Tablet history log

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2002: Wacom Graphire 3

After years of coloring with a mouse, I decide to buy a A5(medium) tablet. I drew many artworks with this tablet. A rock solid model with a (ultra) smooth transparent plexiglass coating (you could customise it with a drawing under the plexiglass). The stylus was thin and lightweight. I map it to a 1280x1080px 4/3 CRT monitor. The precision is good. My first online portfolio and first book covers were done using this tablet.

2006: Intuos 3 A4

A5(Medium) size feels to small to draw because the new generation of LCD screen are everywhere and I have more pixels to manage and wider 1680x1024 16/10 to manage. I switch to the Intuos 3 A4 (Large). Perfect digital-painting coating overlay sheet even if a bit fragile and takes scratches, good stylus even if also fragile too with the rubber body. The pad of the tablet itself is Nokia-3310-solid. I painted many classic of my portfolio with this tablet, and half of recent Pepper&Carrot was done with this tablet.

2007: Cintiq 12WX

First Cintiq. Too dark, very pricey, big padding on the border, big cable, too hot... The tablet takes a scratch 1 year after getting it because of a solid dust in the air getting stuck between the stylus nib and screen during drawing. Scratch in the middle, I start to focus on it too much and decide to sell it. I switch back to the trusty Intuos 3 A4. I painted the card game "Les faiseur d'univers" with it.

2008: Bamboo fun A5 white

A little A5 tablet for walking daily to a local company, in the same bag as my first laptop. This tablet had a rounded touch ring glowing in blue on the top and 4 shortcut. I liked the design a log. I also liked the minimal padding of plastic around the active area. I started Chaos&Evolution DVD with it on a travel.

2010: Intuos 4 M

I'm doing travel to work (eg. in Amsterdam on Sintel). I decide to buy a better tablet for roaming. The Intuos4(Medium) is easier to transport than the Intuos3 A4(large) while having better precision than the small Bamboofun. The tablet comes with a coating I dislike ; very grainy. Many artist online sign a petition against Wacom about it; getting upset Wacom does it on purpose to sell more overlay-sheet and nibs. On my side, I put on it a Intuos3 overlay cut in two and purchase a thin 'classic' stylus. It's also the first model to introduce the "peach skin" coating plastic on the stylus. This one after 4 years transform into a sticky/gluing disgusting coating. I have to scratch it with ethanol and the blade of a cutter. The padding around the active area is also very thick : almost the double of the tablet. But I like the mini screen to label the buttons. They are funny to hack on GNU/Linux, and the tablet has a 16/10 ratio, easier to map on the LCD of this era, and laptop. A good tablet for travelling. Those who saw me in conference, workshop or working in external team saw me with this tablet. Still my main "travel tool".

2011: Cintiq 21UX

I decide to give another try for the Cintiq. The 21UX is a monster, heavy, big cable, hot, I never really enjoyed this model. I felt guilty to get this one and not know how to enjoy to use it. The best rigg I made with it was flat on a drawing table , linked to a laptop. A big screen dedicated to only Mypaint, to sketch or to spend long hours detailing an artwork. Using the Cintiq constrained me to wear a glove to not sweat on the screen;  and to dim the light of the room to not get reflection on the screen. I kept it long time as a second monitor, always a bit too dark and reddish with the 1600x1200px for 21inch. A tablet with big pixels visible; not really suited to get the eyes at low distance. The webcomic "l'heritage en couleur" was painted on it. I switch back to the trusty Intuos 3 A4.

2016: Cintiq 22HD

During the production of Pepper&Carrot, I decide to invest to reduce the long production time. The 22HD with the 1920x1080pixels for 22'' has big pixels, big padding around the border and same metalic footer than the 21UX. The plastic around the button is the "Peach skin" coating. The problem with the heat is almost solved on this model, and the screen colors and lumonisity is good ; but the tablet takes all the desktop and it's hard to switch between scripting/mailing/vector/painting task. My productivity decreases. I sell the tablet after three weeks of production on episode 16, almost new. I switch back to the trusty Intuos 3 A4.

2017: Cintiq 13HD

My trusty Intuos3 A4 has a problem: 11 years, four overlay sheet changed, two stylus used, and parts of the tablets are not possible to find anymore. No more overlay-sheet and mine has too much scratch. I invest a lot to find a surface similar to Intuos3 without success. I'm looking for a flat table tablet, and see not a big difference of price between the Intuos Pro and Cintiq 13HD for same active area. I decide to use the Cintiq 13HD has hybrid: like a traditional tablet mapped at a external 1920x1080p screen and sometime looking at the embedded and mirrored screen (1080p too). It works. The tablet has good luminosity, delicious pixel density ( 1080p for 13'', very thin details ). the stylus is the best of what Wacom ever made: solid and ergonomic the pear-shape was soften to keep only the best. The tablet still has problems: Very large connector and cable; looking like a drank designer made it. This part of the tablet is so much a shame you can't see it on the marketing photos. The buttons of the tablets are too hard to press, and are decorated with relief that hurt the finger. Four buttons and a ring; the same as an old Bamboo. Around the glass, a bevel where the hair of the arm always get stuck. The parallax (distance of glass and pixel on screen) is much better than on 22HD or 21UX.  Unfortunately, this tablet was stolen in the burglary of my house. I bought a new one after that, same model, more psychological to recover what I had before the burglary than because I'm fonding off this model.

