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First off, sorry for the delay… Life just got in the way and other matters took precedence, as it does.
Anyway, let’s start from the beginning… Who doesn’t like a good ‘ol ramble?
The Wacom Cintiq for most digital artists/creative people is one of those big expensive luxury items that costs an arm and a leg.
I first started my delve into digital art with a Wacom Intuos 4 which I bought when I started my studies in multimedia, I loved it to pieces and the idea of being able to draw on the computer with a pen blew my mind (I had been drawing with a mouse for ages).
Anyway, I eventually got sick of the disconnect between the user and the image – the concept of not looking where you drew didn’t make any sense to me.
I eventually came across Tablet PC’s and the folks on tabletpcreview were champs in steering me into the right direction.
It really was by accident, I was actually after a laptop that had external removable batteries as I was finding it difficult to get a full day of study done (I was travelling a total of 5 hours a day 4 days a week to class so a lot of my work was done on the train along with whatever breaks and whatnot).
Anywho, I was pointed in the direction of a Lenovo x230t, I managed to find one on Gumtree (Australian trading post website) and found a refurbished model for AUD $850 (bargain as they were AUD $2200 at the time new).
The x230t blew my mind, being able to draw on the screen… Wow… Awesome…
I had owned it for about a year and had done heaps of work on it, however the screen was tiny at only 12.5” and it really wasn’t doing my eyesight any good over extended periods (I already had gotten glasses thanks to this field of work, but also genetics… I still blame the monitors though).
That’s when I decided I needed something bigger.
Cintiq’s are pricey as hell with their cheapest latest models starting at AUD $2200,near-impossible with my wage and I really couldn’t justify the cost over other facets of living.
I hunted for used Cintiq’s but they average AUD $1500+; very rarely could you find them for under AUD $800.
I looked at cheaper alternatives from Yiynova, Monoprice, Bosto, ect… But all had too many issues with them for me to really throw the money down.
I continued my search for a Cintiq progressively over many months, looking on eBay and all the Australian trading post websites using search phrases like “Cintiq” and “Wacom”.
I eventually found a plumbing company selling 2x DTU-2231’s for AUD $450 each.
I bought one and then directed a mate into purchasing the other, I could’ve bought both and sold one for a profit but I know how difficult it is with money and how much of a luxury item this is so I thought I’d be kind for a change.
Anyway, there’s the ramble.
Let’s start the review.
The Wacom DTU-2231 (renamed PL-2200) is the business-class version of a Cintiq.
It’s in no way advertised for media creation; however it’s still capable of it.
These are advertised for business workers for spreadsheets, surveyors, landscapers, ect.
• 21.5” TFT LCD 1920 x 1080p monitor
• 16.7 million colours
• 200 nits
• DVI input and output
• 512 pressure levels
• 2x USB ports
• 15-72° tilt
• Spec sheet
Pretty much a dumbed down Cintiq 22HD.
Now this uses the older Wacom tech, the same in tablet PC’s (although tablet PC’s have 256 pressure levels).
I had been using the X230t for a year now and was used to how it felt, the less pressure levels of the newer Cintiq’s (2048, 1024) didn’t bother me -there’s been much discussion previously of how the pressure levels mean moot and that the only real difference is the pressure ignition of the newer models being 1gm of force and the older requiring 3gm of force.
I told you I’d ramble. Bare with me.
Anyway, it feels the EXACT same to draw on as my x230t, just bigger… My god… I have so much space now!
It’s sturdy as hell, just like any other Wacom tech, it’s solid.
It has a tilt stand at the back which you pull a lever to adjust.
There’s a nice pen holder at the top-back of the machine.
It has your standard monitor menu buttons which you can use to adjust the settings of the display.
There are 2x USB 2.0 inputs on either side of the display.
There are 1x DVI in and 1x DVI out ports along with the USB data cable on the back left with the cables facing to the left.
There are no side buttons, like on the Cintiq’s (however I use a Razer Nostromo which I’ve setup or various art programs).
The power button is to the top right of the screen border alongside a button which blinks blue when the digitizer is active.
The colours are bright and vibrant when you’re directly facing it.
The newer models of these are IPS, this however is not.
