Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch – A Second Look


Wacom Cintiq 27QHD attached to MacBook Pro

I finally decided to take the plunge and purchased a 27QHD. I know for many, myself included, the high price tag is very intimidating. I think that was the only reason it took me so long to purchase one. Luckily Wacom now offers financing options, which can put the 27QHD in your hands without spending your life savings.

Sure you have to spend a little more in the long run due to interest, but there is no way I would be able to drop more than $3,000 at one time to purchase the Cintiq plus the stand. I suppose I could put a little away each month until I have the full amount, but that would literally take me years. For me, the added interest was worth it, for others it might not be.

A First Impression

Back in 2015 I wrote a review of the 27QHD after testing it for a week at Wizards of the Coast. Much of what I said back then still applies, so I probably won’t go over those same pros and cons. If you want more information that isn’t included in this review, you might want to check it out.

If you would like to watch the video review, you can find it here.

Overall, I still think this thing is awesome. I suggested buying it two years ago, and my story hasn’t changed. Now that they offer financing, there isn’t an excuse not to buy one if you are a professional artist.

I’ve been working on the 27QHD for about three weeks now and I just finished two illustrations on it. So far there have been a few bugs, but I think most of them are driver/software related and not hardware related.

Below are the specs for the 27QHD Touch.

  • Size – 770 x 465 x 54.5 mm, 30.3 x 18.3 x 2.1 in
  • Weight – 19.8 lbs. without stand (9 kg), 55.1 lbs. with stand (25.1 kg)
  • Screen Size (Measured Diagonally) – 68.6 cm, 27 inch
  • TechnologyAHVA LCD (proprietary IPS)
  • Displayable Colors (maximum) – 1.07 billion (Requires DisplayPort and video card supporting 10 bit color)
  • Aspect Ratio1 – 6:9
  • Viewing Angle – 178° (89°/89°) H, (89°/89°) V
  • Contrast Ratio – 970:1
  • Brightness – 330 cd/m2
  • Response Rate – 12ms
  • Active Area – 596.7 x 335.6 mm, 23.5 x 13.2 in
  • Color Gamut – 97% Adobe RGB
  • Industry Standard Pre-sets – Adobe RGB, 6500° K whitepoint default; DCI, REC 709, SRGB
  • Graphics Input – DisplayPort (required for 2560x 1440 resolution), HDMI (depends on computer)
  • Pressure Levels – 2048, both pen tip and eraser
  • Tilt Range – 40 degrees
  • Tilt Recognition – ±60 levels
  • Resolution – 5080 lpi
  • ExpressKeys™ – 17 customizable on ExpressKey Remote
  • ExpressKey™ Remote Dimensions – 135 x 52 x 10 mm, 5.3 x 2.0 x .4 in
  • ExpressKey™ Remote Continuous Operation – Up to 160 hours
  • ExpressKey™ Remote Charge Time – Up to 2 hours
  • Stand Adjustability – Built-in stand (5° w/o legs or 20° w/ legs); optional Cintiq Ergo stand sold as accessory
  • Orientation – Right or left-handed use
  • Size – 32.3” W x 20.1” H x 15.4” D, (820 x 510 x 390 mm)
  • Cables Included – Cables: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0, Micro USB (ExpressKey Remote); Adaptors: DVI-D TO HDMI, Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort
  • PC And Mac Connection – USB
  • Display Connection – DisplayPort and HDMI
  • Peripheral Connections – Five USB 3.0 ports
  • System Requirements – PC: Windows®7 (32/64 bits), 8
    Mac: MacOS 10.8 and above
  • What’s Included – Cintiq 27HD Touch Creative pen display
    Pro Pen
    Pen stand with 10 replacement nibs & nib removal tool
    ExpressKey™ Remote
    Cables: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0, Micro USB (ExpressKey Remote); Adaptors: DVI-D TO HDMI, Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort
    AC power adaptor
    Installation CD
    Quick start guide

The Rig

I should probably start out by saying what the 27QHD is attached to. Don’t laugh, but all I have is a laptop. My Mac desktop died (it was 6 or 7 years old anyway) and my PC desktop is probably 8 or 9 years old, so that wasn’t going to work. The only option I had was to attach it to my MacBook Pro from 2014. It’s just the stock MacBook Pro with no added features. Here are the specs.

  • MacBook Pro (Retina) 13.3-inch (2560×1600)
  • OS – Sierra 10.12.4
  • Processor – 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory – 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Graphics – Intel Iris 1536 MB

As you can see, nothing fancy. I was actually a little worried that the 27QHD might not run very well on a laptop, so I tested it while I was at WotC. It seemed to work fine, so I went ahead and ordered the 27QHD.

