate the pencil case.
So, how does the Hybrid deal with “common” pen show duties? Simply as marketed. After utilizing a small arsenal of Wacom’s professional-grade, pen-pushed units over the course of the final a number of months, we will say with confidence that this performs simply in addition to the opposite Cintiq choices when used as a pen show. The Professional Pen continues to be a fantastic device to make use of for design duties like modifying snapshots in Photoshop and getting doodles straight into Illustrator — amongst a slew of different jobs, in fact. Just like how we felt about Wacom’s earlier merchandise, the contact gestures listed here are welcome, however we discovered them most helpful with easy actions like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger canvas rotation. When it comes to three, 4 and 5-finger swiping, these actions all work reliably, however can be a bit flaky at occasions, with efficiency that is usually on par with Apple’s Magic Trackpad. The palm-rejection know-how right here can also be as much as the duty; the pill by no means as soon as registered unintentional hand presses.Software program
As we talked about earlier, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid runs Android four.2 Jelly Bean. The excellent news right here is, regardless of a number of pre-loaded apps, the OS itself is unskinned. That is proper; you’ll take pleasure in all that an untarnished model of Google’s OS has to supply on a pill. Sadly, this additionally means that you will have to cope with some restricted artistic software program choices. Android does not supply a choice of apps to take a undertaking from begin to end; Photoshop Contact simply is not going to chop it for many critical work periods. Nevertheless, Wacom has included a couple of of its personal choices to help right here and apps like Autodesk SketchBook Professional are definitely helpful for getting concepts down earlier than they’re forgotten. Positive, what’s obtainable is nice for digital sketching, however a photographer or designer will want rather more strong software program so as to make their work manufacturing-prepared.
Android does not supply a number of apps to take a undertaking from begin to end.
The Hybrid is loaded with 5 residence-baked apps proper out of the field: Wacom Artistic Canvas, Wacom Infinite Canvas, Wacom Manga Canvas, Wacom Middle and Wacom Recommends. The primary is the corporate’s personal effort for Android customers. It homes a workbench and instruments to do a substantial quantity of labor on the go and provides a barely bigger toolbox than Adobe’s PS Contact. Infinite Canvas permits for each idea and design sketching on prime of each other for refining preliminary concepts and including particulars.
Manga Canvas, in the meantime, caters to these trying to create manga and comparable comedian paintings. Wacom Middle, as we talked about earlier than, is the spot for dialing in customized settings (e.g., Rocker Ring), calibrating the Professional Pen, checking for software program updates and accessing all the help supplies one would ever have to seek the advice of. Lastly, Wacom Recommends is an app that does simply that: It handles a tidy record of app strategies for sketching, portray, ideation and images ought to new customers be seeking a bit recommendation. ASTRO File Supervisor can also be pre-put in for cloud syncing, although we nonetheless most popular to make use of on Dropbox for file storage.Cameras
We’ll be trustworthy: Getting into, we had actually low expectations for the set of cameras on the Cintiq Companion Hybrid. However to our shock, the rear-dealing with eight-megapixel shooter truly performs decently. You will not be utilizing these photographs in your subsequent print venture, however that digital camera is greater than able to taking some fairly usable reference photographs to recollect a bit of visible inspiration or to make use of as a placeholder for a spell — as long as there’s ample mild. Low-mild and night time time efficiency is considerably worse with noticeable noise on almost each shot in these circumstances.
We did discover a pointy decline in high quality once we tried to zoom in, however our stills — each indoors and out — have been persistently above common in comparison with most pill pictures. Video on the rear digital camera was merely common; it is OK to make use of in your social media exploits, however do not anticipate any usable footage past that. As for the entrance-dealing with 2MP digital camera, the occasional video chat is about the perfect you’ll muster. In fact, should you want a shot to work off of for that pill-drawn self-portrait, you will be fantastic. One grievance we’ve got there has to do with the setup. As a result of the ExpressKeys are located to the left, proper-handed people will run into points tapping the shutter button with out overlaying up the lens. Then once more, thankfully, we did not discover ourselves powering up the entrance-dealing with digital camera frequently.Efficiency and battery life
The Hybrid feels brisk, and handles Jelly Bean fairly properly.
