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I promised a Cintiq Companion 2 honest review so here it goes. This one may be controverted because not every Cintiq user has the same experience with this portable tablet monitor, neither same issues. Also, this is my first device review so don’t expect a lot of specialized technical info by my side. This is written from my artist point of view.
Most of pics here belong to Wacom and are used to review purposes only.
I don’t get paid to write my reviews. I would love to read your Cintiq opinions. I know other artists friends of mine get along just fine with the Companion, but not my case. I had a hard time trying to get adjusted to it but I finally gave up. It was not made for me, so I had to re-sell it. Nice strong points, a lot of weak – for me – ones. But let’s see why.
What is a Cintiq Companion 2?
The Cintiq Companion 2 is a 13” wireless portable tablet monitor released by Wacom, one of the most trust-worthy graphic tablet brands worldwide. There’s several settings to pick from, mine was an i5, 128gb 8gb ram. Not exactly affordable, but I always though Wacom is a safe bet.
These devices are specifically designed to work with graphics and stuff so it can be an enjoyable experience, with customizable shortcut keys. I felt like working with an i5 – 8gb ram was more than enough, so performance was not an issue. The stylus pressure was nice and realistic.
The stylus is comfortable, and doesn’t needs a battery wich makes it light and easy to use. The screen feeling is nice, more close to paper than glass. Good conectiviy with USB ports and bluetooth. Usual Wacom quality here.
It comes with a fancy case cover with several pockets.
More good points:
- The screen reflects less direct light than glass ones, good for outdoors.
- Good amount of conectivity ports.
- Bluetooth works fast and synchronize devices well.
- Good packaging, nice, protected.
- Clip Studio adapts just fine, it’s a pleasure to work on it in Companion 2.
- You can install your usual desktop programs thanks to Windows.
- No problem dealing with big graphic files.
It comes with Windows 8.1 OS, sincerely, not my cup of tea, but I can get along if the OS performs well.
The device is amazing, but let’s talk about (in my experience) the weak points.
- The battery sucks. I understand it takes a lot of power to make a Cintiq work -that beautiful 13” screen all touch and shit-, so I was kinda patient with the device. But the Companion was made to work outdoors, in coffees, etc. So a device that cannot stand ON for more than 1:30/2 hours (in the best cases) doesn’t meets my requirements. The worst part is that the Companion + Windows 8.1 makes it worse. I was not able in any way to go outdorss with the Companion wireless. I needed to plug it constantly. Almost every time I suspended or switched off the Cintiq, the battery drained off. I tried everything (to shut down Windows updates, to make sure the device was off, to make sure the battery was all charged up when switched it off). I never knew what I was doing wrong.
- It may show some internet conectivity issues. I solved them with internet tutorials, so it’s not the big deal. Just one of the many issues Windows 8.1 may have.
- Not blaming Wacom or Windows about this, but I wanted it to work on Photoshop and Clip Studio, and I felt totally unsatisfied about Photoshop. Clip studio works wonders in Cintiq Companion 2 and adjusts just fine, but Photoshop’s IU is extremely small for tablet devices. Even having a compatibility tool inside Preferences settings to adjust to smaller screens, it’s almost unnoticeable. It makes it so hard to read the tools and stuff. The only thing that helped was changing the screen resolution setting to watch things bigger. Of course, this was my experience and other users may not experience this.
- Touch screen make things a bit messy when working in Photoshop, at least for me. Hand all over the screen for painting may produce canvas jumps and other uncomfortable stuff that makes preferable to set off the touch sensibility while working on Ps. It doesn’t looks as a Cintiq issue but a Photoshop one only given in some touch screen devices.
- Windows 8.1 and its never ending updates. You can shut down your device and next day the update will keep updating the shit out of it, so you may not be able to start working until an hour later, when battery drained off and have to plug in the device again.
- The heavy weight. I can understand this is a very complete high-performance device, and that increases the weight. But it’s very uncomfortable for a 13” portable device. It’s heaviest than a larger laptop.
- First time you turn on the device, it requires a drivers update for the tablet monitor to perform better up to date. I don’t know why, but it was impossible. I tried everything . The Wacom Center program doesn’t helps on this at all. This was the first issue I faced when the Cintiq arrived.
- It definitely is a noisy device, and warms a lot. Both things are minor issues, really, but it’s something that needs to be said as part of a review.
- The screen resolution may drive you nuts. As I said, I had to change the screen resolution to better read Photoshop interface. Well I don’t know why, but the screen resolution JUMPS by its own. It’s exasperating. I setted it up one way, it jumps into a completely different one (not even the default one) after switching on the device. It happened even when coming back after leaving the device rest some minutes (after suspension). It was absolutely random and made no sense. Finally I setted the resolution to default one and IT KEPT HAPPENING. I had to change it every time.
- The price. It’s a high performance, powerful device, built with Wacom’s well-known quality. I always thought every Wacom device is worth the price. But for me, it wasn’t worthy to pay such a high price for the Cintiq Companion 2. I bought it in November 2016 during Black Friday so I got it with a nice discount. Mine was cheapest version and it costed around 1350€
- Windows 8.1. I hate it, specially if you cannot set off their new desktop. It makes you to search everything through that screen and it drives me nuts. Actually I’m getting along with it with a Surface 3, but after many months of use, it looks totally like an interference more than a shortcut.
- The Cintiq Companion 2 stand. How it’s possible to having such well designed device with such a hell of a stand to hold it. Limited, hard to set it right, deficient.
As you can read, it definitely was not made for me. So I just sold it. Not every device suit us.
The thing is that not every tablet can be tried before purchase, and there’s not many trustable and powerful portable graphic tablets to choose from actually (iPad 4 Pro, maybe, Surface pro 4, I don’t know more). I’m used to work with screen tablets (need to make a review for my trust-worthy humble Yiynova) so that’s not the problem. In my opinion, the portable screen tablets market shall evolve yet because there’s so much room to improve.
I hope my review was useful to you, let me know your opinion in comments. Thank you for reading!