This review unit was provided by Wacom. Thanks!
Wacom One is the entry level 13.3-inch pen display from Wacom. The difference between Wacom One and the Cintiq product line are the features and technology. The price is also much lower. These are the prices from Amazon at the time of this review:
- Wacom One - US $399
- Wacom Cintiq 16 - US $649
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 - US $699
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 - US $1499
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 - US $1999
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 - US $3299
US $399 is the lowest price I've see for a pen display from Wacom. This more competitive pricing is probably due to the fact that pen displays from other manufacturers can start from US $250 onwards. Price is still the main consideration for buyers so it's great to see this more affordable pen display from Wacom.
The main selling points for the Wacom One to me are the battery-free pen, matte drawing surface and nice looking design. More on these later.
Nice looking packaging box.
Wacom One is bundled with some software. Whether they are available to you will depend on your region but these are the ones advertised.
- 6 months of access to Clip Studio Paint Pro (Mac/Win)
- Wacom Bamboo Paper (Win10)
- 2 months of Adobe Premiere Rush
- 6 months of Adobe Fresco (Mac/Win)
I personally don't think the so called bonus software are that attractive. Anyway, you can always opt for free drawing software like Medibang Paint Pro and Krita. For one time paid software, consider Sketchable (Win) or the full version of Clip Studio Paint.
All items inside the box were packed securely.
The USB wall power adapter and the different plug heads for various countries.
A 2 by 2 cable, or X shape cable
From left to right:
- Display connector that goes to the pen display
- USB type A for power, this goes to the USB power source
- USB type A data cable that goes to the computer
- Full-sized HDMI that goes to the computer
While you can technically power Wacom One using your computer's USB port, Wacom actually has a FAQ that recommends against that, saying that possible damage to the pen display will not be covered under warranty.
I've no idea why Wacom made the head of the USB-A power that big though. When connected to a laptop, it doesn't flush with the bottom. When you connect it to desktop computer, you will need to make sure there's space between the ports. This design is so unnecessary.
The display is 13.3 inches and supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Here's how the Wacom One and the iPad Pro 12.9. Wacom One uses the 16:9 aspect ratio while the iPad Pro 12.9 uses 4:3.
Design on the back looks clean with two small rubber feet at the bottom and a long rubber stripe above that hides the collapse legs.
The off-white light gray plastic body has a matte texture that's really nice to hold.
The display is thicker at the top than bottom.
There are collapsible legs hidden behind. Behind one leg are three replacement nibs and the nib remover. Behind the other leg is the serial number.
The legs are very sturdy.
Even though the legs can able be deployed at one position, this is a rather comfortable angle to work with.
At the top of the display is a clothed pen holder. On the right is the single cable that goes to this display. The cable has to go to the left. I've tried connecting the cable by reversing it so that the cable runs right, but the power light just blinks and does not power the pen display.
The bezels are quite thick but functional since you can rest your palm comfortably on them while drawing.
The matte drawing surface has a texture that really nice to draw on. There's this very tactile feel when drawing. Note that the anti-glare is quite aggressive so from certain angles, reflections are going to be diffused into a large white patch.
When there are no reflections, the colours look good. If you look at the screen straight on, like any normal person would do, it looks fine.
The maximum brightness as measured by my Spyder5Pro is just 187 nits which is not too bright but definitely sufficient for indoor use.
Colour support as measured is 92% sRGB, 70% Adobe RGB, 65% NTSC and 72% P3. While it's not quite 99% sRGB, it's close and good enough.
Wacom pens are battery-free as usual. This one has a smooth non-glossy surface. It's lightweight and comfortable to hold.
There's only one side button though.
The pen supports up to 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Line performance is still very good.
This pen uses the same technology as the Samsung S Pen. This means you can use Samsung S Pen or the Noris Staedtler Digital with the Wacom One as well. The Wacom One pen is more comfortable to hold though.
The Wacom One uses a laminated display. There's no air gap between the drawing surface the the LCD beneath. But the glass of the drawing surface still has some thickness so from the side, you can still see the gap. But when drawing as you normally would, the lines will appear directly beneath the pen tip. Calibration is available to further increase the accuracy of the line and pen tip if there's a need to do so.
Driver has to be downloaded from Wacom's website.
Functionality for the Mac and Windows drivers are quite similar.
