Wacom Cintiq 22HD Review

Wacom Cintiq 22HD Feature Image

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Are you worried about picking the right Cintiq for your needs? With such a big investment, you want to make sure it’s a perfect fit.

Making an informed decision doesn’t have to be a harrowing journey. In this Wacom Cintiq 22hd review, I’ll show you how.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Cintiq 22HD

Wacom Cintiq 22hd Review

It’s easy to become overconfident when you’re looking at deluxe products like the Cintiq 22HD.

While getting a Cintiq means excellent performance and minimal concerns in general, you need to keep a few things in mind.

Performance Needs

It may sound silly to bring up this point about the Cintiq 22hd, but it’s not only about the tablet itself. The most powerful tablets also require a powerful environment to reach their full potential.

If your other equipment isn’t up to par, there’s a bottleneck and you can’t a new Cintiq to completely make up for a lacking studio.

How You Work

The first question to ask yourself is whether you need touch functionality. The Cintiq 22hd is pen-only. If you’re used to Wacom’s multi-touch commands, this may be hard to adjust to. A Cintiq 22hd Touch will suit you better if you’re a touch power user.

Then there’s the size question. 22 inches is a practical size for most artistic needs. But if you want to work on really big things in full resolution, the Cintiq 27qhd is a better option.

On a similar note, if you don’t need a lot of space, a step down to a Cintiq 16hd is a good way to conserve money and space.

Presenting The Cintiq 22hd

It’s a massive step up from its predecessor, the Cintiq 21UX. Key improvements include 1080p resolution, widescreen aspect ratio, anti-glare coating, and better connections.

There’s not much competition when it comes to quality. Cintiq is the top of the food chain in the pen digitizer jungle. The only products that can outperform the Cintiq 22hd are other Cintiqs like the 27qhd and Cintiq Pro 24. If you’re a professional or serious artist, it won’t be a hard decision.

Wacom Monitor

Image Source

What’s In The Box

  • Cintiq 22HD pen display
  • Adjustable stand with display rotation and spring support
  • Grip Pen
  • Pen stand with nib remover and 10 extra nibs
  • AC adapter
  • DVI cable
  • USB cable
  • Installation CD
  • Quickstart guide


  • Designed for comfort
  • 16 customizable ExpressKeys
  • 5080lpi for excellent drawing accuracy
  • 1080p full HD resolution
  • Superb stand


  • The display may feel dim compared to smooth glass displays.
  • The Touch-Strips may feel a bit awkward.

All in all, the Cintiq 22hd shares most of its traits with other Wacom Cintiq pen displays.

Technical Specs


The whole device measures 25.6 x 15.7 inches and it’s 2.2 inches thick. So it’s quite a bit bigger than your typical 22-inch display, which is due to the oversized bezel and the controls around the frame.

Despite its size, it’s not that heavy, weighing in at 18.7 lbs including the stand.

It has a 21.5-inch H-IPS LCD monitor with an active area of 479 x 271 mm. This gives it a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

I find this aspect ratio more comfortable to work with, and it’s more convenient if you’re working with video.

Monitor Quality

The monitor itself is powerful, with a brightness of 210 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 900:1. It’s capable of producing up to 16.7 million colors, or 72% Adobe RGB gamut. So the definition is clear, although the matte finish reduces the intensity a bit.

With a response rate of 14ms and 5080 lpi drawing resolution, it’s really quick and precise.

Pen Details

The Grip Pen needs no cord or battery to work. It’s fitted with an ergonomic silicone grip and has two side switches and a tip switch for easy, comfortable use. There are 2048 pressure levels for both ends. It can sense about 60 levels of tilt up to 40 degrees.

Compared To The Cintiq 22hd Touch

The name tells you all you need to know. Other than the touch functionality, they’re the same.

Features & Benefits

Ergonomic Design

The wide bezel surrounding the display has a soft cover and it’s tapered for better comfort. I wish all drawing tablets had this design, because one of the most frustrating issues I’ve had over the years with is finding comfortable ways to rest my hand or forearm to reduce strain during long sessions.

