Tag: Tablet

By November 21, 2013 Read More →

The best tablets for reading

tabsAs much as most people enjoy diving into a good book, dragging around heavy hardbacks is probably less high on their list of favourite things to do. Since e-readers burst onto the scene a few years ago many people have jumped onto the electronic trend, but with tablet technology becoming increasingly advanced, their multi-functionality means they might just be the best new book you buy. If you’re shopping around for tablets you can also use as an e-reader, here’s a run-down of some of your options.

Asus Google Nexus 7 (2013 Edition)

The latest edition of Google’s Nexus range has the highest resolution of any tablet to date, with a 7-inch Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array (WUXGA) screen that boasts dimensions of 1920×1200 pixels and a resolution of 323ppi. At 290g, it is 50 grams lighter than its predecessor, with double the RAM and a 15-hour battery life, so if you’re deep into that can’t-put-it-down novel, you won’t have to worry about sudden blackouts. Running on the Android operating system means it has flexible resolution handling, so different eBook or document files should all appear just as clearly.

Apple iPad (4th Generation)

The new generation of iPad comes with Apple’s trademarked Retina display, which at 264ppi is impressive, but not quite as impressive as the Nexus 7. Still, it does offer a larger screen at 10.1 inches, and the ease of zooming in and out might suit people who usually wear glasses to read. If your priority is convenient transportation, the compact, 7-inch iPad Mini offers all the same technology with a smaller screen size. The cheapest option of each model comes with 16GB of storage space as standard, but if you’re looking for more memory you can go up to 32 or even 64GB. Remember though, with the iBookstore you can download and delete books as you choose – they’ll always be saved for a re-download.

Samsung Galaxy Note

This chunky tablet comes in the same 10.1-inch size as the iPad, but with double the RAM, housing a powerful 2GB and a Quad Core Processor. While it also comes with 16GB of standard storage, the Note has a slot for a micro SD card that allows this to be easily expanded up to 64GB. The screen is not as sharp, with a resolution of 1280×800, but this is more than adequate for displaying text, and with a battery life just shy of 10 hours, it equals the iPad. However, the inclusion of a stylus pen that allows you to write on screen makes it handy for making notes while reading, so if you like to annotate your texts for your studies or book club, this will be ideal.

Sony Xperia Z Tablet

Although it’s slightly more expensive than the other options, Sony’s Xperia Z has one major advantage – not only over other tablets, but also traditional books. It’s water-resistant; so all those prone to knocking over glasses or reading in the bathtub can breathe easily with this in their hands. It has a large 10.1-inch display, with a resolution of 1920×1200, 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage space. Compared to the other 10.1-inch tablets, it’s almost 100g lighter, and is also the thinnest on the market, but still has everything you need inside.

Posted in: Editorial, Tablets
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By October 5, 2013 Read More →

Lenovo ideatab A3000 unboxing video

Lenovo ideatab A3000 unboxing video imagesWith so many Android tablets on the market at the moment it can be hard to make a choice between them and with various sizes, various prices and various manufacturers it has become a bit of a mine field.

When making a choice, many consumers will opt for the brands that they recognise but all too often this can result in having to pay premium prices. That doesn’t have to be the case though and perhaps with the Lenovo ideatab range there is something of a compromise to be found.

Lenovo have a great reputation in the PC market and not too long ago set their sites more firmly on the consumer market. There are now a few tablets in the Lenovo range and we’ll be taking a look at them all over the coming weeks.

We’re starting here with our Lenovo ideatab A3000 unboxing video, where we look at what’s included with the tablet, tour around the hardware and demo some of the features of the device.

The A3000 that we have for review is the WiFi only version. This has a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB ram, 4GB rom and 7-inch 1024×600 display. There’s also a 3G version available and even a dual-sim model too.

So check out our unboxing below and we’ll have the review for you soon as well.

By October 4, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 7 arrives on Three

Nexus 7 arrives on ThreeThose wishing to pick up the new Nexus 7 have another option to get their hands on the device on contract from Three here in the UK.

Featuring the world’s highest resolution 7-inch display with over 2.3 million pixels, the new Nexus 7 is now available to buy on Three in-store.