The viewing angles are still pretty good though, it’s just like any other TFT screen - the colours change depending on your angle.
The DTU-2231 boasts 16.7 million colours on a Full HD (1920 x 1080) 21.5” matte finish screen.
There’s very little reflection and only if it’s direct light.
The pen is as accurate as my x230t, maybe 1mm or less difference on accuracy here and there, but 9/10 it’s spot on.
As per usual there’s a 2-5mm offset when on the edge of the screen, as with most tablet PC’s and Cintiq’s or Cintiq alternatives.
There’s maybe2-3mm space between the plastic screen and the actual monitor underneath.
The brightness of 200 nits is beautiful to work on when the curtains are closed or on a cloudy day or at night.
When on a sunny day it seems to be just that little bit too dim to work with comfortably.
The DTU-2231 has what I assume is the same leverage mechanism on most Cintiq’s, minus the swivel feature.
The DTU-2231 can adjust its height from ~15-72° via the lever at the top-back of the screen.
Overall thoughts, concerns and wants:
After using it for over a week now I’ve since noticed that the one thing I’d really like on it would be side-buttons.
I find that I tend to hold the edge of the screen with my left hand a fair bit while drawing and that sometimes it’s a pain to have to use the Nostromo, however I’ll have to live with it.
I have this one weird issue that when I have Google Chrome open fullscreen I get these odd coloured lines across the screen.
It’s the only program that does it.
I’d love for this to be IPS as I’d like to recline more at times when drawing, I’m considering of getting an Ergotron arm at some point to hopefully get around this.
Overall, at AUD $450.00 I think I did pretty damn well… So I’ll try not to complain.
Night viewing angles:
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Day viewing angles:
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Pen model - UP-818E
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First Picture on DTU-2231, self portrait:
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TabletPC Review post:
Last edited by -Tragedy-; May 8th, 2014 at 10:02 AM.
I'm honestly quite surprised you choosed this one and find the Yiynova(s) having "too much issues" (However, I do agree for Bosto and Monoprice).
The TFT screen on a display that big definitly is something that seems very odd to me. Good new Wacom change it for IPS on newer models, someone should create a law about forbiding TFT panel on drawing display
The previous model I believe had many issues to it, no?
But yes, I'm glad Wacom have gone IPS with their newer models.
Hopefully there'll be some robust competition in the near future forcing Wacom to lower their prices.
But yes, TFT is a royal pain.
It's true the very first version released by Yiynova, the MSP19 (without U) was build with a low digitizer brand and not good enough for inking. The next one, the msp19U had a UC-logic digitizer and TFT screen aside it's a very good product.
I have mine since december 2012 from their first batch, it's still running as good as day one. My husband have the cintiq 13, it's not the same category but I definitly don't feel the yiynova being lower to wacom in term of accuracy and pression, they are different but both are good.
About the TFT, that may help you : I managed to "lower" the bad viewing angle by using a calibration display. I don't know how far that can work for you but if you can borrow one or find one at a good price (I bought a color munki) that definitly save the day about colors accuracy and manage contrasts, it will make bad viewing angle less visibles. No miracles but it helps
Mine is this one from XRite : http://www.amazon.com/X-Rite-CMUNDIS...ds=color+munki Very easy to use, takes 5 min for each screens. My husband and I share the same desk so we have 4 screens here and with this, they all are very close in color.
He have a IIyama with very good colors from factory presets so we used it to compare with a low quality screen we calibrated as test, the calibration was pretty good.
I know Spider4 released a similar model arround the same price, Spyder4Pro I think. I read a lot of reviews and both are good. I honestly don't remember why we choosed the Xrite over the Spyder but it was really a matter of details. Just be sure you pick one that allow multiple calibrations for one computer !
Whatever brand you choose the crucial thing is to pick one with a glass lens. Lot of older calibrations displays used one with gelatine but with time this gelatine turns yellow and screws the calibration. That's the thing to be aware if you found one used
One last thing, after calibration it will look strange at the beginning, a very bright screen before could looks "grey" because the lumens are calibrated very down, in order to prevent eyestrain. But you will get accustomed in a matter of minutes