Wacom vs. Apple: Why I sold my Cintiq for an iPad Pro
I’ve been a Wacom user for almost 10 years. My first experience as a digital artist was with a secondhand Intuos 3 tablet. From there I upgraded to an Intuos Pro, and then a Cintiq Companion Hybrid, and then finally the MobileStudio Pro. I’ve always used smaller tablets since I like to be mobile, and Wacom generally had exactly what I needed. Until they didn’t.
I’ve had gripes about every Wacom device I’ve owned. None of them were perfect but they were the industry standard and they did the job. But they were so expensive and over time I got tired of spending so much on a device that would be phased out in a short amount of time.
My experience with the MobileStudio Pro (MSP) was the last straw for me. With the MSP you need Wacom’s drivers, Windows’ updates, and Adobe’s updates to play nice with each other in order to get it to work... which rarely happened. When I first got the tablet all 3 were perfectly in sync and the experience was so great. But as more drivers and updates came from Wacom, Adobe, and Windows, the more they started fighting with each other. The MSP was so laggy and slow and miserable. I hated drawing on it. Keep in mind I didn’t even have the base model MSP, I selected an upgraded version and paid more.
This is going to sound silly but the moment I realized I didn’t want a Wacom device anymore was when my husband tried signing his name on a PDF on my MSP and the lag was so bad he couldn’t properly write his name.
Enter the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil. While watching the Apple presentation where the very first Apple Pencil was revealed I remember rolling my eyes. Surely they couldn’t make a drawing device? I loved their phones but drawing was a different ballpark. And the way the Pencil charged was stupid. I wasn’t on board yet.
But once the new 2018 iPad Pro + Apple Pencil 2 was revealed I knew I needed it. I bought it the day it came out. I got the 12.9” 256GB version. By this time apps like Procreate were already available so I knew I could make the most out of drawing on it, and I already knew that an Adobe Photoshop iPad version was on the way (which I’m still impatiently waiting for and also Project Gemini).
I was blown away by the experience on the iPad. It is so damn fast and powerful. My favorite feature has to be the multitasking. I was never able to multitask on my MSP because of the lag, but the iPad makes it so easy. I have my drawing app open and use 2/3 of the screen, and the other 1/3 is for my photos app with the reference image. And then in the corner I have a mini window of Netflix so I can casually watch shows while I draw. And there’s never any kind of lag. None at all. The touch gestures are super responsive and I love the magnetic charging of the Pencil. The charge on the Pencil lasts a long time and it charges very fast. When I’m not using it I’ll rest it on its magnet which holds it nicely and when I’m ready to use the Pencil it’s already all charged up. The screen is big and beautiful with minimal bezel. In fact I think the iPad has more screen than the MSP because the MSP has huge bezels.
I held onto my MSP even while I was using the iPad Pro. I was worried I’d need to use Photoshop in the meantime while I waited for the iPad version. But my MSP sat there, collecting dust, and I didn’t want the value of it to depreciate even more… so I sold it. I haven’t missed it a single day.
I miss Photoshop sometimes, but I found an app called Artstudio Pro that functions like a condensed Photoshop. It uses Photoshop’s brush engine so I can use all those Photoshop brushes I love. I also heavily use Procreate and I’m so used to it now. The two finger undo gesture changed my life. Now when I draw with pencil and paper my idiot brain will do the gesture to undo because it’s so ingrained in my workflow.
If you’re debating on making the jump from Wacom to Apple, I highly recommend it. The iPad Pro is powerful, fast, responsive, and professional. And no more drivers to deal with! Also, Photoshop will be coming this year too so if you don’t want to learn a new app you’ll at least have something you know and love. The new iPad seems tailor-made for illustrators, and considering the collaboration with Adobe I’m sure this will be the next industry standard device.