So far as battery life is worried, Wacom advertises “as much as seven or 12 hours” from the 7.4V Li-polymer pack, relying on utilization. Throughout our normal video rundown check, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid managed almost eleven and a half hours earlier than powering off. That does not come near the Floor 2 (14:22) or iPad Air (thirteen:forty five), however it does greatest final yr’s iPad (eleven:08 WiFi), amongst others. When it comes to a extra lifelike workflow utilizing the Professional Pen, enjoying music, sporadic net browsing and fast replies to emails, we eked out greater than a day and a half of juice. Nevertheless, we discovered ourselves utilizing the Hybrid as a pen show most of the time. This meant that we have been all the time close to an influence supply at our desk, so battery life was not often a priority — until we simply forgot to plug it in, in fact.
You already know what’s a bummer? The time it takes to recharge the pill. The corporate claims a full recharge ought to take between 4 and 5 hours, and it wasn’t kidding. When you run the Hybrid utterly down, you will need to keep in mind to seek out an outlet when you seize some shuteye in an effort to have a full battery the subsequent day. Until you propose on spending some prolonged time close to an outlet, that’s.Configuration choices
The Cintiq Companion Hybrid is obtainable in two configurations, with the one distinction being storage capability: the 16GB mannequin prices $1,499, whereas the 32GB mannequin goes for $1,599. As beforehand famous, there’s additionally a Home windows eight model, the Cintiq Companion. This can be a far more strong setup that not solely runs Microsoft’s working system, but in addition brings 8GB of RAM and the selection of both a 256GB or 512GB strong-state drive. It additionally packs an Intel Core i7 processor and HD Graphics 4000 GPU to maintain the heavy lifting. Naturally, this can put a fair bigger dent in your checking account: It goes for both $1,999 or $2,499, relying on how a lot storage you get. For sure, the Companion should not have any hassle dealing with Artistic Suite, er… Artistic Cloud, whereas out and about. In fact, we’ll have to order judgment till we get our arms on a evaluation unit.
If the entire pill angle simply is not that fascinating, the $999 Cintiq 13HD handles simply the pen show duties and continues to be compact sufficient to cram in a backpack alongside a requisite laptop computer. Assume you will want extra display actual property in an effort to full these intense design duties? Wacom’s 22- and 24-inch Cintiqs have these multitouch gestures and the additional area for flexing artistic muscle. Whereas the 24HD contact is a load to maneuver round, it does include a extra accommodating stand than the 22HD. These two behemoths are priced at $2,499 and $three,699, respectively, although there are additionally non-contact fashions obtainable for those who’re trying to save at the least somewhat cash.Wrap-up
Getting in, we weren’t fairly positive what to anticipate out of Wacom’s Android pill/pen show hybrid. In reality, although, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid absolutely lives as much as its identify: It supplies the identical pen show capabilities that we have come to anticipate from different Wacom units, whereas additionally doubling as a succesful Android pill. Our essential gripes with the gadget should do with app compatibility. Artistic professionals require apps like the complete variations of Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom (simply to call a couple of) as a way to make this a real cellular workstation. And provided that this man already goes for $1,499-plus, we might guess many would relatively have the pricier Home windows mannequin as an alternative to allow them to run the apps they actually need. While the Hybrid does hold one much less system out of your bag, it is primarily a reworked model of the Cintiq 13HD that does multitouch gestures and doubles as as a pill… when wanted. In the long run, then, that is nonetheless very a lot a pen show first and an Android slate second.
- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/wacom/cintiq/companion/hybrid/” title=”Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Critiques • zero </a>
- Type issue Pill
- Working system Android (Jelly Bean [4.2])
- Display measurement thirteen.three inches
- Storage sort Inner storage (sixteen GB, Flash), Reminiscence card
- Digital camera (built-in) eight&#one hundred sixty;megapixels
- Introduced 2013-08-20