Cintiq Companion Hybrid Review

Cintiq Companion Hybrid Review

Cintiq Companion Hybrid Review 438 350 Maye

Wacom finally announced not one, but two slates in September, despite months of rumblings about a standalone device. Despite its Windows operating system, the Cintiq Companion may seem more compelling than the Cintiq Companion Hybrid on paper. But let’s take a hard look at the Cintiq Companion Hybrid first. In comparison to the other, this one runs the Android operating system and comes with a top-of-the-line Tegra 4 chip to help you get work done while When hooked up to a laptop or desktop machine through USB or a tether, the device also doubles as a traditional pen display like the Cintiq 13HD – but with multitouch functionality. In terms of prices, Wacom is already well known to creative types. The real question is whether its ability to be used on a mobile device warrants an even higher price. When rival pen tablets are capable of running full versions of Photoshop, is the Hybrid worth an extra investment over the similar sized 13HD You may want to consider the Cintiq Companion with Windows instead of paying more for the Cintiq Companion?


It is uncanny how closely they resemble the Cintiq Companion Hybrid and the Cintiq 13HD. The two may appear identical at first glance if you fail to notice the extra ports on the right side of the computer prior to looking at the front-facing camera. The gunmetal grey tablet is only a bit larger (about a tenth of an inch in each direction) than the 13HD we reviewed one month ago. As a result, it measures 14.8 inches long by 9.8 inches wide (375 x 248mm) and measures 0.6 inch (16mm) thick. It weighs 3.6 pounds (or 3.9 pounds, depending on the volume of storage). The PencilPlus is a beast compared to your typical Android tablet, but it’s important to remember that it serves as both a tablet and pen display, as the name implies. This feature set may be responsible for the extra weight, but it cannot be denied that your backpack will be heavier for it. Along the left side of the product, you will find Wacom’s programmable ExpressKeys and Rocker Ring (when used by a right-handed person). In addition to a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a light sensor, there is a light sensor on the opposite side of the display. There are several ports along the right edge, including a USB port for expanding storage (among other things), a microHDMI port for sending video, a microSD card reader, a headphone jack and a 3-in-1 connector for connecting with computers. We had to employ an adapter like the $35 Belkin one we used to connect to the Cintiq Companion Hybrid via HDMI unless your machine has the required jack. Dual microphones, a battery status LED, and the power button are located in the same part of the device. The only thing that you won’t find around the edges here is a volume control — that can be adjusted using the Rocker Ring instead. If you want to go wireless, you have a choice of Bluetooth or

A small foot-like pad adorns one end of the 13HD or similar to the back of the 13HD, which has a large soft-touch panel affixed to it. When I didn’t have the stand in use, I was able to keep the tablet firmly in place on my desk thanks to the soft, rubbery finish on those feet. Immediately along the longer edges are two stand slots which give users the option of mounting the device on a stand. That accessory also allows the unit to lie flat when necessary and offers the same 22-, 35-, and 50-degree viewing angles as before. There is an 8-megapixel camera on the back of the phone next to one of those slots A lone speaker, located beside the other, is also present on the tablet and it performs admirably when activated. The Pro Pen wouldn’t be a Wacom release without it, and in fact, this one too is included. In the same way as the pen we tested with the Cintiq 13HD, it measures 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. In addition to the carrying case, it comes with additional nibs, a replaceable nib replacement tool and swappable color ID rings. Though Wacom has also included a carrying case that holds both the penholder and the tablet this time around. Designed to protect your stylus, the neoprene sleeve has a leather-like flap covering the closure, and a soft, fur-like finish inside. On the opposite end, a special pocket permits you to keep the stylus safe. When the Hybrid is on the stand, there is enough room to fit the stand in the case making it possible to store the entire setup within the case. As a result, this is a pretty welcome addition and it eliminates the need for an additional accessory purchase.