Then there’s the stand. It’s a pretty elaborate design that lets you work at a variety of angles. Two spring-loaded levers let you raise and lower the angle of the stand in an instant with no effort. The left one takes it down, the right one brings it up.

Switching between comfortable angles makes those long work sessions more comfortable and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

The Display

Wacom Cintiq 22hd Display

Image by Travis Marks

One of the things that set Cintiq displays apart is the sheer quality of the monitor. The contrast and definition are very fine and the colors are vivid without being harsh on the eyes.

Its textured surface dims the screen a bit but it produces a more paper-like feel with good friction. If you’ve had problems with slipping in the past, you’ll love this feature.

It’s worth noting that as the nibs wear over time they may get sharp and scratch the surface, so it’s a good idea to get an additional screen protector.

When it comes to parallax, it’s still there but it’s subtle. Compared to cheaper pen displays it’s not worth mentioning. The display has a generous viewing angle of 178 degrees, so you can shift around and work on your lap or standing up without color distortions.

Although the parallax can become more significant around the edges when you work at higher angles, the adjustable stand should do away with that problem.

The Cintiq 22HD doubles as an extra monitor as well, both mirrored and extended. This makes referencing and editing a breeze. Thanks to the monitor toggle feature, you can even handle stuff on your main monitor via your Cintiq 22hd.

As for overall build quality, you can see that it’s built for longevity and peak performance. Everything is solid and firmly in place and the buttons have a balanced resistance.

There are vents all over the back to reduce heat, so it can take a fair amount of strain without running hot.

Compare this to the typical budget-friendly Cintiq alternatives, many of which are infamous for overheating or getting too uncomfortable to use.

Grip Pen And Accessories

The Grip Pen needs no cord or battery to work. It’s fitted with an ergonomic silicone grip to provide maximum comfort and dexterity.

There are two side switches and a tip switch for quick controls. The eraser end is just as sensitive and can double as other tools.If you’re used to Wacom tablets you’ll know what to expect.

2048 pressure levels isn’t a whole lot these days, but it’s enough for whatever you need it to do. The line resolution and tilt sensitivity provide a much more natural and versatile drawing experience than you’ll get with other brands.

There’s a simple stand for the pen, and it doubles as a container for spare nibs and pen accessories. You get six additional standard nibs, three felt nibs, and one stroke nib.

If you’re unhappy with the pressure levels or the lack of a pen case, I recommend that you get a Pro-Pen 2. Since you’re already making a big investment, the extra cost won’t make a significant difference, and it’s worth the added benefits of a better pen.

Keys And Controls

I love a good set of ExpressKeys, and the Cintiq 22hd gives you 16 of them. Eight on either side. They’re customizable to fit your needs, and they can even serve to toggle displays.

This way, you can interact with reference material such as video on a different monitor without having to move around. The center button lets you switch between touch strip functions.

What are the Touch Strips for? They’re like the ones beside the trackpad on many laptops. You run your finger along the strip to scroll or zoom.

They also let you cycle layers, change brush size, and rotate. You can toggle each strip’s functions independently. All controls can be mirrored for left-handed use.

One thing you may miss from certain other models is the control ring. There’s no touch ring or rocker ring at all on the Cintiq 22hd. But thanks to the numerous ExpressKeys and the Touch Strips, this isn’t really an issue. Plus, it’s a matter of preference, and I was never a big fan of the control rings.

So, all in all, the Cintiq 22hd has an average amount of controls but some innovative solutions that can improve your workflow. These set it aside from most of the competition. And with the Touch Strips and pen buttons, nothing important seems to be missing.


Cintiq 22hd Cable And Stand

If there’s one thing Cintiq users complain about, it’s the cable situation of many models. But unlike those winding chimeras, the Cintiq 22hd has a simple and convenient design.

There’s a ring in the middle where three cords come out. One is a USB for computer connections, one is a DVI for monitors, and the last one’s the power cord. The stand doesn’t interfere with the cords, which is something so many tablet designers get wrong.

