It's wonderful to have a decent drawing tablet for art and creative work. It's even better to have a large surface on which to work and get in finer details, while drawing directly on the screen. Wacom's Cintiq line offers that ability to draw directly on the screen, getting you right up close to your work, just as you would on paper. Having reviewed several Wacom products over the years, I recently thought it would be nice to have a look at one of their larger Cintiq models. Released a little while ago, theirCintiq 27QHD Pen & Touch Display caught my eye. As the largest model in the Cintiq line, just seeing the 27QHD in pictures certainly didn't do it justice. And, the 27QHD looks, and works, like a dream.
First Look and Set-up
First of all, the 27QHD is huge, impressive, and kind of intimidating at first. As large as it is, it's far lighter than I would have imagined (just under 20 lbs.), and it is quick to adapt to. It does not come with a stand, but you can purchase the Cintiq 27QHD Ergo Stand from Wacom, if you wish. However, there are two legs that fold out of the back of the unit to give you a 20 degree angle, which works completely fine for me. The unit is at a 5 degree angle already with the legs tucked in.
The surface is edge to edge glass, but with a finish that doesn't make it feel like you are drawing on glass, rather more of a pen-on-paper feel. The screen size is 27 inches diagonal, with a rather large bezel and no surface interruptions. It's absolutely beautiful to work on.
The unit ships with the Pro Pen, a pen stand/holder that also holds the nibs (6 standard, 3 felt, and 1 stroke), and the excellent ExpressKey remote (more on this later). You also get a variety of cables to ensure you can connect to your computer. Cables included are: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0, Micro USB (to charge the ExpressKey Remote); Adaptors: DVI-D TO HDMI, Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort. And, there are 4 USB 3.0 ports on the unit (2 on each side).
An installation CD is also included, however, I've always found it best to check the Wacom website for the latest drivers when setting up a Wacom device. There is a quick-start guide that helps in the easy set up of the unit, and I was up and running in minutes.
You will definitely need to have a large space available to set this unit up (did I mention this thing is huge?). Color is excellent straight out of the box, but you can pair it with the Wacom Color Manager, available here. There are 3 touch buttons at the top-right of the display that light up when the unit is on. One button brings up the Wacom control settings, one is to bring up an on-screen keyboard, and the third is to turn touch functionality on or off. With the control settings open, you can customize the ExpressKey remote.
Wacom's Pro Pen and ExpressKey Remote
If you've used a Wacom tablet, then you know about the ExpressKeys that allow for quick and easy function access, and are always a huge time-saver. But, with the 27QHD, Wacom put the ExpressKeys on a beautifully-designed remote. This was a very clever move, as you can either hold the remote, or place it anywhere you feel comfortable with. The remote will cling to magnetized areas on the right and left side of the bezel, so it won't slide off as you have the unit angled.
The remote provides 17 customizable ExpressKeys, plus a 3 function touch ring (awesome for things like changing brush size, etc.). The remote works on a charge via an included USB cable you connect between the remote and the Cintiq. The real beauty of the ExpressKeys is that you can completely customize key settings for each program you use. And, now you can even save your device settings to the Wacom Cloud, so if something were to go awry and your settings revert to default, you can quickly get back up and running again. Very cool.
The Cintiq 27QHD is excellent for detail work
I must comment first on the beauty of this high resolution (Quad HD) display. Videos look fantastic, and the creative programs I use appear wonderfully. I have tested this unit with Corel's Painter and CorelDRAW, as well as Adobe's After Effects and Photoshop.
The Pro Pen hasn't changed, and is like what you get with the other Cintiq models. It does provide 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and has excellent tilt recognition. Drawing/painting on the 27 QHD feels great, with just the right amount of friction. Touch gestures also worked very well with the programs I tested it on, as well as surfing the web. You can also turn touch functionality on or off, like I mentioned previously.
The large bezel on this display is excellent, as there is support for your hand as you work at the edges of whatever it is you're working on. It's just an all-around fantastic experience to work with this display.
Small child to give perspective on massiveness of this display (my daughter did not mind posing)
I'm very impressed with the Cintiq 27QHD Pen & Touch Display. I've had no problems in set up and operation - it works smoothly, and I haven't had any issues. If you are looking for a large display with which to create your digital art with ease and comfort, you really should consider the 27QHD. The next decision would be if you really need touch functionality, as there is also a model without that feature (priced about $500 less). As for myself, I prefer to have the touch feature. The Cintiq 27QHD Pen & Touch is priced at $2799.95 (USD), and while pretty steep, keep in mind this is a professional tool. I highly recommend the Cintiq 27QHD Pen and Touch.
Be sure to check out the Wacom website for more info on this and other creative tools. Also, you might want to check out Wacom's Discovery area, where you can access some really great tutorials from professional artists and get tips on getting the most out of Wacom tablets. The Discovery area is still pretty new and I hope they continue to round it out with folks utilizing programs other than Photoshop.