Wacom Cintiq 22HD Review – One of the The best drawing tablets for serious artists
This Wacom Cintiq 22HD review takes a good hard look at what you get for your money and compares this model with the high end spec of the Cintiq range. The Wacom Cintiq 22HD provides in our opinion one of the best drawing tablets for cartoonists, illustrators, graphics designers and artists who use computer technology to draw directly onto a screen.
Why the 22HD and not the 22HD touch or the larger or smaller versions in the Wacom Cintiq range? It’s really a matter of weighing up the benefits of the slightly larger 24HD, the disadvantages of the smaller 13HD and the price difference and benefits between the 22HD and 22HD Touch.
To me the 22HD offers the best all round performance at a reasonable price ticket. Yes it is relatively expensive but if you are seriously wanting to produce the best you need one of the best tablets for drawing and Wacom are the best with an unequaled screen experience.
The main body of the Cintiq 22HD is big but don’t let that put you off as it is highly mobile on the stand for such a hefty beast! The overall dimensions are 15.7 x 25.6 x 2.2 inches, which makes it considerably larger than your usual 22 inch monitor. This is due to the large outer bezel with several built in controls encased in a soft coating and tapered edge on the bottom edhe giving a great finish to work with.
At 18.7 pounds it is considerably lighter than the Cintiq 21UX which it supersedes and has improved LCD and touch screen technology. The back panel has hard wired DVI-H and USB cables with a Display Port connector that is simple to fix up with recent Macs. You can also use the 22HD as an extended play or mirror to an additional monitor.
Metal adjustable stand
A quick word of warning when attaching the stand to the monitor – make sure you really pay attention to the instructions to prevent injury from the two release levers which are powerfully sprung but very smooth when secured in place.
The attachment is straightforward with two Philips screws and once in place it is highly versatile allowing the monitor to be positioned anywhere along a tilting vertical axis. This gives you options to work with the screen almost flat up to an almost vertical position.
The adjustment levers are as smooth as silk with the right hand lever controlling upward movement and the left lever downward movement with one lever locking while you move the other. The stand also allows the Cintiq 22HD to be swiveled up to 1800 which is essential for artistic freedom.
Cintiq 22HD – What do you get in the box?
Included in the package is the Wacom grip pen and a small weighted pen stand to make sure your pen is always immediately to hand and offers a level of protection as it maintains the pen in one place.
There is also an AC adapter and power cord, plus (as previously mentioned) the Philips screws to attach the stand. There is a DVD for the driver software (and has a PDF manual) plus several other printed user manuals.
Wacom don’t include software in the package but offer an online start page with free video tutorials and downloadable software including the latest versions of:
- Adobe PhotoShop Elements
- Autodesk Sketchbook Express
- Nik Software
- Smith Micro Anime Studio
- Software Color Efex Select Edition
There is also a free trial for Corel Painter. Wacom give you every facility, with the instructional tutorials and free software, to get you on your artistic way.
What operating system will you need to run it?
For a PC you will need Windows 7 , Vista or XP as a basic necessity (or higher spec’). If you are a Mac user you will need OS X 10.4.8 or higher spec’. If you are connecting to a Macbook pro or iMac beware that the output from the Cintiq 22HD is a male DVI you will also need to buy either a lightning bolt to female or a lightning bolt to male and a female to female adaptor.
Control features of the wacom Cintiq 22HD
The Cintiq 22HD has big advantage over the 21UX with a more effective LED backlight, a 16:9 aspect ration (21UX was 4:3) and 1920 x 1080 resolution.
There is a new set of three controls which are located at the top right of the bezel. By pressing the ‘i’ key a stylish overlay displays the function of each Express Key and other control buttons.
The settings key displays the system properties while the menu key opens the Cintiq 22HD’s settings to view and adjust brightness, contrast etc.There are 16 configurable express keys with 8 located on either side of the bezel.
An indented button on each Express key column allows you to move between four control schemes for the rear mounted touch strips which provide:
- Auto scroll/zoom
- Cycle layers
- Brush size
The pen is fitted with a tip switch and has two side switches which are the default left and right mouse controls. There is also an eraser on the pen and the pen is effective up to an angle of 600.
A big plus is that the pen requires no batteries and never needs to be recharged!
Inside the weighted plastic base are a selection of interchangeable nibs with:
- 6 x regular nibs
- 1 x stroke nib (provided with two springs to give the feel and experience of using a brush)
- 3 x felt nibs (provide a felt tip marker experience)
These can be changed with the default nib that comes fitted to the pen. There are also other nibs and accessories available from Wacom including Art and airbrush pens plus a variety of replacement nibs different grips to suit your personal taste.
Wacom have done a great job of retaining the ‘paper’ feel of the screen surface and the pen acts superbly as a mouse clicking on the button or pressing down on the nib to make a selection.
However there is still a parallex effect evident with a thin layer of screen and the drawing surface still evident. The human brain quickly adjusts to this and it becomes second nature to take this small effect into account. The pressure sensitivity of the pen is incredible giving superb control over line weight, opacity etc.
There are also the usual Wacom software shortcuts which vary for different software packages to allow additional pen controls.
Conclusions – Why the Wacom Cintiq 22HD?
Overall the Wacom Cintiq 22HD is an excellent purchase for any artist who takes their work seriously and wants to work with one of the the best drawing tablets on the market.
The review ratings on Amazon is just about as good as it gets scoring an incredible 5 stars with very few negatives at all. The main plus points that stand out is the drawing experience and the unparalleled build of the machine
Several reviewers re-iterate what we stated earlier that taking all Cintiq models into account the 22HD is the best value for features and size out of the range as some users of the larger 24HD found the price difference and size unpalatable and others using the touch versions have experienced software problems which are yet to be ironed out.
If you are looking to upgrade from the 21 inch version this may not be viable as although there are great features on the 22HD the 21UX is still a cracking piece of kit.
If you are looking for your first Cintiq or you are jumping from the Cintiq 13HD this may be just the model you are looking for with a fantastic large working surface, combined with amazing accuracy and essential working versatility. If you have unlimited funds and space you may wish to step up to the next level with the Cintiq 24HD or Cintiq 24HD touch.