The Nexus 7 is available for £199.99 as a WiFi only tablet. Or you can combine the Nexus 7 (2013) with a pocket-sized Huawei E5220 MiFi. This creates a portable Wi-Fi hotspot and gives you the freedom to connect your tablet to Three’s award-winning network to stay in touch when out and about.

Building on the success of its predecessor, the Nexus 7 is thinner, lighter and faster and the first device to run the latest Android 4.3 operating system. A powerful quad-core processor also allows people to smoothly switch between apps, tracks, games and maps for instance.

Dual stereo speakers and surround sound add finely tuned, rich and immersive audio to your music and with built-in wireless charging, you can simply charge it whilst on the go*.

Sylvia Chind, head of devices at Three, said: “The Nexus 7 has incorporated the latest technologies into an affordable tablet that is fast and looks impressive. The new lightweight design and wireless charging means you can take it out and about with ease. Combined with a MiFi it’s a great tablet option to make the most of downtime when commuting, whether that’s catching up on work emails or simply playing your favourite game.”

The Huawei E5220 MiFi is available for a one-off upfront cost of £29.99 on a one-month rolling contract at £15.99 per month including 5GB of data or from £49.99 on Pay As You Go with 1GB of data pre-loaded.

Key features:

  • The world’s sharpest 7-inch tablet screen
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Android 4.3
  • Thinner, lighter and faster than the previous Nexus 7
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon™ processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Wireless charging

*Wireless charging plate sold separately

By September 30, 2013 Read More →

iPad 5 leaked images and video

iPad 5 leakedWe’re expecting an Apple event sometime in October where we’ll get to see the new iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2. However, if you are as impatient as we are you’ll be pleased to know that images and hands on videos of the anticipated next-gen iPads have already leaked out.

The iPad 5 leaked images and video appear to show just the aluminium back panels of the new iPads but do also reveal that the iPad 5 will be smaller, thinner and lighter than the iPad 4 and seems to be a slightly different form fact too. The iPad Mini 2 appears to be pretty much the same size and shape as the existing mini so expect all the changes to be on the inside!

Both the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 are expected to feature the same fingerprint scanner as featured on the new iPhone 5s as well as updated cameras but neither appears to reveal a built-in flash.

The hope from us us that we’ll see a retina display on the iPad Mini 2 as well as improved battery life and CPU performance on both models. I suspect that both will have the new A7 chip in there too.

So check out the video from SW-BOX.COM below and see if that give you an appetite for some new Apple tablet goodness!

Posted in: News, Tablets
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By September 30, 2013 Read More →

About that Galaxy Note 10.1

Galaxy Note 10.1We heard rumours a while back this tablet was to be canned. However, it seems less likely now. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition will become available on October 10th, and the 16GB version will start at $549.99. The 32GB model is only $50 bucks more at $599.99, and both models are the WiFi only version. Here’s the full press release after the break:

Posted in: Tablets
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By September 29, 2013 Read More →

Kindle Fire HDX announced

Kindle Fire HDX announcedFor months we have seen rumour upon rumour  regarding the next-generation Kindle-Fire HD products. Now Amazon decided to quell all of the speculation and innuendo with a full, official reveal, albeit Stateside only for the moment. One of the most surprising new additions to the line-up is that they have revamped their “skinned” version of Android and now have their own name for the customized OS. They call it, Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito.” We will do a separate article with more details on this new development.

In the mean-time, here’s the full skinny on their new tablet products.

Posted in: Tablets
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By September 27, 2013 Read More →

Nokia Tablet Launch on October 22?

Nokia Tablet on its way?Nokia have been in the news quite a lot recently with Microsoft buying their mobile unit and the popularity of the Lumia 1020, could it be that Nokia are beginning to bounce back?

The answer could well be yes if the Wall Street Journal’s sources are to be believed. According to them, Nokia will be releasing 6 new Lumia phones, running Windows Phone 8 and possible some other more entry level S40 based devices.

