I was excited to finally get some hands on time with Wacoms latest update to the Cintiq Companion range, the newly branded MobileStudio Pro. As soon as it arrived I peeled open the box and removed it from its protective plastic cover to reveal 16 inches of beauty.
Immediately this felt like a high quality product. From the glass screen to the chrome surrounding the express keys it screamed design elegance and for the price tag you would expect the build quality to be high and it doesn’t disappoint.
Once I plugged it in, charged it, jumped through the usual Windows 10 setup hoops I was ready to install my key software apps but then I hit my first hurdle. The MobileStudio Pro doesn’t have your traditional USB slots, instead it has three USB-C connectors which also act as charging ports. It does have space for an SD card but I didn’t have one large enough to use.
Here I was with my software downloaded and ready to install and no way to quickly transfer it across. My only option was to re-download it on the device itself.
With that out of the way I was eager to get ZBrush activated but without a physical keyboard this proved tricky as you have to copy an activation key and paste it into ZBrush. Copying was fine as I could use the Pro Pen 2 to right click in the web browser and select copy from the menu. In ZBrush this menu didn’t appear so I had to juggle different apps and the on screen keyboard until I finally go it working half an hour later.
So, all my programs were installed and activated and as well as ZBrush I also added Maya 2017, Substance Painter and Photoshop into the mix.
After some very quick tests over the weekend I can confirm that they all run beautifully. The larger screen gives you enough space so you don’t feel cramped, its also bright and crisp and a joy to work on. The only issue I did face was being unable to fully use Maya as I personally use the keyboard a lot when working, so now I am waiting for a USB to UBS-C adapter to arrive before I can try it fully.
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I have been painting almost daily on the iPad Pro, so from here on I will be doing this using the MobileStudio Pro to see how it feels. I began this morning and was surprised by how comfortable it is to draw on. The pen does feel spongier than what I am used to when working on the Cintiq 27QHD but I quite like that. I wouldn’t say it feels like a pencil on paper however, rather more like working with a marker.
One thing I would have loved is if Wacom would have copied an idea from its bigger brother and included two small legs which would come out of the back and act as a basic stand. At present I have to clumsily prop it up with whatever is handy.
All in all my initial impressions are very positive. Even the fan noise is a dramatic improvement over its predecessor, its almost inaudible. It is early days though and I have a lot more testing to do in the following weeks.
My USB-C adapters arrived so I dived right into testing Autodesk Maya 2017.
As you can see below, my stock 1.5 million polygon test model was no problem at all for it. It flew around the screen and even soft selection wasn’t an issue. Yes, it was slightly slower than on my desktop machine but it was certainly usable. I’ll test it with some textured models soon as well as with some animation and dynamics.
If you turn the sound up you can also hear the fan kick in. Don’t be mislead though, it sounds louder than it actually is as you can tell when I release the Alt key which was being crudely held down with a screwdriver while I recorded. Yes the fan is audible but not in the same league as the Companion 2.
One other thing to note was the screen did get warm on the right hand side, where I was resting my wrist but this didn’t become uncomfortable.