Thoughts on using an iPad Pro VS. a Cintiq Companion?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by kat.hayes, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. kat.hayes macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2011
    What do you think of using an iPad Pro and Pencil with an app like Astropad with a Mac vs. using a Cintiq Companion that has to physically connect to the Mac and seems to do the same thing as what the iPad Pro can now do with Astropad?

    The iPad Pro solution is a lot less money and wireless. Are the Cintiq Companions now obsolete? Do they still have some advantage vs. just using the iPad Pro solution?

  2. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Really it's a personal preference, do you care more about overall functionality or overall feel.

    Cintiq gives you drawing abilities, from what I hear it's about the equivalent of drawing on cardboard paper.
    iPad Pro gives you the same drawing abilities with astropad but it feels like drawing on glass.

    Cintiq has no apps
    iPad has apps.

    I personally would get the iPad Pro because it would replace my iPad Air and the functionality it provides while costing $500 - $2000 less with the same add-on functionality as what is provided with the cintiq.
  3. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Wrong, wrong and wrong!

    Cintiq has much more useful apps for an illustrator or graphic designer than an iPad. It's running Windows so you can use the full versions of Adobe CC and other professional Applications. Not just some dumbed down doodling apps.

    You can use the cintiq companion either connected to your Mac or PC as a screen & drawing tablet or standalone running Windows. You can't connect the iPad to a Mac or PC, you are limited to what iOS can do.

    Yes the iPad is cheaper, but you get a much more limited device.

    I have the 13" Wacom Cintiq (not companion). That is just the screen without a computer. Personally I wouldn't even trade that for an iPad.
  4. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    Umm… not entirely true. With Astropad, you can mirror your Mac's display to the iPad Pro and draw on it, so all your Mac's apps are available to use, because they're running on the Mac. Mirroring over wifi is a little laggy, but over USB is supposed to be more-or-less lag-free. I know several professional artists who are very happily using their iPad Pro in place of a 12/13" Cintiq.

    Whilst it's true that you have to fall back on the less satisfactory wifi mirroring if you want to untether, there are some very capable art apps (ProCreate, MediPaint Bang, for a start) for iOS. As a standalone device, I'll freely acknowledge the iPad has shortcomings compared to the Companion, but it's certainly very possible to use it in the same manner as a smaller Cintiq tablet.
  5. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    I'm sorry, didn't know that. But still, "Cintiq has no apps" is wrong. ;)

    Can Astropad only mirror or can the iPad also work as a second screen while the Macs display shows something else? Personally I find the later much more useful.

    Another point why I'd never consider an iPad to work on it is that I try to be less dependent on Apple not more, knowing the way Apple has been treating it's professional users the past years. iOS is about as dependent as it can get. If Apple changes something and you don't like it you have no choice but to live with it.

    Off topic: I really like what I saw klicking the links in your signature!
  6. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    Thank you for the correction. You could have been a bit more polite than starting that off sounding like a 13 year old with no manners. And yes you can connect an iPad to a Mac and a PC there is an app for that. The choice is really up to the buyer, does this person want to spend $3,000 on a device that only serves the purpose of a drawing pad, or do they need more functionality out of it. Perhaps if you really wanted to sell someone on a Cintiq then you should mind your manners otherwise this person will think that the only support they will get is from people like you.
  7. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    I'm sorry if I offended you. But just like I was wrong not knowing you can connect the iPad to a Mac/PC you seem to know nothing about wacom cintiqs.

    The cintiq companion 2 is the only one that's combined with a computer, and it's € 1399,- not 3000. It is running Windows so it not only serves the purpose of a drawing pad but has arguably even more functionality than an iPad. It has better hardware than the iPad, an Intel Core i7, 8gb ram and a 256 gb ssd standard. You could argue that iOS is more optimized for the iPad than Windows will be for the Cintiq. But with the Cintiy you are not limited to what Apple choose to put on the App Store.

    Yes, the other cintiq models are only screens you can draw on. You need to connect them to a computer. The close to 3000,- model you mentoned is a 27" QHD touch screen you can draw on with a wacom pen with I think about 2000 pressure levels. The new model also seems to show accurate colors after calibration, like an Eizo/Nec/Quato screen does. Keeping in mind the added touch & drawing functionality the price of that 27" Cintiq is actually quite good compared to offerings from Eizo/Nec/Quato.

