As the industry leaders in pen displays and tablets, there's justified scrutiny poured over every Wacom release. With the new 27 QHD Cintiq, Wacom told CreativeBloq it learned important lessons from users' feedback on the 24HD Cintiq.
And after playing with both, we can certainly report improvements to their previous 'standard'. But with each artist using these products in customised ways, is it possible for Wacom to please everyone?
First thing to note on the 27QHD (that's Quad HD, a step up from full HD) is its size. It's massive (duh!), and with a 16:9 aspect ratio compared to the 24's 16:10, the active screen is a touch wider.
Thanks to a stunning edge-to-edge glass design, however, the 27's total width is the same as the 24. The borders have been reduced around the active screen, which are now magnetised strips to place your slinky new remote on (more on that later).
The 27 also has an ever-so-slightly etched glass surface, which produces a nice 'bite' for the stylus, plus reduced glare.
One clear design choice, which we imagine came from feedback, is that the Express Keys have gone from the screen borders. This not only makes for a beautiful slick look, it also means less interruption to your work by accidentally resting your elbow on the express keys.
There's the potential problem of misplacing of the small remote, but when you consider the money you're spending on the display, plus the magnetic strips, we're thinking that's going to be unlikely.
Talking of the price, the 27QHD Touch is actually cheaper than the 24HD Touch. This, not to mention the fact they've ceased manufacturing the 24 range, makes it clear that Wacom want the 27 to replace the 24 as their standard Cintiq.
Stats at a glance
- Screen size (diagonal): 68.6 cm (27 inches)
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 770x465x55 mm (30.3 x 18.3 x 2.1 inches)
- Active area (WxD) 596.7x335.6 mm (23.5 x 13.2 inches)
- Resolution: QHD (2560x1440 pixels)
- Colour performance: 1.07 billion colours (requires DisplayPort and video card supporting 10 bit colour), colour gamut 97% Adobe RGB
- Display Connection: DisplayPort and HDMI
- PC And Mac Connection: USB
- System Requirements: PC: Windows 7 or later (32/64 bits); Mac: Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
The other great improvement is the resolution. As suggested by its QHD name, the 27's resolution comes in at 2560x1440 pixels, and compared to the HD TV screen that was connected to the 27 we played with, the results are markedly better.
The screen's brightness was spot on as soon as the 27 was turned on, so no waiting for the screen to gather momentum. The colours, we are assured, also come correct right out of the box, so no need for calibration, though Wacom does now offer Wacom Colour Manager Powered by X-Rite which our review version did not ship with.
Inevitably, some will be annoyed that the ergonomic stand isn't included in the price (though it's still available separately). Others will find the built-in stand, which offers 5° tilt with folded legs and 20° when not, perfectly serviceable.
3D artist Jonathan Reilly had a week with the 27, and told Creative Bloq that for him, the clunky ergo stand is no great loss. And though not great for his back, leaning over the screen with remote in left hand, tucked under his pen arm, allowed for hours of fuss-free art sessions.
The remote, which offers around 17 customisable buttons, including the wheel, is a great addition. What's more, with Wacom's cloud service, you can back up your personal settings, for those (inevitable) annoying moments when drivers crash and settings are wiped.
You've also got the option to save five different settings, a benefit for studio work where different people are using the Cintiq, and certainly something the promised battery life of 160 hours has been designed for.
One real problem is the Touch side of things. When we played with it in Photoshop, the two-finger pan was fine, but the two-finger zoom and rotate had issues: it wasn't as responsive as we'd hoped, with the rotate actually moving the canvas off screen.
Also, you can't use these touch functions whilst using your pen, though you can make changes whilst using the pen with the remote. This could be a problem due to Adobe or the Cintiq drivers, and though we imagine it'll be fixed soon, it shouldn't really exist when you're paying an extra €400 for the Touch function. We believe that this has been updated since the tablet's launch, but get in touch if you are having problems.
Overall, however, this is a beautifully designed, extrememly powerful Cintiq – and undoubtedly the best yet.