capsule review

Wacom Cintiq 12WX Drawing Tablet

At a Glance
  • Wacom Cintiq 12WX

    PCWorld Rating

    At this screen size, unless you really value the built-in LCD, you might be better off with a cheaper drawing tablet.

Priced just below a thousand dollars, Wacom's Cintiq 12WX is the newest, smallest, and cheapest Cintiq drawing tablet to date. As with previous Cintiq models, you can draw directly on its built-in LCD screen with a digitizer pen; the company's drawing pens are finely tuned to the features of major graphics programs. The 12WX looks and works great, but you pay a hefty premium for a screen that isn't particularly roomy yet still takes up lots of space to use--especially in comparison with other, more affordable tablets.

The $999 (as of 2/1/08) 12WX is light (4.4 pounds), with a 12.1-inch display area that resembles the screen of a high-quality 12-inch laptop and has a native resolution of 1280 by 800. However, though the 12WX is compact relative to its larger cousins, I was taken aback by the amount of desk space I had to clear for it. The display is encased in a 16-by-10-inch frame, and I also had to create space for the video control converter unit, a modem-size device that bridges your computer's DVI or VGA input and the 12WX. (On larger Cintiqs, the converter is built into the display.) Add the USB cord that connects the converter to your PC, and you have quite a bit of clutter.

The large, tilting surface of the 12WX looks good and is comfortable to use. I had fun using it as a second monitor, especially when I allowed clients to draw on the screen while I handled back-seat driving with a mouse.

The 12WX supports the same intuitive and interactive pressure-and-tilt sensitivity as other Cintiq and lower-priced Intuos tablets do. You use the same pen, retaining the same functionality, with all tablets, and Wacom works closely with software publishers to add support for new features in such programs as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and Corel Painter and CorelDraw.

Wacom sees the 12WX as an affordable entry to the Cintiq series for designers who want to upgrade from its Intuos tablets. The display is remarkably crisp, and the color profiling of the Cintiq 12WX seemed more accurate than that of an Intuos tablet.

Is the 12WX worth twice the price of a comparable-size Intuos tablet? Only if you value the built-in LCD.

--David Karlins

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    At this screen size, unless you really value the built-in LCD, you might be better off with a cheaper drawing tablet.

    Pros

    • Smallest, most affordable Cintiq
    • Crisp, bright LCD

    Cons

    • Takes up lots of desk space
    • Twice the price of a comparable Intuos tablet
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