    There are different screen sizes of screen only cintiqs, from 13"-27" at different price points.

    Yes, in the end it comes down to personal preference. Personally I simply don't like the iPad and would never buy one, since it offers no additional value other than a drawing pad to me, and drawing on glass is uncomfortable and I will see reflections. I prefer the matte surface of my 13" Cintiq. My father bought an iPad a couple of years ago. It is pretty much collecting dust since he prefers to use his netbook. Whenever I have to use a friends iPad I hate tapping on the glass for longer periods of time. I think it's clumsy to use. It's ok with a smaller screen like the iPhone, but even that I don't use that much. I still have my iPhone 4 from 2010 and see no need to replace it.
  8. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    I'm obviously not going to change your mind, so this post is offered more as a data-point for others, for what it's worth: I've been drawing digitally, albeit mostly as a hobby, since 1998. In that time, I've owned and used a Calcomp Drawing Slate II, Wacom Intuos 3, Cintiq 12WX, Cintiq 21UX, Cintiq 24HD, Surface Pro 3 and a 12" iPad Pro. The iPad Pro, for me, is hands down the nicest drawing experience of all them. The absence of industry-grade software is frustrating, but the workarounds are not too onerous, and I await the arrival of iOS versions of Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo with interest.
  9. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    Have you tried graphic by autodesk for vector graphic creation?
  10. Pakaku macrumors 68020


    Aug 29, 2009
    I'd be okay with either. Procreate is the best Photoshop replacement on iOS that I know of for drawing/painting. And the cintiq is self-explanatory.

    Astropad is a nice idea, but I would never use it if visual quality was a concern, so it would never make me consider the iPad as a cintiq replacement. Video artifacts are disgusting, and the apps already exist.
  11. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    No real comparison at all.

    My sexy lady is a professional artist ( owns a studio and fancy stuff like that ) and hated digital drawing pretty much since it's been around. She's very techy and has over the years tried very hard to like digital art and understands its strengths with some applications. She hated the WACOM; said it just never felt right looking at a 30in HD screen while your hand is moving somewhere else. She REALLY wanted to like the Cintiq22 but felt is was too awkward ( not the drawing, that was fantastic ) just the device.

    I recently purchased two iPad Pro 9.7 ( with Apple pencils) for the daughter (she had an iPad3, time for upgrade) and I ( because I'm a tech nerd ) and didn't even think about getting one for the pretty lady ( she has an iPad Air 2 afterall ). Now it is tough to keep my woman's hand off of our iPads. She really likes it and has not decided if she wants a 9.7 or the 12.9.

    My 13 year old daughter's first drawing with iPad Pro 9.7, apple pencil and Adobe Sketch is attached.

    Attached Files:

  12. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    I bought a copy of Graphic but, unfortunately, it's far from ideal for for print work, and the typographic controls are too limited for my needs.
  13. Roykor macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2013
    I draw for my money. And i do this on a Wacom Cintiq 27" screen right now. I am searching for a 2nd device so i can sketch on the couch, or take it with me. So far, with all the plus and cons, the Companion2 or the surface are really (my) best choice. Like mentioned before above, you are running a full os. So full acces to Adobe Suit. With the iPad "Pro" you're limited by the apps and missing a file structure. In my case, i would like to start and finish a drawing so i can hand it over for a print (like for example: cmyk / 300dpi / A1 poster + 3mm bleed). I am very skeptic this all works with a iPad. I guess its a different choice for everyone. Mine has a double layer. I feel myself moving away from Apple lately. They (the brand) are not so much connected anymore with content creation scene like in the early days. So, i have to play my cards ells-where.
  14. Starfia macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2011
    I've used a few Intuoses and Cintiqs.

    In my mind, iPad Pro with Procreate definitely wins over Cintiqs for overall art greatness.

    If you know you want to work on the Mac, though, then AstroPad is good but really blocky when updating the on-iPad image – it seems like it achieves its speed by basically super-compressing the onscreen changes and increasing the detail as it's able.
  15. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    They aren't obsolete. They do have advantages, but the advantages may appeal more to professionals and serious hobbyists. So here's my take on it. Let me preface by saying, I've been working on Cintiqs professionally for about 8 years (a few different big monitor models as well as the Companion Hybrid and Companion 2), and I've been using a 12.9" iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for about two months. I use Cintiqs with desktop software for work, and the iPad is mostly for personal art. I haven't used Astropad but I've looked into it a bit. With that said, here are my thoughts...

