This past weekend, I went to PAX Prime to hang out with my brother. I didn’t really look at the exhibitor list because I figured we’d just play it by ear and wander around. So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the Wacom booth. I grabbed the closest representative in a Wacom shirt and blurted out, “DO YOU HAVE COMPANION HYBRID THINGY TABLET PLAY WITH I WANT TO?!” The gentleman calmly pointed to where the Cintiq Companion Hybrid rested, just waiting for me to draw things upon its glossy surface.
So to really get a good feel for this new piece of kit, I’d have to sit down with it for a few hours. But I didn’t want to be that shit head on the con floor, so I kept my time to few minutes to get a good overview of what to expect.
If you’ve ever drawn on a Cintiq tablet before, the Hybrid is instantly familiar. If you’re new to the product, it might take some getting used to. Unlike the textured surfaces of the Intuos 5s and the Bamboo line, the Cintiq drawing surface is smooth glass. You won’t get the tactile resistance you might expect from paper. I’ve never found that to be a problem but I heard a few other people next to me complain about the lack of texture.
Previous Cintiq models that I’ve worked with always had a weird tracking problem as I drew closer to the edge. My lines would jump around making the device somewhat useless as I worked towards the edges. This was the first thing I tested out with the Hybrid and it handled the edges perfectly. No weird skipping. No tracking problems.
The tracking and pressure sensitivity are exactly what you’d expect from a Cintiq. It tracks almost flawlessly and handles changes in pressure just as well. The Hybrid also functions as a tablet computer, but it turns off hand/palm detection when you’re drawing. The woman next to me was playing with the Windows 8 version which was giving her problems with the palm detection. Every time her hand touched the surface, her drawing would go all wonky. The tech couldn’t figure out how to fix the problem so that might be something to watch out for.
The new Pro Pen is pretty comfortable. From what I could tell, it’s pretty much the same pen as the previous Cintiq iteration. I didn’t ask the tech, but I suspect it’s not compatible with anything else but a Cintiq.
If I had more time with it, I would have fired up a big ol 300-600 dpi CYMK file to see if I could make it crash. I also didn’t test out the pinch or zoom or any of the tablet gestures but I’m assuming them shits work just fine.
Overall, I think it lives up to my expectations. The specs made me drool, but actually having one in my hands made my pants all kinds of crunchy. Now to figure out how to afford the bloody thing…