Of course the actual performance of the 27QHD is going to depend a lot upon the rig it is attached to. Even with a stock laptop, it seems to run very well. Sometimes when I switch from using the laptop to the Cintiq, there is a bit of lag with the cursor but it only lasts for a few seconds.

There are a few weird bugs that happen, but I’m guessing it is driver or software related. One bug is binding option to the stylus trigger. As you probably know, option is the eyedropper tool in Photoshop. Sometimes when I release the trigger, it will stay on the eyedropper instead of going back to the brush. It doesn’t always happen, but it happens a lot. It tends to be more pronounced when I’m using ScreenFlow at the same time.

Another bug I found is when I set one of the remote buttons to ctrl+option+left click. This allows me to resize the brush. Sometimes instead of resizing my brush, it will act as though I right-clicked, which doesn’t make any sense. Other times it will cause the Cintiq to no longer recognize that I have a stylus and the only way to fix it is to turn off the Cintiq and turn it back on. No bueno.

Sometimes when trying to move my cursor from the Cintiq to the laptop, it will get “stuck” on the Cintiq and won’t realize that there is another screen attached to it.

So far I haven’t found any solutions to any of these bugs.

The Stand

Unlike the Companion, the 27QHD does not come with the stand. Boooo! The stand is an extra $399.95. You basically need to have a stand when working on the 27QHD. The 27QHD comes with little legs that you can pull out, but they only offer a measly 20° of tilt, or 5° without the legs. I’m guessing my back wouldn’t appreciate leaning over the Cintiq all day long.

Other than the high price, the only problem I have with the stand is that it only locks at one angle. If you want to lower the Cintiq, you can, but you have to rely on the Cintiq resting on the edge of the table, otherwise it will just fall down. It would be nice if there were more positions for it to lock to.

Kitchen standing desk with repurposed stylus stand.

For about a week I created a standing desk out of the kitchen island. The kitchen island ended up being the perfect height for a standing desk.

I always thought that it would be hard to concentrate if I had to stand all day, but it actually didn’t bother me at all. Instead, it reminded me of painting with oils back at the Academy of Art University. I almost always stood while working traditionally, so it made me forget that I was working digitally.

It made painting more fun and I felt more connected to my work. I found myself stepping back to take a look at my work from a distance instead of zooming out. It was definitely an unexpected, but welcome result. I plan on purchasing a standing desk at some point in the future.

If you open the back of the stand, there are additional cables and adapters. Luckily it came with a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort so that I wouldn’t lose any resolution through an HDMI cable. There is also a DVI-D to HDMI adapter.

ExpressKey Remote

The ExpressKey Remote

In my original review I mentioned how the remote would often become confused with nearby remotes. Since I work from home, I don’t have to worry about that issue. There were a few problems with the remote due to the fact that I received a defective unit.

The first problem was that the touch ring didn’t work at all, it was completely dead. I went online and found some suggestions to pop open the back of the remote and press the tiny little reset button. Pressing the reset button fixed the touch ring, yay!

The other problem was that one of the buttons didn’t work when I pressed it. After fiddling with the button some more, I found that it would work but only if you pressed it really hard. Even then, it wouldn’t always work. You had to press it so hard that it virtually became a useless button.

Two weeks after submitting a tech support ticket with Wacom, they wrote back and told me to open the remote and click the reset button. By then I had done that long ago. They offered no response regarding the dead button. After writing them back again about the dead button, they told me they would send me a new remote. Luckily the new remote works just fine.

One weird thing I noticed is that when I open the Wacom Desktop Center, it keeps populating the list with more remotes, even though I only have one. It doesn’t seem like it causes any problems, but the OCD side of me gets annoyed because there shouldn’t be more than one remote listed. Sometimes even the Wacom Tablet Control Panel has multiple remotes listed, even though I only have one. I keep deleting the extra ones, but they keep coming back.

I’m still not a fan of the touch ring, I would rather have touch strips like the Intuos 3 or maybe a click ring like the first Companion. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

Otherwise, I like the remote. Being able to move it around helps as I’ve had to move it several times depending on my setup. I think the number of buttons and placement is good, so I’m pretty happy with it.

Color Calibration

When I worked on the 27QHD two years ago, I had no issues with the color calibration. This time I noticed some issues. Maybe it was because I was being more active with comparing colors to my other screen, I don’t know. The colors felt a little desaturated and washed out.

The real problem was that the contrast and saturation seemed to change over time, or if I minimized Photoshop and then maximized it again. I’m guessing there was some sort of driver issue that was causing the color settings to change. Since the color setting of my laptop was using Color LCD and the Cintiq was using Cintiq27QHD, maybe they were getting confused with each other. I changed the display setting of the 27QHD to Color LCD instead of Cintiq27QHD. There was also a Wacom update, so I’m not sure if the update or changing the settings fixed the problem, but so far I haven’t run into it again.

