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Alternatives to Wacom Cintiq Interactive Pen Displays That Won't Break Your Bank

Updated on August 1, 2014

Graphics Tablets like Wacom Cintiq

Wacom Citiq seemed to have no serious competition until the appearance of several similar pen displays that allowed people to take their drawing and designing to the next level without emptying their wallets completely. Cintiq is the unprecedented champion among these devices, but it is finally good to see some more than solid competition to these devices. Among these alternatives we have several devices manufactured by well-known brands to those who own and know a thing or two about graphics tablets, and these brands include Monoprice, Yiynova, Huion, UC Logic, and more.

Pen on display is definitely something that makes designing, drawing and editing much easier and for a professional designer, this is almost a must nowadays. However, not everyone can afford to buy a Wacom Cintiq tablet, which immediately means that a lot of people still use classic graphics tablets like Intuos, Bamboo, or some of the other great devices made by Wacom, Monoprice, Huion, and so on.

It's a good thing that pen displays are no longer as expensive as they used to be, and that Contiq has some serious competition. This is why there are many alternatives to Cintiq and many cheaper versions of Cintiq as well on the market. These are all great devices, but it is up to everyone to decide what they need and what suits them best. My choice was Yiynova, but all of these devices I have mentioned are definitely worth the asking price.

Let's first go over some alternatives before discussing the details though.

Photo credit: Creative Tools / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Bosto Kingtee 22HDX

Professional graphics tablet Bosto Kingtee 22HDX
Professional graphics tablet Bosto Kingtee 22HDX

Bosto on-screen digitizer tablets are relatively new on the market, and even though they do have ways to go, their devices are more than solid. Of course, it is unreasonable to expect a Cintiq for less than half its price, but other than a few shortcomings when compared to Wacom’s glorified digitizer, this device has everything one may need. In fact, most people who actually complained about this devices literally expected to open the Bosto box and pull out a Cintiq tablet.Anyway, when it comes to its specs, Bosto dons a nice and large 21.5 inch digital canvas, and that is a lot of space to work on. The pressure sensitivity is also top-notch at 2048 levels, which is something anyone who draws and designs professionally wants to have. The design of the device is pretty smooth and the stand it comes with has three different levels of tilt, so you can adjust it to how it best suits your needs. It can be connected to the computer via any of the available ports (HDMI, VGA, DVI, etc.) and you get all the drivers you need for it on a CD bundled with the device.When it comes to the pen, a lot of people will rejoice to know that this is one of the best and most comfortable out there. It requires no charging and no batteries, so it is light, and it is not tethered, which is a huge deal. The device has ten express buttons, so you can program your shortcuts the way they work for you best. Basically, Bosto Kingtee 22HDX is one of the biggest on-screen digitizers, and all thing considering, it is pretty cheap.


Huion Pen Display for Professionals

Huion Pen Display for Professionals - Graphics Monitor - GT-190 Righty
Huion Pen Display for Professionals - Graphics Monitor - GT-190 Righty

Huion is a solid brand of graphics tablets anyway, and this interactive display they make is another confirmation that this is a good company with great potential, and a possible competition for other brands of tablets. Anyway, this interactive display is relatively cheap and pretty good, and a lot of people seem to be more than happy with it.Huion interactive pen display allows you to work directly on its 19 inch surface that has the astounding 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Its tilt sensitivity is 45 degrees and it allows you to work freely and intuitively. For the asking price, this device is almost a giveaway, and for someone on a low budget, this may be it. The pen is also pretty good and fits nicely in hand, and all things considering this device has a lot going for it for a relatively small price when it comes to this kind of technology.


Monoprice 19-Inch TFT

Monoprice 19-Inch TFT, 2048 Levels, 5080 LPI, 16.7M Colors Interactive Pen Display Monitor (110707)
Monoprice 19-Inch TFT, 2048 Levels, 5080 LPI, 16.7M Colors Interactive Pen Display Monitor (110707)

Monoprice is known for producing good solid graphics tablets that are pretty affordable, and I had the opportunity to try several of those. They are really keen on releasing affordable devices, and have solid graphics tablets that cost as little as 50 bucks, which is pretty good for someone who is just starting out and looking for a beginner digitizer. When it comes to professional graphics on-screen displays, they do not disappoint either.Monoprice manages to offer a decent pen display for the price you would actually pay for a regular drawing tablet, and it may occur to some that this makes no sense. It doesn’t really, because this is a super cool inexpensive interactive display and a pretty large one at that.The sensitive display is 19 inches in size, and eve though it is TFT, it is remarkably good. The pressure sensitivity is its strong point as it has the top-notch 2048 levels which allows for great precision and control. Overall, this is something that cannot be found this cheap and this solidly made anywhere, so Monoprice takes the cake in making a fantastic value product someone with a lower budget should not miss.


Yiynova MSP19U+

Yiynova MSP19U+ Tablet Monitor,VESA Stand(Mac & Windows Solution)
Yiynova MSP19U+ Tablet Monitor,VESA Stand(Mac & Windows Solution)

Hands down the best thing after Cintiq in my personal experience, Yiynova somehow manages to pack a lot of great stuff for relatively little cash. Diagonally, we are talking about a 19 inch super-sensitive screen (2048 levels), a comfortable pen and overall outstanding responsiveness. The surface of the screen is not textured, which is about the only qualm someone who might have used Cintiq may have.Yiynova packs just about everything they can in an outstanding device that easily compares to most end of the line Wacom tablets, and that is not a small feat. Apart from the small annoyances that one may have with it, the device is amazingly responsive and definitely my personal favorite from this list.


Wacom Cintiq 13HD

Wacom Cintiq 13HD Interactive Pen Display (DTK1300)
Wacom Cintiq 13HD Interactive Pen Display (DTK1300)

Lastly, we have to mention that Wacom Cintiq 13HD is an excellent smaller alternative to its larger cousin. At 13.3 inches of size, the display is not small at all except for the ones who are used to working on larger displays. Cintiq is so far almost without serious competition, and in case you are not prepared to consider (I am not going to say risk) buying something else, this one is twice cheaper than the large Cintiq and about as good.Wacom still has the best pen and resolution, but if you are in for the display size, then you will not like this smaller Cintiq. Still, this surface is more than enough to achieve a lot, and if you want full Hd display, superb responsiveness and a Wacom pen, then this Cintiq is the best alternative to the large one.



Pen on display interactive tablets are the thing in designing and drawing now, but they do not come cheap. The thing is, if one wants to have one of these, they usually have to break the bank, which is exactly why some professional and semi-professional designers still stick to graphics tablets like Intuos and Bamboo. However, there are many alternatives now, and Wacom is definitely not the only brand that makes these fantastic pen displays.

Those above are only some of the best displays at the moment, and they are not only considerably more affordable, but remarkably solid as well. In fact, some of these (notably Yiynova) are outstanding devices that should not be neglected if you are considering an alternative to Cintiq. I am more than happy with Yiynova, for one.

Photo credit: jon_a_ross / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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