2017: Huion WH1409

After watching reviews and low price, I get tempted by playing with the large Huion WH1409. No support on GNU/Linux, no driver, but I found a way to get it to work. Surprisingly, this tablet hit a sensitive point in my nostalgic quest to find an equivalent to my old Intuos3: similar coating of the active area and large. The buttons of the tablet are probably the best I tested: almost like a flat keyboard. But the experience on GNU/Linux is not fully optimal, and I have no idea how many time this model will last.



  Adrienne Gaye Thompson - Reply

David, do you get the feel of drawing on paper with the Huion or does it feel like you're drawing on glass?


  David REVOY OP , - Reply

Hi, Huion ( for the WH1409 , I never tested the other one ) has a smooth overlay. It's very far from a paper texture. It's not smooth as glass; but it is sort of non-glossy plastic smooth. Mostly feeling like mate-aluminium smooth. You can hear a very subtle "Shhhhhh" when sliding finger on it , not similar effect than doing same thing with glass or glossy plastic and getting rubber-scream sounds.

If I had to make a chart for smoothness of overlay, I'll do something like that:

Ultra smooth => Glass screen tablets/smartphone
Glass smooth => Cintiq 21UX with peeled plastic overlay
Very smooth => All cintiqs in general with default overlay
Smooth => Huion WH1409 default overlay
Ideal smooth (for me) => Intuos 3 default overlay
Soft grain => coating of non-glossy LCD monitors most of the time ( too bad I can't draw on it)
Grainy => Intuos 4 default overlay
Ultra grainy => Intuos 4 Extra large transparent plastic overlay

After a very small week at home, the Huion WH1409 feels already slightly too smooth. I trimmed a little bit the tip of the stylus with sand paper (gently, subtle, not a full flat ) ; with this I added more surface and contact between the tip and the overlay of tablet. It improves the feeling a bit.

I hope my answer will help you!


  Adrienne Gaye Thompson - Reply

Thank you David, that did help. I think I'll try the Huion WH1409. Got lots of artwork planned down the road. I've seen some postings that recommend the Huion over the Cintiq - and not just because of price.


  David REVOY OP , - Reply

Good to see Huion getting serious. It might shake a bit Wacom to finally have a competitor after 20 years of monopoly on professional tablets. It will boost them to keep innovations on prices and be less tempted to play the planned obsolescence on their product , or part of their product. Eg. with Intuos4 in 2008 ; where this new tablet model was eating nibs and overlay surface like mad. Wacom finally changed the overlay of original Intuos4 (from 2008) in 2010 with this message: … nib%20wear , ending the petition.


  Adrienne Gaye Thompson - Reply

I have the impression that your favourite was the Intuos4. What made you switch to the Huion?


  David REVOY OP , - Reply

My favorite is the Intuos3 large A4. But I couldn't fix it anymore: Wacom removed from their e-shop the overlay and stylus.
An Intuos3 stylus is almost 100€ now (and not new). I had to replace the stylus: the string for the pressure system started to be tired, and the pressure was very flat. Also, all soft rubber parts started to be old and broken. My Intuos 3 overlay had too many scratch. I tried many DIY overlays: with acrylic plastic home sanded, or decorative adhesive plastic bought in DIY shops. But it wasn't good enough.
I saw the Intuos4 had the same treatment: overlay disapearing from the Wacom shop, stylus getting sticky plastic, and price growing to change parts. Intuos Pro large cost 529€ here ( ref: ) and needs a very recent distribution for the GNU/Linux driver to work ( I'm not even sure it's ported already). Also, as you can see on the picture of the product : the overlay of the tablet is now something you can't remove. If you have a scratch , you need to change all the tablet. Of course, they claim to get a new material, aluminium-like ; put in my years with tablet I know every material always end with a scratch. Cintiqs, Intuos, or even smartphone/tablet. The active surface is also smaller than the Huion : 31,1cm large.
The Intuos Pro has a very low difference of price with the Cintiq 13HD ( 749€ , ref: ) . For 220€ more you get same size ( active width) and a screen built-inside. So I bought this one. Cintiq 13HD works fine, and I used it in Hybrid mode: flat as a tablet , mapped to my 1080p screen in clone. So I could use it as a tablet, or look on the desk and use it as a Cintiq. But 90% of time, I was looking at my screen. In April, my house had a burglary ( … een-robbed ) and they stole the 13HD on my desk , thinking it was probably a Android tablet... So, I had to buy something new.
With lower budget this time, knowledge I'm not needing Cintiq ; I turned to test the Huion ; risking the GNU/Linux driver to be non-existent. I'm also planning to buy again the Cintiq13HD soon, but this is more a symbolic thing after the burglary ; A deep part of me still wants to recover "my" objects. I'll see when a second-hand one will get a lower price, and when I'll have the budget :-)
That's all why I have this Huion WH1409 now.


  Adrienne Gaye Thompson - Reply

So sorry to hear about the robbery. I'll be watching to see how your Huion matches up with the Cintiq. I'm busy working on budgets too. Best of luck David!

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