Hey all, I just recently got my new Cintiq 13HD touch in the mail as a little upgrade from my previous setup (Wacom Intuous Creative Stylus, iPad 4, and of course, Astropad). Thought I'd share some of my experience with the 2 products.
I've just jotted down some of my first impressions, will provide a more in-depth review later!
Definitely a big decider for most people. I dropped about $1000 on the new Cintiq, which is about $200 up from the cheapest Cintiq option, the 13hd without the touch capabilities (that are already native to iPads). Keeping in mind that most people looking into astropad already own an iPad, the astropad app is $20 on the app store, which is very very nicely priced for all the features that it shares with a Cintiq.
Yes, wires get its own whole section because in my opinion, this is a huge issue with the Cintiq. Quick note that astropad is wireless (or just one USB connection), which is amazing. I have lost that feature with the Cintiq - it has SIX wires in total (which was just a complete mess, by the way), and requires you to be plugged in into a wall outlet for it to power. I didn't notice the power supply issue at first, completely my fault, but my jimmies were still visibly rustled as I'd thought that I could use this iPad-sized tablet on the go. The Cintiq itself has this hydra-like 3-way connection to my Mac with the HDMI cable (+1 wire for the mini display port adapter), USB connection, and connection to the tablet itself, as well as the 2 wires for the power supply. I will mention that you do get a much faster connectivity (no "pixel L lag") with all these wires. Now, as this is not a Cintiq-focused review, I will quickly say that I was disappointed with Wacom's wire shenanigans and astropad is definitely the better choice for on-the-go sketching.
As I mentioned above in "Wires," you sack a visually-pleasing wire setup for faster speeds with the Cintiq. There is no lag at all, while a common astropad issue is lag itself. I do think that the Cintiq's performance is in every way superior to the iPad's, because, well, that's what it was made for. Considering the price tags, astropad hold up phenomenally well against the Cintiq in that if you can give up some convenience and performance for a much lower price, you're all set.
- Some Thoughts
If you are considering astropad because of the price tag of a Cintiq, I say go for it as it is the most viable option for you at this price range. If you are upgrading from an art tablet like a Bamboo or an Intuos to have that display functionality, I'd recommend looking around some more to see if Astropad suits your needs, and definitely try out the free trial to see if you like it. I'd say that if you already own a Cintiq or other display tablet, astropad is a good backup option and great for sketching in places where you don't have a power outlet or computer with you or you don't want to haul around your larger tablet (for example, the 60-pound 24HD). Personally, although I am absolutely loving my new tablet, I'd still use astropad for sketching and doodling or when I really can't be bothered with all those wires.
Should you buy? Again, I recommend trying out the free trial for astropad if you are looking into it at all, and it does hold up quite well to the Cintiq. For those looking into upgrading to a Cintiq from astropad, go for it if you have the funds and are serious about art either professionally or as a hobby. You get a lot more functionality for a lot of money, so decide whether you are willing to make that trade.
Tl;dr Astropad is a good cheap alternative to Cintiq but I wouldn't say a replacement or upgrade to.
Thanks for reading, and I will update with some photos/videos/more walls of text as I go!