In a worst case scenario where a cord would need replacement, you’ll be relieved by how easy they’ve made it. You can unscrew the ring and the panel underneath it, and you’ll have access to the cords and their sockets. It’s as easy as getting a replacement, unplugging the old one, and sticking the new one in.

So if you have a cat or dog that likes to chew on cords, or if your office has rats or clumsy employees, you can relax.

What Do Others Think About The Cintiq 22HD?

I used a Wacom Intuos for years and I upgraded to a Cintiq 22HD about 2 years ago and I’ll never regret it.

 – Linda Visser – Digital Artist (Art Of Nym)

You can see how easy it is to set the size of the brush with the touch strip at the back. This, the other ExpressKeys, and the fact that I don’t have to use external peripherals at all greatly contribute to the painting being completed as soon as possible

 – Krisztián Tejfel (Youtube Artist)

It’s just a hell of a lot of fun. I mean it’s totally different from working with a Wacom tablet, you know. Where you’re constantly feeling like you’re just manipulating and you’re using the undo buttons.

– Art of Wei (Youtube Artist)

Wacom Cintiq 22hd Alternatives

If you’re still not sure that the Cintiq 22hd is the best pen digitizer for you, here are some formidable alternatives and why you may want to choose them instead.

Wacom Cintiq 27qhd

Cintiq 2HD vs 27QHD

Image Source

If the Cintiq 22hd was a grizzly bear, the 27qhd would be a polar bear. It’s bigger, stronger, and more impressive in just about every way. In addition to the 2K/QHD resolution with over a billion colors, it’s both brighter and faster to respond. For serious artists, this is the best of the best.

  • Huge drawing area: A Cintiq 22hd is big, but there may be situations where it’s not big enough. This will never be an issue with the 27qhd. You can use multiple references without running out of space.
  • Superb Performance: Despite its higher demands, this is the best-performing and most lag-proof Cintiq pen display around.
  • Massive: Once you set this colossus up, it’s not going anywhere. And make sure your workspace is big enough for it.

When it comes to overall performance, nothing beats this beast. If you have the money to spare, I suggest that you get a Cintiq 27QHD.

Huion Kamvas GT-191

Huion Kamvas GT-191

Not everyone needs a Cintiq. There are good alternatives, and this is a top contender. Most key features are comparable, and the price is lower. So if you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a Wacom, consider the Kamvas GT-191.

  • Fast, sensitive drawing: With 8192 pressure levels and 5081lpi, it’s more precise than the Cintiq 22hd factory pen. And the 233pps report rate isn’t bad.
  • Competitive price: It’s hard not to love the pricing of Huion tablets compared to Wacom. The GT-191 is among the best Cintiq alternatives, yet not very pricey.
  • Simpler overall design: It lacks many signature features such as ExpressKeys, and the pen is very simple.

If you’re on a budget or don’t care too much for deluxe features, the Kamvas is a great choice.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 24

Wacom Cintiq Pro 24

1080p isn’t always enough for cutting-edge visual work these days. Enter the Cintiq Pro line. With 4k resolution and a 97% color gamut, this is the future. You get a bit more drawing area and less weight, and there’s a new cooling system.

  • Better monitor: The etched glass display is brighter and has less parallax.
  • A handy remote: They’ve removed the buttons for a sleeker design. Instead, you get a remote with 17 ExpressKeys.
  • A better pen: The Cintiq Pro 24 comes with a Pro-Pen 2, which is four times as sensitive.

Other than that, it’s close to the Cintiq 22hd in both pricing and performance. But it’s a more powerful and future-proof tablet.

For more great options, read our Cintiq alternatives article here.

Our Final Verdict

In summary, a Cintiq 22hd is a solid pen display that’ll serve you well if you’re looking to upgrade. It offers a nice balance of performance, reliability, and pricing when compared to other high-end Cintiq pen displays. There’s plenty of room for more or less all artistic needs, it’s precise and full HD, and it provides a comfortable way to work.

If you’re ready for a new, powerful Cintiq and you don’t need a huge 27qhd or Pro 24, the Cintiq 22hd is an ideal choice.

Wacom Cintiq 22hd Pinterest

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