Perhaps the most interesting though is the long-awaited Nokia tablet, code-named “Sirius,” that is also expected to be announced alongside this raft of new smartphones. This is likely to be called the Nokia Lumia 2520, and will take the form of a 10.1-inch Windows RT device.

The product blitz to be unveiled in Abu Dhabi Oct. 22, will include several Lumia smart devices that run Microsoft’s Windows phone platform, and lower-end devices based on Nokia’s S40 software, these people said. Nokia’s first tablet device will also debut, and will run Windows 8 software.

This news come just days after Microsoft’s Surface 2 announcement and is expected to cost around the same as the current Apple iPad models but with the new iPad 5 expected to be announced soon too Nokia may have a tough time realising the sales potential of the Lumia 2520.
Posted in: News, Phones, Tablets
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By August 15, 2013 Read More →

Tablets vs. Laptops: The Pros and Cons

With the rise of tablet sales in the market today, there’s an ongoing debate about what type of computing device is better, a tablets or laptops. This year, manufacturers are seeing a huge increase in sales for smart devices, including tablets and smartphones, while laptop sales are declining.

In March, CampusTechnology.com reported that smart devices hit one billion sales. It also projected that by 2014, tablet shipments will surpass portable PC shipments. But does that make the tablet better than the laptop?

This ongoing Tablets vs. Laptops debate means a lot to consumers and helps fuel their decisions when purchasing new devices. So get ready to join the debate and come along on our journey as we explore the pros and cons of both tablets and laptops. After you get a better understanding of each device, you can decide on your own which one wins the debate and claims the title of “The Better Device.”


Tablets vs. Laptops

Believe it or not, the history of tablet computers reaches as far back as the 1800s. In 1888, someone had already picked up the patent for an electronic tablet, but it wasn’t until the 1980s when the first companies started using commercial tablets. But wait. Aren’t tablets fairly new?

Although the technology has been around for a long time, 2010 marks the year that they really started becoming popular among consumers. So is it the new popularity that makes them better, or do they really perform better? Let’s take a look.


Portability: One of the biggest advantages that tablets have over laptops is that they’re more portable. Since they come without a keyboard, they’re easily thinner, and many of the bigger tablets only reach about a 10-inch screen width. With laptops, it’s hard to find devices with a screen smaller than 12 inches. This small size makes them a lot lighter, sometimes less than a pound, and easier to transport. Plus, tablets boast long battery lives, many lasting 10 hours or more with normal use. A good laptop only has about a seven hour battery life.

Function: With portability comes a number of various tablet PC uses. Today, people enjoy the luxury of a tablet’s portability, and they use them in a number of settings. Let’s look at how different people use tablets.

  • Students take handwritten notes in class
  • Designers transfer tablet drawings into software programs
  • Business people take notes during meetings
  • DJs use them during shows to mix music
  • Regular consumers read books straight off the device

Price: Tablets also win over laptops on price. Some tablets start as low as $200 while many sit in the $500 range. The lowest end of laptops start around $300, but you could up pay over $1,000 for a top-of-the-line model.


Durability: While the small, slim appearance of a tablet aids in its portability, it does little for durability. When compared to laptops, a tablet is much less durable, and because their parts aren’t standardized yet like most laptop computers are, they’re also expensive to repair.

Memory: Compared to a laptop, tablets far fall behind when it comes to memory. Today, tablets only come with 64 GB of memory maximum. Most laptops feature 10 times the memory. With tablets, you have to be more careful about what you store on your device whereas you rarely have to store files externally with a laptop’s massive hard drive.



While it may seem that laptop computers have been around longer than tablets, the history of the portable computer really only dates back to the 1970s. Portable computers have been popular since the 80s, slowly evolving into the fairly compact yet capable devices we have today. Let’s see what makes them great and where their drawbacks lie.


Multitask Ability: One huge complaint that comes along with tablets is that it’s hard to multitask on them, but you won’t see those complaints with laptops. Laptops make it easy to switch between programs, so you can research online while working on a slide show or word document. Some new laptops even allow you to compare windows side-by-side to help you get things done faster and more efficiently.

Sharp Display: Laptops usually have an advantage to tablets when it comes to a clear display. The average notebook features a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution while some of the top tablets only feature a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.

