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iPad Pro vs Cintiq (2020): How The Cheaper Cintiq 16 Beat Out The iPad Pro

Apple has shaken the drawing tablet industry with its new release, the iPad Pro. Some even claim it’s even better than Wacom’s line of Cintiq drawing tablets. However, Wacom has since released the Cintiq 16, an entry-level drawing tablet at a price point that puts it in direct competition with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd Gen). If you’re an aspiring designer looking for a drawing tablet to try out, read on to find out which of the two tablets might be a good fit for you and why the Wacom Cintiq 16 may come out on top. 

iPad Pro vs Cintiq Comparison Chart

ModeliPad ProCintiq 16
 Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd Gen)Wacom Cintiq 16
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at Verizon.com

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at Walmart.com

Screen Size12.9 inches15.6 inches
Screen Resolution2732 x 2048 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels
Screen InteractionTouchscreen and StylusStylus only
Stylus Apple PencilWacom Pro Pen 2
Adobe Creative Cloud CompatibleNoYes

Screen Size and Resolution

The iPad Pro boasts a higher resolution screen measured at 12.9 inches diagonally, while the Cintiq 16 has a larger 15.6-inch screen with a lower screen resolution.

iPad Pro vs Cintiq Screen Size and Resolution
The Cintiq 16 has a larger screen albeit with a significantly lower resolution.

The most noticeable difference between the two devices is their size.  The iPad Pro is significantly slimmer and sleeker with a smaller screen measured at 12.9 inches. The Cintiq 16, on the other hand, has a larger screen measured at 15.6 inches diagonally. While the difference in screen size isn’t too staggering, the difference in screen resolutions is. 

The iPad Pro boasts a drastically higher resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels as compared to the Cintiq 16 that has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This low screen resolution makes the Cintiq 16 seem a little dated and makes it lose its screen size advantage. Fortunately, creatives seem to like the semi-matte finish of the Cintiq 16 screen.

Stylus

Wacom’s battery-free stylus wins out over the Apple Pencil for its speed and responsiveness.

iPad Pro vs Cintiq Stylus
Both the Apple Pencil and Wacom stylus are fast and responsive.

Artists and graphics designers prefer the Wacom Pro Pen 2, despite it being noticeably chunkier than the Apple Pencil. Wacom was able to master its electromagnetic resonance technology that allows their stylus to work so well. It’s fast and responsive when used on design apps. However, due to how the screen elements were layered in the tablet, there seems to be a noticeable gap the stylus tip and the cursor. 

The Wacom Pro Pen 2 also features buttons that allow the user easy access to customized shortcuts that negates the need for you to keep reaching for your keyboard. Another of Cintiq’s advantages is that the screen only recognizes the stylus which prevents any accidental finger or screen touches while you’re working. 

However, this is not to say that the Apple Pencil doesn’t work well. It interacts seamlessly with the iPad Pro, possibly even better than how the Wacom Pro Pen 2 works with the Cintiq 16.

Hardware

The iPad Pro is more self-contained and wireless, which is a stark contrast to the Cintiq 16 that needs an octopus-like breakout cable.

iPad Pro vs Cintiq Hardware
The Cintiq 16 requires a breakout cable for all its connections.

As far as hardware goes, the iPad Pro outshines the Cintiq 16 in that it is essentially wireless. In contrast, the Cintiq 16 requires a messy breakout cable that it relies on for power, HDMI, and USB connections. This limits where you can use the Cintiq 16, especially if you’re planning on using it on the go.

In its defense, however, the Cintiq 16 does have some thoughtful design features such as retractable feet to help improve its viewing angle if you’re working on a desk. You also get a fabric loop on the side where you can slip your stylus in when you’re not using it.

Software

The iPad Pro still isn’t compatible with the widely used Adobe Creative Cloud suite, an advantage you’ll be able to find in the Cintiq 16.

iPad Pro vs Cintiq Software
The iPad Pro isn’t yet compatible with Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite which is its biggest disadvantage.

When it comes to drawing tablets and digital design, software compatibility is still one of the most important considerations to make. Unfortunately for the iPad Pro, Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite is still incompatible with iOS. They’ve promised a full version of Photoshop for iOS this year, but until then, the Cintiq 16 still wins this round. 

Verdict

Despite the iPad Pro being a robust drawing tablet, the Cintiq 16 emerges as the better choice for aspiring artists.

In terms of portability, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018) wins out for being significantly slimmer and lighter. However, when it comes to actually using these devices, the Wacom Cintiq 16 appears to be the more attractive choice. Aside from being affordable, using the Cintiq 16 is also a great way for aspiring artists and designers to get a feel of the hardware, software, and workflows that these professions call for.

FAQs

📌 Can iPad Pro replace Cintiq?

The iPad Pro can make the smaller Wacom Cintiq tablets, such as the Cintiq 13 HD Touch, obsolete given their performance and price. However, for many powerful graphic design applications, the Wacom Cintiq remains invaluable as an input device.

📌 Is the iPad Pro good for digital art?

Yes, the iPad Pro is an excellent choice for artists who create digitally no matter their skill level. They’re portable and powerful enough, and the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen is an impressive stylus that’s also great to use.

📌 Is the Cintiq 16 worth it?

The Wacom Cintiq 16 is a worthwhile budget drawing tablet for any artist who wants to move from a non-drawing screen tablet such as the Intuos.

📌 Does the Wacom Cintiq 16 need a computer?

Yes, the Wacom Cintiq 16 is a computer peripheral and not a standalone computer like the iPad Pro.

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Andy Mathews
Andy Mathews

Lead Editor at Compare Before Buying. Product researcher and tech enthusiast passionate about consumer products, comparison charts and surfing.