Thoughts on using the Wacom Cintiq 16

I have to start this review by saying that I am quite biased. I know it might sound weird, however, I have to say it in order to set the expectations for what you are about to read. Also, the reason for my partiality is due to the fact that I've always wanted to have a Wacom Cintiq but it always felt like a distant dream for a couple of reasons. First, living in Brazil made things more complicated in terms of price and second, I never consider myself an illustrator. So here I am, 20 plus years later and I got the new Wacom Cintiq 16 to review and after using I have a few thoughts to share. 

Little disclaimer. This is not a sponsored post, however they sent me the device for me to review. The opinion here is solely mine.

So what is the new Wacom Cintiq 16? Good question! Here’s what I got from their website. Trust me, I would not be able to describe it any better:


Wacom Cintiq is a new class of creative pen display with an optimized feature set for creative starters. Vibrant color, HD clarity and ergonomic design together with the super-responsive Pro Pen 2, offer a natural experience and help take your creative ideas and illustrations to the next level.

Pro Pen 2, offer a natural experience and help take your creative ideas and illustrations to the next level.

Wacom Pro Pen 2 and Wacom Cintiq displays (available in 15.6” or 21.5”) work together to make your creative session productive and comfortable. The screen has an anti-glare film, preventing any distracting reflections. The full HD display provides great clarity, so you can see every detail on screen. The reduced parallax also gives you full control, so your cursor is where you expect to be. All this combines to make drawing on Wacom Cintiq feel as natural as drawing on paper.

So let’s translate that to specs, the language we all love

  • Screen size: 15.6 inch
  • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • Colorgamut: 72% NTSC (CIE1931) typical
  • Pen technology: Wacom Pro Pen 2 with Wacom EMR
  • Pen pressure levels: 8,192
  • Low Parallax

Now that you all know what I am talking about let me share my thoughts about using this beautiful device. 

First let me start with the size. I believe this is probably the correct size for me and for the things I do and the Cintiq helped me doing while using it. I would not go any bigger than that. Probably an even smaller version wouldn’t be that bad in my opinion, like the Cintiq Pro 13.  

The overall design feels good, even though it’s plastic. The screen has a good mate treatment which makes the friction between the pen and the surface very natural, like paper. That alone is one of the best things for me, especially compared to using the iPad with the Apple Pencil. That always felt weird like drawing in glass. 

The pressure levels, the experience of hovering and then tapping and the ergonomics of the Wacom Pro Pen 2 make things feel good but not everything is perfect. So let’s move to things that I would love to see differently starting with ports.

Connectivity! Wacom, I love your products but why not an USB-C option for connection, I know the Pro line have that, but is that a feature just for professionals? Right now I have to connect the power cord, the HDMI and USB to my computer. But I have a MacBook Pro with only USB-C ports. Luckily for me I had an adapter which allowed me to start using it right away. Still, I felt that my desk was covered with cables, more like a rock band stage than a designer’s desk. 

Another thing I wish I could do is to just use it as a secondary display, like a stand for it (I know you can buy that as optional). That would be great, especially if the resolution was higher. Full HD is okay, however comparing with my MacBook Pro resolution or my 4K display the difference felt like a time machine sometimes, which is not that bad, but it could be great. I understand what Wacom is trying to do here, separating this line from the Pro line.

Now the biggest question, is it worth it or should I use an iPad with the Apple Pencil especially knowing that the new MacOS Catalina will support using the iPad as a second screen for free. My answer to this is, it depends. In my opinion, if you are a professional illustrator, or designer that really rely on tablets to do your work, the Cintiq is the best option, little to no doubt about it. But, if you are an enthusiast like me, the iPad would do the job quite well, however, remember the dream I mentioned in the beginning? So I think you have my answer. 


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