I’ve had the MobileStudio Pro for a couple of weeks now and in that time I have been testing Photoshop almost exclusively. Every day I have dedicated a period of time to work on a painting, just as I did on the iPad Pro, not only to test the device but also work on my drawing skills.
If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen some of my progress shots, so now the painting is finished how did I find working on it?
First off the screen is gorgeous. Its bright, crisp and colourful but most importantly its also clear. With the Cintiq 27QHD you have a slight grain on the screen which, although only slightly visible, is still noticeable. With the MobileStudio Pro if there is the same issue its even less obvious which means less distraction when working.
Painting on the device is a joy, its that simple. The Pro Pen 2 is spongier than its predecessor but I liked that, it felt less like I was working on glass and more like I was actually painting. Its almost like drawing with markers where you have an amount of give in the nib which adds a degree of fluidity to your strokes. This also came through with the pressure sensitivity although I am not sure if I was seeing all the pressure levels or if the pens softer nib gave me that impression, either way I had the feeling I had more control, more so than on the Cintiq 27QHD.
There was also no visible lag, even when drawing faster strokes although there is a degree of parallax but again, when in full painting mode you don’t even notice the minor gap between the pen tip and the cursor.
I decided to compare the MobileStudio Pro with the Cintiq 27QHD. Working on the same painting I spent half an hour on one and then jumped over to the other. This is another way the MobileStudio Pro proves itself as an essential production device, I can start something on it and them move seamlessly to my desktop machine to continue it, if I feel I need to that is.
Although I had Photoshop setup identically on each, and made sure I used the same brushes and settings, there was a clear difference between the two. Dare I say the experience was better on the MobileStudio Pro? Yes, the Cintiq had the larger screen so was more comfortable to work on with regards to screen real estate, but with the smaller screen I was more focused. When on the Cintiq, looking over at the navigator felt laboured as it was far away yet I found on the MobileStudio I could just glance at it – Sorry 27QHD, I still love you!
The Touch Ring and the ExpressKeys on the MobileStudio Pro are great too and what sets the Wacom devices apart from the others. You have nine buttons in total plus four on the touch ring which allow you to dictate its use. Be that brush size, image rotation or brush hardness you can configure them all to suit your personal needs, although I found I used the touch screen, which was quite responsive, more for manipulating the canvas than the actual tools.
Its not all great news thought and there are a few downsides to the device. Firstly, and this isn’t a major issue, but I would have loved a small kickstand just like there is with the 27QHD. Working with it flat on your desk isn’t comfortable or productive and its too heavy to hold with one hand while you paint and try to press the ExpressKeys at the same time. This is easily fixed though by propping it up with whatever you have around you at the time.
I also tried to work on it while sat on the sofa, as I used to do with the iPad Pro, but again this didn’t really work out. Because of its size and weight I couldn’t find a comfortable position where it wasn’t resting on one hand for a prolonged painting session. Where it works best is on a desk or on your knees, somewhere it can sit without support.
The screen did also get warm quite quickly. Not to the point that I couldn’t work on it but it was noticeable and this increase in temperature did cause the fan to come on quite frequently. With that said it wasn’t as loud as the fan in the Cintiq Companion 2, no where near, but still audible.
I will go into more detail in my final review but to summarise I think the MobileStudio Pro, despite its few flaws, is an excellent machine for Photoshop users. Its just a delight to paint with and I am already planning my next project.
Next I will be trying Maya, ZBrush and Substance Painter so check back or follow me online to see how they work out.