Each of the devices in this comparison has their own advantage, to the degree that there is no clear winner here. For that, the device you are going to pick up depends mainly on your needs and the workflow you have right now (or plan to have after getting the device). Among the devices I compared here, the iPad pro has the best portability, and it is great for sketching & practicing your drawing, and it has the potential to be used in professional settings as well. The Cintiq 13HD is a relatively affordable option to draw on screen using the professional desktop applications, it may not be portable at all, but it is great to use in your existing studio or workspace. The Cintiq Companion offers the best professional package out there, there is no need to look for a way to integrate it into your current workflow, as it is a full-fledged computer with a Cintiq in it. However, its price, lower portability compared to the iPad Pro, and the possible fans problem makes one look for an alternative. Which is one reason the iPad Pro garnered such interest from people. Mobile apps may be limited compared to desktop applications, but they contain enough tools to create a lot of things, and they are still good enough for practicing your drawing too.
Cintiq Companion 2
To make it easier to pick the device you want, I illustrated the advantage of each of the 3 devices below:-
Quickly go to:-
- An affordable option to draw on screen using desktop applications, especially if portability is not an option for you.
- Can be used with all the professional desktop applications, making it the most suitable option for professional work.
- Can be used as a computer when you are not drawing with it.
- Has the most number of express keys, which I believe are important in portable device.
- With the iPad pro, you don’t just get a drawing device, but you can get a full-fledged tablet as well.
- The most portable option among the ones in this comparison.
- Has the best battery life as well.
- And its screen has highest resolution.
- Officially has Ergotron arm support
Now let’s compare the devices on various aspects:-
When it comes to the screen resolution, the iPad pro has the highest resolution of 2732 X 2048, the Cintiq Companion 2 is kinda close with its 2560 X 1440 resolution. As the oldest device among the 3 here, the Cintiq 13HD has HD resolution of 1920 X 1080, which is nice if you don’t like to work with high-resolution screen. As high-resolution screens sometimes make some icons look smaller, and text harder to read.
The screen of both the Cintiq 13HD & The Cintiq Companion 2 are both matte, which is better for outdoor use, as matte screens don’t reflect light much. On the other hand, the iPad Pro has a reflective screen that makes it a bit annoying to work where light is directly shed on it.
While the iPad Pro’s screen is reflective, it is worth mentioning that the reflection rate of the iPad pro screen is 1.7, which is lower than any previous iPad model, according to this excellent displaymate article, which I highly recommend you check out if you are into display technology.
Both the Cintiq 13HD & Cintiq Companion come with 13.3 inch wide screens, while the iPad Pro has a 12.9 inches screen, while the screen is narrower than the two Cintiqs, it is a bit taller than them. At the time of writing this article, there is a 9.7 inches version of the iPad Pro if you needed a small drawing device. The choice of the screen here depends on your preference.
Both Cintiq Companion 2 & Cintiq 13HD support pressure sensitivity of 2048, which is the typical in graphics tablets nowadays. Apple hasn’t disclosed the pressure sensitivity of the iPad pro as far as my research went, but it works fine for many applications.
Again, all the devices in this comparison support tilt sensitivity, which allows you to vary the strokes based on how you tilt the pen while you draw. The tilt sensitivity of the Cintiq 13HD & Cintiq Companion 2 is ±60, while the sensitivity for the iPad pro is…. Unknown again, while this feature also works fine with the device, it would have been better if Apple disclosed such specification for us to compare it. All I can say that the sensitivity of the iPad Pro is good, but I would still advice you to try it out if you have a shop that allows that around you.
When it comes to the pen, both the Cintiq 13HD & Cintiq Companion 2 uses the Pro Pen, which is the same one used across the other Cintiq models as well. The iPad Pro uses the Apple Pencil (sold separately), which is long and looks closer to a normal pencil, it doesn’t have any button on it, so you will have to rely on gestures and buttons on the screen to do things like undoing or erasing, these gestures varies from an app to another. This can be cumbersome if you are used to draw on the computer, but it is certainly doable. The Apple Pencil has no eraser at the back of it, which makes me wonder why was is called pencil at all, those who never use the eraser in their graphics tablet pens wouldn’t complain about that. It is worth noting that the thick tips of the Apple Pencil and the lack of cursor on the screen may add to the time it will take you to get used to it, this can be a problem depending on your preferences.