Accessories: A 2012 survey found that nearly half of consumers prefer a full QWERTY keyboard to touchscreen, number pad, and voice command features on their smartphone. If people love their QWERTY keyboard on their smartphone, think about how much they love their physical keyboard on their laptop compared to the virtual keyboard on a tablet.

Most people would agree that you can type faster and more accurately with a laptop. When it comes to navigating your device, the accessories that come along with a laptop, including the keyboard and the mouse, win out when compared to a tablet, making a laptop a bit easier to use.


Size: While people generally prefer a bigger screen when working on projects, the whole point of a laptop is to be able to carry it with you and work on-the-go. Compared to tablets, laptops are much less convenient in this aspect. Some laptops weigh up to nine pounds, although some get down to three pounds. Plus, they’re generally a lot wider and thicker, making their size a bit more of an annoyance to carry around.

Longevity: Laptops really don’t last a long time. To begin with, most laptop batteries only last about seven hours, but as you continue using them, that battery life can quickly drop to just a few hours. But it doesn’t end there. Most manufacturers design laptops to only last three to five years before they start having serious issues and you need to replace them.

It’s clear that there are some great benefits and some drawbacks to each, but now that you know what each device has over the other, which one do you think is “The Better Device?”

Posted in: Editorial, Laptops, Tablets
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By November 2, 2011 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 ReviewWe have been waiting for what seems like years for a tablet that Samsung have promising and finally it is here, all 10.1″. The tablet has arrived amidst a barrage of controversy. Luckily, we are in the UK and have been unaffected by Apple’s attempts to murder the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 at birth.

King of Android tablets, iPad clone, Galaxy Tab successor or expensive prettiness the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is could be a lot of things, and here we hope to work out just what exactly it is and if it’s really worth your time and money.


Posted in: Reviews, Tablets
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By October 19, 2008 Read More →

Wacom Cintiq 12WX Review

What do you get if you cross a graphics tablet with an LCD monitor? The answer is the Wacom Cintiq range.

In this particular case the Cintiq 12WX a 12″ widescreen monitor blended with a Wacom graphics tablet.

So after the Bamboo Fun review the other week, how is this one going to fair.

Wacom Cintiq 12WX

The Wacom Cintiq 12WX


What’s in the box?

  • Cintiq 12WX Pen Display
  • Video Control Unit
  • Grip Pen
  • Pen Stand
  • Replacement Pen Nibs
  • DVI, VGA, USB, and Power Cables
  • Power Adapter
  • User Manual
  • Installation CD
  • Adobe® Photoshop® Elements (6.0 WIN / 4.0 MAC) for editing, retouching, enhancing, organizing, and sharing digital photos
  • Corel® Painter™ Essentials 4.0 for creating natural media art and turning photos into paintings



Wacom are well known and well respected in the field of graphics tablets. They have, relatively recently, started doing a range called Cintiq where a LCD and a graphics tablet are combined into a single object. The obvious upside of this is that you are literally drawing onto the screen just like painting or drawing with a brush or pencil onto paper. This means there is much less technology between you and your work.

The first thing that struck me with the box is that it was larger than I thought it would be, especially as some people were talking about using this as a portable unit to go with their laptop.

But anyway, let’s unpack it all.

First off you come across the Cintiq display itself, very pretty :D . It’s immediately obvious that the Cintiq is an extension of the Intuos 3 range, the casing is very similar to the A5 Intuos 3. The big difference is the LCD that is laid into the middle of the unit.

As you can see from the full specs below, that screen is 10.3″x6.4″, 1280×800 pixels and supports 24bit colour depth.

As you can see there are a group of 5 buttons to both the left and the right of the LCD. The large ‘bar’ on the outside of these buttons is actually a slider sensor, which is very useful for scrolling or zooming your images. All of these buttons can be reconfigured to commonly used ‘modifier’ keys that you are likely to want to use whilst you are in your programs.

Underneath the display there is a fold out stand that will hold the Cintiq at a more comfortable working angle, but if you prefer to use the unit flat or in your lap, then just fold it back in, it tucks away very neatly.

