Review: Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Pen Display Tablet

This review was written by illustrator James Toussaint.

I am a illustrator and screenprinter, however i do not make my living from my art work. I had the Wacom Cintiq 24HD before I purchased the Cintiq 27QHD standard version. I know 3 inches more doesn’t seem like a big improvement but when I draw I always like having some kind of reference open next to my artwork so the bigger the screen the better.

I didn’t have to spend too much time deciding on the cintiq I wanted because it was a simple choice. I did not opt for the touch model because I don’t think its necessary for what I do.

I have never personally owned a non-screen Wacom tablet (Intuos pro or other), however I did use one at my friend’s. The main difference between a Cintiq and the other non-screen tablets is relative mode vs absolute mode. I was able to draw and do whatever I wanted with the Intuos pro however it seemed a bit small seeing that it was the small model and I found myself running out of tablet room when sketching. There are many mind blowing digital artists whom have spent several years on a Intuos pro before getting a Cintiq, so all is possible with the non-screen tablets.

I myself prefer to be able to draw directly on the screen seeing that I have a traditional art schooling background. Both perform excellent, if you already have a Intuos type of tablet and are thinking of moving to a cintiq, one thing you will have to get use to is the parallax effect. This is the distance between the point of the stylus pen touching the screen and the actual cursor doing the drawing on the monitor. The Cintiq 27QHD has about 5mm of space. This is normal because there’s a screen. That and everything is just more comfortable and quicker with a cintiq because you see what you’re doing right in front of you. If you are on a budget some go for the Intuos hooked to a television or to a computer they already have.

Setup

Setting up the Cintiq 27QHD is simple on a Mac — you put in the CD and follow the instructions. However I have a new Mac Pro which does not have a CD drive. I thought that with my internet connection it would find the drivers online, I searched for the downloadable drivers on Wacom.com but they were not yet available. I did get my Cintiq very quick, early to mid January so maybe the drivers were not online yet. To make a long story short I had to buy a disc drive. Something to possibly look into if you don’t have a disc drive.

Key Specifications

The Wacom Cintiq 27QHD is as follows :

  • SIze: 30.3 x 18.3 x 2.1 inch
  • Weight: 19.8 lbs. (9kg) without stand, 55.1 lbs. (25kg) with ergo stand
  • Screen size (measured diagonally): 27 inch
  • Panel: AHVA LCD (proprietary IPS) back lit screen
  • Displayable colors (maximum): 1.07 billion (requires DisplayPort and video card supporting 10 bit color)
  • Resolution: 5080 lpi at 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Complete specs

It comes with the pro pen which has 2048 levels of pressure on the pen tip and the eraser on a electromagnetic resonance method screen.

Unboxing

The Cintiq is packaged very well. There’s a second thicker box that envelops the first box that has the Cintiq inside. The packaging is professional, withstands shocks during delivery however I always thought it was dangerous to put the logo Wacom and have Cintiq written really big on the outer box. Worried of theft. My Mac computer has never had any Apple logo on the box. The monitor is enveloped in a thin styrofoam sachet that is also encased in 2-3 inch thick styrofoam. All of the wires, cd and pen are packaged in a smaller rectangular box which is also encased in the thicker styrofoam.

Here is what is enclosed in the Cintiq 27QHD box:

  • Cintiq 27 QHD interactive pen display
  • Pro pen
  • Stylus stand with 1 replacement nibs, 3 felt, 6 classic standard nibs and 1 stroke nib
  • 1 AC adaptor
  • 1 power cable
  • 1 USB 3.0 cable
  • 1 Micro USB cable
  • 1 HDMI cable
  • 1 Displayport cable
  • 1 cd installation
  • Pen color rings
  • 6 screws for VESA mount
  • Express key Remote
  • 1 mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adaptor
  • DVI-D to HDMI adaptor
  • Quick Start guide

To all readers that may read this, I apologize for not having taken off all of the wires to show in my pictures. I have all of my wires zip tied in the arm of my ergotron arm and I don’t have any spare zip ties. That is why I enclosed a diagram from the manual that has a very clear image of what is supplied.

The pro pen feels good in your hand. It has a rubber sleeve near the bottom for comfort during drawing or painting sessions. The pen has 2048 levels of pressure and has tilt control and has the 2 express buttons on the side. The pro pen is a sleek design which has a metallic looking plastic casing with the eraser on the top. It feels good in your hand during long sessions. The stylus holder is similar to all the other wacom holders. You have a matte finished plastic that has a felt rubbery pad on the bottom so it won’t slide on your desk. You twist it slightly to open it and reveal the replacement nibs and replacement tool inside. The pen comes with a blue ring on it stock. You can also rest your pen horizontally on the stand.

Taking a closer look at the CIntiq 27 QHD display

When looking at the 27QHD turned off you do not see any buttons visible. Its a very sleek classy design. There are two USB 3.0 slots on each side of the tablet. Power button is on top in the middle. On the top right corner there is the tool button, the keyboard button and the second screen button. These buttons light up when you turn on the display. The entire monitor is the same size as the 24HD, it just has less border around the screen.


The shortcut keys are all found on the new remote that Wacom has created. Here is the page that opens when you push the tool button. There is a small virtual keyboard that pops up when you push the keyboard button. The third button is for if you have more than one monitor connected. I only have one.


With this page you can save your remote express key settings to Wacom cloud service and you can see if there are any updates for your drivers. You can set up your tablet for right hand or left hand, consult forums for help, user manuals, tutorials, support and registration. The fact that you can back up your customized settings is a very good feature, in the case where you have to reset your drivers you do not lose all your settings.


