[Product Review] – Wacom Cintiq Companion 2


by Rin Yeo

For illustrators out there, Wacom is no stranger as they are the makers of the Bamboo (now renamed as Intuos) and the Intuos (now renamed as the Intuos Pro) range of tablets that every single person would have one of at some point in time. However, if you are considering of upgrading your tablet, you can consider the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. An all-in-one tablet that can perform as a laptop and a creative tablet, this is one machine that can allow you to be creative on-the-go!

Operating systems, response and features
Running on Windows 8.1, which may be hard to adapt for those who are Mac users, the Cintiq Companion 2 comes with 2,048 levels of pen-pressure sensitivity and the ability to detect the angle of your strokes. Upon setup, you get to calibrate your pen and the sensitivity accordingly, and this can be adjusted later on from the settings should they not meet your requirements. However, we find that the precision is slightly off, as the nip of the pen is not exact with the cursor point. Nonetheless, this could be due to our haste during calibration and was easy to overcome too after frequent usage.

The Cintiq Companion 2 is pretty thin as a tablet which performs like a decent PC, although the weight is slightly hefty at 1.7kg. At the sides, there are card slots for SDXC and MicroSD, which makes it great for file transfers. The multi-touch feature is also very usable, as you can type using an onscreen keyboard and use the touch pen to click/draw. You may run into a couple of problems when it comes to painting and drawing, but these can be rectified with a smudge-guard in place or touch being turned off via the express key.

One unique feature of the Cintiq Companion 2 is the six customizable ExpressKeys™ that are located at the side. With most of us being guilty of having really messy desktops, the keys are a shortcut to accessing the programs that we need with just the touch of a button. There’s no need to plough through the icons just to locate, say Photoshop, any more!

The Cintiq Companion 2 comes with two HD cameras – a front cam with 2MP and a back cam with 8MP to it, as well as two speakers. With a Intel Core i5 or i7 (depending on which capacity you get), it is a quality-built machine that is expected to last both for drawing or even as a PC desktop (you can connect this to a keyboard via Bluetooth or USB).

Battery life and heat
The estimated battery life for the Cintiq Companion 2 is 4 -5 hours, which isn’t too great should you be doing heavy operations. We find it mildly inaccurate too, as the actual time life on the current battery fluctuates quite a bit. At times, there’s a pretty loud noise (we suspect it’s from the fan), and you can actually feel the vibrations on the device. While the screen does heat up due to the brightness etc, we find that the heat wasn’t too hot to touch, which was excellent.

Overall, the Cintiq Companion 2 is a great product for illustrators on-the-go, as there is no need for you to have it connected to a PC. The only downside is for Mac users, who will have to relearn all the functions and shortcuts (as they’re very different from the Mac OS). Overall it would be a good investment, as you can use it as a desktop as well.

The Cintiq Companion 2 comes in 3 models and are available for sale at selected Wacom authorised retailers and on the Wacom e-store:
Intel Core i5 (2.7Ghz), 128GB storage, 8GB RAM – SGD$2,399
Intel Core i7 (3.1Ghz), 256GB storage, 8GB RAM – SGD$2,999
Intel Core i7 (3.1Ghz), 512GB storage, 16 GB RAM – SGD$3,599