The default brightness of the screen is set at 75%, and even then it is really bright. The 27QHD is a lot brighter than my other screens. It has a brightness of 330 while my MacBook Pro is 317 and the Companion is 210. The color and contrast seems really good too, once I fixed the previous issue. I think the contrast ratio of my MacBook Pro is 900:1 while the 27QHD is 970:1. I think the first Companion had a contrast ratio of 700:1? I’m not quite sure.

Touch

I know a lot of people don’t want to pay an extra $500 for touch. I always thought I wouldn’t need touch…until I had it. Getting the 27QHD with touch definitely isn’t necessary, but it is nice once you have it. I’m used to having touch on my Companion, so touch has become a part of my workflow. I use it for looking through my reference, for the web, for zooming in and out of my image, and for rotating my image. When it came to purchasing the 27QHD, I wanted to go ahead and go all out, especially since it didn’t increase my monthly payment by that much. Go big or go home.

That being said, touch on the 27QHD isn’t that great. It isn’t nearly as responsive as the touch on the Companion and often times it doesn’t work at all. I’ve looked through other reviews and they all seem to say the same thing about touch not being very responsive, or not working at all. It can be frustrating when a feature that cost an additional $500 doesn’t always work.

Now I know some people complain that you can’t use touch while using the stylus, but that is because of palm rejection. You don’t want to constantly leave marks on your painting from your hand while you use the stylus. I’m sure if you could use touch while using the stylus, people would complain that they keep leaving stray marks all over their painting. I suppose it would be cool if there was an option to turn palm rejection on or off.

One small, but annoying thing with touch is that panning images in Photoshop is different than using the remote. I have flick panning disabled, because I hate it, but when I pan with touch, it enables flick panning. So if I use the remote, no flick panning. If I use touch, flick panning. This didn’t happen with the Companion.

The accuracy also isn’t very good. When I try to click links or menus, I usually miss and have to try several times. This never happened on the Companion, but it happens a lot with the 27QHD.

Photodon screen protector kit

Screen Protectors

Back in 2014 I wrote a review about a few different screen protectors for the Companion: Posrus, Skinomi, and Photodon. The Photodon screen protectors blew the competition out of the water, so when it came to purchasing one for the 27QHD, I went with Photodon again.

I’m always super paranoid that I’ll scratch my screen, so I always buy screen protectors for all of my devices. I typically go with the 25% anti-glare protector, but this time I decided to go with the 6HS scratch and shock-absorbing protector.

Since the 27QHD isn’t mobile, I didn’t feel like I needed an anti-glare protector. I wanted to go with something that preserved the best image quality and the only clear (haha) choice was the 6HS. The only problem with the 6HS is that it isn’t fingerprint resistant, but I felt like image quality and scratch resistance was more important. Previously the 25% anti-glare protector lasted 7 months of heavy use, so I expect the 6HS to last even longer.

The one problem with the 6HS protector is that it costs $85.80. While it isn’t exactly cheap, you have to consider the fact that this thing is huge. This isn’t your normal smartphone screen protector. Oh yeah, plus it will protect a $2799.95 machine.

I was surprised with how many steps and accessories the kit came with, they don’t mess around. It actually took me a pretty long time to complete the installation, but most of it was trying to get all of the bubbles out. Putting on a 27″ screen protector by yourself while isn’t exactly easy. Now I know why the instructions suggested using two people.

Once the protector was on, I noticed some weird vertical lines. There were probably around three or four of them. When I turned on the 27QHD, the lines looked like little rainbows. Although, these weren’t happy rainbows. I was a little bummed, especially considering how expensive the screen protector was. I’m not sure how many days it took, but luckily the lines disappeared over time.

At first the drawing surface was a little textured. Actually, it had a lot of texture and it kind of annoyed me. I’m in the minority when I say that I love drawing on a completely smooth surface. I always hear other artists complain about drawing on a smooth glass surface, but I love it. Usually if you buff the screen with a cleaning cloth, you can get it pretty smooth. I buffed that surface forever, but it didn’t seem to help. Like the lines, after a few days the texture disappeared and now the surface is pretty smooth. I’m a happy camper.

You can take a look at the comparison sheet to see which screen protector is best for you.

Conclusion

Once again, I think this is a great product. Wacom might be expensive, but their quality and performance has yet to be matched. Sure their competitors are cheaper, but they also don’t perform as well. Do you want a superior product, or a cheaper one that doesn’t last or work as well?

I’m giving the 27QHD a 9 out of 10 due to touch not working as well as it should. If touch worked as well as the Companion, it would be pretty near perfect.

★★★★★★★★★☆
Overall: 9 out of 10



Amonkhet Video Review – Wacom 27QHD Touch
Amonkhet
Video Review – Wacom 27QHD Touch

The author

About daarken: I draw and eat cookies.