Here is the pen preference window. You can customize the sensitivity for the pressure and tilt and the double click distance. Mine is all on the default settings. You can also change the button settings, I have mine set to space bar and eye dropper. This way while I’m drawing I can quickly move the image with the hand tool by clicking the button on the pen and the other button I have set to pick up color on the image so I can quickly change the color during a painting and not slow down work flow.


Here is the window that allows you to customize all the express keys and the touch ring. There are 17 express keys and 3 touch ring commands. I personally have changed every one of the express buttons and the touch ring settings. These settings are carried over to all other programs so it makes it quite simple to jump back and forth in different programs.

Here are the express keys and the touch ring on the famous remote. The remote is solid that is made from metal and has a magnet inside. It has a non replaceable rechargeable battery inside. You recharge with a usb cord that connects directly to the display. Its battery charge is long. The display has 2 strips of metal on each side so you can attach the remote to it.The magnet is strong enough to hold at vertical. The remote has a on-off switch on the bottom of the remote, it turns itself off when not used for a period of time. The light is orange when it needs recharging and blue when its charged or has enough charge to operate. The touch ring is very sensitive, it has a rubbery feel to it not like the more plastic-feel that the 24 HD had. I could not get used to the sensitivity of the touch ring so I changed the settings for other commands.

At default, the touch ring has zoom, rotate and brush size set. It is too finicky for me so I have set those commands on the express keys below and have replaced the touch ring with Add New Layer or open curves box, change hues. When changing the touch ring settings you actually gain in commands because if you flip to the left you have a setting and to the right you have another along with 3 categories that gives you 6 settings to customize. The remote is a great new tool you can place it wherever you want, in your lap or on the screen (if it’s not tilted too much) you can only stick the remote to the sides of the monitor.

The back central housing holds all of the cables. It has 6 screw holes for a VESA mount. I personally use a ergotron arm. Again, I apologize for not having a pic of the back plate dismounted as my ergotron arm is hooked on the back. The 3 wires plug into the back of the unit and are covered by the plastic cover. These wires are not attached directly to the monitor as other Cintiq’s, therefore if you break a cable you can easily replace it.

This is what the display looks like with the small retractable legs (stand) that are built in to the tablet.


The tablet is hovering slightly because my ergotron arm does not allow for it to go down so low. This unit is not supplied with a stand. The Wacom ergostand is sold separately.

Video of Cintiq 27QHD on ergotron arm


This is where you attach the ergo stand if you choose to purchase it from Wacom. Photo on the right shows a close up of one of the retractable legs that is built into the monitor.

As you can see it has ventilation holes. The 27 QHD does not have a fan like the 24HD. It is very very quiet. I have the new Mac Pro which is already very silent and thats all I hear when I’m drawing. You can also see how the ergotron arm is connected, you need an adaptor for the arm as the ergotron arm only has 4 screw holes and the cintiq 27 has 6. I have made another video on this subject.

The screen on the 27 QHD goes from edge to edge, there is no plastic border around the screen giving it a very classy look.

The color gamut is 97% Adobe RGB.

The Cintiq 27QHD has a very crisp image, no grey haze like other Cintiq’s and non-textured surface.

I did a test for the PWM. This is the Pulse Width Modulation. Please google it to understand, it has a page of info. It basically has to do with the back lighting of the display and this test determines the frequency that is used for the back lighting. The test results show that the 27QHD uses a backlighting of 250 hz. This is low and good. If your display flickers than you might have a PWM error.

Here is an image showing the levels of sensitivity of the pro pen. It works great, the tracking is impeccable, smooth and precise. There is no jitter on the edges of the display when you put the cursor near the edge. As you can also see there are no shoestring effect on the lines that I have drawn for you. This test was done in Sketchbook Pro 7, however I have had the shoestring effect happen once in Photoshop which is shown in my video.

The parallax effect is minimal, well it doesn’t bother me and never has. There’s about 5 mm between the nip on the screen and the cursor that is drawing.

Here is a painting I did in Photoshop, as you can see I have the reference pic to the left and my painting to the right.

Video review

Conclusion

Pros:

+ Very accurate and precise tracking and pen with 5080 Lpi
+ A sleek design with a huge drawing surface.
+ Remote with 17 customizable express keys.
+ It’s light
+ It does not come with a stand (this will also be a con, but some prefer the ergotron arm therefore like the fact that it does not come with a stand)
+ Wacom cloud service to back up your settings.
+ Clean crisp display with 2560 x 1440 resolution
+ Quick access to preferences with the tool button
+ Good Pro pen
+ It’s well built

Cons:

- The price
- It doesn’t come with a stand (some may like this)
- The cursor freezes sometimes, Wacom has told me to reset my drivers.
- It’s big but I have the ergotron arm and I can put it away to make room.
- This is a professional tool, if you’re not making a living with your art this may not be the right display for you unless you have the money. It’s probably too much for me but it’s really really awesome.

At first when I bought this tablet I really like the resolution and the big 27 inch screen. I was disapointed with the remote I won’t lie. I was used to the 24HD that worked great and the touch ring on the 27qhd is just not cutting it. I quickly found a remedy for this problem and now I have no issues that may slow down my work flow. I’d give this a 8 out of 10 only because there were some bugs and the touch ring does not work as smoothly as the 24HD. I love this tablet and think that professionals that work all day on this will really enjoy it.

Availability

Check out more reviews on Amazon at the following product pages:

Cintiq 27QHD Non-touch: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es

Cintiq 27QHD Touch: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es

Check out other graphics tablet reviews at https://www.parkablogs.com/tags/drawing-tablet-reviews

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