When installing the driver on MacOS 10.14 Mojave, sometimes there may be the security dialogue box that pops up to tell you to give permission to the Wacom driver so that it can do its thing. To add permissions manual, go to MacOS System Preferences - Security & Privacy - Accessibility, and add the Wacom driver.
After installation, the MacOS driver can be found in System Preferences. Windows driver is found in the Start Menu.
The Wacom Desktop Centre is one part of the driver. Here you can backup your settings, check for updates.
The Wacom Desktop Centre is where you can adjust the brightness and colour temperature of the display. There are no physical buttons on the Wacom One for adjusting brightness or other colour attributes.
This is where you can customise the pen. Having only one side button can be an inconvenience if you're someone who likes to use one button for right-click and the other for eraser-toggle.
The initial activation force is minimal. The best setting for me is to reduce the sensitivity so that I have to press harder to produce a line. Reason being when you draw with almost no pressure, the line is faint but as you apply a bit more pressure, the increase in line thickness is not as gradual as I expect. Anyway, you can adjust the pressure sensitivity to your personal liking.
If for some reason if you see parallax, you can calibrate to remove the parallax.
Windows driver has the Windows Ink functionality which you may have to turn on and off for troubleshooting if your lines don't come out the way you expect.
These shortcuts are not applicable to Wacom One.
After tweaking the settings for pen pressure, I can get the lines to come out just the way I expect them to.
Overall drawing performance is generally quite good.
Adobe Illustrator (Mac) works well.
Affinity Photo (Mac) works well.
Pressure sensitivity works with Adobe Illustrator (Win).
Wacom One is compatible with selected Android devices. More specifically Samsung DeX or Huawei PC mode is needed.
At the time of this review, the compatible devices are
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro, P20, P20 Pro, Mate 30 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S8, S10+, Note 9, Note 8, Note 10+, Note 10
- Samsung Galaxy tablets with DeX
And the compatible apps are
- Medibang Paint
- Bamboo Paper
- Adobe Sketch
- Infinite Painter
- Autodesk Sketchbook
- Adobe Premiere Rush
Shown in the photo above is the Wacom One connected to my Samsung Tab S6 and it was able to detect the tablet. The USB C adapter is sold separately by the way.
The Samsung Tab S6 has Samsung Dex and can output video signal via the USB-C port. So it's not that surprising to see that it works with Wacom One.
I was able to use the Wacom pen to draw on both Wacom One and the Tab S6 since the pen technology is similar. For this use case, the reason for connecting the Wacom One to the Tab S6 is not compelling because you can already draw on the Tab S6. The main difference would be drawing on the larger of the Wacom One. But 13.3 vs 10.5 isn't too big a difference.
I've also tried connecting Wacom One to a Xiaomi Android phone and nothing happens.
No driver installation is needed to use Wacom One with Android, in this case the Samsung Tab S6. Drawing performance is predictable and pressure sensitivity works. When you hover the pen over the display, you can see the cursor but it's a tiny round cursor that difficult to see. Anyway, there's no parallax so the line will always appear directly beneath the pen tip so not being able to see the cursor is no big deal.
Wacom One is a well built, beautiful looking pen display with consistent predictable drawing performance. Driver support was good on both Mac and Windows.
The only key feature that's missing is Display Toggle, the ability to have your cursor jump from one display to another when you're using extended display mode. I wasn't able to find the functionality in the driver. This means the best use for Wacom One is as a primary display or in mirror mode with your other display.
It is more pricey compared to the many Cintiq alternatives out there, but it looks like it's worth the money based on the performance I'm seeing.
Pros and cons at a glance:
+ Good build quality
+ Good drawing performance
+ Pen does not require battery
+ Good tilt and pressure sensitivity
+ Matte anti-glare screen does not have reflections
+ Nice texture on screen to draw on
+ Laminated display. No gap between the glass and actual screen beneath
+ 1080P resolution on the screen this size is sharp enough
+ Screen has reasonably good colour accuracy. 92% sRGB support.
+ Does not feel warm after long periods of use
+ Built in stand
+ Can be used in left handed mode
+ Can connect to Samsung Dex
- No physical shortcut buttons
- Pen only has one side button
- USB head for the power is unnecessarily big
- Viewing angle not as good and is affected by aggressive anti-glare on the display
- Max brightness only 187 nits as measured
- Most of the bonus software are limited trials
- Does not have Display Toggle. Can't be used in extended desktop mode.