Wacom Cintiq 21UX

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Wacom recently released the latest installation of is high-end production tablet, the Cintiq 21UX, with its built-in LCD display. A staple at design, photography and animation houses, the 21UX offers the most interactive experience of any tablets in the line. Sure, the other tablets are great, and I love my Intuos, but you can’t really beat the organic feel of drawing directly on the surface.

For the 21UX, Wacom has doubled the pen sensitivity to 2,048 levels of pressure with the starting pressure at less than a gram’which leads to less wear and tear on the screen itself. The pen also responds to the tilt angle providing flexibility when drawing varied line weights and widths. It works with the standard pen (with eraser-tip, side-button rocker and the array of nibs stored in the pen holder) as well as the variety of specialized pens available from Wacom. These include the Art Pen, with its barrel roll sensitivity and chisel tips, and the AirBrush pen, which emulates the look and feel of a traditional wheel-based airbrush.

Ergonomic adjustments have been made to the tablet overall with customizable buttons on either side of the screen to allow for either right-hand or left-hand drawing ‘ or both if you’re DaVinci. Eight buttons can be assigned to user-defined functions, with a center toggle which allows for unique mapping for different programs. The touch pad has been moved to the back sides of the tablet to avoid accidental tool adjustments while drawing (a thorn in my side with older tablets I’ve used).

The tablet sits on a clutch-controlled adjustable stand to allow you to choose the angle you prefer to work at’and believe me, you want to use it; the tablet is heavy and you are unlikely to keep it in your lap. The tablet slips gently into a circular slot on the stand which allows it to be rotated on its Z-axis for accessing those awkward angles.

At $2,000 it’s not a toy, but for those serious about their art, I would not be amiss in stating that it’s essential. And now it comes in sexy black.

Website: www.wacom.com

Price: $1,999