Wacom Cintiq 12WX

WACOM Cintiq 12UX

Wacom is about to roll out is the Cintiq 12WX (seen above). Depending on whether you’re an optimist or pessimist (?!), you can either think of it as a younger brother of the earlier Cintiq (a gorgeous 21inch sketchable monitor), or a Wacom Intuous with a screen. Either way, it plugs a gap in digital sketching product line-up – the Intuous and Graphire tablets can be rather difficult to learn/master, as users are forced to adapt by sketching on one surface while looking at the monitor. The Cintiq, however, can be heard to maneuver, not portable and expensive. As expressed in their website,

All over the world, creative professionals use sketchbooks to express their first ideas. This is why the Cintiq 12WX was developed as if it was a sketchbook: With a smooth, flat surface. And with a light weight that enables you to use it on your knees and to show it around to others. As you would do with paper – digital paper.

No matter whether the Cintiq 12WX is on your desk or in your lap – just plug in and visualize your thoughts immediately with Wacom′s patented pen technology on a high-resolution LCD monitor. Which can be part of a multi-monitor environment, too.

I think Wacom might find itself hard-pressed explaining their reference to a designer’s sketchbook and ‘digital paper’ bit though. Few would doubt Wacom’s expertise in being able to capture and sense the motion of the pen to a high degree – with great tilt, pressure and rotation sensors, Wacoms are recognized as the best in industry for digital sketching inputs.

However, to live up to being a ‘digital sketchbook’, it still has a long way to go, because no matter how you spin it, this is still an input device only. Spontaneity is one of the key requirements in a sketchbook – inspirations may come quickly, perhaps even while in transit – having to boot up a laptop (remember, this is an input device – it has no independent power, memory or sketch programs), connect it (yes, cables and ports!), and start sketching, you’d be wondering why you’d want this as compared to other tablet laptops instead. Add the hefty price tag (the product will be launched in November 2007, estimated at about S$2500 or 1700US) and the appeal starts to fade rapidly.

So if you think of it as an improved input device, you’d probably be delighted if you can spare the moolah. But it’s nowhere near being a digital sketchbook. As a product design though, I thought it was very well executed – it carries the sleek and ergonomic design language that distinguishes Wacom’s product as a professional tool. What’s your take?


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