I’ve been a Cintiq user for years (and an Intuos user before that), but after a recent layoff no longer had the ability to do so on someone else’s dime. I needed to build a proper home setup, and without a few thousand dollars lying around for a new (or even used) Cintiq I went in search of alternatives. In the past this has always been a pretty futile exercise with no one really challenging the Wacom for pen display supremacy…or even basic competency.
A quick search for Cintiq alternatives brought me to Huion, whose products actually seemed to be pretty well-reviewed by real designers and artists (i.e. not just anonymous Amazon reviewers.) I found a great deal on a 22"/1080p display from Newegg, and I thought I’d give it a chance. After about two months of use I gotta say, unless it has some durability/longevity issues I don’t really see a reason to go back to Wacom if you’re at all strapped for cash.
The build quality is great, the software has all the same functionality as Wacom’s, and I would actually say the image quality and color reproduction of the display itself are better than my old Cintiq - with which I always had color-calibration issues. I’m not using it as much as say a professional illustrator, but for what I need to do - ID sketching, photo editing, etc. - it’s pretty much perfect.
If I find myself in need of an upgrade to a 4k unit in the near future, I’m probably looking at Huion before Wacom. That’s really surprising, but it’s nice to see someone else playing it this space.
Sketchbook Pro (or Adoboe apps) on an iPad? I’m guessing the iPad screen probably is up pretty high there in terms of resolution and quality.
I never had a Cintiq but left behind my Wacom Intuos a long time ago as soon as the Apple Pencil came out. Haven’t looked back.
Is the large format the thing?
I like sketching quite a bit on my iPad Pro, especially in Procreate, but I never found a way to get it fully integrated into my day-to-day workflow.
File management was just too annoying. Having to go back and forth between “files” within Procreate, sending them to iCloud or Google drive so I can download and work on them in Photoshop, sending them back to the iPad, etc. was just a pain and not conducive to how I want to work. Sketching directly into Photoshop through a tablet display always just worked much better for me.
Thanks for the review Jeff. I have a 24" Cintiq and I admit I rarely use it except if I want to do a really nice photoshop render. For most things iPad gets it done… though there is no arguing with the sensitivity of the Cintiq. It is just so much better at pressure control. You have to be really careful with the iPad otherwise you get these really overdone strokes.
I haven’t messed with it much but have you tried (if you use a Mac) using the iPad in “side car” mode so it is a remote screen for your desktop? I haven’t tried doing this with photoshop. There used to be something called “astro pad” that let you use your iPad like a Cintiq but I think the built in SideCar functionality will do that for you now?
Nice to know the Huion isn’t junk! I had a similar story (wacom @ work was retired & not replaced). I had an iPad and now a Surface Pro,but find them too small. I ended up buying a second-hand Cintiq.
It’s true. File management and workflow is a bit of a pain. I’m constantly airdropping stuff to myself between iPad and iMac.
On the flip side, being able to be fully mobile is good. I haven’t tried the iPad for Adobe suite even though I have the subscription however. Work gets done still on the computer but sketching on the iPad.
I’ve never felt the pencil pressure on procreate limited. You can make and adjust custom brushes fyi.
I’ve been using the Gaomon PD 2200 since 2018. It competes directly with the Huion Kamvas 22 at a lower price point directly from their website. Makes a useful auxiliary desktop monitor when not in use as a sketcher.GAOMON PD2200 Pen Display
Quite sensitive with the airbrush gradient tools and creating quick multi-layered comps.
@designbreathing and @engelhjs just curious are you using these on Mac or PC? Just curious how the Mac drivers are? Honestly the Wacom ones seem a bit buggy sometimes for me!
I use both platforms. Is there any design software that isn’t buggy?
Any time I’m on a tablet display I’m on a Mac (with Rhino for Mac becoming much, much better over the past few years the only time I’m on a PC these days is if I need to use Solidworks, which is not very often anymore.) That said, the Wacom drivers are just as buggy there as it sounds like they are for PC - so much so that I never updated my drivers unless it was absolutely necessary because of something like a major OS update.
Yah, I don’t know why but like every 5th time I connect the Cintiq the Mac just can’t seem to find it… glad to know it’s not just me I guess
As others have said, file management is annoying with working on an iPad, and if you’re workstation isn’t a Mac then it’s that much more of a wall to get over (to be fair neither OS wants you to play with anything else). I do think the size is another factor too, and if what you’re doing is part of an overall Adobe workflow, you’re going to want to be using the “real” applications, not the tablet ported versions. I recall using a 24" wide Intuos at one company I worked at and it was a huge benefit to have a natural drawing size to work with! There’s a lot of muscle memory from drawing on paper pads and sketchbooks.