On the other hand, the Pro Pen has an eraser & two buttons that can be programmed to do all sort of things for you, the tips of the pen is small enough to make it easy to draw. The pen itself is thick compared to the Apple pencil.
When it comes to replacement nibs, the Pro pen comes with 9 replacement nibs inside the elegant case it comes in. The Apple Pencil only comes with one.
If you are wondering why you need replacement nibs, that’s because the nibs tend to wear off after you draw with them for some time, the time it takes for that depends on how much pressure you apply with the pen. To avoid causing scratches in your pen display, you need to replace the nib when it comes pointy or uncomfortable to use.
You can buy additional nibs for both, each pack of Wacom nibs contains 5 nibs, while each pack of Apple Pencils nibs contains 4, and they cost more, if the cost of the replacement nibs is of concern to you, then the Cintiq is a good choice for you.
All of our 3 devices has touch capabilities, which can make drawing easier by making it faster to draw as gestures like pinch-to-zoom and rotating the screen with two fingers can come in handy. Note that the Cintiq 13HD has two version, a newer one that supports touch, and an older one that doesn’t, but is more affordable.
The iPad pro doesn’t come with a stand with it, but you can get yourself the smartcover, which allows you to draw while on landscape mode. There are also a lot of 3rd party covers & cases as well, so it is very likely that you will find one that suits the way you work.
The Cintiq 13HD & Cintiq Companion come with the same stand, the stand allows you to tilt your Cintiq in 3 positions, as well as laying it semi-flat. If you plan to get Cintiq 13HD, the stand is very okay. But for a portable device like the Cintiq Companion 2, Wacom should have designed a better stand for carrying it around.
For drawing digitally, having an Ergotron arm is common among the Cintiq owners, as it allows you to set your drawing screen away when you are not using it, as well as rotate it or work in different position. For that, I won’t be surprised if some of the iPad Pro owners wanted to mount their iPads with one, and fortunately, there is a solution from Ergotron for that, which you can find from the following Amazon links:-
As for the two Cintiqs in this comparison, there is no Ergotron arm for them, at least not officially, but there is a workaround you can do, there is a workaround that our fellow artist Oliver Wetter did for the Cintiq 13HD here.
For a portable device that could be used to draw on the go, battery life is important, and a minimum of 3-4 hours is required to be able to do that, if not more.
According to this Trusted Reviews article, the iPad Pro can provide at least 5-6 hours of battery life under extensive use, and it can provide up to 10 hours under normal usage.
Since The Cintiq 13HD is not a portable device, it is out of this part of the comparison.
For a device you plan to carry around with you, weight is important, the iPad Pro weights around 1.57 for the 12.9 model, making it the lightest to carry in this comparison. The Cintiq Companion 2 weights over double of that, with 3.75 lbs, which is about the weight of an ultra portable laptop.
Since it was made to be a portable device from the very beginning, the iPad Pro is better for doing simple tasks on the go like check E-Mail or browsing the Internet.
Again, since this is a feature for stand-alone devices, the Cintiq 13HD will be out of this part of the comparison.
There are many good applications for the iPad Pro, while these mobile apps are definitely not on par with many of the desktop applications, they are good for many things. It is integrating them with your workflow that matters. At the same time, that makes me hesitate for recommending the iPad pro for any sort of professional work, but that can change in the future once drawing Apps become better & better, or when we see more people who integrated it into their workflows, something I believe will happen eventually.
On the other hand, the Cintiq Companion 2 is a full-fledged computer, and the Cintiq 13Hd connects directly to your Windows or Mac computer, so you can pretty much use them with all the art programs you currently have, if you use a regular graphics tablet right now, chances that you will become more productive with any of those two.
To get an idea about some of the drawing apps for the iPad Pro, the following video shows a good demonstration of them. Along with how they work with Apple pencil.
To make it easier to make the best buying decision, I made a detailed comparison tables. Which contains as much specifications as I could get my hands on. Many of the Cintiqs specifications were taken from Wacom’s website. On the other hand, many of the iPad Pro specifications were not available at all, so sorry for not being able to provide them to you.
Depending on your needs, and how much you can decide about the trades-off between the devices. It can be tricky to choose between the devices in this comparison, which is something I hope this comparison has helped you with, even by a little.
I hope you liked my article, and see you again in another one. ^^
Cintiq Companion 2
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