back to article Wacom Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display

Wacom may be best known for its standalone, pressure-sensitive tablets, but its current flagship product is a 21-inch LCD monitor, but with a difference. The whole screen of the Cintiq 21UX is one enormous graphics tablet that you can draw on directly. Wacom Cintiq 21ux Drawing board: Wacom's Cintiq 21UX In essence, the …


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  1. Mage Silver badge

    WS vs 4:3

    I find WS too big if it's 1600 lines.

    Many WS laptops and screens lack height resolution. 1200 vs 768, 1024 or 1080 makes a big difference.

    I welcome it being a 4:3. Especially if you want a 2nd screen.

    This is an interactive drawing board. When did you ever see a Wide Screen Drawing board?

    The advantage of a light pen is of course anti-aliasing. Inherently a light pen works at lower than screen resolution and a touch panel with orientation and pressure stylus can work at higher resolution.

    I think this is excellent for serious Artists, slightly less useful for regular CAD and not a good idea at all for people doing only occasional photo editing and no drawing/CAD.

    It's a nice tool for professionals in addition to a regular screen, even maybe an addon to serious laptop.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    So, just like paper then...

    "there’s also the perennial problem that my hand, inevitably, gets in the way of the design."

    Have you ever used a pencil and paper?! I thought the whole point was to create a more natural interface for artists?

    Shame it's so insanely expensive.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, you don't like that your hand gets in front of the work and that it's not widescreen? I'd hate to see your review of paper.

    Also, complaining that this wouldn't make a good primary monitor is like complaining that a Ferrari makes a lousy daily driver. And your comment that it 'might' make sense for 'old school artists looking to transition' is absurd. It's a vastly superior way to interact with drawings; if you're not working directly on paper/canvas/dog's hide then it's the next best thing whether you're an old school, new school, or middle school artist.

    This is a tool for people who will use it constantly; your UI gripes are reasonable, but again, difficulty of setup isn't a dealkiller for people who will think, live, and breathe it.

    1. Mike Kamermans

      in defense of the hand

      The idea of this tablet is not that it "replaces paper", but that it "replaces a tablet". And when one uses a tablet (I use a 12"x9" intuos), your hand does not get in the way of the work you're doing, because the input and the result are on different surfaces.

      Going "back" to having your hands getting in the way of your art is a legitimate problem. One of the downsides of paper, as well as short brush media like aquarel, is that your tools (hand and arm included) obstruct part of your work while you're working on it. This is not a problem, but it's a minor inconvenience that tablets did away with. Cintiqs reintroduce that minor inconvenience, and as such is something to consider if you've been using a tablet for a while, and are considering the move to a "draw on your monitor" device.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle whats it like with games then?

    ...counter strike, quakeIII, MOH3, Civ4, etc - any good with this is the input device? ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      My best friend played Quake 3 with a tablet (though not a cintiq, obviously) and was frighteningly good. He could hold his rail aim on the head a guy flying through mid air and nail him twice in a row while flying himself; I watched his hand on the pen moving around like a servo system.

      I was pretty good at that game; top 30% on a given server, and he could destroy me 40 to nothing in 1v1 with that blasted pen...

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Agreed. Also, does it perform well with Bejeweled and those games that shipped with Windows Touch Pack?

  5. detritus


    Whilst 4:3 is fair enough for the drawing area itself (similar to typical paper ratios), the advantage with a widescreen interface would be in the side docking of the tool panels in Illy or PS - personally I can't abide hiding tools away under rollovers.

    Does anyone have a take on why these things are so darned expensive?


    As for games - I tried my old and non-displayed Wacom years ago on a few - as you'd imagine, totally useless in FPS, but it was pretty damn good for RTS.

    Now then, a large displayed version of Apple's Magic Trackpad thing along with the whole gestural handtweaking thing would (in the gamer parlance) 'totally pwn' RTS.

  6. bart

    Why not glass?

    I hope that Wacom has a good reason for not using glass on the surface, but I don't see it.

    Wacom uses a variable coil in the pen to supply pressure information, which does not rely at all on surface movement. Their tablets have tremendous range (distance to pen tip) before the signal becomes unusable (easily 1/2.") I don't think the thickness of a protective glass pane would be an issue . . .

    1. godheadatomic


      The current version does use a glass surface combined with a protective coating.

      Only the first versions of the 21UX had acrylic surfaces, which were definitely prone to scratching.

  7. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Try a third party virtual keyboard.

    I recommend learning Fitaly, or something similar. It takes a couple of hours of practice but you can probably manage twenty words a minute, which isn't great typing but is adequate. Also, Windows Vista, 7, and some XP configurations have speech recognition and handwriting recognition built into the operating system. You need a powerful PC and training time for best results, for speech anyway. Writing is slow, speech ideally is fastest if the machine is accurate and keeps up with you. You may need to rhyme "a" with "hay" and "the" with "bee", American-style.

    Normal keyboard layout is too wide for comfortable stylus use. Another option is to use a QWERTY on-screen keyboard but squashed so that keys are tall and narrow and the whole thing is more square.

    I'm not an artist... I found coordinating tablet actions not on the screen to be very difficult, with that kind of tablet, but maybe that's something to be learned, too. And then, yeah, you can see what's behind your hand because it isn't, it's on the screen.

    I'm currently working as a programmer using a tactile screen - I have an RSI-type disability that has me allergic to normal keyboards. Speech isn't good for programming unless it's COBOL...

  8. Andrew Hodgkinson


    Since your screenshots were from OS X, I guess you haven't realised that OS X includes a built-in virtual keyboard. It's fairly well buried though. To set it up for easy access:

    * Start System Preferences

    * Go to Language & Text

    * Go to the Input Sources tab

    * Turn on "Show Input menu in menu bar"

    You'll see a flag or other placeholder image appear in the menu bar. This is useful for various things, including accessing a very flexible full Unicode character palette for unusual character selections (select "Show Character Viewer" from the menu popped up by clicking on the menu bar icon). The virtual keyboard is accessed by the "Show Keyboard Viewer" menu entry.

    The always-on-top keyboard presents a "live" view showing you keys as you hit them and updates itself as modifiers are pressed, so you can see exactly what Shift, Ctrl etc. will do. It's also bidirectional so you can click on it to enter characters and can be resized from a pen-or-mouse-friendly to huge-and-finger-friendly sizes.

  9. Glesga Snapper

    Aspect Ratio.

    I'd image that the choice of a 4:3 aspect ratio is that it's closer to the traditional photographic sizes than 16:9 widescreen. If fact, I can't think of any professional stills cameras that shoot in 16:9, although I do have a Fuji point & shoot in a drawer somewhere that had it as an option.

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