Wacom promised a standalone tablet solution earlier this year, to be revealed this summer, and now they’re revealing not one, but two such devices. The new Cintiq Companion and Companion Hybrid bring Wacom’s pressure-sensitive graphics power to creative pros in standalone devices.
The Cintiq Companion is a Windows 8-powered tablet that comes in both an 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD version with Windows 8, and an 8GB of RAM, 512GB version with Windows 8 Pro, both of which have Intel Core i7 processors, and 13.3-inch displays with 1920×1080 resolution. They come with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 802.11n networking, a rear camera with an 8-megapixel sensor and a front one with a 2-megapixel shooter. At only 3.9 pounds, it’s not going to break any backs either, and it runs full Windows graphics apps like Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
The Cintiq Companion Hybrid is a different beast, with Android powering the tablets when they’re operating on their own, and with the ability to turn into a fully functional accessory tablet when paired with a Windows or Mac computer. Like the Companion, the Companion Hybrid has a 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 display, and 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, as well as multi-touch input. But it’s powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, comes in either 16 or 32GB flavors, and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. There’s 2GB of RAM on board instead of 8, too.
There’s also a big price difference: The Companion is either $1,999 for the 256GB version, or $2,499 for the 512GB model; the Companion Hybrid is either $1,499 or $1,599, depending on whether you want 16 or 32GB of onboard storage. Both models closely resemble the Cintiq 13HD drawing tablet released earlier this year by Wacom, but manage to also have an entire computer stuffed inside, and built-in batteries that probably also go a long way toward explaining the extra pound and a bit that the new tablets gain on the 13HD.
A lot of creative pros have been lusting after devices like these since Wacom introduced its pressure-sensitive display/drawing tablet combos, and while the appetite has been whetted by devices like the iPad, and the Galaxy Note line of tablets (which Wacom supplies the tech for), there’s been no substitute for a homegrown Wacom solution. It sounds like the Android-powered Companion Hybrid probably will be suitable more for light work while used away from a computer, whereas the Companion can probably act as a digital artist’s only machine. Either way, I think these will be welcomed by digital creatives everywhere when they arrive in October.
Alongside the Companion series, Wacom is also announcing a new pressure-sensitive stylus for iPad so that iOS devotees don’t feel too left out. The Intuos joins the Bamboo stylus, which offers no pressure sensitivity, and has built-in wrist detection with compatible apps. The Intuos offers 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is better than most of its competitors on the market, and connects to the iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad mini via Bluetooth 4.0. A whole host of apps will be compatible with it at launch when it arrives in October for $99.