The 18-inch model has a much improved, spring-loaded stand, which allows the screen to tilt to any angle between completely vertical and almost flat. Two sturdy levers let you adjust the screen without fear of dropping or bumping the unit. You can also turn the display while you’re painting or drawing, just as you would rotate a piece of paper to get a better angle with your pen. And removing the screen from its stand is a snap if you want to set it in your lap.
Our only complaint is with the unit’s cabling. The Cintiq provides support for many different video connections, including VGA, DVI-I, and DVI-D. Unfortunately, all of these connectors, as well as the power cord, are carried in a single cable. While it’s nice to have only one cable coming out of the back of the device, the extra connectors and the cable’s thickness can be a real hassle if you’re trying to move the tablet. We would much prefer the option of attaching only one connector at a time.
Like all of Wacom’s LCDs, the Cintiq 18SX provides an excellent display with bright colors, a wide viewing angle, and good contrast. Its larger screen and higher maximum resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels are certainly good for users of palette-heavy programs, and its faster refresh time (how long it takes an LCD to refresh all of its pixels) of 27 milliseconds makes the screen well suited to video work–movies play smoothly and clearly.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
If you’re already used to drawing on a tablet, you may not need the Cintiq 18SX’s extra functionality. Like drawing on a piece of paper, using the Cintiq has drawbacks–your hand often gets in the way of what you’re drawing, for example. But if you’re looking for the most natural painting interface for your computer, you won’t find anything better than Wacom’s Cintiq series, and this larger version is a treat. l