Wacom Tablet vs Wacom Cintiq

Find out which is best for photography and whether the Cintiq is worth the extra premium
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When I was young I used to wish for the day I could trade my tablet for a Cintiq. All my favorite artists used them and they looked so great to use. I thought as an artist, with the Cintiq being able to draw pen to monitor would make me a better artist; and that it was much much better than a tablet.

But this wasn’t what happened for me. In fact it was the opposite.

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium Bluetooth Graphics Drawing Tablet, 8 Customizable ExpressKeys, 8192 Pressure Sensitive Pro Pen 2 Included, Compatible with Mac OS and Windows,Black
  • Precision Graphics Tablet: Our professional Wacom Intuos utilizes trusted Pro Pen technology to allow for hours of image editing, illustration or design work
  • Ultra-Responsive Wacom Pro Pen 2: The included ergonomic 8192 pressure sensitive battery-free pen is easy to control, giving you the familiar feel that you are used to with exceptional sensitivity

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In those 9 years, I have owned the Wacom Cintiq 24HD alongside various color calibrated monitors.  Having before started with the Wacom Intuos 3, I have now come full circle to currently owning the Wacom Intuos Pro (medium).

My Wacom History

The Intuos 3 was my first introduction to the world of graphics tablets. The Intuos 3 completely changed my artistic capabilities, opening up the world of digital creation to me.

Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet with Full HD 15.4-Inch Display Screen, 8192 Pressure Sensitive Pro Pen 2 Tilt Recognition, Compatible with Mac OS Windows and All Pens, Black
  • New Class of Creative Pen Display: Optimized feature set for creative starters provides HD clarity and ergonomic design that allows you to take your creative ideas and illustrations to the next level
  • Super Responsive: Wacom Pro Pen 2 features 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt response and virtually lag-free tracking. Two customizable switches allow for easy access to shortcuts

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The disconnect of the tablet to screen was initially unnatural to me. I have always been used to seeing my hand make the pen stroke. No longer looking at my hands took time to get used to.

I quickly adapted and found no issues with my tablet. It did the job and was a tool that helped me get jobs. I had nothing but praise for my tablet.

And yet I yearned for the Cintiq. At the time the Wacom Cintiq 21UX was the latest Cintiq and it had not been updated for many years.

It was every digital artist’s dream, and I decided I would be getting one, but then I heard rumors of a new one being announced.

When the Wacom Cintiq 24HD was announced I knew I would be getting it, despite the hefty price tag. It has been my main monitor for close to 9 years, sharing duties with a few NEC Spectraview and Dell monitors along the way.

But this year despite having the funds to afford any of the current monitors in the Cintiq line I have decided to purchase the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium.

Wacom Cintiq Issues

Specifically related to the larger Cintiqs, new owners will marvel at the amount of screen real estate available.

And while this is a variable for many content creators, it can be detrimental to your health.

Cintiqs are large (the 22’, 24’ and 32’), and drawing over my one has always given me back and neck issues after regular periods of continuous use. I needed to take a break after a short while (which you should do anyway). But the noticeable pain was evident.

This is a common issue for many Cintiq users. Varying the angle may help for you, or attaching an articulating arm, but I found none of these have ever solved the issue for me.

I never had this issue with my Wacom Intuos 3 and the same can be said of my Wacom Intuos Pro. Employing both sitting and standing positions, neither has resulted in any neck or back issues.


If you get the bigger ones, you will be restricted to one place. I’ve recently decided that my productivity accelerates when I am not tied down.

This is probably the second biggest reason that decided it for me against the Cintiq.

I tend to now work in multiple places, my studio, my home, a cafe, the client’s place etc.

Having a tablet means that combined with a decent editing laptop I am able to work anywhere I find myself.

But what about a smaller cintiq? Again, they are still large enough that you would place it on a table and lean over.

And still too large to fit into the laptop sleeve compartment of your bag with a laptop too. The new Wacom Intuos Pro Medium is incredibly thin.

My experience of this was with the Wacom Cintiq 16. I found this screen size to be too constrictive. Especially coming from the Wacom Cintiq 24HD.

The difference between the Wacom Cintiq 16 compared to a laptop combined with a tablet is that with the absence of your hand getting in the way of maybe ⅕ of the screen, the tablet allows for more real estate to be seen, even though it might be 1 inch smaller than the Wacom Cintiq 16.

Wacom Cintiq Form Factor

And for mobility I need to be light too. A Wacom tablet combined with a laptop is the perfect combination for my personal workflow.

Even the smaller Cintiqs are much heavier than the tablet you would use for on the go, small or medium. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 13’ is 1.1Kg compared to my Wacom Intuos Pro Medium at 700g.

The Wacom Intuos Pro large is heavier, but then it’s more of a studio tablet than a mobile one.

Tablet Hand Disconnect

This is a small thing, but perhaps due to my years with the Intuos 3, I have never liked that my hand can sometimes obstruct my view of what I am focusing on the screen.

This for most users is actually an issue against the tablet. But not having your hand in the way is clearer for me to create.

Being a traditional artist first, this may sound contradictory. But a lifetime of drawing traditionally has conditioned me to work proficiently for traditional art, not digital.

And there is a big difference between traditional and digital. The cursor displays which tool you are using, plus size settings etc. This isn’t relevant in traditional media. You know the tool in your hand.

Final Thoughts

The latter arguments are specific to each person, we all have different opinions on what is a feasible size for portability. For some medium might be too large.

And as I stated, most artists, especially coming from traditional media, find it difficult or never adapt to the separation of hand and pen on screen.

This is why the Cintiq is so revered among digital artists for their business.

And provided you can avoid any back or neck issues and prefer a studio set up, a Cintiq is the ideal creation tool.

However I feel for the mobile user who prefers a minimal set up, using a Wacom tablet is the perfect creative set up.


Check out these affiliate links if you want to purchase the Wacom Intuos Pro:

Wacom Intuos Pro Large – Amazon
Wacom Intuos Pro Medium – Amazon
Wacom Intuos Pro Small – Amazon

For my entire list of editing gear I use alongside my Wacom tablet check out my gear page.