Companion_With_CaseThroughout my animation career I’ve animated films exclusively on paper, but over the course of the last couple have been eager to transition to digital and felt the Wacom Companion would be a perfect solution for a filmmaker such as myself. I’ve been eyeing the Companions since the first generation but now i’ve had the opportunity to try out the Cintiq Companion 2 Intel® Core™ i7 512 GB.

The Companion 2, weighing just 3.75 lbs, has a 13.3 inch screen with QHD 2560 x 1440 resolution, 2048 levels of pen pressure, and more Express Keys than the previous generation. It comes with Windows and acts as a Stand-alone computer with an Intel Core a solid state drive. With the mini-display port it can be easily used as a display when connected to another computer or projector, is Mac compatible and is set up for wi-fi. It has three USB 3 ports, two HD cameras, and two speakers. The battery lasts about 4 to 4.5 hours and only takes  around two hours to fully charge. 

The setup is quite easy as the Companion 2 walks you through the initial setup process. I had to calibrate the pen a few times but once it registered to my liking worked perfectly. Installing software is simple and by the first day I downloaded Adobe CC and started testing out animating with the Anim Dessin Plugin in Photoshop. Opting for the Bluetooth Keyboard was certainly a must for me but found using the built-in keyboard to be surprisingly easy to use for shortcuts. It comes with a nice grey case, but I do intend to purchase a smaller sleeve when opting to carry it around in a backpack in lieu of the case.

The transition from paper to digital was easier than I could have imagined. I tend to draw very loose and was anxious about sacrificing line quality. To my surprise no quality was lost and didn’t feel as though there was any learning curve to endure. 

The Companion’s greatest advantage is convenience and practicality. I spend much of the year traveling and it is always a struggle having to bring the necessary animation equipment. One of my biggest worries is leaving too much of my work behind as the vast majority of the time I opt out of lugging around what is needed. 

With the Companion 2 I need not bring anything else and can take care of both creative and administrative work with ease without sacrificing the quality. It’s fast, portable, and the versatility of it being both a standalone computer and able to be used as a workable screen when connected to another computer makes the Companion 2 a perfect solution for me.  

by Jeanette Bonds

  • Doris.

    Last year I heard about the Companion 2 and was very excited when I finally purchased it and was holding it in my hand one month ago. In the end it was a huge disappointment and I do not recommend buying it.
    Firstly – The ventilation was very loud. While sitting in courses I felt very uncomfortable using the Companion 2.
    Secondly – The battery life is a joke. With the minimum screen brightness and while working with the Adobe CC, the battery lasted only 1.5 hours.
    Thirdly – The screen resolution would always jump to the lowest setting after waking up from sleep. Unbelievable annoying.
    Fourthly – Photoshop is not usable without the pen, means you can do nothing on the canvas (No touch plug in for Photoshop?). Forget your pen and have no mouse on hand – forget working.
    Fourthly – Yes, the keyboard is easy to use BUT essential keys like esc are missing, so if you really want to work you habe to buy an extra keyboard.
    And here is my last big issue – Adobe CC was not running fluently on my Companion 2 and I had the best you could get.

    Like said in the article it’s absolutely beautiful to draw with the pen.

    In the end I decided to sent it back. Its performance was way to poor for that much money.