    Advantages of Cintiq Companion over iPad+Astropad are:
    - as a plugged-in Cintiq, it has video and USB input, whereas Astropad crams video and data through USB only, which causes it to have artifacts and a tad more lag. If you choose to connect with Astropad wirelessly, it will have significantly more lag and possibly more artifacts (may be ok with you, but I won't have it).
    - as a plugged-in Cintiq, it extends your computer desktop so you have an extra monitor for reference while you work, whereas Astropad mirrors the same image on both screens (basically making your computer screen useless).
    - it can run desktop software as a standalone device (which makes it much more portable than carrying two devices)
    - pen can hover the cursor (I believe Apple Pencil can't hover). Not having the ability to hover the cursor can make accuracy difficult if you use large brushes.
    - Cintiq pens have an eraser tip, which some people like. I personally never use it because I find it much faster and easier to erase by changing to the eraser tool, especially if you use keyboard shortcuts.
    - Cintiq pens have side buttons, which you may or may not use. I disabled the lower button because I accidentally pressed it too often. I use the upper side button quite a bit though.
    - There are different types of pen nibs (tips) to choose from based on your liking. Apple Pencil only has the one but I imagine it will also eventually get different types of tips.
    - I think I read that running Astropad drains more battery from your laptop than a Cintiq does. I can't confirm this.

    Advantages of iPad+Astropad over Cintiq Companion are:
    - It's anywhere from $270 USD to $1600 cheaper (yes, two hundred seventy dollars to sixteen hundred dollars), depending on the configurations and accessories you choose to go with. (Cintiq Companion 2 ranges from $1600-$2500; 12.9" iPad Pro with Pencil ranges from $900 to $1330--note that the CC2 comes with an adjustable stand while you'd have to pay more for an iPad stand)
    - It's much more portable at less than half the weight
    - For use as a standalone device, iOS on a tablet is a much better tailored experience than Windows on a tablet (though iOS apps are usually not as powerful)
    - Astropad has the option of tethering wirelessly, though there is more lag that way.

    Possibly neutral:
    - 12.9" 4:3 vs 13.3" 16:9
    - iOS app ecosystem vs Windows applications ecosystem
    - The actual drawing experience is about equal. Both are stellar with accuracy, pressure-sensitivity, and tilt. Cintiqs have a nice texture to the surface of the screen that gives the pen some drag while drawing, which is nice, but you can give the iPad screen the exact same feel by applying a $10 anti-glare film (I did this). The iPad Pro has the advantage of having virtually no parallax, meaning there is almost no gap between the surface of the screen and the actual pixels. Cintiqs have a bit of a gap, but having the hovering cursor allows you to draw accurately with no problem, but the gap may still bother you slightly.

    I'd say, if you don't need desktop software, get the iPad for sure. But it sounds like you do want to use desktop software, in which case that's a tougher decision. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself based on your needs.
    As for myself, although I'd love to get rid of my CC2 and just keep my iPP (I really dislike Windows, and I hate having too many devices), I have to keep the CC2 around because neither standalone iPad apps nor iPad with Astropad will cut it for me for professional use. If Astropad can somehow get rid of the artifacts, have zero lag, and allow extended desktop instead of mirrored display (and also allow you to close the laptop lid when you want to save space and just use one screen), then I could ditch the CC2. I would no longer have a standalone drawing device for desktop applications, but with the iPad being so portable, the good would outweigh the bad.

    If you put a $10 anti-glare screen film on the iPP as I did, it gives it the EXACT same feel and look as the Cintiq Companion screen. It's the same film that's on the Cintiq screen. I have both devices, so I can attest.

    Unfortunately, it only mirrors. That's a deal-breaker for me as I am constantly needing to use reference images. Plus having to use two devices but only getting one screen is just a huge waste.

    Ugh. Good to know, thanks.
  16. mike1450 macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2008
    I have a iPad Pro and a 13" cintiq. Haven't Used the cintiq since I got the pro. It's not perfect - and I still think the bigger cintiqs are great - but the 13" is obsolete to me.
  17. DrNeroCF macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2004
    With a decent GPU, Astropad is absolutely flawless while drawing, even on Wifi. Panning and such force it to send pixelated updates, but the actual drawing only updates that tiny bit that's new and feels just as good as drawing natively. I also use noMachine for extremely smooth remote desktoping to OS X for any work that involves more typing than drawing.

