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Aug
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Graphic designers have lusted after Wacom's Cintiq line for years: the combination of a stylus-enabled touchpad and a full monitor makes them ideal for working directly in design suites. But thanks to their out-of-this-world price tags, most of us could only admire them from afar, settling for the cheaper Bamboo or Intuos pad. Now Wacom is expanding into the Android world with the 13.3"Cintiq Companion Hybrid, a full Android-powered tablet that turns into a Cintiq monitor when plugged into a computer.

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If you've been keeping up with the evolving Cintiq line, you probably already know that the other shoe is going to drop. Here it is: the Cintiq companion Hybrid starts at a soul-crushing $1499 for the 16GB version, ballooning to $1599 for 32GB. (Hey, it could be worse: the Windows 8 version of the tablet starts at $2000.) At least you get a super high-end tablet for all that cash. The 13.3" screen is a full 1920x1080p and has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and 75% of the Adobe RGB gamut. There's an NVIDIA Tegra 4 and 2GB of RAM providing the power to Android 4.2. Other charms include a MicroSD card slot, MicroHDMI out (a full HDMI port provides the monitor's video-in source), USB 2.0, and 8MP and 2MP rear and front-facing cameras, respectively. Buyers also get a Wacom Pro digital stylus, an adjustable stand for desktop use, and a travel case.

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The Cintiq Companion Hybrid comes with Wacom's Creative Canvas app for mobile creation, but you won't get the full benefit of all this stylus-centric hardware until you plug the tablet into a PC or Mac with the 3-in-1 data/video/power cable. There it becomes a secondary monitor and graphics tablet, complete with Wacom's customizable action buttons and Touch Ring scrolling button, which can be bound to various actions in your favorite graphics program.

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The Cintiq hardware has always been ultra-premium and high-margin (and a bit of a status symbol among designers and artists), but there's still a lot of sticker shock here when similarly-equipped Android tablets are going for well below $500. Even allowing for Wacom's advanced digitizer and fancy monitor functionality, three times the price seems a little indulgent. Suddenly the $600 originally charged for the Galaxy Note 10.1 (with a Wacom digitizer) doesn't seem so bad.

The Cintiq Companion Hybrid Tablet is scheduled to go on sale directly from Wacom in September.

VANCOUVER, Wash., Aug.19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Staying on top of evolving trends in the creative community and responding to frequent requests from professional customers, Wacom® extends the creative experience from the desktop to a mobile environment with the new Cintiq® Companion line of creative tablets.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130819/SF65748)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130204/SF52627LOGO)

The Cintiq Companion line, available in two models, enables creative professionals to work wherever they want. The Cintiq Companion runs Windows 8 and full versions of creative software and offers everything a customer would expect from Wacom's Cintiq products. The Cintiq Companion Hybrid, on the other hand, is a traditional Cintiq when plugged into a Mac or PC, but when used as a mobile device, works as a stand-alone Android® tablet with enough power to do light sketching and start creative processes with suitable apps. The new tablets were developed to bring unprecedented freedom to the creative workflow. They also ensure a distinct Cintiq experience even in mobile use, leveraging key elements of the Cintiq 13HD and Cintiq 22HD touch, for example, full HD display with touch control and the Wacom Pro Pen with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity as well as tilt recognition.

Cintiq Companion Hybrid - the digital sketchpad on the go
For illustrators and designers who want to draw, sketch and paint when mobile, but who also want to use their professional software when connected to a Mac or PC, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid offers a 'two-in-one' solution. The Cintiq Companion Hybrid functions as a traditional Cintiq when connected to a Mac or PC. When unplugged, it is perfect for light, spontaneous work using Android apps. The tablet comes with a powerful Nvidia® Tegra® 4 processor, Android Jellybean and specially designed software such as the new Wacom Creative Canvas for painting and sketching. For further refinement when back in the studio, rough images can be easily transferred to a computer or shared directly to popular cloud services with the easy and pre-loaded ASTRO File Manager. Two versions of the Cintiq Companion Hybrid are available, a 16GB version and a 32GB version.

