We all know every artist lusts after a cyntiq. No matter how good you get with a tablet, the ability to draw right on the image instead of trying to line up your hand and eye in different locations... it's the dream!
But most of use can't afford a cyntiq. The cheap, tiny, lame cyntiq is like a freaking grand. And while the technology is impressive enough to cost a lot most of us are making, if we're lucky, a hundred bucks on a commission that takes us weeks to complete. Many of us are slaving away at $20, $40 pieces. Justifying that expense, let alone saving up for it, just isn't feasible until you're already good enough AND well known enough AND fast enough to pull in a pretty descent income on just art.
But salvation is at hand!
So my wife found this tablet on Monoprice. I was skeptical at first, because while I know there's some competitors to the cyntiq these days all the ones I'd seen had some significant limitations (like weighing a ridiculous amount, or pen lag, or whatever) and monoprice is known for giving a fair price on cables that most stores mark up horribly... not for making cutting edge equipment.
After looking at some reviews, it ends up that last part is unfair. Monoprice has been making traditional tablets for a while, for stupidly low prices, and the reviews have been spectacular. Many say they're actually better than wacom, and this goes doubly for Mac (Wacom's Mac drivers leave something to be desired), and they recently updated the drivers making them even better (and clearing out the issues reviews did bring up, so keep that in mind if you go read some). So we went ahead and bought the tablet.
And it's amazing! So this tablet is 19 inches, and if you're not so good at visualizing that, it's significantly larger than my laptop's screen. And my laptop screen isn't tiny. This thing is full on monitor sized! And its performance is great! No lag issues, the color depth is fantastic, it's highly adjustable and it makes an awesome second monitor, too. And now for the kicker...
Seriously, literally every artist working on a computer needs this sexy piece of technology sitting with them.
For the sake of honesty, a couple things, so no one gets surprised.
First, the stylus doesn't have an eraser. I never used the eraser myself, I just select it from my drawing program's toolbar, but some people like flipping their stylus over to erase.
Second, sometimes when moving between drawing on the tablet and using the laptop's touchpad the clicking on the touchpad will stop working. It can be fixed by tapping the tablet with the pen, then going back to the touchpad, but it's still a little annoying.
Third, sometimes the tablet just starts acting like clicks are happening that aren't when my hand is on it. My wife says the tech uses electromagnetic fields or some shit, like an iphone, and so it might be activating the tablet through my hand? My understanding of what she said has probably made this sound dumb as hell, but I'm going to dry using a glove when I use it and see if that helps. I'd just keep my hand off of it, but the thing is 19 inches; easier said than done.
My only other issue is actually the fault of Manga Studio 5 on the Mac; there's no minimize/maximize button selection, it just binds to the item bar, so you can't drag the program to the second monitor. If you move the toolbar to the second monitor, at least when I did it, the stylus started tracking on the laptop screen instead of the tablet. You can move all the individual toolbars in the program, besides the main one, to the second monitor but it's annoying and time consuming, and any dialogue box still pops up on the laptop. The only fix I've been able to find is that if you close the laptop, everything jumps to the second monitor, so while that does get Manga Studio over there, I can't use the laptop to pull up references. Hopefully I'll find a better fix, but the Manga Studio people have been incredibly unhelpful about it.
In the end, though, this is incredibly cheap for a second monitor and tablet separately, it's exceptional at combining the two into an amazing piece of hardware!