    I have a Cintiq, and honestly prefer drawing on the iPad Pro, the pencil just feels better. I might just be sick of being stuck at a desk, though.

    I also prefer iOS to Windows / OS X on a tablet when doing the usual browsing / email / etc, but that's more of an opinion.
  18. Silverjerk macrumors member

    May 7, 2015
    I have owned most of the Cintiq models, and have chased the "perfect" drawing experience for as long as working digitally was viable for professionals.

    My last Cintiq models (the 13HD & 22HD) suffered from the same problems as all the models previous, something I find unacceptable after over a decade of hardware development. The latency, the parallax, the fact that some models are still being released with 72% color gamut displays. The reality is, Wacom has spent too much time making nicer bezels, better "controls" that not many of us actually use, and has all but forgotten about improving the actual technology of the display.

    I purchased my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil at launch, and have sold both the 22HD and 13HD, and I don't plan to buy another Wacom product until they drastically improve the experience of drawing (and spend less time worrying about building a state-of-the-art stand). The Apple Pencil has lower latency, imperceptible parallax, and the display is leagues beyond even the higher end 27" Cintiq. And after applying an anti-glare screen protector, it more than adequately mimics the "toothiness" of the Cintiq screens, eliminating its only deficiency for the users that liked this feature (myself being one of them).

    Needless to say, coupled with the latest iteration of Astropad, it has completely replaced my Cintiqs, and is a reliable mobile workstation when necessary.

    I'm also awaiting an Affinity release and am excited to see what the future holds.
  19. Majikal Whispers macrumors newbie

    Majikal Whispers

    Aug 1, 2017
    I USED to use a Wacom cintiq companion 2, which I will say was lovely to draw on and ran full adobe ect! But it was heavy to drag around and the battery life a JOKE!...would get 2-3 hours max if working on it.
    I have now switched over to iPad pro 12.0" I do miss having Adobe illustrator and photoshop...but only when I am mobile, I can still use these programs with ASTROPAD and connect to my mac, so thats great and I did not find a lag. iPad Pro's battery life is excellent, I can be mobile most of day and working.
    I Used to use my wacom for illustration , and even how I no longer have corel painter with the ipad(I can again use astropad if REALLY NEED IT ) but I have found that the procreate app is just as awesome, if I need to tidy up a vector / PDF I use Graphic....any really heavy work I again connect to my mac with Astropad.
    I am not very impressed with the IPAD version of Autodesk sketchbook pro, but again, I use procreate.
    Anyway thats just my opinion. :)
  20. wetcanvas macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2014
    I like the iPad 13 inch combined with wireless and Astro pad. Its more comfortable being across the room from my computer on my bed working in photoshop on my iPad wirelessly. Bed is so much more comfy than my chair at a desk. I also have a Wacom cintiq compnion hybrid that functions as a 13hd while connected to a computer but I prefer the 4:3 ratio or whatever it is of the iPad Pro. Its better than the widescreen of the cintiq companion hybrid by far.
  21. Crash0veride macrumors regular


    Oct 10, 2016
    A new advantage in 2017 is the new iPad Pros and the iMac have the same P3 gamut display so the colors should be pretty precise across displays.

    Astropad has gotten even better in the last year. The latency is significantly better, and Astropad Studio adds some more cintiq like functionality, though the subscription is annoying. Also someone mentioned the iPad Pro feeling like glass when you draw, but you can get screen protectors that give the screen a more paper feel (though obvious downsides for normal use).
  22. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    This is an old thread but at this point I feel like the biggest difference as far as capabilities is that a wacom has a "drawing on paper" feeling vs drawing on glass with an ipad.

    With IOS11 and pro level apps like affinity photo coming out along with the price I think the ipad pro is becomming a very solid replacement.
  23. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    I haven't tried Astropad recently but assuming the latency and pixelation and all that are fine, the biggest difference with a cintiq is not being able to have dual displays/extended desktop. That's a deal breaker for me personally.
  24. 0098386 Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    I prefer the iPad Pro. I like how portable it is, and I frequently take it out and about with me. I work from home so it’s a nice way to get out and still remain completely productive.

    I know it doesn’t “feel” as good as other solutions, however, using the gel pens in Procreate feels really good on a glass display.
  25. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    What gel pens?

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