As we've already mentioned, the Cintiq 24HD touch has much the same design as the previous, non-touch offering. In fact, the only difference you'll notice is that the controls at the top of the display's face have changed -- and that's if you're looking closely. These buttons now toggle touch functionality on / off, bring up an on-screen keyboard and display ExpressKey / control reminders. One thing that hasn't changed: the weight. Undoubtedly, the first thing you'll notice is the mass of the 62.9-pound (28.6 kg) kit. If you happen to forget about this bit of information, your courier will be quick to remind you when it arrives. When you tack that figure on with the 30.3 x 18.3-inch (769.3 x 463.74mm) surface area that also remains relatively unchanged, you'll find a substantial amount of space will need to be dedicated to the high-end peripheral. In other words, once you find a resting spot, you'll think twice about relocating.
One thing that hasn't changed: the weight. Undoubtedly, the first thing you'll notice is the mass of the kit.
Let's chat about the base for a bit, shall we? This unit rests atop an enclosed black box that hides all of the requisite cables from sight. Cables head into the back of the base and connect beneath two user-removable panels on both sides of display's back -- making the only visible port the lone USB connector on the left side of the front. Metal arms reach up from the black platform and sport two pairs of hinges for adjusting the viewing angle. The first set is level with the base and allows the device to rotate forward, toward the user. A second sits on the side of the display and can be used to rotate the panel between being parallel with your desk to sitting perfectly perpendicular to it. Large handles on the 24HD's sides control the latter adjustment while a release that's situated on the base allows for the former. The aforementioned arms are the only two parts of the device that aren't shrouded in black, providing an aesthetic accent to the rest of the behemoth.
Moving on to the business portion of things, the 24-inch H-IPS panel, we'll begin to encounter the new features of the Cintiq 24HD touch. Again, on the surface, the display appears to be an exact replica of the previous version. A set of programmable ExpressKeys rest on either side of the ultra-wide bezel and a single Touch Ring is included with each. Resting along the main display are two Touch Strips, too. You still won't find any printed-on labels here, as all of that information remains on-screen like we've encountered on the regular 24HD and the Intuos5 touch. Speaking of the extra real estate around the outside, what may seem like a waste initially is actually a nice place to rest forearms and elbows when you're in the heat of a Photoshop editing session. We quickly decided that the added space was a welcome addition indeed.
The unit's display panel sports a few added features (in addition to the touch gestures) that give it a bit more of an advantage over the first Cintiq 24HD. First, this pen-enabled device covers 97 percent of Adobe's RGB gamut. That's up from 92 percent on the previous release and accounts for 1.07 billion colors. Resolution remains at 1,920 x 1,200 for the 16:10 display, with 500:1 contrast and a 178-degree viewing angle in tow. It's still a matte-coated affair that we found to be quite accommodating to our red-eyed stares for hours on end during the course of this review. Well, as cozy as gazing upon a screen for long periods of time can be.
We found the matte-coated affair to be quite accommodating to our red-eyed stares for hours on end.
Truth be told, the color production on the display is quite nice. Brightness controls can be jacked up to 300cd/m2, offering a wide range of adjustment to fit the lighting in your workspace. Sitting so close to the display during out tests, we definitely noticed individual pixels. But let's be honest, when your peepers are situated mere inches away from the screen, those tiny squares are going to be easy to see -- even on an H-IPS device.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? That's the approach that Wacom has taken with its tried-and-true pen. The same input device that we spent some quality time with alongside the Inutos5 touch a few months ago is also included with the Cintiq 24HD touch. It still comes with 10 replaceable nibs that are housed inside a holder for the pen when you're not digitally painting your next comic series. Internally, 2,048 levels of sensitivity are at work and the top end retains its eraser duties by default.
Setup and software
After bribing a couple of your best mates to help you raise this behemoth out of the box, the hard work is over. From there, it's two connections (USB and DVI) to your work machine and you're a driver install away from on-screen sketching. Keep in mind that you'll need a $30 adapter for the DVI cable in order to connect to a Mac's Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt jack. The entire process took us less than 10 minutes before we were able to fire up Photoshop. Of course, this is if you're willing to hit the ground running with Wacom's default settings for the ExpressKeys and touch gestures. One thing you will want to do is calibrate the pen so that all of the action happens directly under the tip. This adjustment only takes a few minutes and will save you loads of frustration.