Wacom Cintiq 12WX

Cintiq Stand


The only connection on display is at the back/top and this goes to the Video Control Unit. Basically the power and the computer video signals coming to the display go into this box as does the USB connection and then a single cable runs to the display. I think they’ve done this to try and minimise the amount of cables you are dragging around if you are moving the display whilst working. The buttons on the Video Control Unit allow you to change the settings on the monitor just as you would on any display, things like contrast, brightness, colour temperature – all the normal controls.

Mac users should be aware that if they have the mini-dvi connector then they will need to get an adaptor to use this product as the included cables will only connect to either VGA or DVI-I.


cintiq_box_back cintiq_box_front

Cintiq Video Control unit


The pen has a little stand and some replacement nibs for when you wear the one in the pen down :D . Like most tablet pens it has a nib and an eraser – in this case both have 1024 pressure sensitivity levels.


Centiq tablet pen

There are also a couple of pieces of art software included – Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 and Corel Painter Essentials 4.0


Wacom Cintiq 12WX Specification:


  • Overall dimensions: 16″ wide x 10.5″ high x .67″ depth
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs. with video control unit
  • Data port: USB
  • Graphics input: Analog RGB (HD 15pin) or digital DVI (29 pin)
  • Display connector: Proprietary DFP – DVI-I on video control box
  • Display adapters included: DVI-I to VGA, DVI-I to DVI-D
  • Stand adjustability: Flat on desktop, 25°to 60°
  • Rotation: 360° flat position on pivot
  • Mounting hole pattern: VESA 75mm
  • Power supply input: 100-240 VAC 50-60 Hz
  • Power supply output: 12 VDC 3.3A
  • Warranty: 2 years



  • Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Screen size: 12.1″ diagonal
  • Display area: 10.3″ wide x 6.4″ high
  • Native resolution: WXGA (1280×800)
  • Total pixels: 1,024,000
  • Number of colours: 16.7 million
  • Pixel pitch: 0.204mm x 0.204mm
  • Brightness: 180 cd/m2
  • Contrast ratio: 600:1
  • Viewing angle: 85°/85° H, 85°/85° V
  • Color management: ICC profile, 6500° K whitepoint default
  • Color management control: DDC/CI



  • Technology: Patented electromagnetic resonance method
  • Resolution: 5080 lines per inch
  • ExpressKeys: 10 user-assignable
  • Touch Strips: 2 finger-sensitive, front mounted



  • Type: Pressure-sensitive, cordless, battery-free
  • Switches: Tip switch, 2 side switches, eraser
  • Pressure levels: 1,024
  • Tilt range: +/- 60°
  • Grip: Latex-free silicone rubber
  • Model: ZP-501ESE
  • Nibs included: 3 standard, 1 stroke, 1 felt
  • Optional pens: 6D Art Pen, Airbrush, Classic



Having had a play with the Bamboo Fun before this I was looking forward to seeing one of Wacom’s more professionally targeted devices to see how they compare.

Straight out of the box this is a much slicker looking unit (as it should be for the price difference). It’s immediately obvious that the Cintiq 12WX has benefited from Wacom’s experience with their Intuos range of products. The buttons placed on either side mean that the device is equally suitable for left or right handed users, the stand allows people that want to have a tilted display to work that way without having to find something on the desk to rest it on, and the single cable at the top of the unit means that you can turn and twist the display to a position that is best for you whilst you work, without having to worry about yanking lots of cables around the desk. You won’t believe how thin the display is until you have it in your hands either :D

The unit is straight forward to setup – you connect the Video Control Unit (VCU) to the PC with either a VGA or DVI-I connection and a USB cable, you then plug the power into the VCU – then finally the display connects on other side of the VCU with a single custom cable. Drivers are included on the CD, though the first thing I always do with this sort of thing is download new drivers.

The display can be set as primary monitor or as a secondary monitor (or third or fourth I suppose for those with multi card setups) – personally I connected it to the DVI-I output of my graphics card and set it up as a secondary monitor, extending the desktop.

