Is getting a used Cintiq 21ux now a bad idea?

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Zack Maxwell greentooth
I've found what seems like a good deal; a used Cintiq 21UX DTK-2100 for $500.
If it arrives defective I can return it, but longer term the 21ux is not covered for repairs by Wacom. That said, the repairs would cost more than the $500 paid for it anyway, in most cases.
I'm using a regular Wacom right now. Is getting this a good idea, or is it too much of a gamble given the probable age of the device? I've heard the 21ux is pretty sturdy, with some people still using ones they got 10 years ago when it was initially released.


  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz interpolator
    Well, the screen is only 1600 x 1200 , and the color accuracy probably isn't that great (both due to specs and age). If you want a screen for drawing on for $500 I'd recommend looking at alternative brands like Huion / XP-Pen / Artisul / Gaomon / etc. instead of buying a Cintique that may be on its last legs.
  • Zack Maxwell
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    Zack Maxwell greentooth
    PolyHertz said:
    Well, the screen is only 1600 x 1200 , and the color accuracy probably isn't that great (both due to specs and age). If you want a screen for drawing on for $500 I'd recommend looking at alternative brands like Huion / XP-Pen / Artisul / etc. instead of buying a Cintique that may be on its last legs.
    I was leaning toward that as well. Huion has a new model out for the same size and cost brand new. Only caveat is it doesn't have express keys, and I've heard drivers for alternatives can be error prone.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz interpolator
    Well, I bought a XP-Pen Artist 15.6 tablet screen recently (this one) which is only $360 new (if bought through Amazon), and it's worked out rather well so far. Never used Huion, though I'd say they're the most well known alternative brand.

    Gaomon is another brand that might be worth checking out, their latest tablet is getting good reviews.
  • pior
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    pior hero character
    The DTK2100 is really, really good - I personally find it to be the best out of all the models I've tried so far (although admittedly I haven't tried the massive 27 incher). I recently spent two weeks using the recent 16inch and it was a pain by comparaison (annoying new design, issues caused by the high definition screen, and so on).  

    A few notes : 

    • You will most likely dislike it very much IF you attempt to use it as a full replacement for your regular tablet ; the best solution is definitely to have both hooked up at the same time. This is a can of worms in itself though, as you don't want too much of a generation gap between multiple devices. So depending on what you have, your mileage may vary. Still better than having to run multiple drivers from different brands though.

    • On accuracy : something that took me a while to realize is that not all styluses are created equal. I have two of them, initially for safety/backup purposes ... and after a while I realized that one caused jitters to happen, while the other always behaves smoothly.

    • On repairs : I personally got mine repaired about 2.5 years ago because the digitizer panel was acting up. Wacom Europe did the servicing - it was expensive, but worth it.

    • You want to have LazyNezumi running when using it. Not so much because of line smoothing, but rather because it comes with a special experimental fix that solves an old, never addressed issue in the Wacom drivers (loss of sub-pixel accuracy after a short while).

    Overall I would say that it is probably worth it, but you might want to try and bargain it down a little because of some of the above mentioned cavehats.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Holding out for a used 24 or 22 might also be an option.  Especially if it's only cosmetically damaged.

    Managed to nab my cosmetically damaged 24 for udner $1000, base price, becasue a concept artist on the InXile team found it, thank God.

    Runs wonderfully still atm, despite it missing three pedals and chipped corners on the frame.
  • bounchfx
    I use the 2nd gen/black 21UX and love it. got it used 7 years ago and outside of some color stuff it still works great. Not sure how much longer it'll continue to hold up but I've had no real issues with the hardware itself, just the bullshit we put up with between Windows and Wacom drivers every now and then. I do wish it was widescreen though as it can make some programs and games a hassle. 1600x1200 is an odd resolution for many things these days.

    I've been tempted to find a used 22hd but I'm not sure how I feel about the grain on the screen... it's like theres rainbow glitter everywhere. I could probably get used to it but, I kind of wish they would just release a new model of 22 with better tech.
  • swann
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    swann polycounter lvl 2
    I'm rocking Cintiq 20WSX (widescreen 1680x1050). Bought at the end of 2009 from Apple store (last one). Works good. At first I was scared that it will brake, since rumors back than were that this was one of the reasons why Wacom pulled the plug on this model so fast. But t works. But yeah, colors are better on my IPS main monitor.
  • Sk0LLiE
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    Sk0LLiE polycounter lvl 5
    Still using my old 21ux here.
    Its amazingly stable, I have only had to have it repaired once when I dinged it on moving house and the video card inside went on the fritz. The local Wacom supplier fixed it. Pricey, but the only issue I have had from eight years of consistent every day use.

    Yeah, they are pretty solid.

    Only considering getting a newer Cintiq now due to the resolution. Running newer programs like substance painter with tons of menus can eat up your screen so you live view is tiny on such a resolution.

