If I set a segment to, say ‘Filters’, then clicking this will pop up a new Radial Menu where you can set your eight most-often used filters. Or you could take it even further, by setting a filter category rather than a single filter, which will then pop up a third Radial Menu containing filters from just that category.
Different functions can be set for each set of Express Keys, mounted on both sides of the tablet
Using the Radial Menus isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds, though, since the Cintiq’s preferences don’t have access to application menus directly: they can only trigger basic commands, and further settings have to be achieved through simulating keystrokes. In Photoshop, this means you’ll have to set up custom keystrokes to trigger each filter you want to use, remember the strokes, and then copy them into the Cintiq’s control panel.
The mapping of the stylus to the screen is clean and precise, with none of the juddering at the corners that plagued some earlier Cintiq models – and it's possible to recalibrate the alignment through a simple two-step process. For detailed work, you can set one of the Express Keys to enter Precision Mode, so the full monitor area is used to operate on just a quarter of the screen size. This takes some getting used to, but it’s a good solution when precision is paramount.
The new Grip Pen
The Cintiq 21UX comes with a new Grip Pen that features 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, rotation sensitivity – particularly good for manipulating 3D models – and a set of spare tips. A recess in the back of the tablet is intended to hold multiple pens for easy access, but a design flaw here means that it can’t be used at any but the steepest monitor angle, and even then it’s too small to prevent the pens from falling out.
So, you don't like that your hand gets in front of the work and that it's not widescreen? I'd hate to see your review of paper.
Also, complaining that this wouldn't make a good primary monitor is like complaining that a Ferrari makes a lousy daily driver. And your comment that it 'might' make sense for 'old school artists looking to transition' is absurd. It's a vastly superior way to interact with drawings; if you're not working directly on paper/canvas/dog's hide then it's the next best thing whether you're an old school, new school, or middle school artist.
This is a tool for people who will use it constantly; your UI gripes are reasonable, but again, difficulty of setup isn't a dealkiller for people who will think, live, and breathe it.
So, just like paper then...
"there’s also the perennial problem that my hand, inevitably, gets in the way of the design."
Have you ever used a pencil and paper?! I thought the whole point was to create a more natural interface for artists?
Shame it's so insanely expensive.
WS vs 4:3
I find WS too big if it's 1600 lines.
Many WS laptops and screens lack height resolution. 1200 vs 768, 1024 or 1080 makes a big difference.
I welcome it being a 4:3. Especially if you want a 2nd screen.
This is an interactive drawing board. When did you ever see a Wide Screen Drawing board?
The advantage of a light pen is of course anti-aliasing. Inherently a light pen works at lower than screen resolution and a touch panel with orientation and pressure stylus can work at higher resolution.
I think this is excellent for serious Artists, slightly less useful for regular CAD and not a good idea at all for people doing only occasional photo editing and no drawing/CAD.
It's a nice tool for professionals in addition to a regular screen, even maybe an addon to serious laptop.
I'd image that the choice of a 4:3 aspect ratio is that it's closer to the traditional photographic sizes than 16:9 widescreen. If fact, I can't think of any professional stills cameras that shoot in 16:9, although I do have a Fuji point & shoot in a drawer somewhere that had it as an option.
in defense of the hand
The idea of this tablet is not that it "replaces paper", but that it "replaces a tablet". And when one uses a tablet (I use a 12"x9" intuos), your hand does not get in the way of the work you're doing, because the input and the result are on different surfaces.
Going "back" to having your hands getting in the way of your art is a legitimate problem. One of the downsides of paper, as well as short brush media like aquarel, is that your tools (hand and arm included) obstruct part of your work while you're working on it. This is not a problem, but it's a minor inconvenience that tablets did away with. Cintiqs reintroduce that minor inconvenience, and as such is something to consider if you've been using a tablet for a while, and are considering the move to a "draw on your monitor" device.