Wacom debuts Cintiq 18sx graphics tablet/display

Graphics tablet maker Wacom Technology Corp. has introduced the Cintiq 18sx, which it bills as "the world's first large-format, pressure-sensitive Interactive Pen Display for high-end graphics design and photo and video editing, including animation." The new tablet made its debut at this week's NAB 2002 show.

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The Cintiq 18sx isn't just a graphics tablet; it incorporates an 18.1 inch diagonal LCD screen, thus providing a 48 percent larger viewing area than its 15 inch Cintiq 15x counterpart. The new Cintiq 18sx isn't just bigger, but higher-resolution, too -- the interactive graphics tablet sports an SXGA resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels.

Combining a 24-bit color LCD monitor with a graphics tablet interface driven by a cordless, batteryless pressure sensitive pen, the Cintiq 18sx enables designers to see exactly what they're doing on the surface they're doing it on, rather than having to look up or away at another display to see what's happening.

Cintiq 18sx

The Cintiq 18sx also sports a new grip pen with integrated silicon rubber grip area to help reduce effort, lessen fatigue and increase accuracy, according to Wacom. The pen itself sports 512 levels of pressure, enabling you to better control line width, intensity and opacity. The company said the redesigned pen is more comparable to the stylus included with its Intuos2 tablet. Two side buttons can be programmed as modifier keys or used as mouse buttons.

The Cintiq 18sx features a 360 degree rotating stand that can incline to any desktop angle between 13 and 70 degrees, mimicking the functionality of a traditional animator's table or architect's drafting table, according to Wacom. It can also be removed to enable the Cintiq 18sx to be used on your lap.

The new graphic tablet/display sports a single cable system that helps manage video, power, serial and USB interfaces to reduce desktop clutter. The display sports both analog (through VGA) and digital (DVI) video connectors.

Users of older graphics tablet/display devices sometimes complain because there's a measurable distance between the display and the surface they're touching with the stylus -- an issue Wacom has addressed with the Cintiq 18sx. Wacom has designed the 18sx with reduced parallax, enabling the stylus to be closer to the LCD surface.

The Cintiq 18sx also sports a ColorSync-compatible ICC profile to help maintain accurate color display. An improved viewing angle makes it possible to see imagery on the display up to 160 degrees in all directions. The display also sports anti-glare and friction coatings to help improve display in varied lighting conditions and to enhance the "pen-on-paper" feel.

Look for Wacom's Cintiq 18sx to be available nationwide this May for a suggested retail price of US$3,499.95. It works with Mac OS 8.5 or later.

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