I really suck at making purchasing decisions. When forced to choose between two products that are similar in a lot of ways and both do exactly what I want with only minor differences, I tend not to trust my own instincts and, instead, leave it to my readers to decide for me. Why? A) Because I’m a blogger, and that’s what bloggers do. And B), I’m lazy and don’t want to do all of the research myself when I have the mass populace of the Internet to curate reviews for me.
Fly, my pretties! Flyyyyy!
Why am I trying to decide between a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 vs a Wacom Cintiq Companion, you ask?
For the same reasons anyone else trying to make the same purchasing decision would.
Surprise: I’m an artist.
I realize some of you only know me for my writing, or for my makeup tutorials, or for my modeling, or for my award-winning work in social media, or for my various interviews with random celebrities, or for whatever myriad of ridiculous side gigs I’ve taken over the years as a stupidly-multi-talented freelancer who hobbles a shitload of pastimes together in order to bareley make my rent — but one of my main loves has and always will be art.
Here’s proof I can draw in case you don’t believe me:
OooOoOoo, aaaAAaaahhh. Art.
Almost all of the work I do is via traditional media like pencils, pens, markers, paint, etc, but I am very interested in expanding my work into digital media. Thus, why I am considering the Cintiq Companion and the Surface Pro 2.
Here are the devices I already have:
- Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet
- iPad Mini
- MacBook Air 11″
- MacBook Pro 15″
Working with my Intuos 4 on my MacBooks in the past has been great, but that separation between screen and tablet is something I’m looking forward to moving past. Being able to draw directly onto a pressure sensitive screen would be amazing, and in that regard, the Cintiq Companion and Surface Pro 2 shine. Sure, I can doodle a little on my iPad Mini, but any artist with an iPad will tell you that the accuracy of drawing on an iPad is sub par. The Surface Pro 2 and Cintiq Companion let you draw down to the pixel — fine detail is so much easier on those devices versus the iPad!
Why a Cintiq Companion or a Surface Pro 2, and not a larger Cintiq device?
The main reason? Portability.
I am constantly traveling. When not passed out in my apartment bedroom, I am either on a train to visit family, traveling with my beau, or on a bus headed to some random work event or cafe. That’s around 70ish hours of travel a month. Currently I lug around a crapton of sketchbooks and supplies in order to doodle on the go, but I’d really love to work more compact. I am a tiny person, after all, and you can’t imagine how difficult it is for an itsy bitsy person like me to carry so many bags with all of my tools for writing and creativity. This is where a device like the Cintiq Companion of Microsoft Surface Pro 2 would come in handy.
Also, my Mac devices are a little out of date, and I’m not sure they can handle the larger Cintiqs without lagging up a storm. If I had a brand new home desktop and more space, I’d love my very own 24inch Cintiq (they come in 24in, right?), but that’s not currently the case. I have to think more practically.
If I’m going to commit to either device, naturally I want to go with the highest specs available for either gadget. So comparatively, the most suped-up versions of either devices go for:
Why does the Cintiq Companion cost more when both devices come equipped with Windows 8.1, and both run art programs with around the same level of performance? From what I’ve gathered online, the main differences come from the fact that the Cintiq boasts 13″ of usable surface space, while the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is slightly smaller at 10.81″ at its diagonal. The Cintiq’s surface is also more matte with a paper-like feel, while the Surface Pro 2 has a glossier surface. And according to other artist friends, the Cintiq Companion has lower latency, which means it’s less likely to delay as you drag your pen across the screen — which is important for an artist, obviously.
The Cintiq Companion is a dedicated art machine with a screen designed specifically for art (textured surface with pressure sensitivity and a stylus pen with interchangeable nibs for a more realistic feel, while the Surface Pro 2 is sort of a fully-powered computer in tablet-form which also has comparable artistic capabilities.
I like the design of the Surface Pro 2. It’s more compact and has an attachable keyboard/cover that comes in my favorite color: pink! And having played around with the Surface Pro 2 before, I can vouch for its pressure sensitivity, and I do love the way it feels. But the problem is that I also love the Cintiq Companion. I love that it’s a machine created specifically for art, which is what I’d be using it for. But if I had the Surface Pro 2, maybe I wouldn’t have to carry around my MacBook and iPad anymore? Because it’s a computer all in one, and a drawing device?
Why can’t I just have both?!
This is where you come in.
I need your help! Have you had a chance to play around with the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 or the Cintiq Companion? Do you know anyone who uses these devices? Which do you think would make a better choice for me? Leave a comment, tweet me, Facebook me, whatever you have to do — let me know! I’m listening.