    Honestly pressure levels and colour has never been an issue for me. I use a 27HD at work and they seem about the same to me but maybe im a dumbass.

    Its a solid bit of kit, depending on who owned it before and how it was treated is something to consider heavily though. As knocks and bad treatment can lead to pricey repairs.

  • ScoobyDoofus
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    ScoobyDoofus polycounter lvl 13
    I got a used 21UX (for 300$) from a game studio that shut-down, and its been going strong for several years. I'd love to upgrade to a new one, but that is a pretty big expense. The color accuracy isnt great, and I notice it has a warm-up period before it achieves accurate brightness/contrast color temp.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    I'm actually about to sell mine. The screen is a bit darker than a regular monitor (not sure if this is usual to Cintiqs21UX), but it's caused issues for me in the texturing phase. I'll just be sticking to a Wacom Tablet and a regular monitor.
  • pior
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    pior hero character
    On the topic of temperature, if I remember correctly the grey units (first two models, both called DTZ-2100) tend to heat up more than the final gen (black, DTK-2100). That said even the black ones can get a bit too hot for confort in the summer.

    Regardless of the model I personally would not recommend using it as a main monitor. There is no point having such an high-end, fragile device running all day ; and indeed the aspect ratio is not appropriate for tasks typical of a main monitor (image manipulation, modeling, gaming).

    However, as a dedicated painting surface and set as a secondary or tertiary display, it is fantastic imho. I keep mine tucked under my main monitor and I slide it forward when I need it (I do not use the default stand that I find way to cumbersome - I simply prop it at an angle with whatever works for that purpose).

    On the topic of color accuracy : the DTK is pretty damn good. A tiny bit more dull than a modern high-end display, but still better than most medium quality screens out there.
  • Zack Maxwell
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    Zack Maxwell greentooth
    I ended up going with the Huion Kamvas GT-191. This new model looks incredibly sexy, with great reviews. Between it being a very old model that was used for a completely unknown length of time, and the various issues people brought up (like the old 4:3 aspect ratio), it just seemed like a much better idea to get a newer model.
    Even before accounting for the condition and absence of repairs, it sounds like the design itself is on its last legs.
  • poopipe
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    poopipe greentooth
    I got a monoprice 22hd about 18months back after using the 21" cintiq at work for years and having a good go on the 22" version. 

    I picked it over the other knockoff options because the cables come out of the side and I'd seen it used on an ergotron arm. 
    It's effective enough, drivers can be niggly but I hardly ever have to reboot to fix the issues.  The biggest  problem is probably only having one button on the pen but most packages have a navigation scheme that gets around that. 
    Colour wise, it tends towards blue but it's crisp and bright so no major complaints. 

    I'd rather have a cintiq but it was £1000 less than a 22 so I'm not exactly kicking myself. 
  • Zack Maxwell
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    Zack Maxwell greentooth
    I've never owned a Cintiq to compare it against, but this Huion tablet is amaaaazing. Great colors, huge screen, negligible lag and parralax, no edge distortion, small bezel, doesn't heat up.
    It even comes with a smudge-guard glove and pre-installed screen protector. Though the screen protector isn't great; it has a lot of glare, slightly blurs the screen, and leaves weird rainbow colors when you press on it. I tried peeling it away, and it's definitely just the screen protector causing all that. Does have a nice paper texture, though.
    Couldn't find a proper alternative to buy separately, either.
    Before getting it I was put off by the lack of express keys, but I decided to examine my workflow, and realized I wasn't making effective use of them, anyway. 3D simply has too many hotkeys. Even if you bind the express keys, you'll be regularly switching to the keyboard for many things. I also had trouble remembering what they were bound to and hitting the right ones.
    The only driver trouble I've encountered so far, was that I had to go in and set them to always run as Administrator. Otherwise the tablet would refuse to work with certain programs.
  • dystopianghost
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    dystopianghost polycounter lvl 5
    Purchased a 21 UX on ebay not to long ago it was defective, ended up refunding it was a huge pain in the ass. I ended up buying the 22hd and love it,Also just as a heads up I think Amazon will even let you do payments on one with no credit check. If you can't afford one straight away. 
  • Altea
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    Altea polycounter lvl 3
    There are two models of the  21 UX. You should avoid the earlier one (grey), it has less sensitivity than any modern Cintiq and it is quite noticeable. Also it has the tendency to have LOTS of scratches. Avoid as hell

    The second model (black and different buttons) is quite good and not different than newer models apart of the size format. You could have problems of tremors in the line, but this has not disappeared in newer models. Also even it is difficult to be scratched it can happen and you should avoid the ones with many scratches.  A 21 inch Cintiq is better than no Cintiq. Also you can rotate it and use it in portrait mode at will. His size makes easier to have lateral monitors, that is more practical than a very large one.

    In any case keep in mind you are buying a device that is nearly 10 years old.

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