We tested their other portable devices as well. The display panel of the Cintiq Companion Hybrid is matte. The common preference over a glossy screen is to use a matte monitor, especially when we’re working for hours on end. Just like the 13HD, this display features the same 13,3-inch TFT LCD (IPS) panel as well as a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. Due to this and the matte exterior, the desk provides a nice work surface, but it’s not the best for watching West Wing episodes. In terms of sharpness, IPS displays aren’t as good as Retina displays from Apple, but as long as you get less eyestrain for the fewer pixels, it’s not a bad exchange. However, there is no reason to worry This means you are going to see the same viewing quality that you have seen with the 24HD touch, 22HD touch, The only advantage this has over pen-only displays is the ability to use As you may remember, we were quite critical of the Cintiq 13HD in this regard. This face-up camera offers a productivity boost with gestures, allowing us to mitigate the need to use the physical buttons around the bezel when using the camera. Wacom pen displays typically have an active area of 11.6 x 6.5 inches (294 x 165mm) and a panel that serves up 75 percent of Adobe’s RGB gamut at a 7001 contrast ratio — typical specs for the pen displays.

Setup and pen display use

It’s quite similar to how we set up the other Wacom devices we’ve tested so far to get the Cintiq Companion Hybrid up and running. Connecting to a laptop or desktop machine, a wizard onscreen allows you to calibrate the cursor, set up the mobile device, and install the drivers for the device. The Wacom Center allows you to configure the ExpressKeys, Rocker Ring and radial menus so that you can use the tools you use most often by simply pulling up the Wacom Center on both the laptop and tablet side. The settings for each mode can be changed independently as well. Using on-screen reminders, just like we’ve seen with other recent Wacom peripherals, guiding you to a specific pencil helps keep you from having to rely on memory to pick a pencil.

In your opinion, how does the Hybrid handle the responsibilities that typically come with pen displays? The product is exactly as described. In use with a small arsenal of Wacom’s pen-driven devices for several months, we can confidently say that it performs just as well as the other Cintiq offerings when used in this capacity. In addition to all the other work you can do with the Pro Pen, editing snapshots in Photoshop and getting doodles straight into Illustrator are all cool ways to use it. what we thought of Wacom’s earlier products, the touch gestures here are welcome, but they are most useful when combined with simple operations like pinching to zoom and rotating with two fingers. Swiping three, four, and five fingers also works reliably, though it can be a bit flaky at times, with performance roughly on par with Apple’s Magic Trackpad, however. In this case, the palm-rejection technology also works well There have never been any instances of accidental hand presses on the tablet.


In addition to running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid also supports Bluetooth 2.1. Good news is that the operating system is not skinned despite the preloaded apps. Yes, you are Having an untampered version of Google’s OS on your tablet will let you fully experience its benefits. However, this also means that you will only have access to a limited set of creative software tools. A project cannot be completed entirely on Android because there aren’t many apps to begin with A lot of serious work in Photoshop simply won’t be possible with Photoshop Touch. In any case, Wacom has included a few of its own offerings to lend a hand here, and software such as Autodesk SketchBook Pro is certainly helpful for getting down ideas right away. There’s no doubt that the software available is great for digital sketches, but photographers and designers will need much more powerful software to turn their work into works of art.

Right out of the box, the Hybrid comes with five home-baked apps You can utilize Creative Canvas, Infinite Canvas, Manga Canvas, and Wacom Center on the Wacom platform. As for the company’s own efforts for Android users, there are a number of them. With the PS Touch, you get both a workbench and additional tools to handle a lot of work on the go and a slightly more extensive The infinite canvas allows you to both sketch concepts and design ideas on top of one another for refining and adding details to first ideas. For those who want to make manga and other comic artwork, Manga Canvas is a good option. As mentioned before, Wacom Center is where one can alter settings (the Rocker Ring, adjust the Pro Pen, check for software updates and access all support materials available. Last but not least, Wacom Recommends provides recommendations for the following products and services There is also an as-installed ASTRO File Manager for cloud syncing, although we preferred Dropbox for storing our files. If new users are looking for a little guidance it features an app list for sketching, painting, ideation and photography.


Since we did not know what to expect from the cameras on the Cintiq Companion Hybrid, we had really low expectations. We were surprised to find that the 8-megapixel camera on the back of the phone is actually quite decent. The camera’s not going to be used for your next print project, but it can take quite reasonable reference pictures to use as a place holder or to remember a piece of visual inspiration — as long as there’s enough light in the room. In low light and at night, images have a noticeable amount of noise, which greatly diminishes the quality of the shot.

