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Wacom CintiqPartner

Pressure-sensitive companion tablet for the Cintiq 15x and 18sx By Dave Nagel
Some in this world are given riches, some good looks, some brains, some talent, some personality. A few are lucky enough to have all of these. But even amongst humanity's favored elite, there is yet a further stratification, a dividing factor that separates the truly blessed from the merely fortunate. I refer, of course, to the quality of one's computer equipment. And here, in the realm of computer gadgets, nothing quite demonstrates Lady Fortune's favors more clearly than that crown of peripheral providence, the Wacom Cintiq.

Now, I've reviewed both models in Wacom's Cintiq line (15x and 18sx), and I'm not going to go over too much detail on them again here. But for those of you who don't know, Cintiq is Wacom's line of LCD-based pressure-sensitive tablets--that is, tablets that allow you to draw directly onto a high-resolution LCD display with a pen capable of 512 levels of pressure sensitivity. If you're involved at all in the graphic arts, this is something you've no doubt dreamt of since you first discovered that it was possible to use a computer to create art. I know I have. I got one on loan for review when they were first introduced, and, after I had to part with it following my review period, I shelled out the cash and bought one for myself.

The Cintiq 18sx

Now I've had my Cintiq for more than a year and a half, and, as you might be able to gather from the tone of this article, my experience has been quite positive. However, there has been one little problem, and that problem is one of convenience. See, I use my Cintiq in combination with two other Wacom tablets--a Graphire for everyday navigation and light graphics work and the Intuos for those occasions when I need further pressure sensitivity, more surface area and the ability to apply tilt to a stroke. I also have multiple monitors connected to my Mac (sometimes two, sometimes three, depending on the project I'm working on).

So what's the problem? Well, each one of these tablets uses a different pen. So navigation between the Cintiq and my other monitors can be a chore. And I know I'm not alone in this. Both video and graphics professionals who use a Cintiq along with larger primary displays must experience this all the time. Of course, the Cintiq can be triggered to be used across multiple displays, but this can be awkward.

Enter the CintiqPartner. Or, as I like to call it, TheExactCompanionTabletI'veBeenWaitingForSinceIBoughtMyCintiqInTheFirstPlace ™ .

The hardware
The CintiqPartner is, as its name implies, a companion tablet for either the Cintiq 15x or the Cintiq 18sx. I've been using my review unit with my 15x for about a month now, and my whole graphics workflow has been drastically improved. The main reason for this is that the CintiqPartner uses the same pen as my Cintiq LCD tablet. And you'll be shocked at what a difference such a seemingly small feature makes.

For one thing, I'm using my Cintiq more often. Before, for quick jobs, I'd just use the pen I already had in my hand, so I couldn't have to go through the hassle of rearranging my display setup for easier navigation. Since the Cintiq is not my primary display, I'd have to move my menu bar over to the Cintiq for easy access to menu functions. Now I don't have to worry about that, since I no longer have to switch tablets when navigating my primary display.

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