All of the time-savers that professionals expect from a Wacom Cintiq are integrated in both the Cintiq Companion and Cintiq Companion Hybrid, including the customizable new on-screen controls, ExpressKeys, Rocker Ring and Radial Menu. To enable a truly mobile working style, the Cintiq Companion family packs some impressive mobile communications features such as WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth® (version 4.0 for Cintiq Companion and version 3.0 for Cintiq Companion Hybrid), front/rear HD cameras (2M pixels/8M pixels), stereo headset jack and microphone for hosting calls or streaming movies.

As creative professionals require comfort and ergonomics to offset long working hours, an adjustable and detachable stand is also included with both products, offering four working angles – from flat to upright.

Pricing and Availability
The Cintiq Companion Hybrid models are priced at $1499 (USD) for the 16GB and $1599 (USD) for the 32GB. Both products will be available from Wacom's eStore in mid-September.  The Cintiq Companion models are offered at $1999 (USD) for the Windows 8 with 256GB SSD and $2499 (USD) for the Windows 8 Pro with 512GB SSD. The Cintiq Companion models are scheduled to appear at the Wacom eStore in October.

To pre-order a Wacom Cintiq Companion or Companion Hybrid in the US, please visit the Wacom eStore and follow the ordering instructions.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Marcel Jóźwiak

    Nice...But then, the price is killing... So thank you Wacom but I'll pass on that.

  • Averix

    Wow. Just a little pricey. Exactly what I've always wanted though. I just can't do the external tablet while watching the screen. I have to see what my pen/pencil is doing on the paper directly.

  • Armus

    No idea why this is a good thing. Can't you just buy a tab and monitor for far less than $1300

    • Cheeseball

      The thing is that this is one of those devices aimed at the budding-enthusiast and professional artist niche. I've tried one of those 24" Cintiq tablet-screens at one of the WACOM's booths and holy crap it's like writing on paper, as in near-1:1 accuracy. They had Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter running and showed off support for pressure sensitivity.

      Price was killer at USD 2,500 though, but then again if you're making money by doing what you love (e.g. art), then it's cheap. A Galaxy Note 2/8/10.1 doesn't hold a candle to a more responsive digitizer even if it is made by WACOM.

      • DanBolivar

        Solution... the Bosto 19", everything except tilt sensitivity for a FIFTH of the price. Look it up. Stop WACOM monopoly.

        • Cheeseball

          That's what we're using now, particularly the 19MA. There are a few problems with it, such as the overall lower-build quality, doesn't use an IPS panel, resolution is limited to 1440x900 (16:10 aspect ratio), intermittent line jitter (which they apparently claim is not because of the product), and shoddy driver support when you're not using an Adobe product, like Sketchbook and Painter.

          Other than the, for the price, it's a good buy compared to WACOM's products.

  • rap

    My daughter would die to have this. Unfortuantely way out of our price range but for a professional artist not.

    • DanBolivar

      I'm a professional artist, it's out of my price range also. Not because I can't afford it but because I refuse to keep feeding WACOM paying for products which could be sold for a 5th of what they cost.

      • rap

        I appreciate your comments that mentioned an alternative. I wasn't aware of it although it seems hard to find in the US. My artist teen will be interested. I went seraching and found another brand Yiynova. I don't about Wacom pricing overall but the price for this while on the high side doesn't seems at most it might be double if that. Considering the Android tablet is a 13" I would expect that to cost near $750 alone without the digitizer and being a 2 in one device. A 14" Bosto lists at $800 without Andoid functionality.

        • Manuel Castillo Ramirez

          In theyr site bosto-tablet, i saw the 14 inch model at $500 usd

  • Matthew Fry

    correction: 2GB of *RAM*

  • Shari Morehead

    That clinches my Surface Pro 2 Haswell purchase when it comes out. Wacom digitizer, pressure sensitivity and running full Photoshop. Bummer, Wacom, you guys never get the price right.