The first thing to do is to go into the driver setup and realign the pen – this asks you to click on some crosses on the screen so that it can check the pen alignment with the screen position (more on this later). All nicely lined up, let’s get going.

I booted up my favourite art package, created a new document and started doodling. Instantly this was a different experience to the Bamboo of the other week or my other cheap tablet. The most obvious point is that because the monitor is part of the display you feel that you are interacting directly with the screen, it is suddenly just like normal drawing or painting as the pen appears to lay ‘ink’ into the screen. The pen moves smoothly over the display without much resistance, but enough to let you sense the resistance to your pen pressure – very nice.

Wacom Cintiq WX12 quick demo video

The real difference for me was the way the pen performed – it was doing exactly what I wanted it to. This seems like an obvious thing to say really, but it makes all the difference for art work. With other tablets I’ve used the sensitivity of the pen just hasn’t been high enough to sense subtle differences in the pressure that I applied, meaning that whilst the location was usually fine I couldn’t predict the weight of the line I was drawing. With the Cintiq 12WX it claims 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and whilst I can’t exactly check that, I can confirm that it is a completely different quality to anything I’ve used before.

The tablet underneath the screen has a rating of 5080 lines per inch, so accuracy of the position of the pen is never going to be a problem either.

The ExpressKey buttons on each side of the display can be reassigned to various functions – the neatest of which, I found, was flipping between monitors so that the pen was now controlling my primary display. This meant that I could put all my pen tools on one screen and just the drawing area on the Cintiq.

The screen of the 12WX is 1200×800 pixels, which some people may think is too small but personally I found it fine once I’d pushed my tools onto the primary display area. The slider control then let me zoom in and out of the images, whilst a quick press of an ExpressKey let me drag the image about. The screen being the size it is means that the sensor is about an A5 size, which I found very comfortable to work with, things were never that far away so at no point was I having to make huge hand movements.

All of which made for a very pleasant experience.

Like most graphics tablet pens the 12WX pen has a nib and an eraser, which in actual fact are just detected as 2 different pens within most packages so you can make the eraser function as something else if you prefer. A quick flip of the pen and you can rub out your mistakes – or being on a computer just a quick CTRL-Z :D

I really enjoyed using the Cintiq 12WX, but I did run into a one small hiccup whilst using the display.

When you realign the pen you are realigning it based on your drawing position at the time of clicking on the little crosses. If you move your position or the tablet then you are no longer aligned up quite the same way – this is because of the plastic surface between the pen nib and the LCD surface. It’s there for the protection of the LCD surface, but that thickness means that the pen nib is never quite ‘touching’ the LCD display, so as you manoeuvre the tablet around or you shift in your chair you are changing the angle you are looking at the screen through this plastic, which changes the perceived alignment slightly.

It’s only a few millimetres of plastic but it does affect the viewing angle slightly. It means that every time you (or anyone else for that matter) sit down to use the tablet your position will be slightly different to last time, so you will need to realign the pen again, and if you do end up twisting the display  to get a better drawing angle, then you will likely need to realign again.

For me this became a frustration.

This may be just me though, as I’ve seen lots of online videos of people very happily drawing away with their Cintiq’s (and with far more skill than me I should add).

Matt also had a chance to play with the Cintiq for a little while. Matt had a chance to use the tablet to do some photo editing for touching up and background removal. He found that using a tablet drastically reduced the amount of time that these tasks take and made many of the edits he was making much easier to achieve than using a mouse.

Matt also decided to use his creative flair and although, by his own admission, he is no artist managed to achieve some great results as you can see from the painting he did below.


Matt’s painting of Walt Disney



  • viewing angle of the monitor is excellent
  • pen sensitivity is excellent



  • alignment became frustrating for me personally



I really do like the 12WX, but my frustration with the alignment led to me try using the display as a traditional tablet to draw on my primary monitor. I was much happier working this way as I wasn’t visually expecting the pen and the display to be aligned, I just watched the cursor position. So personally, I think I’d get an Intuos 3 – but I can certainly understand the appeal of the Cintiq 12WX, and if you are getting a tablet then I would certainly recommend trying the Cintiq 12WX to see what you think.


Review by: Iain

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