The Wacom Cintiq is one of the leading tablet models offered by Wacom that digital artists and graphic designers consider purchasing. Before investing in this purchase, it is important to know the tablet’s specs and functionalities, particularly when it comes to the ability to operate as a solo device. Most Wacom tablets require a computer connection to function, but does this apply to the Wacom Cintiq as well?
The Wacom Cintiq will not work without a computer. In essence, they function as an additional monitor paired with the freedom of a notebook. The overarching reason why the Wacom Cintiq needs a computer is because it is not equipped with the components necessary to operate as a stand-alone device.
In this article, we will discuss why the Wacom Cintiq cannot operate without being connected to a computer. Afterward, we’ll answer whether any other Wacom tablets, Cintiq models or otherwise, are capable of functioning alone.
Why Can’t the Wacom Cintiq Work Without a Computer?
If your initial mental image of a tablet revolves around ones made by renowned companies such as Apple, Samsung, or even Amazon, then you might be a bit perplexed as to why a tablet like the Wacom Cintiq is incapable of functioning on its own like the portable options made by the aforementioned brands.
The answer to this question boils down to the tablet’s purpose and, consequentially, the design and components chosen to fulfill that purpose.
Most tablets that you can use on-the-go aren’t designed specifically for graphic design and digital art. Instead, their design is dedicated to entertainment or basic social media and work-related tasks, none of which are overtly demanding (with the exception of some games and the occasional app). This allows designers to prioritize specs that would allow the device to function on its own, making it a convenient portable device.
Comparatively,a Wacom Cintiq tablet is specifically designed to operate as a drawing tablet (if it didn’t have a screen, it would be considered a graphics tablet), and so, every component is dedicated to the tasks associated with this.
The programs necessary for graphic design and digital art are extremely demanding when it comes to your device’s GPU, CPU, and general power. Building a tablet with these components is difficult in its own right, let alone including components that allow the tablet to support graphic design/digital art tasks and operate on its own. The result of attempting to accomplish both is either some degree of reduced functionality or a significant overall cost for the device.
To compensate for this, digital and graphics tablets rely on the powerful components of a computer to handle the more challenging tasks, while the tablet itself is dedicated to providing the freedom of free-hand drawing and transferring this input onto a digital space.
Do Any Wacom Tablets Work Without a Computer?
The convenience of a graphics tablet you can use wherever and whenever you please can’t be understated. There are many passionate and professional graphic designers and digital artists who would (and do) pay a lot for this freedom. The question is, do any tablets made by Wacom allow it?
Yes, the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro is an excellent Wacom-made options for a standalone tablet. This model allows users to either connect their tablet to a computer using desktop mode, or use the tablet exclusively using mobile mode.
If you’re trying to decide which of these two options is best for you, here are some quick points of comparison to consider.
Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 vs. Wacom Mobile Studio Pro
To start, the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 is the older model of the two, and now discontinued, but because the Mobile Studio Pro is the Companion’s next generation, these two tablets have a great deal in common.
Physically, the tablets look almost identical. There are some minor differences in the ergonomic design of the buttons, the speaker locations, and port locations, but apart from those, the most significant difference between these two models is their size and weight. The Cintiq Companion 2 is undoubtedly the larger, thicker, and heavier model, which reduces its portability.
Other aspects that these tablets share is their resolution, their class as 256 GB SSD devices, and arguably their pens. While the Cintiq Companion 2 is paired with the Pen Pro and the Model Studio Pro is paired with the Pen Pro 2, very little sets these pens apart, both in design as well as function.
In terms of components, function, and visuals, the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro exceeds the Cintiq Companion 2 in most regards. Overall, this newer model has a faster processer, improved visuals (thanks to its wider color range), and a more durable and long-lasting battery.
That being said, if you’re looking for a decent standalone graphics tablet that is relatively affordable and operates well, the Cintiq Companion 2 is a good place to start.
The unfortunate reality of graphics and drawing tablets is that most, whether they be made by Wacom or another company, won’t work without being connected to a computer. It is extremely hard to create a powerful graphics tablet that can operate as a standalone device, although some do exist. If you’re a loyal Wacom user, the Cintiq Companion 2 (discontinued) and the Mobile Studio Pro are going to be your best options in this regard.