We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Computer Mice and Keyboards Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Wacom Cintiq 21UX review

£1457.51 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Wacom

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The Apple iPad may be this spring's most talked about touch-sensitive device, but for digital artists, the Wacom Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display still holds the title of top tablet.

The Apple iPad may be this spring's most talked about touch-sensitive device, but for digital artists, the Wacom Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display still holds the title of top tablet.

Thanks to a recent redesign, the 22-inch Wacom Cintiq 21UX now offers twice the pressure sensitivity of its predecessor, two strategically repositioned Touch Strips, and 16 programmable ExpressKeys that enable you to customize the tablet to fit your work style.

Traditional graphics tablets require you to sketch on one surface and watch as the results appear on the monitor on the other side of your desk. This approach can be tricky to master. With the Wacom Cintiq 21UX, you draw directly on the built-in monitor screen. Even better, depending on the software brush you select, you can achieve different artistic effects. Push harder and your stroke darkens. Tilt the pen for a broader line.

The new Wacom Cintiq 21UX utilises Wacom's second-generation sensor (already incorporated into its Intuos 4 product line) to offer an impressive 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Couple the Cintiq with a capable graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter and you can achieve very nuanced, organic-looking illustrations without giving up the flexibility of working in the digital realm.

The updated pen is about the thickness of a Sharpie and features a soft rubber grip that makes it very comfortable to hold. Beneath your index finger is a programmable rocker switch that you can use to right-click or double-click as you point with the pen's nib. There's even an eraser on the other end of the pen for quickly cleaning up stray scribbles.

One-time pen calibration took less than 30 seconds. Once calibrated, the pen tracked remarkably accurately, even at the very edges of the working area where some tablets fail.

As with its previous incarnation, the updated Wacom Cintiq 21UX incorporates two touch sensitive strips that allow you to quickly zoom, scroll, change brush size, or rotate the canvas just by dragging you fingertip. In the redesign, these Touch Strips are relocated to the back side of the unit to avoid accidental activation while sketching. The specific Touch Strip function is designated by using one of the two round toggle buttons on the front of the unit. Also included are 16 programmable ExpressKeys - symmetrically located, of course, so that the unit can be used just as easily use by lefties as righties.

The Wacom Cintiq 21UX boasts an admirable 1600-by-1200-pixel resolution, 21.3-inch TFT display (measured diagonally). For those accustomed to the ubiquitous widescreen monitor, the Cintiq's 4:3 aspect ratio may seem like a bit of a throwback, but it makes the physical geometry of rotating the monitor from portrait to landscape much easier. Apple Cinema Display users might notice that the Cintiq is not quite as bright (200 cd/m2 vs Apple's 330 cd/m2).

The included display stand allows the Wacom Cintiq 21UX tablet to be adjusted from a near-horizontal 10-degree incline to a maximum of 65 degrees. Removing the tablet from the stand is a cinch, but given the unit's size we found it best to leave it be.

There's a reason they don't call it "Thintiq". Steve Jobs would need to spend a lot of time in the gym to wave this tablet around onstage one-handed. And although the unit elegantly integrates its video, data, and power connections into a single six-foot cable, the half-inch-thick cord is a bit unwieldy for stand-free, casual operation. Current Cintiq owners looking to upgrade to a less cumbersome model will have to wait.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Wacom Cintiq 21UX Expert Verdict »

Wacom Cintiq 21UX (Interactive Pen Display) reviews verified by Reevoo

Wacom Cintiq 21UX (Interactive Pen Display)Scores 8.5 out of 10 based on 4 reviews
External digitizer, with stylus
Electromagnetic Movement Detection Technology: USB
Accuracy ± 0.5mm
Active Area: 43.2x32.4cm/21.3in LCD
Dot Pitch/Pixel Pitch: 0.27mm
Colour Support: 24-bit (16.7 million colours)
Image Brightness: 250 cd/m2
Max Resolution: 1600x1200
Image Contrast Ratio: 400:1
4 PIN USB Type A, display/video, DVI-Analog/Digital - 29 pin combined DVI
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Wacom Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display is a dream tool for electronic artists looking to expand their digital palettes. But with a £1,250 inc VAT price tag and a weight of nearly 11kg, many will find it too costly or too bulky to meet their needs.

  • Intuos4 S review

    Intuos4 S

    The Intuos4 S is ideal for creatives on the go. It comes with a pen that offers an impressive 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity along with realistic pen-tilt recognition for precise control.

  • Wacom Cintiq 24HD review

    Wacom Cintiq 24HD

    Wacom’s Cintiq line of pen tablets has long been a holy grail for artists and designers. Despite a hefty price tag, these tablets lend a fluency and efficiency to illustration that will usually repay the outlay for professionals.

  • Hanvon SenTip 1201 WD review

    Hanvon SenTip 1201 WD

    For years Wacom has dominated the graphics tablet market. But will Hanvon's SenTip 1201 WD prove to be a worthy rival to Wacom's Cintiq range?

  • Wacom Cintiq 12WX review

    Wacom Cintiq 12WX

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

  • Bamboo Fun tablet

    Bamboo Fun tablet

    Wacom pen tablets have been a favourite of design and photography professionals for years. Wacom’s Bamboo Fun line brings pen and tablet computing to another audience: the casual home or office user.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features UK: Staggered release with PCs coming first this summer -...

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

MacBook Pro 15in preview: better battery life, faster storage and a new discrete graphics chip may...