Wacom Cintiq Companion

So after my Surface Pro decided one day to off itself (details of which I won’t go into here, but suffice to say I got sick and tired of Windows 8’s shenanigans and the local MS Store was about as helpful as a trashbin without a bottom), I recently decided to invest in one of these.

They’re not cheap, but after a few weeks’ worth of random sketching and usage, I’m pleased to actually find that it’s proven itself to be far more useful than any incarnation of the Surface that I’ve tested thus far. (And for the record, I did want to like the Surface 3. A lot. But ultimately I can’t stand the N-trig digitizer, regardless of whatever comic book authors might have to say about it)

I’ve had a go with a couple of Android apps for painting, and between LayerPaint HD and Artflow, I’m finding it a lot easier to paint with this thing than I ever did with my Surface. Part of it is obviously the larger screen size and comfort of the stylus, but it’s just more that Android, surprisingly, seems to have a couple of apps that work really well with a mobile interface, from a UI design standpoint…and Windows 8 doesn’t. And I’ve tried all sorts of weird shit, from ArtDock to running my own odd scripts to let me work more efficiently, but funnily enough, with Artflow, I can just paint, and ignore the rest of the bullshit. Unlike with my Surface, where I’m constantly fighting the UI and wishing I was back at my main desktop with a full-size Cintiq and keyboard.

Which, let’s be honest, if I couldn’t do after dropping close to 2 grand, would be rather pointless.

Bad points: the OneDrive app on Android is next to useless (though, to be fair, that’s again partially MS’s bullshit), whatever tablet API they have is rather shit (my Wacom Art Pen lags on it for some reason), there really needs to be a standardized file manager for Android and unify the UI for that, and the thing isn’t exactly designed for mobility. Apart from the fact that I need to start doing more pull-ups again to carry the damn thing around, since it weighs like a goddamn rifle, the cables and accessories that go with it don’t seem like Wacom were thinking about compact elegance when they were designing it. It’s more like a Cintiq 13 HD that you can take around, rather than a tablet that acts like a Cintiq. They even share the same cables.

But then again, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised; I’ve never known Wacom to be especially proficient at anything other than tablet design and hardware. Their bundled painting apps are a joke, and Bamboo Paper really needs an option for custom pen offsets/screen rotation and disabling touch input. Not everyone uses the screen in a portrait orientation, Wacom, don’t offset my pen position even if I’m using it in landscape mode! And for all the improvements made to ‘palm rejection’, seriously, no one in their right mind draws with their damn fingers on a tablet. Just give an option to disable touch input or something!

All in all, though, I’m pretty pleased with it, and at least I have been able to actually paint things from start to finish with it.

So, anyone want a used Surface Pro?