Our still shots were consistently superior to those taken with a tablet, both indoors and out. Although we did notice a sharp drop in quality when we zoomed in, our stills were consistently good. There was no real difference between the rear and front cameras It is OK to use it for your social media adventures, but other than that you will not get useable footage. When it comes to the front-facing 2MP camera, you’re only likely to be able to use it for video chats on occasion. You should be able to get away with using it as a reference for your self-portrait on your touchscreen tablet, but there is one slight complaint. Right-handed people may struggle when tapping the shutter button without covering up the lens due to the placement of the ExpressKeys to the left. On the other hand, we found ourselves not frequently using the front-facing camera.

Performance and battery life

Our tests showed that this Tegra 4 tablet was able to handle every task we threw at it due to its quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. With regular tablet usage – internet browsing, Twitter, and sporadic Netflix sessions – the Hybrid has a lot of power and is easy to handle with Jelly Bean installed. If we used those apps for sketching and creativity, we did not find ourselves waiting for the device to catch up unless we put a lot of work on it. Cintiq Companion Hybrid registered an overall score of 632ms using the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, meaning it was significantly slower than two Tegra 4-powered tablets Neither the Surface 2 nor the Tegra Note 7 is as fast as the Surface 2. Please note that This test is better if you get a lower score.

The 7.4V Li-polymer power pack is capable of allowing use of the Tablet Up to 7-12 hours, depending on the As part of our standard video rundown test, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid lasted for almost 11 and a half hours before going to sleep. While the time doesn’t come close to that of the Surface 3 (1422) or iPad Air (1345), it is better than last year’s iPad (1108 WiFi), for example. Using the Pro Pen and browsing the web, playing music, and responding to emails, we are able to get very good results from a day and a half of battery life, but we found that we have to use the Hybrid more often than not as a pen display. The result was that we were always close to a power source, so battery life was never a concern – unless of course we forgot to plug it in.

What’s the worst part of all this? This is the time it takes for the tablet to be recharged. Exactly four to five hours is how much time it takes to recharge a smartphone, according to the startup. In order to have a fully charged battery the next day, you’ll have to remember to find an outlet while you sleep so that you can fully recharge the battery. You shouldn’t plan on spending a lot of time near an outlet, except if you plan on spending a lot of time nearby.

Configuration options

In each of these configurations, the only difference between them is the capacity of the storage Among 16GB models, there is a price of $1,499, while the 32GB model costs Besides the Windows 8 version, there is also a Cintiq Companion for Windows 8. The more robust setup not only includes the new Microsoft operating system, but also comes standard with 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB solid-state drives. The Intel Core i7 processor has been upgraded with an HD Graphics 4000 GPU that can handle heavy gaming workloads. Of course, this will put an even larger dent in your bank account. A 16 GB or 32 GB version costs $1,999 or $2,499, depending on how much storage you need. I think it goes without saying that the Companion should have no problem handling Creative Suites. A look at the Creative Cloud while on the go. I guess we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a review unit before making a final judgment. It’s not a big deal if the whole tablet angle isn’t really appealing to you, as the $999 Cintiq 13HD is a pen display-only device still small enough to fit in a backpack alongside the Having trouble completing those tedious design tasks? Might you need more screen space? With six-inch multitouch gestures and a large canvas, the 22-inch and 24-inch Cintiqs are the most flexible Cintiqs we’ve ever seen. It does, however, come with a more accommodating stand than the 22HD, which means it’s easier to move around. Both of these behemoths sell for $2,499 and $3,699, respectively, though you can also opt for a non-touch model if you’re looking to save a little cash.


We weren’t quite sure what to expect from Wacom’s Android tablet/pen display hybrid when it first came out. Though it is named after a companion, the Cintiq Companion Hybrid does exactly what it is supposed to do Wacom’s pen display is equipped with the same capabilities as those of other Wacom devices. In addition, it can be used as a tablet for Android. We have issues with app compatibility with the device. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom are among the many apps that are required by creative professionals in order to truly make this a The fact that this model already costs $1,499 or more would make us bet that many people would rather use the Windows model instead so they could run the applications they This hybrid device saves you one device out of your bag, but it is basically a reworked form of the Cintiq 13HD that includes multitouch gestures and has the ability to double In case of need. This is primarily a tablet with a pen display and an Android OS as a secondary focus.