  • GraveUypo

    there was a time when getting a cintiq was one of my dreams. but it was $3000 and wasn't as good as this is. now... meh, my good old wacom graphire still works for me. i got used to using a tablet (a screenless one, that is) over the years.

  • DanBolivar

    WACOM, stop the monopoly on your precious patented pen. Competition is fierce and your unreal pricing standards will soon bite you in the proverbial stuck up elitist catering ass.
    Look up the BOSTO 19", everything there except tilt sensitivity for a 5th of the Cintiq equivalent.

  • deffectx gonzalez

    this tablet is for pro artist, not for checking facebook or play candycrush deal with ti!

  • henryezra

    keep it below 800 USD then it would be interesting

  • Ryan Wick

    For that price and those features I'd rather just have a Cintiq 22/24 HD Touch.

  • HonestPig

    Another overpriced product from Wacom. Surface Pro will be cheaper ,more powerful and serve the same purpose for me.

  • enderki

    if you plan to go the android route get the 16gb and use the extra 100 you save to buy a micro sd. ~$50 for 64gb

    but agree Cintiq have always been monopolized, something you kind of have to live with in when dealing with wacom.

    pending on what industry you're in while more likely dictate which one you end up with, it funny to think if you in the VFX (more like 3d) the android would be better since you would want the ease of attaching it to any computer and use it like a "CINTIQ", kind where the pc version fail in my opinion not able to use as such for a workstation at work or home.

    more interested in waiting to see if this will be a good companion for my mobile workstation. if the android version is able to use it own battery to power the screen then be nice to not have to be tethered to a AC.

  • C

    It seems from the reactions that many people are unaware of what this device's capabilities really are and who it is for. It is a mistake to confuse it with a more general-purpose device like a Penabled or S-Pen tablet.

    A Wacom tablet with a pro-pen digitizer isn't just pressure-sensitive. It is also tilt-sensitive. It supports additional peripherals such as the art pen and air brush. Being an Intuos5-generation device, the screen will have a slightly rough surface that feels like paper. The chassis includes express keys and a rocker ring, which free you from keyboard shortcuts while letting you hold modifier keys, change layers/brush sizes, etc.

    Every feature that distinguishes this device from a "civilian grade" tablet is meant to make digital mark-making feel as natural and intuitive as possible. Those features aren't important if you just use a tablet for photo touchups or graphic design, but they can be a huge deal if you actually paint and draw. As of this announcement, this is the only mobile device that has them.

    So, the big news for ARTISTS is that starting with this tablet (and its i-7 win8 brother), there is finally a mobile device with a FULLY-featured wacom digitizer (and not just Penabled, like the Surface Pro).

    The big news for EVERYONE is that this device also becomes a Cintiq 13HD (which is already $1000) when you attach it to a PC.

  • Edward Janne

    Come on! People who complain about the price need a reality check. This isn't a toy. It has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity with tilt and rotate detection. It's full HD. You're not going to buy this to let your kids color-by-numbers, ok?!? The non-tablet 13" Cintiq costs just over $1k, so for an extra $500 or so, you're getting an integrated tablet. It's certainly not dirt cheap, but it's not prohibitively expensive either as a professional tool.

  • http://facebook.com/timeship Timeship

    Come on, guys, a similar solution from Motion Computing (J3400, Dual Core, Win7, HD, 64GB SDD, HD, LED backlit, Wacom stylus, etc.) is under $300 on Amazon. What's with the killing price? ;-(

  • http://facebook.com/timeship Timeship

    Come on, guys, a similar solution from Motion Computing (J3400, Dual
    Core, Win7, HD, 64GB SDD, LED backlit, Wacom stylus, etc.) is under
    $300 on Amazon. The famous Asus Slate EP121 is also ca. $500 (iCore5,
    etc.) So what's with the killing price? ;-(

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